Initial Review in Develop


Today’s Question: Recently I have started culling in the Develop module [in Lightroom Classic] rather than the Library module as the 100% zooms are accurate and instantaneous in the develop module and I can easily make adjustments if I want to. The library module is slower and sometimes the photos are not focused even though I make 1:1 previews upon import. I am now considering not making the 1:1 previews at all and simply culling in the develop module as my go-to way of culling. I know Lightroom is not designed to be used this way. Do you have any advice regarding this?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Actually, Lightroom Classic has been updated to the point that for many users browsing in the Develop module may be just as fast as in the Library module. Furthermore, previews in the Develop module can be a bit more accurate than those in the Library module. So culling in Develop can make perfect sense.

More Detail: I would agree that Lightroom was originally designed in a way that browsing in the Library module would be faster than browsing in the Develop module, provided you had built Standard previews in advance (or 1:1 previews if you want to zoom in on the photos).

However, Lightroom has obviously been updated substantially over the years, including updates that affect overall performance. If you have a compatible display adapter supported by Lightroom, performance in the Develop module can be greatly improved by having the “Use Graphics Processor” checkbox turned on the Performance tab of the Preferences dialog.

What that translates to is that rendering a real-time preview in the Develop module may be just as fast (or faster) than rendering a preview in the Library module. In addition, the previews in the Develop module are rendered in real-time based on the underlying original capture, while in the Library module you are viewing JPEG images rendered from the original captures. The differences are subtle, but it means that the preview in the Develop module can be more accurate than the previews viewed in the Library module.

All of this means that it now makes perfect sense to use the Develop module for browsing photos for your initial review, and frankly for all purposes. Within the Develop module you can obviously apply adjustments along the way. In addition, the various features used to identify favorite photos via keyboard shortcuts. That includes the ability to assign star ratings with the numbers 1 through 5 on the keyboard, color labels with the numbers 6 through 9 on the keyboard, and pick or reject flags with the “P” and “X” keys.

If you do decide to primarily use the Develop module for browsing photos, then it probably makes sense not to build 1:1 previews upon import. You may want to still build the Standard previews to speed general browsing when you are in the Library module, but the 1:1 previews would be much less important at that point.