Reason for Older Photoshop


Today’s Question: I was reviewing my settings in Lightroom Classic for sending photos to Photoshop and noticed a popup for “Photoshop version” that I had not seen before. Clicking it reminded me that I have an older version of Photoshop installed, but my real question is why would I ever want to choose to use an older version of Photoshop when sending an image from Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: In general, the only reason to send an image from Lightroom Classic to an older version of Photoshop is if there was a compatibility issue related to a feature or plug-in. I would normally recommend always sending images to the most recent release, excluding a public beta release unless you wanted to take advantage of a new feature there.

More Detail: Not too long ago a popup was added to the “Edit in Adobe Photoshop” section of the External Editing tab in the Preferences dialog in Lightroom Classic. This is the “Photoshop version” popup, which enables you to choose which version of Photoshop you want to use when sending images to Photoshop from Lightroom Classic.

For many photographers clicking on this popup might reveal that you only have a single version of Photoshop installed, which is perfectly fine.

For other photographers, clicking the popup might remind them that they still have one (or more) older versions of Photoshop that they don’t really need. If that’s the case, and if you’re sure that the latest version is fully operational in terms of meeting your needs and supporting any plug-ins you use, then you can uninstall older versions of Photoshop.

However, in some cases you may want to choose to use a different version of Photoshop than the most recent official release. This could include using an older version of Photoshop if that is necessary to access a plug-in or feature that isn’t supported or isn’t working properly in the latest version. You might also want to choose the public beta (prerelease) version of Photoshop (if you’ve installed it) in order to make use of a feature that is new to that beta version.

Overall, if you don’t know of a reason that you need to use something other than the latest official release of Photoshop that you have installed, then you can simply leave the popup on the External Editing tab set to the latest version. It is only in situations where what you’re trying to accomplish isn’t possible with the latest version that I would recommend using a different version for External Editing from Lightroom Classic.

Before View Includes Adjustments


Today’s Question: If I apply a Develop preset to images as part of importing them into Lightroom Classic, would the Before view of the image show the original unedited image or the version with the preset applied?

Tim’s Quick Answer: If you apply a Develop preset on import, the Before view will show the version of the image with that preset applied, not the unedited image.

More Detail: When you enable the Before view (such as by pressing the backslash key on the keyboard) in the Develop module in Lightroom Classic, you’ll see the image based on what it looked like when it was imported. For example, if you had applied adjustments to a raw capture using Camera Raw and leave the resulting XMP sidecar file with the raw capture, if you import the image into Lightroom Classic the Before view will show the image based on the adjustments applied with Camera Raw. Similarly, if you apply a Develop preset during import, the Before view will show you the image with the effect of that preset applied to it.

In other words, the Before view doesn’t necessarily show you the original version of the image without any adjustments. Rather, it will show you the version of the image based on any adjustments that had been applied prior to importing or during import through the use of a preset.

Let’s assume, for example, that you had converted a batch of images to black and white, either using Camera Raw before import or by using a preset during import. After applying a variety of adjustments in the Develop module, pressing the backslash key to switch to the Before view will show the black and white version of the image as it looked upon import.

If you want to get to the image without any adjustments, you can click the Reset button at the bottom of the right panel in Lightroom Classic. Even then, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have an image with no adjustments at all, because it is possible to change the default adjustment values for Lightroom Classic. And, of course, if you had clicked the Reset button just to see the image with the default adjustment settings, you could always use the Undo command (or go back in the History section of the left panel) to undo the Reset command and get back to the adjusted version of the image.

Manual Mode and Auto ISO


Today’s Question: I’m confused. If I’m shooting in manual mode but I enable auto ISO on the camera, am I really still in manual mode? Isn’t it not really manual because the camera is changing the ISO setting?

Tim’s Quick Answer: If you set your camera to manual exposure mode but with auto ISO enabled, I would say you are using a semi-automatic exposure mode (similar to aperture priority) rather than a true manual exposure mode.

More Detail: In my view there are three categories of exposure modes on cameras. Manual mode means you are controlling all exposure settings. Semi-automatic means you are selecting one or more exposure settings and allowing the camera to select other settings. Fully automatic means you are leaving all decisions about exposure settings up to the camera.

Based on this way of thinking, if you enable auto ISO when using the manual exposure mode, you aren’t using a true manual exposure mode.

If you use aperture priority mode, you select the lens aperture setting and the ISO setting (with auto ISO disabled) and you let the camera choose the shutter speed. If you’re in shutter priority mode you’re selecting the shutter speed and the ISO setting and allowing the camera to select the lens aperture. In both cases you can use exposure compensation to refine the overall exposure result.

Manual exposure mode with auto ISO enabled is exactly the same as the aperture priority and shutter priority modes, except for which value you’re letting the camera choose. You dial in the lens aperture and the shutter speed, and the camera chooses the ISO setting.

Having said all that, in my view this is really an issue of semantics. As far as I’m concerned, all that really matters in terms of the exposure for a photograph is what settings were used for lens aperture, shutter speed, and ISO setting. The only real question is how you’re going to get to those settings. Regardless of whether you’re using an automatic, semi-automatic, or fully manual exposure mode, what really matters is what final settings you arrive at.

In other words, as far as I’m concerned there’s no shame in using an automatic or semi-automatic exposure mode, and there should be no great pride in using manual mode. What really matters is what the final exposure settings are. Whatever process you find most helpful for getting to the right exposure settings is perfectly fine as far as I’m concerned.

August Online Workshop: Organizing Photos in Lightroom Classic


Live Online Workshop
August 16-30, 2024

Next month I’ll be teaching an online workshop focused on helping photographers organize their photos with a streamlined workflow using Lightroom Classic.

And for the first time, participants will receive “Cheat Sheet” PDF handouts covering the key aspects of an organizational workflow as part of this workshop. If you register by July 31st, you can get the full online workshop experience for just $79 (normally $99).

Get all the details and sign up to join me here:

Resize Images to Fit


Today’s Question: Is there a way in Photoshop to resize a group of images in batch so that they are all the same size on the long side, without horizontal versus vertical images having different dimensions on the long side?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can use the “Resize to Fit” setting with the Image Processor command, which you can access either from within Photoshop or from Adobe Bridge.

More Detail: If you use the Image Size command (Image > Image Size) you will need to specify both a height and width setting, meaning you’ll need to be sure to use the intended pixel dimension in the Width field for a horizontal image or the Height field for a vertical image. With the “Resize to Fit” option of the Image Processor command you can specify outer dimensions for batch resizing, so that for example all images will have the same number of pixels on the long side, regardless of whether an image is horizontal or vertical.

You can batch process images with Image Processor from directly within Photoshop, such as by opening the images you want to process, selecting File > Scripts > Image Processor from the menu, and choosing the “Use Open Images” option in section one. However, I think it is easier to get started from Adobe Bridge.

To use Image Processor from Adobe Bridge, select the photos you want to process, and then from the menu choose Tools > Photoshop > Image Processor. That will open the Image Processor in Photoshop, with the images that had been selected in Adobe Bridge automatically selected as the images to process.

You can then select the options for saving the images, such as to save as JPEG images if you’ll be sharing online. For any of the available file formats you can turn on the “Resize to Fit” checkbox and then enter the outer dimensions in the W (width) and H (height) fields. For example, if you want the images to be sized to 2,000 pixels on the long side you can enter 2000 in both fields.

Once you’ve configured the settings in the Image Processor dialog click the Run button. The images will then be processed based on the settings you’ve selected, including having been resized to fit the dimensions you specified.

Avoiding Pick and Reject Flags


Today’s Question: I thought you had said previously that you didn’t use or recommend the pick and reject flags in Lightooom Classic, but then you suggested adding a reject flag to photos you think are outtakes but that you’re not comfortable deleting. Did I misunderstand, or did you change your mind about pick and reject flags?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I generally do not recommend using the pick and reject flag features in Lightroom Classic because they are not part of an established metadata standard. However, I do use the reject flag to temporarily mark photos intended for deletion.

More Detail: There are two key reasons I prefer not to use the pick and reject flags in Lightroom Classic.

The first is that I prefer not to make a binary choice between “approve” and “reject” for my photos. Rather, I prefer to use star ratings, which provide a relative ranking for approval of photos.

The second reason is that pick and reject flags are not on par with other standard metadata fields. This creates an issue where reject flags assigned in Lightroom Classic and saved to metadata don’t appear in Bridge, and reject flags assigned in Bridge won’t appear in Lightroom Classic even if you import the metadata from the disk.

However, I don’t consider these issues to be a problem when it comes to marking photos as rejected, which in my view means marking photos for eventual deletion. In other words, in this context the reject flag is temporary, and if I were to lose those reject flags it would just mean that I lost track of photos I had intended to delete, which I wouldn’t consider to be a major problem.

So, in my workflow when I’m reviewing photos to identify favorites versus outtakes, I use a reject flag to mark the photos I intend to delete. When I’m done with my review process, I can take another look at the photos I marked for rejection to make sure I really want to delete them. If so, I can then use the Delete Rejected Photos command from the Photo menu in Lightroom Classic to batch delete photos with a reject flag in the location I’m currently browsing.

Delete Rather than Remove


Today’s Question: As a follow-up to the question about removing images from the Lightroom Classic catalog, you said that “in this case” [removing a derivative image from the catalog] you would remove the photo from the catalog rather than deleting from the disk. Isn’t it better to always choose the option to remove from the catalog but not delete from the disk just in case you later realize it was a mistake?

Tim’s Quick Answer: If you are removing a photo from the Lightroom Classic catalog because you feel it is not a good image, then I recommend deleting the source file. If you’re not comfortable deleting a photo, then in my view you shouldn’t remove it from the Lightroom Classic catalog.

More Detail: Yesterday’s question related to wanting to remove derivative images from the Lightroom Classic catalog, while keeping the source photo the derivative was based on in the catalog. In this circumstance I think it makes sense to remove the derivative image from the catalog since it will be managed as part of a separate project outside of Lightroom Classic.

When the photo in question is an original capture rather than a derivative created for a particular project, I don’t recommend removing the photo from the catalog unless you are also going to delete the source file. From my perspective, if you are using Lightroom Classic to manage your photos and you remove a photo from the catalog, you effectively will no longer know that the photo exists. In other words, the photo is taking up space on your hard drive, but you won’t see the image in Lightroom Classic.

In other words, removing photos from the catalog without deleting the source file can lead to a situation where you have clutter in your folders with extra hard drive space being used up, and where you are not aware of those images because they aren’t in your catalog.

For these reasons I suggest only removing original photos from your Lightroom Classic catalog if you consider them outtakes that you won’t ever put to use. In that case, I recommend deleting the source files from the hard drive as part of the process for removing the images from the catalog, which means clicking the “Delete from Disk” button in the confirmation dialog after choosing to remove a photo from the catalog.

If you’re not comfortable deleting the source file, I recommend keeping the image in your catalog, and marking it in some way so you know it is an outtake. For example, you could mark such outtakes with a reject flag in Lightroom Classic, and as appropriate set a filter so you’re only seeing the images you didn’t reject. You could then later decide to delete those rejected photos, for example.

Export and Remove


Today’s Question: I sometimes have images I am preparing for a project, but that I don’t need to keep in Lightroom Classic. This usually involves sending an image to Photoshop to work on. Afterward the resulting image is in Lightroom Classic of course, but is there a way to avoid that? I just want the final image saved in a project folder, and not have it in the Lightroom Classic catalog.

Tim’s Quick Answer: In this scenario my recommendation would be to follow the normal workflow for sending the image from Lightroom Classic to Photoshop, move the image to a project folder within Lightroom Classic if you’d like, and then remove the photo from the catalog without deleting it.

More Detail: In most cases when you want to send a photo from Lightroom Classic to Photoshop you will want to continue managing the new derivative image within your Lightroom Classic catalog. Even if you ultimately don’t want the derivative image in your catalog, I recommend using the same initial workflow.

So, in Lightroom Classic you can select the image you want to edit in Photoshop, then from the menu choose Photo > Edit In > Edit in Adobe Photoshop. This will send the image to Photoshop, where you can use any of the tools and features to finalize the derivative image. When you’re done simply save the image and close it.

At this point the image will be alongside the original within the Lightroom Classic catalog. If you want to move it to a project folder, you can do that directly within your catalog. Simply drag-and-drop the image to the desired destination folder within the Folders list on the left panel in the Library module. If you’d like, you can also create a new folder in any location by clicking the plus button to the right of the Folders heading and choosing “Add Folder”.

After you drag-and-drop the derivative image to a new folder location, you can remove it from Lightroom Classic if you’d like. Just be sure that you haven’t applied any adjustments in Lightroom Classic after creating the derivative image in Photoshop, as those won’t be retained in the source file on the hard drive.

To remove the derivative image from Lightrooom Classic you can simply right-click on it and choose Remove Photo from the popup menu. In this case you would click the “Remove from Lightroom” button (rather than the “Delete from Disk” button) because you are simply removing the image from your Lightroom Classic catalog without deleting the source image file.

Moving forward, of course, you could open the derivative image on your hard drive directly into Photoshop to perform any additional adjustments you may need.

Frustration with Remove Tool Mode


Today’s Question: If I use one of the Remove tool options in Lightroom Classic, say Heal, then change the tool type to Clone, the result changes from Heal to Clone [for an existing cleanup area]. How do I use Heal, then switch to Clone, without changing the setting for the previous action?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The key to avoid changing the Mode setting for cleanup areas when using the Remove tool in Lightroom Classic (or Camera Raw or Lightroom), simply press the Escape (Esc) key on the keyboard to ensure no cleanup area is selected before making the change.

More Detail: With the Remove tool in Lightroom Classic (or Camera Raw or Lightroom) you can change the Mode setting for a selected cleanup area. For example, if you used the Clone option for Mode but then realize that it isn’t providing a good result, you can switch the Mode to Heal or Remove instead.

Of course, if your intent is to switch to a different setting for Mode for the next cleanup area rather than the current cleanup area, this behavior can be frustrating. The key is to ensure that no cleanup area is active before making a change to the Mode setting. To do so simply press the Escape (Esc) key on the keyboard before changing the setting for Mode. This will enable you to change the setting before initiating a new cleanup area.

It is also possible, of course, to simply paint a new cleanup area on the image, which will inherit the Mode setting from the cleanup area that had previously been selected. You can then change the Mode setting for the new cleanup area after creating it. But again, if you want to change the Mode first, you can simply press the Escape key before creating the new cleanup area.

Note that I have published an updated video lesson on performing image cleanup work in Lightroom Classic to my “Mastering Lightroom Classic” video course. The updated lesson is “Removing Blemishes and Distractions”, which is Chapter 3, Lesson 3 of this course. You can get all the details about this course on the GreyLearning website here:

Correcting Capture Time After Import


Today’s Question: I saw your recent post about changing the capture time for a series of images, doing so in Adobe Bridge. I recently took some pictures in Europe and neglected to change the time zone until after the first day. However, I have already imported all the images into Lightroom Classic. Is there a way to change the capture time for these images?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can easily correct the capture time for selected photos in Lightroom Classic using the “Edit Capture Time” command.

More Detail: The previous answer about adjusting the capture time using Adobe Bridge related specifically to updating the metadata for photos that had not been imported into a Lightroom Classic catalog. After photos have been imported into Lightroom Classic you should only update metadata within the catalog. That includes updating the capture time, which can be done using the “Edit Capture Time” command.

To get started, simply select the photos you need to correct the capture time for. In this case that would involve only selecting the photos from the first day of your trip, but it could also involve selecting all photos in a given folder, for example.

Once you’ve selected the applicable photos, go to the Library module and from the menu choose Metadata > Edit Capture Time to bring up the Edit Capture Time dialog.

In most cases, including in the context of today’s question, you’ll want to use the “Shift by a set number of hours” option. This enables you to shift the capture time for the selected photos by a specific number of hours, such as for a time zone correction. Select the number of hours from the popup on the right side of the “New Time” section, selecting a positive value if you need to increase the time or a negative value if you need to decrease the time.

Once you have configured the settings for the capture time change for the selected photos click the Change button to apply the change.

Note, by the way, that there is a message at the bottom of the Edit Capture Time window that indicates you can’t use the Undo command to revert to the original capture time if you change the capture time incorrectly. However, you can always apply a corrective change. For example, if you accidentally apply a time zone change of negative five hours when the correct adjustment would be negative four hours, you could always apply a positive one hour change to update the images to the correct capture time.