Moving Photos to Internal Drive

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Today’s Question: You have previously addressed how to move photos from an internal hard drive to an external hard drive with Lightroom Classic. I have the opposite issue. How can I copy my photos from an external drive to my internal hard drive when I can’t change the name of the internal drive to match the external drive?

Tim’s Quick Answer: In this case I recommend making sure that the photos on the external hard drive are all within a single parent folder. I would then copy that folder to the internal hard drive and reconnect Lightroom Classic to that folder in the new location.

More Detail: When you want to move photos from one storage location to another, you can most certainly move photos within Lightroom Classic. This provides an approach that ensures that photos and folders won’t go missing within your catalog, but it also means you will be moving photos rather than copying them. You may prefer to copy the photos rather than move them, so that you’re reducing the risk of something going wrong along the way. If so, you’ll need to copy the photos outside of Lightroom Classic.

If you’re able to make the new destination appear as an exact match of the previous location, this overall process is relatively straightforward. For example, you could copy photos from an existing external hard drive to a larger external hard drive, and then just make sure that the new drive has the same drive letter (Windows) or volume label (Macintosh) as the old drive.

If you want to move photos from an external hard drive to an internal hard drive, this can be a little more complicated, since you generally would not want to change the drive letter or volume label for the internal drive.

If the photos on the external hard drive do not already have a single parent folder on the external hard drive, I would start by creating this folder, as doing so will streamline the process of reconnecting the photos in Lightroom Classic later. Within Lightroom Classic you can click the plus symbol (+) to the right of the Folders heading on the left panel in the Library module, and choose “Ad Folder” from the popup menu. Navigate to the external hard drive, click the button to create a new folder, and give that folder a meaningful name such as “My Photos”.

Next, within Lightroom Classic, drag-and-drop all the folders that contain photo into the new folder you created. You can then go out of Lightroom Classic and copy the “My Photos” folder to the desired location on the internal hard drive. When that process is complete, disconnect the external hard drive.

At this point all the folders and photos will appear as missing in Lightroom Classic. Right-click on the “My Photos” parent folder and choose “Find Missing Folder” from the popup menu. Navigate to the folder location on the internal hard drive and select the “My Photos” folder there. This will reconnect the folder structure that had been on the external hard drive with the same folders that are not on the internal hard drive.

You can then rename the “My Photos” folder on the external hard drive to something like “Backup of My Photos” so you’ll know that this is now a backup copy of the photos, with the originals on the internal hard drive.

Excessive Heat from Long Exposure

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Today’s Question: I’ve always wondered what that heat buildup in a digital camera due to long exposures does to its technology. Does it damage the sensor or other heat-sensitive parts?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, there is a risk of excessive heat damaging a digital camera, just as heat can damage many sensitive electronics. Fortunately, most cameras include features that will cause them to automatically shut down if the heat gets excessive.

More Detail: A long exposure will indeed create a degree of heat buildup in a camera, and that heat will increase more with a longer exposure duration. Other situations can lead to significant heat buildup, such as recording a significant amount of video in a relatively short period of time.

When heat builds up in a digital camera, one of the initial side effects will be increased noise in the photos you capture. And, just like many other delicate electronics, digital cameras are subject to damage from extreme conditions, including heat.

Environmental conditions can obviously play a role as well. On a hot and humid day heat is going to build up more quickly, and dissipate more slowly, for a digital camera. Conversely, photographing in relatively cold environments can help prevent heat buildup for the camera.

While many digital cameras include circuitry that will cause the camera to automatically power off if the temperature gets too hot, it is still worth taking precautions. When photographic in very hot conditions, make a point of doing what you can to keep the camera cool, such as turning it off when you aren’t actively using it and putting it somewhere (such as a camera bag or vehicle) where the camera can be shielded from the heat.

If you’re capturing long exposures of a significant duration, try to take a break between exposures to give the camera a chance to cool. It is also a good idea to take a break when capturing video over an extended period of time so the camera can have a chance to cool. And if your camera indicates that heat buildup is becoming an issue, take the warning seriously and give your camera a chance to cool down.

Catalog Backup to Cloud

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Today’s Question: You’ve talked about not using a cloud-based service to store photos being managed by Lightroom Classic, but is it OK if I save my catalog backups to a service like Dropbox so that I have those backups offsite?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, it is perfectly fine to save backup copies of your Lightroom Classic catalog to the cloud. I just recommend making sure you also have a copy of some recent backups stored locally so that your only backup isn’t stored offsite out of your control.

More Detail: I’ve answered questions in the past about using cloud-based storage services to store the Lightroom Classic catalog and/or photos. While it is technically possible to do so, I highly recommend against doing so due to the risk of data integrity issues.

However, it is perfectly fine to store the backup copies of your catalog with a cloud-based storage service. My only issue in this regard is not wanting to be completely dependent on a backup that you don’t control. Therefore, I recommend having at least several recent catalog backups stored locally.

With some cloud-based storage solutions you can designate that you want your local storage to be treated as primary storage, so that the cloud-based copy serves as more of a backup that also enables files to be access from a different computer or location. This could mean that you have your backups going to a local folder where they will remain, but that they will then be synchronized to the cloud to provide an offsite backup.

The primary purpose of a backup is to provide some way to recover from data loss, whether that is due to file corruption or hardware failure. I encourage you to use a backup workflow that includes more than one backup on drives you maintain locally, as well as an offsite backup copy. While you can manage an offsite backup yourself, using a cloud-based storage solution can be a great option as well.

Keyboard Shortcut Failure

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Today’s Question: In the past I have been able to temporarily hide selections in Photoshop using Ctrl/Command+H on the keyboard. What has happened to this helpful keyboard shortcut?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The “Hide Extras” command is still available in Photoshop, so probably the keyboard shortcut got disconnected. You can toggle the display of an active selection by choosing View > Extras from the menu. You can also activate the keyboard shortcut in the Keyboard Shortcuts and Menu dialog.

More Detail: This issue is more likely to arise on a Macintosh computer rather than on Windows, because in the MacOS operating system the Command+H keyboard shortcut is used to hide the currently active Window. However, it is possible for this (or any other) keyboard shortcut to get disconnected, such as by modifying the keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop. Fortunately, it is easy to fix this issue.

As noted above, you could simply bypass the keyboard shortcut by using a menu command, which is an option for most of the available keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop. However, that obviously isn’t always the most convenient solution.

To correct or assign a keyboard shortcut you can choose Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts from the menu in Photoshop. Within the Keyboard Shortcuts and Menus dialog there is a list that shows all the top-level menu commands. You can click to expand the View menu in this case and look for the Extras option below the View menu listing.

Click on the menu command that you want to assign or change a keyboard shortcut for, such as View > Extras in this example. After selecting the command, simply press the keyboard shortcut you want to assign, such as Ctrl+H or Command+H for the Show > Extras command. You can then click the OK button to apply your changes and close the Keyboard Shortcuts and Menus dialog.

Note, by the way, that in general I don’t recommend changing the default keyboard shortcut assignments in Photoshop, simply because doing so can cause confusion when you’re referencing tutorials on how to perform particular tasks in Photoshop. That said, if you prefer to change some of the keyboard shortcuts from their defaults to something that is easier to remember or more convenient, that is most certainly an option.

Transferring Presets

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Today’s Question: If I create a preset in Lightroom, or save one I like from the Discover page in Lightroom [or another source], how do I get that preset over to Lightroom Classic so I can use it there?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can add Develop presets to Lightroom Classic by simply copying the preset file to the applicable folder where Develop presets are stored. If you want to do so with a preset created in the cloud-based version of Lightroom, you can initiate the process by exporting the preset from Lightroom.

More Detail: Presets created in the Develop module of Lightroom Classic, in the cloud-based version of Lightroom, or in Adobe Camera Raw, are all interchangeable, as long as you’re working with the equivalent version of each of these software applications.

In Lightroom Classic you can add Develop presets by copying the files to the folder where presets are stored. To determine this folder first go to the Preferences dialog, which can be found on the Edit menu for Windows users or the Lightroom Classic menu for Macintosh users. Then go to the Presets tab within the Preferences dialog and click the button that says “Show Lightroom Develop Presets”.

When you click that button a window will open in the operating system, with the primary presets folder (called “Settings”) selected. Double-click that folder to open it, and you’ll find a User Presets folder. The presets you have saved or downloaded will be XMP files, and you can simply move or copy them to the User Presets folder. The next time you start Lightroom Classic the presets you added to the User Presets folder will be listed in the Presets section of the left panel in the Develop module, within the User Presets group.

Note, by the way, that to export a preset from the cloud-based version of Lightroom you can simply right-click on the preset and choose the Export option from the popup menu.

Long Exposure Duration

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Today’s Question: How do you decide how long a long exposure should be to get the right effect? Is there such a thing as making it too long?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Choosing the right exposure duration involves a bit of experience or a review of shutter speeds used for sample photos, taking into account personal preference for the result and the overall lighting conditions. It absolutely is possible to have an exposure duration that is too long, so I don’t recommend simply configuring your camera for the longest possible exposure just because you want to create a long exposure.

More Detail: A big part of the process of choosing a specific shutter speed for a long exposure involves understanding what options are even possible. Getting an extremely long exposure, for example, will generally require a strong solid neutral density filter.

Next, you need to consider your own preferences. For example, with relatively fast-moving water I’ve found that I prefer a shutter speed that isn’t too slow, such as around one-quarter of a second, because this provides a degree of motion blur while retaining a little bit of texture. Other photographers may prefer a longer exposure time such as about fifteen seconds, which provides a very silky-smooth look with a more ethereal effect.

In addition to your own general preferences as a photographer, you may have a different answer in terms of the right motion blur effect depending on the specific subject you’re photographing. For example, while I tend to prefer a shutter speed that isn’t too slow when photographing moving water, when that water is the ocean along a rocky coast I often like to use very long exposure times of fifteen to thirty seconds.

Note, by the way, that I discussed the issue of shutter speeds that are too long in an article in the May 2021 issue of my Pixology magazine. You can learn more about the magazine here:

https://www.greylearning.com/courses/pixology-magazine

Lightroom Camera Limitations

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Today’s Question: Using the built-in camera app with my smartphone, there are 3 different lenses that can be selected. The Lightroom mobile app also has a camera feature that automatically synchronizes images to Lightroom Classic. This is a nice feature, but I don’t see how to use the various lenses with this camera. Is there a way?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The solution in this case is to use the option to automatically import new photos into Lightroom mobile and use the built-in camera app on your smartphone to take advantage of the additional lenses and other special features of the camera.

More Detail: The camera feature in the Lightroom mobile app is certainly convenient, as all photos you capture with that camera feature are added directly into the catalog in Lightroom mobile. Those photos will then synchronize to the cloud and then back to Lightroom Classic (or the cloud-based version of Lightroom) on your computer.

However, that camera feature within the Lightroom mobile app is not able to take advantage of all features of the smartphone camera, such as multiple lens selection or the Portrait mode feature on recent iPhone models.

In the Import section of Settings within the Lightroom mobile app you can enable the option to automatically add photos from your device to the Lightroom catalog. Keep in mind that turning this option on will only affect new captures, not existing captures that are already on your device. There are individual settings for automatically importing photos, screen captures, and videos.

It is also worth noting that adding photos to the Lightroom mobile app with the automatic import feature will not remove the photos from your device. In other words, you’ll have photos both on your device and in the Lightroom mobile app. You may therefore want to delete photos after they have synchronized to the cloud, or consider a different workflow such as downloading smartphone photos to your computer for import to Lightroom Classic rather than making use of the Lightroom mobile app for photos that you capture with the built-in camera on your smartphone.

Sidecar Files Location

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Today’s Question: All my Lightroom Classic photos are on an external drive. My catalog is on the computer’s internal hard drive. Will the XMP sidecar be on the external drive with the photos or on the internal drive with the catalog?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The XMP sidecar files generated by Lightroom Classic will be stored alongside the original raw capture that the metadata relates to, which in this case means on the external hard drive where the photos are stored.

More Detail: In Lightroom Classic you can enable an option to write standard metadata updates to your source photos by turning on the “Automatically write changes into XMP” checkbox on the Metadata tab of the Catalog Settings dialog. With this option enabled standard metadata information as well as Develop module adjustments will be saved in an XMP “sidecar” file for raw captures. That information will be written directly into metadata for other supported image formats.

The key is that this information is saved in the same location as your photos, which may be a different location from the Lightroom Classic catalog. The source information is of course still contained within the catalog, but the point is that the metadata updates are saved in the location with your photos, not alongside the catalog files.

Keep in mind that this option to write metadata out to the photos themselves in addition to the catalog is not a replacement for making sure your catalog is backed up. Features specific to Lightroom Classic are not preserved with this option to write metadata to the photos. For example, collections, virtual copies, history, as well as pick and reject flags are only saved to the Lightroom Classic catalog and aren’t saved out to files even with the option to save metadata to photos enabled.

Don’t Use Default Backup Location

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Today’s Question: I’ve noticed that Lightroom Classic is putting the backup in a folder where my catalog is stored. Is it OK to leave the backups there? If not, how can I change the backup location.

Tim’s Quick Answer: I do not recommend keeping catalog backups in the same location as the Lightroom Classic catalog unless you are making sure to back up the hard drive containing your catalog to a different storage device. You can change the location in the dialog that appears when you are prompted to back up your catalog.

More Detail: One of the important features of a good backup workflow is that the backup copy of the original data should not be stored on the same storage device as the original. Ideally, a backup copy is even stored at a separate physical location altogether.

By default, Lightroom Classic stores catalog backups in a folder called “Backups” within the folder that contains your catalog files. If that hard drive is not also backed up, a failure of that hard drive would cause you to lose the original catalog files as well as all backup copies.

If you back up your catalog to a different hard drive than the catalog is stored on, a failure of one drive would only cause you to lose the catalog or the backup copies, but not both.

Of course, if you’re backing up the hard drive that contains your catalog, then there is less of an issue with storing the backup copies on the same drive. However, I recommend that you still configure Lightroom Classic to put the backup copies on a different drive. Doing so ensures that the backup copy of the catalog is immediately stored on a different drive from the catalog, even if you are also regularly backing up the hard drive that contains the catalog.

When you are prompted to back up your Lightroom Classic catalog you’ll find a Choose button to the right of the Backup Folder label. You can click that button to select the location where you want backup copies of the catalog to be stored.

Why You Should Not Stack Filters

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Today’s Question: I use Hoya Fusion Antistatic UV filters [https://timgrey.me/hoyauv] on my lenses. Should I remove them and screw in my variable neutral density filter when the need arises? Or can I screw the neutral density filter onto the protector filters?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I recommend removing the UV filter from the lens before attaching the neutral density filter, simply to reduce the risk of lens flare caused by having multiple filters stacked together.

More Detail: You can most certainly stack more than one filter together if you have a reason to do so. For example, if an exposure would benefit from using both a graduated neutral density filter along with a solid neutral density filter, you can absolutely stack those two filters together on the lens.

However, there are a couple of reasons to avoid using more than one filter if you can. First of all, whenever you add a filter, you are reducing overall sharpness and detail in the images you capture at least a small amount. This isn’t generally a significant concern with high-quality filters, but it is worth keeping in mind that if a filter isn’t really providing a benefit, it is probably better to not use it.

When stacking more than one filter you are also increasing the risk of lens flare caused by light reflecting back and forth between those filters. This can result in bright spots in the image, just as you might see with lens flare caused by the internal lens elements, when the sun or other bright light source is in front of the lens.

If there isn’t a strong light source in front of the lens this lens flare with the filters won’t be a concern. But I recommend avoiding the stacking of filters in general to avoid this risk, so that you’re in the habit and don’t forget to remove an unnecessary filter when there is a risk of flare.