Create Your Own Adaptive Presets


Today’s Question: The new adaptive presets in Lightroom Classic have caught my interest, but I find that many of the available adjustments don’t suit my needs. Is it possible to create your own adaptive presets with custom adjustments?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can indeed create your own adaptive presets by including the mask along with the adjustments when saving a preset.

More Detail: The new adaptive presets in Lightroom Classic 12 provide automatic adjustments that only affect specific areas of a photo, including people, the sky, or the key subject. When you apply one of these presets the image is analyzed so that the adjustment only affects the designated area of the image.

You can also create your own adaptive presets based on one of the automated masking features, so that a preset can apply to the background, the key subject, the sky, or specific features of the people who appear in your photos. While you use a specific photo to create a mask for the targeted adjustment, when you save a preset with those adjustments the effect will be customized based on the photo the preset is applied to.

Start by selecting a representative image in Lightroom Classic. Then, in the Develop module, use the Masking feature to apply a targeted adjustment using one (or more) of the automated mask options. Adjust the settings for any adjustments you want to apply to the area defined by the mask.

You can then click the plus (+) button to the right of the Presets heading on the left panel and choose “Create Preset” from the popup menu. In the New Develop Preset dialog enter a descriptive name for the preset in the Preset Name field and choose which group you want to save the preset in from the Group popup.

You can then turn on the checkboxes for only the adjustments you want to include in the new preset. For a targeted adjustment be sure to turn on the “Masking” checkbox, which is the key to creating an adaptive preset based on an automated masking feature. Click the Create button to save the preset.

You can then apply that preset to other images, and the targeted adjustment will be customized based on the contents of the image.

I have covered the process of creating adaptive presets in the first episode of my new “Tim Talks Weekly” video course, which will feature a new episode every week. You can learn more about this course, including how you can get it for half price in celebration of the 21st anniversary of the Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, on the GreyLearning website here:

Crop Tool Zoom Fail


Today’s Question: The Crop tool in Photoshop is driving me crazy. When I try to zoom in to make sure I’m cropping well at the edges and corners the image moves so that I’m not looking at the area of the image I zoomed in on. Is this a bug or is there a way to fix this annoying behavior?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The behavior you’re describing for the Crop tool in Photoshop can be disabled by turning off the “Auto Center Preview” checkbox.

More Detail: By default, Photoshop will center the image automatically when working with the crop tool. If you drag to define the area of the image you want to retain when cropping, that area will shift to the center. While this behavior can be helpful, it can also be quite frustrating when you’re trying to zoom in on a corner or edge of the photo you’re cropping.

To disable this automatic centering, select the Crop tool from the toolbar and then click the gear icon on the Options bar to bring up a settings popup. On that popup turn off the “Auto Center Preview” checkbox. The image will no longer center automatically to the cropped area, enabling you to zoom in to check the specific positioning of the crop edge without having to pan around after the image centers itself.

Note, by the way, that you can zoom in on a specific area of the image while using the Crop tool without the need to switch to a different tool. If you hold the Ctrl+Spacebar keys on Windows or the Command+Spacebar keys on Macintosh, you’ll have access to the Zoom tool without actually switching to the tool. You can then click-and-drag on the area of the image you want to take a closer look at, and the image will be zoomed in on that area when you release the mouse. With the “Auto Center Preview” checkbox turned off you’ll actually be seeing that area, rather than having the image pan so that you’re looking at the center rather than the area you wanted to get a closer look at.

Calculating Equivalent Exposure


Today’s Question: Is there a smartphone app you can recommend for calculating the new shutter speed to use when adding a solid neutral density filter after determining the exposure without the filter?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, I recommend the PhotoPills app, which includes an Exposure feature you can use to calculate equivalent exposure settings, including when using a solid neutral density filter.

More Detail: I use and recommend the PhotoPills app as a powerful tool for planning various details related to photography. I often use the app for planning photos that incorporate the sun or moon, but there are many other features included as well. That includes the ability to calculate equivalent exposure settings with the Exposure “pill” in PhotoPills.

Within the PhotoPills app navigate to the Exposure pill. Set the Calculate option to the exposure setting you want to adjust, which in the case of adding a solid neutral density filter would typically mean adjusting the shutter speed.

You can then enter in the known-good exposure settings in the “Test settings” section. In the “Equivalent settings” section you can adjust the “other” exposure settings based on how you intend to change the settings. For example, when calculating a new shutter speed you might opt for different lens aperture and ISO settings.

At the right side of the “Equivalent settings” section you’ll also find an option to specify a solid neutral density filter you’ll use. Set the number of stops for the filter you’ll use, and the exposure settings will update accordingly.

Based on the updated settings you’ve selected, and the exposure setting you’re calculating for, the new setting will appear below the “Equivalent settings” section. For example, if you’re calculating a new shutter speed you’ll see that value shown based on the known-good test settings and taking into account the equivalent exposure settings you’ve established.

You can find the PhotoPills app for iOS and Android mobile devices here:

Apple iTunes Store (iOS devices):

Google Play Store (Android devices):

To learn more about using PhotoPills, check out my comprehensive video course available through my GreyLearning website here:

Enabling Badges on Filmstrip


Today’s Question: You referred to a badge on thumbnails on the filmstrip indicating photos that had been adjusted in the Develop module. I see those badges in the grid display of thumbnails, but not on the filmstrip. Should they also appear on the filmstrip, and if so how do I get them back?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can enable (or disable) badges for thumbnails on the filmstrip in Lightroom Classic using the “Show badges” checkbox in Preferences.

More Detail: Lightroom Classic uses small icons called badges to indicate various status options for images. That includes a badge that indicates an image has been adjusted in the Develop module.

The badges on the filmstrip are controlled by the “Show badges” checkbox in Preferences. To adjust the setting start by choosing Edit > Preferences on Windows or Lightroom Classic > Preferences on Macintosh. Go to the Interface tab in the Preferences dialog, where you’ll find the “Show badges” checkbox in the Filmstrip section. Turn the checkbox on if you want the badges displayed, or off if you want the badges hidden.

There are separate settings that relate to the display of badges in the grid view. To adjust those settings go to the Library module and choose View > View Options from the menu. On the Grid View tab you can then configure the overall display of the grid view, and choose whether you want the badges to appear on thumbnails. The badges in this case are controlled by the “Thumbnail Badges” checkbox found in the Cell Icons section of the Grid View tab.

Note that you can learn about the meaning of the individual thumbnail badges for Lightroom Classic in an article on the GreyLearning blog here:

Deleting Develop Presets


Today’s Question: I have loaded purchased presets in Lightroom Classic. However, I don’t use them and want to delete them rather than just hiding them. Is there a way to delete an individual present or a group of presets?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can delete custom presets (or a group of presets) in Lightroom Classic by right-clicking on the preset (or group) and choosing “Delete” (or “Delete Group”) from the popup menu.

More Detail: Presets you create or import in Lightroom Classic can be deleted so they are removed both from the Presets section of the left panel in the Develop module and removed from the hard drive as well.

To delete a preset (or group of presets) you can simply right-click and choose the option to delete from the popup menu that appears. If you want to confirm the preset is deleted, or you prefer to delete the files directly, you can browse the folder that contains the Develop presets.

To browse the preset location on your hard drive, right-click on any custom preset (not one that is included with Lightroom Classic) and choose “Show in Finder” if you’re using Macintosh or “Show in Explorer” if you’re using Windows. This will bring up a window in your operating system that shows all the custom presets, which are saved as XMP files.

If there are any unwanted presets in this folder, you can delete them as you would any other file through your operating system. After restarting Lightroom Classic, any presets you deleted directly from the hard drive will no longer appear in the Presets section of the left panel in the Develop module. If you delete all presets from a given group so that the group is empty, that group will be removed from the Presets section as well.

Develop Badge from Preset


Today’s Question: If you apply a preset that includes “Remove Chromatic Aberration” and “Enable Profile Corrections,” will the thumbnail strip at the bottom indicate that a given image has undergone an adjustment in the Develop module? I like the thumbnails to remain “clean” so I know which images are completely unaltered.

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, if you apply a Develop preset to an image the status will be updated to indicate that it has had adjustments applied. That will include the display of a badge indicating that adjustments have been applied if you have enabled those badges for thumbnails.

More Detail: I prefer to include adjustments such as chromatic aberration removal and profile-based lens corrections with a preset I apply when importing new photos into Lightroom Classic. You can also apply a preset in batch at any time, as I explained in the Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter on October 19th. In either case, the thumbnails for images will display a badge indicating that adjustments have been applied, as long as you have those badges enabled.

In other words, images will be marked as having been adjusted in the Develop module even if you didn’t directly apply adjustments in the Develop module. Applying a preset at import or later in your workflow (such as with the Quick Develop option in the Library module) still counts as having applied adjustments in the Develop module. This makes sense, of course, since presets really represent saved settings from the Develop module.

So, if you prefer to not have images marked as having adjustments applied unless you intentionally applied those adjustments, you should not apply a preset in batch to a large group of images. Instead, if you’re going to use a preset as part of the process of applying adjustments, you should be sure to only apply that preset to the specific images you’ll be working on, so that only those images will be marked has having been adjusted.

Adaptive Presets in Lightroom Classic 12


Today’s Question: I’m not clear on what “adaptive” means when it comes to the new adaptive presets in Lightroom Classic 12. Do the adjustments vary depending on the image? That doesn’t seem to be the case based on my testing so far.

Tim’s Quick Answer: The “adaptive” part of the new adaptive presets refers to the mask that causes the adjustment contained within the preset to apply to only a portion of the image. In other words, Lightroom Classic is creating a mask based on image analysis and applying the preset adjustments to the image based on the area defined by the mask.

More Detail: The new version 12 of Lightroom Classic includes several groups of new presets referred to as “adaptive” presets. These are divided into groups of Adaptive: Portrait, Adaptive: Sky, and Adaptive: Subject. Each of these groups of presets apply adjustments to specific areas of an image based on image analysis, which obviously relates to people, the sky, or the key subject.

Each of these groups of presets is based on one of the automatic masking features available in the updated Masking controls in Lightroom Classic 12. The adaptive preset groups therefore relate to the Select People, Select Sky, and Select Subject mask options, respectively.

When you apply an adaptive preset to a photo the image is analyzed and a mask is created automatically based on AI (artificial intelligence) technology. Once the mask is created, the adjustments saved with the preset are applied to the applicable area of the image. As a result, you will then see a new mask on the Masks panel after applying one of the adaptive presets to an image.

You can learn more about how the new adaptive presets work, along with the other new features of Lightroom Classic 12, in my video lesson “New Features in Lightroom Classic 12”, which is included in the “Lightroom Lectures” course of the “Mastering Lightroom Classic” bundle available here:

Deleted Photos Still Taking Up Space


Today’s Question: When I go on a birding photography trip, I usually take more than 10,000 photos and eventually cull more than 80% of those. When I delete photos from Lightroom Classic I use the “Delete from Disk” option. I’m not sure this is the optimal choice as I’ve noticed that the level of used capacity on my external drive does not go down after deleting a large volume of photos. Should I be using another option to delete photos?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You’re using the correct option when deleting photos from Lightroom Classic, but you also need to be sure to empty the Trash (Macintosh) or Recycle Bin (Windows) to actually free up the space still being consumed by the deleted photos on the hard drive.

More Detail: On both Macintosh and Windows when you delete files in most cases those files aren’t actually deleted from the hard drive. Rather, they are put in a temporary holding location so you can recover them if you realize (in time) that you deleted some files by mistake. That temporary holding location is the Trash on Macintosh and the Recycle Bin on Windows.

You must empty the Trash or Recycle Bin to clear up the storage space represented by the deleted files that haven’t yet been truly removed from the drive. Note that the original storage location for the applicable files must be connected when you empty the Trash or Recycle Bin to free up the corresponding space.

In the case of an external hard drive, for example, emptying the Trash or Recycle Bin when the hard drive is not connected to the computer won’t free up the portion of the space represented by files that had been stored on that external hard drive because the source files are still taking up space on the drive even though those files appear to have been deleted.

So, be sure that the hard drive that originally contained the photos in question is connected to your computer. Then empty the Trash or Recycle Bin and the photos that had been deleted from that drive using Lightroom Classic will actually be removed from the temporary storage for the Trash or Recycle Bin, and the storage space will actually be freed up on the applicable hard drive.

Applying Keywords in Batch


Today’s Question: I shot multiple photos of multiple subjects on my media card, so unfortunately I cannot put in all keywords when I import photos into Lightroom Classic because not all keywords correspond to all photos. Is there a way to highlight some of the photos and add keyword to just those that are highlighted?

Tim’s Quick Answer: When importing photos, the only option is to apply the same keywords to all photos that are being imported at that time. However, after the import you can apply keywords to selected groups of photos to help streamline that workflow.

More Detail: While Lightroom Classic includes an option to apply keywords as part of the process of importing new photos, that feature is somewhat limited in usefulness. That’s because any keywords you add as part of the import process will apply to all photos being imported. That means that in many cases there may be a very small number of keywords you could apply during import, and in turn that keywords applied during import probably aren’t going to be the most helpful keywords later in your workflow.

Fortunately, you can perform more useful and efficient keywording after your photos are imported. The process of applying keywords in batch to selected photos is relatively straightforward, and naturally there is more than one approach you could use.

The first approach involves first selecting the photos you want to apply specific keywords to. So, in the Library module select the photos you want to add keywords to. Then make sure you are in the grid view display rather than the loupe view. You can quickly switch to the grid view by pressing the letter “G” on the keyboard. If you are not in the grid view then by default you will only be adding keywords to the active photo, not to all of the other selected photos. In the grid view metadata updates will apply to all selected photos.

At this point you can use your preferred technique for applying keywords, such as typing them into the field found in the Keywording section on the right panel. You could also simply turn on the checkboxes for the applicable keywords in the Keyword List section.

Another option you may find helpful, though that isn’t quite as automated, is to use the Painter tool found on the toolbar below the grid view display in the Library module. After selecting the Painter tool (it looks like a can of spray paint) you can set the Paint popup to “Keywords” and enter the applicable keywords in the text field to the right. You can then click on individual images, or click and drag across multiple images, to apply the keywords with the Painter.

Applying Lens Corrections in Batch


Today’s Question: In Lightroom Classic I want to apply Lens Corrections in the Develop module to all the photographs I imported before I learned to do it at import. Is there some way to do this without having to adjust each photograph individually?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can apply a profile-based adjustment for Lens Corrections in Lightroom Classic by applying a preset to selected images using the Quick Develop section of the right panel in the Library module.

More Detail: As I’ve noted in previous answers, I recommend applying a Develop preset at import to apply preferred adjustments to photos that are being added to your Lightroom Classic catalog, including the Lens Corrections adjustment based on a profile for the specific lens used when capturing your photos.

If you have photos that you did not previously apply this adjustment to, you can easily apply that correction after the fact using a Develop preset.

The first step is to create a Develop preset for this purpose. Select a photo that you haven’t applied adjustments to, and then go to the Develop module. In the Lens Corrections section of the right panel go to the Profile tab. Turn on both the “Remove Chromatic Aberration” and “Enable Profile Corrections” checkboxes. Then set the Setup popup to Auto.

On the left panel in the Develop module click the plus (+) button to the right of the Presets heading and choose “Create Preset” from the popup. In the “New Develop Preset” dialog enter a meaningful name for the preset in the Preset Name field. Select the group you’d like to save the preset to from the Group popup. Then click the “Check None” button at the bottom-left of the dialog.

Turn on the “Enable Profile Corrections” checkbox in the Lens Corrections section, along with any other adjustments you applied to the sample image that you want to apply to other photos. Then click the Create button to save the preset.

You can then go to the Library module, and select all photos you want to apply the preset to. That could even include every photo in your entire Lightroom Classic catalog by selecting the “All Photographs” collection in the Catalog section of the left panel and then making sure that no filters are set. You could also select specific folders or collections, however. You can use the Edit > Select All command to select all photos in the current location you’re browsing.

After selecting all photos you want to apply the Lens Corrections adjustment to, go to the Quick Develop section on the right panel in the Library module. From the Saved Preset popup select the preset you created that includes the profile-based lens correction adjustment. This will apply the preset to all selected photos, which in this case means applying the profile-based Lens Corrections adjustment to all selected photos based on the lens used for each of those photos.