Download from Smartphone Before Import


Today’s Question: Why not download [photos from a smartphone] with Lightroom Classic? It is the same process and saves a step.

Tim’s Quick Answer: The main reason I don’t import photos into Lightroom Classic directly from a smartphone is that there isn’t an option to delete the photos from the smartphone once the import is complete. Therefore, I download smartphone photos using other software that allows for deletion, importing into Lightroom Classic as part of this process.

More Detail: With most cameras you can import photos directly from the memory card (or directly from the camera) into Lightroom Classic, and then format the card in the camera to delete the photos so you’re ready to capture new images. That process can be a bit cumbersome on a smartphone, especially with an iPhone, since there isn’t a simple “format card” option for deleting all photos that you’ve downloaded.

Normally I would very much prefer to import into Lightroom Classic directly from the media used to capture the images, but for smartphones I make an exception.

As addressed in yesterday’s Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, you can use Adobe Bridge to download photos to your computer. For example, you could initiate the download using the Photo Downloader feature in Bridge, with the option to delete photos enabled. Once the download is complete, don’t click on a button in the confirmation dialog for deleting photos, but rather switch to Lightroom Classic. Import the photos into Lightroom Classic, taking advantage of the option to make a second copy of the photos in another location. After that import is complete you can return to Bridge to confirm the deletion of the photos that were downloaded.

I wrote an article that goes through this workflow in detail for the April 2022 issue of Pixology magazine. Pixology is included at no additional cost in the GreyLearning Ultimate Bundle (, but is also available as a standalone subscription (with back issues included) here:

Removing JPEG From Raw+JPEG


Today’s Question: In my Lightroom Classic preferences the “Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos” checkbox isn’t checked. My old Sony R1 camera had two modes: JPEG and RAW+JPEG (no RAW only). Each photo has an SR2, XMP, and a JPEG file. Is there a simple way to find and remove the JPG files?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can most certainly delete the JPEG captures so you’ll be left with only the raw captures (and their associated XMP files). The specific approach you can use depends on the workflow you’ve used, and whether you’ve used that workflow consistently.

More Detail: With the “Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos” checkbox turned off, Lightroom Classic will not import the JPEG images that are part of a Raw+JPEG pair into your catalog. It will, however, copy the JPEG images to the same folder as the raw captures. This creates a situation that isn’t ideal, where you have a potentially large number of JPEG images on your hard drive that aren’t visible in your catalog.

The potential challenge with deleting the JPEG images is that you might have captured other JPEG images that are not part of a Raw+JPEG pair. In other words, you probably don’t want to simply delete all JPEG files on your hard drive, so you’ll need to use an approach that enables you to confirm you’re only deleting the files you don’t need.

If you’re completely sure that you never captured standalone JPEG images with the camera in question, so that all JPEG images from that camera are definitely from a Raw+JPEG pair, then the process can be quite simple. You can synchronize the folder(s) that contain the Raw+JPEG pairs so the JPEG images will be added to your Lightroom Classic catalog. You could then set a filter on the Metadata tab of the Library Filter bar so that you are only seeing JPEG files that were captured with the camera in question (using the File Type and Camera options for two of the columns for filtering). With that filter set you could select all the images and delete them.

If you don’t have the confidence that all the JPEG images from that particular camera were part of a Raw+JPEG pair, then you’ll have a bit more work to do. In that case I would still suggest synchronizing the folder (even if you synchronize the top-level folder that represents the hard drive, for example) to bring the JPEG images into Lightroom Classic. You could then sort by capture time and review the images to ensure there is an associated raw capture right next to them, and mark for deletion (such as with a Reject flag) only the JPEG images that do have a corresponding raw capture. You could then delete all the photos you marked for deletion once you’re finished with that review.

Downloading from Smartphone


Today’s Question: You showed how to use Bridge to import from your phone before importing to Lightroom Classic catalog. Can I assume you have your phone physically attached to your laptop for Bridge to include it the list of devices?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you need to have your smartphone physically connected to the computer to download photos, unless your smartphone has a removable memory card you can put into a card reader.

More Detail: I prefer to treat my smartphone as “just another camera”, meaning that when I download photos from my smartphone, I put them into my normal workflow along with all other photos. That also means that I delete the photos from my smartphone after download, just as I format my media cards after downloading the images from my other cameras.

One of the options for downloading photos from your smartphone is to use the Photo Downloader feature in Adobe Bridge, which can be found by going to the menu and choosing File > Get Photos from Camera. This will bring up the Photo Downloader dialog, where you can select the source of photos for the download and configure the settings for that download.

To use Adobe Bridge (or similar software) to download photos in this way you need to physically connect the smartphone to the computer, typically via a USB cable. An exception to this would be smartphones with a removable media card, which is available on some Android-based smartphones, for example. In that case you could simply download from the media card and then delete the photos from the media card after downloading and incorporating the photos into your normal workflow.

Regardless of the specifics of your workflow for downloading smartphone photos, I do highly recommend making sure the photos are backed up to another hard drive as part of the download process, and before actually deleting the original captures from your smartphone.

Note that I covered the process of downloading smartphone photos using Adobe Bridge to then import into Lightroom Classic in the article “Smartphone to Lightroom Classic”, which is featured in the April 2022 issue of Pixology magazine. Pixology is included in the GreyLearning Ultimate Bundle (, but is also available as a standalone subscription here:

Changing Catalog Backup Location


Today’s Question: If I have my [Lightroom Classic] catalog on my hard drive and I want to back up, can I choose my external hard drive as the backup location? Do I have to create a backup folder first?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can change the backup location to a different hard drive by clicking the Choose button in the Back Up Catalog dialog. There’s no need to create a folder before using this option to change the destination for the backup.

More Detail: Lightroom Classic will prompt you to back up your catalog based on the frequency set on the General Tab of the Catalog Settings dialog. You can access the Catalog Settings dialog by choosing Edit > Catalog Settings from the menu on Windows or Lightroom Classic > Catalog Settings on Macintosh.

When the Back Up Catalog dialog appears, you can configure the options for the backup. This includes the option to specify the location where you want the catalog backups saved. For example, if you have your catalog on the internal hard drive you can specify an external hard drive for the backups so those backups will be on a different physical drive than the catalog that’s being backed up.

Simply click the Choose button in the Back Up Catalog dialog. In the window that appears navigate to the location where you want to save the backups, such as an external hard drive. You can click the New Folder button to create a folder to contain the individual backups.

Note that each backup will be placed in a folder that is named based on the date and time of backup. Therefore, as part of the process of selecting the backup location you may want to create a folder to contain the individual backup folders.

Once you’ve changed the backup location that will become the new default for all future backups. Just note that if you select an external hard drive as the destination for the catalog backups, that drive will obviously need to be connected to the computer in order to perform the backup.

Recommendation on Compressed Raw


Today’s Question: Do you recommend RAW or cRAW capture, with high resolution cameras such as the Canon R5, in fast action wildlife using servo with high frame rate?

Tim’s Quick Answer: While the Canon compressed raw (cRAW) provides very good quality with file sizes that are about half that of uncompressed raw captures, in the case of Canon’s cRAW the image data is compressed with a lossy algorithm that can result in reduced image quality and increased noise.

More Detail: Various cameras offer compression options for raw capture. That can be lossless compression that preserves image quality, or lossy compression that results in some degree of image degradation. In the case of Canon’s cRAW option, the compression is lossy.

The benefit of this lossy compression is that file sizes are greatly reduced. With the Canon cRAW format for example the file size is typically about half that of an uncompressed raw capture.

The drawback of lossy compression for a raw capture is reduced image quality. To be sure, this is generally extremely minimal. However, I have seen loss of quality in dark shadow areas and increased appearance of noise as side effects of the compression.

Personally, I would be comfortable using a lossless compression raw format if storage space were the priority. I prefer not to use raw captures with lossy compression. The results with lossy compression are still very good, but in my mind part of the reason for using raw capture is to ensure optimal image quality, and I’d prefer not to risk degrading that quality right at the time of capture.

Process Version and Catalog Update


Today’s Question: Regarding process versions in Lightroom Classic, when switching to a newer version it asks for permission to convert the catalog to the new version format. Does that automatically bring all the photos up to the current process version?

Tim’s Quick Answer: No, when you update the catalog for a new version of Lightroom Classic the process version for existing photos does not get updated.

More Detail: With some versions of Lightroom Classic the catalog needs to be updated to reflect changes or new features in the new version. In addition, with certain changes in the Develop module a new process version is added to reflect the changes. However, when you update a catalog for a new version of Lightroom Classic, the process version for existing photos is not changed.

You can think of the process version as representing a particular version of the Develop module. For example, with process version 1 you have sliders in the Tone area of the Basic section on the right panel in the Develop module of Exposure, Recovery, Fill Light, Blacks, Brightness, and Contrast. In process version 6 (the current process version) you instead have Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks.

In many cases changing from one process version to another can cause at least a minor (and sometimes significant) change in the appearance of an image. Therefore, when you update to a new version of Lightroom Classic that has a new process version, the process version for existing photos is not updated. This is to preserve the appearance of the underlying image.

If you want to take advantage of the latest features or processing options for an existing photo, you can update the process version to the latest version. In the Develop module if a photo is set to an older process version you’ll see a lightning bolt symbol in the Histogram section at the top of the right panel. That lightning bolt will appear at the bottom-right of the histogram if it is expanded, and to the left of the heading if the histogram is collapsed.

You can click on the lightning bolt icon to bring up a dialog that will enable you to update the process version, or you can choose the latest process version from the popup in the Calibration section of the right panel. Note, however, that you really only need to update the process version for images you want to adjust in the Develop module if you want to take advantage of the latest updates. For existing images there’s no real need to update the process version until you want to work with the image again in the Develop module (and even then doing so is optional).

Raw+JPEG Capture Recommendation


Today’s Question: Do you shoot in raw only or raw and JPEG? If you shoot in both formats, do you include only raw in Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I shoot in raw only, not raw+JPEG. In the context of Lightroom Classic in particular, I generally recommend against the use of raw+JPEG capture.

More Detail: I recommend using raw capture to ensure optimal quality for your photos. Some photographers find it convenient to use the raw+JPEG option so they have a JPEG copy of each photo right out of the camera, which can make it easier to quickly share or review their photos.

However, in the context of a workflow that revolves around Lightroom Classic, there really isn’t a benefit to using the raw+JPEG capture option. That’s because Lightroom Classic will build the equivalent of JPEG previews when you import photos, and you can easily export JPEG copies of your raw captures if you want to share the images.

In addition, I recommend importing new captures directly into Lightroom Classic as the first step in your workflow, rather than downloading the images and reviewing them before importing them into your catalog. In other words, I don’t recommend using a workflow where you might review the JPEG copies from raw+JPEG pairs to decide which images you’ll import into Lightroom Classic.

If you prefer to use raw+JPEG capture for some reason, it is also important to note that by default Lightroom Classic won’t even import the JPEG images from the raw+JPEG pairs. If you want to import both the raw and JPEG images you would need to turn on the “Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos” checkbox on the General tab of the Preferences dialog.

But again, from my perspective there isn’t any real benefit to using raw+JPEG capture when using Lightroom Classic to manage your photos and workflow.

Avoiding Large File Sizes


Today’s Question: If I edit a photo from Lightroom Classic using Photoshop, and then bring it back into Lightroom Classic it is a TIFF file, and the file size is huge. Is there anything I can do to make it smaller? Also, should I combine layers before saving/closing in Photoshop?

Tim’s Quick Answer: While there are ways you can reduce the size of a TIFF file, I don’t generally recommend taking steps that will significantly reduce the size of a TIFF file that has been created as a derivative image based on a raw capture.

More Detail: I can certainly appreciate that photographers might be surprised (or even shocked) at the difference in file size between a raw capture and a TIFF (or PSD) image created based on that raw capture.

To begin with, all other things being equal a TIFF image will have a file size that is about three times larger than the raw capture it was created from. That is in large part because most raw captures only contain image data for a single color value for each pixel, while a rendered image such as a TIFF file will have all three color values (red, green, and blue) for all pixels. There are some other variables here that affect the file sizes, but the point is that a TIFF image will be approximately three times larger than the raw capture it was created from.

In addition, if you’ve created a TIFF image via Photoshop you may have used various layers as part of your work in Photoshop, which can also increase the file size. Additional image layers in particular can increase the file size considerably, but layer masks can also have an impact. Adjustment layers are of minimal impact.

While flattening the layers in an image will help reduce the file size, I do not recommend flattening what amounts to the master version of your image. Rather, I recommend keeping all layers intact to provide maximum flexibility in your workflow. You could also reduce the bit depth from 16-bits per channel to 8-bits per channel, but I do not recommend this due to the risk of posterization (the loss of smooth gradations of tone and color).

You can be sure that ZIP compression is enabled when using the TIFF format for images sent from Lightroom Classic to Photoshop. In the Preferences dialog in Lightroom Classic you can go to the External Editing tab, where you’ll find the file settings in the “Edit in Adobe Photoshop” section. I do recommend using the TIFF file format here, and making sure the Compression popup is set to “ZIP” rather than “None”.

Ultimately, processing a raw capture to a derivative image as a TIFF or PSD image will result in a file that is considerably larger than the original raw capture. However, I consider it to be worth the larger file size to be able to take advantage of the powerful tools in Photoshop and to preserve your work as layers for maximum flexibility.

DNG as Raw Capture


Today’s Question: You referred to a DNG file as a raw capture, but I thought DNG was something that you converted a raw capture to as an alternative. What is it exactly that makes a raw capture “raw”?

Tim’s Quick Answer: A raw capture is a file that contains the data gathered by the image sensor in a digital camera, which generally means a file that contains image data that has not been demosaiced. An Adobe DNG (Digital Negative) file created by a camera or created by converting a raw capture to DNG could also be considered a raw file.

More Detail: Using raw capture helps ensure optimal image quality both by avoiding alteration of the original capture data and maintaining high-bit data. I therefore highly recommend using the raw capture format in your camera (if available) rather than other options such as JPEG capture. Using Adobe DNG in supported cameras qualifies as being a raw capture in this context.

Part of what makes a raw (including DNG) capture “raw” is that the original capture data is not processed. Most digital cameras use an image sensor that does not capture full color for all pixels. For example, with a Bayer pattern image sensor for every four photo sites (pixels) on the image sensor there will be one red pixel, two green pixels, and one blue pixel.

When the raw capture is processed the image data is interpolated to calculate the “missing” color values for each pixel. A non-raw image format (such as JPEG or TIFF) is demosaiced, meaning the full-color pixel values have been calculated.

Based on all this, if your camera offers a DNG capture option instead of or in addition to a proprietary raw capture format, I would feel perfectly comfortable making use of DNG as a raw capture format. However, if the camera also offers a proprietary capture format, it is important to note that you could lose access to certain camera-specific features that are only available when using the software from the camera manufacturer to process a proprietary raw capture.

In-Camera Adjustments Lost


Today’s Question: I am confused. In my camera I have set the mode to monochrome, the image is saved as DNG [Adobe Digital Negative, a raw capture format]. In the preview the image is displayed in monochrome. But in Camera Raw and Photoshop it is a color image. How can I call up and edit the monochrome image embedded in the DNG?

Tim’s Quick Answer: In this context the DNG file is a raw capture, and therefore in-camera adjustments will not be applied to the photo. The preview you’re seeing on the camera is from the embedded JPEG image, which can’t easily be extracted and will be of lower resolution than the original capture.

More Detail: With a raw capture (including when using DNG as a capture format) the vast majority of available in-camera adjustments will not be applied to the raw capture. For example, adjusting the color (or converting to black and white), enhancing contrast, and various other adjustments, will only affect the JPEG preview embedded in the original capture, but won’t be applied to the actual raw capture data.

In other words, with a raw capture you can think of the in-camera adjustments as providing a sense of what the final image might look like after you optimize it on the computer, but the adjustments will not affect the original capture. When capturing photos with a standard image format, such as JPEG, the original image is altered by the camera permanently. So, for example, if you capture a JPEG image in black and white, you can’t revert to a color original because in this case the original doesn’t contain color.

It is technically possible to extract the JPEG preview from a DNG file, using a tool such as ExifTool ( However, this is not a simple task, and the extracted preview would be a reduced resolution image compared to the original capture.

My recommendation is to continue using raw capture (including DNG as a raw capture format), but to save your adjustments for after the capture. If setting your camera to black and white is helpful in your photographic process, that’s absolutely fine. Just be sure you are aware that you’ll need to apply adjustments to the image on your computer after the capture to achieve a result similar to what you saw on your camera’s LCD display.