Re-Editing a Photoshop Document in Lightroom Classic


Today’s Question: I have been using Lightroom Classic since last fall, after using Photoshop (by the seat of my pants basically) for a few years. I have a lot of PSD files, with layers in many cases, and since they are older edits and I’m just a bit better now, I would consider re-adjusting them but in Lightroom Classic. How do I best do that with the PSD files without “losing” what I had done or the layers, as a backup to any new work? Virtual copy? Open in PS then Save a Copy to get a second version back into Lightroom Classic? Hit Reset at some point?

Tim’s Quick Answer: If you want to start over with an image that doesn’t have any adjustments applied to it, I recommend locating and working one the source file. If you don’t have the original source image, you can send a copy of the PSD to Photoshop, remove the layers, and then save and close for a fresh starting point with that image in Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: Preserving the layered PSD file in this case is relatively straightforward, since any adjustments you apply in Lightroom Classic won’t alter the source image file directly. Rather, those adjustments essentially represent metadata for the image file, and are only applied if you share the image such as by exporting a copy. And so, if you want to continue working with the image as it currently appears, you could simply work on the PSD file in the Develop module to refine the appearance.

If instead you want to start over from the beginning with a version of the PSD file that hasn’t been edited yet, I recommend going back to the source image file and working on that image in the Develop module. For example, if you had previously processed a raw capture to create the PSD in Photoshop, you could work with the raw capture in the Develop module. The image would have inherited the adjustments previously applied in Camera Raw, so you could start from there or click the Reset button at the bottom of the right panel in the Develop module if you wanted to start over with the default adjustments.

If you don’t have the original source image, you can create a new version without most of the adjustments applied to it based on the PSD file. Select the PSD image in Lightroom Classic, and from the menu choose Photo > Edit In > Edit in Adobe Photoshop. In the dialog that appears choose “Edit a Copy” (not the “Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments” option). This will create an exact copy of the PSD file and open it in Photoshop.

You can then remove all layers from the image in Photoshop by selecting them and clicking the Delete button (the trash can icon) at the bottom of the Layers panel. For example, you could click on the thumbnail for the top layer, hold the Shift key and click on the thumbnail for the layer just above the Background image layer, and then click the Delete button to delete all of those layers. Then choose File > Save (not Save As) to save the updated file, and File > Close to close it.

When you return to Lightroom Classic you’ll have a new copy of the image without the adjustments from the layers. Note that in this scenario any adjustments that had been applied to the original raw capture will still be applied, since those are rendered into the Background image layer.

As noted above, the best option is to start over again with the original raw capture. But if that isn’t an option for any reason, you can create a new copy of the PSD file without the layers that had been used to alter the appearance of that PSD in the first place.

Long Exposure on iPhone


Today’s Question: You recently answered a question about different camera apps for the iPhone and mentioned that some apps enable you to capture long exposures. Is there a way to capture a long exposure with the built-in Camera app without having to use a different app?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can create a long exposure with the built-in iPhone Camera app by enabling the Live Photo capture option and then changing the effect to Long Exposure.

More Detail: The ability to capture long exposures with the built-in Camera app for iPhone and iPad mobile devices is a bit of a “hidden feature”. It doesn’t provide as much flexibility as some of the other apps I recommended in Monday’s Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, but it does provide a basic long exposure effect.

The effect is supported as part of the Live Photo capture option, which captures something of a moving photo that is similar to a brief video clip. To enable Live Photo capture tap the icon for this feature, which has a set of concentric circles similar to a target icon. With Live Photo turned on the circles will not show a slash across them, with the slash showing up when the feature is turned off. In older versions the icon would also turn yellow when it was enabled.

With Live Photo enabled capture a photo in the normal way, but you’ll end up with an animated photo. In the Photos app open the Live Photo capture, and tap the popup at the top-left that shows “LIVE” by default. From the popup select “Long Exposure”, and the image will convert to a long exposure effect created by blending the multiple frames of the animated photo capture.

Note that in older versions of iOS there isn’t a popup for the Live Photo effect. Instead you would swipe upward on the photo to reveal the metadata details below, where you would also find the Live Photo effect options.

The result created with the Long Exposure setting for a Live Photo capture doesn’t provide the flexibility of some of the other apps that enable you to adjust the effective shutter speed of the long exposure effect, but this Live Photo approach does provide a basic capability with the built-in Camera app.

Note that you can review my recommendations about alternatives to the built-in Camera app for iPhones on the blog here:

External Backup with Time Machine


Today’s Question: I’m about to move my images from my internal hard drive to an external hard drive and am thinking about backup. I now use Time Machine and periodically backup with drag and drop to an external hard drive that I keep offsite. I will continue with the offsite backup but wonder if I can use Time Machine for both my internal and external hard drives.

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can use Time Machine on a Macintosh to back up external hard drives in addition to internal hard drives. However, my personal preference is to use software that creates a synchronized backup of external hard drives so the backup is a perfect match of the original. I use GoodSync software ( for this purpose.

More Detail: Time Machine is the backup software built into the Macintosh operating system. I highly recommend using Time Machine to back up the internal drive on your computer even if you are also using other software or online tools to back up that drive. That’s because Time Machine makes it remarkably easy to restore from a backup when you accidentally delete files, have a problem with your computer, or buy a new computer.

You can add external hard drives to your Time Machine backup if you want to include those drives. Note that you’ll need to make sure that the hard drive you’re using for the Time Machine backup has enough storage capacity for all of the drives you intend to include.

By default, Time Machine only backs up internal hard drives. So, if you want to include external hard drives in the backup, you’ll need to remove those drives from the exclude list. To do so first make sure the external hard drives you want to include are connected to the computer. Then click the Apple logo on the menu bar and choose System Preferences. Go to Time Machine and click the Options button, which will cause a dialog to appear showing the exclusion list. For each hard drive on the list that you want to include in the Time Machine backup click the name of the drive and then click the minus button (-) at the bottom-left of the list. Click the Save button to apply the changes. Time Machine will then include the non-excluded external hard drives in the backup.

However, I prefer to have individual synchronized backups for each of my external hard drives. Among other things, this makes it much easier to recover from a hard drive failure, because the folder and file structure on the backup drive will be a perfect match of the original. I use GoodSync software ( for this synchronized backup.

Note, by the way, that I recommend maintaining at least two Time Machine drives for the internal hard drive backup, as well as two backup drives for each external hard drive being backed up. It is also a good idea to use an online backup for an offsite backup solution, such as the Backblaze service ( that I use.

Quick Collection Indicator


Today’s Question: On the filmstrip of images at the bottom of Lightroom Classic some images have a circle in the top-right corner. What does that mean and how does this work?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The circular icon that appears at the top-right of thumbnails in Lightroom Classic is an indicator for the Quick Collection. A light circle appears when you hover your mouse over an image, and you can click on the circle to add the image to the Quick Collection, with a solid circle then indicating that the image is included in the Quick Collection.

More Detail: The Quick Collection found in the Catalog section near the top of the left panel in the Library module is intended as a temporary holding area for photos you are using for some brief purpose. For example, you might use the Quick Collection to group photos together that you want to export for a project.

You can add photos to the Quick Collection by dragging and dropping them into the Quick Collection. By default, the Quick Collection is also the target collection, which means that pressing the letter “B” on the keyboard will add the current photo to the Quick Collection.

When a photo is included in the Quick Collection a circular icon will appear at the top-right of the thumbnail for the image. A lighter circle icon appears when you hover the mouse over an image thumbnail, and that icon can be clicked to add an image to (or remove the image from) the Quick Collection.

Note, by the way, that if you have added photos to the Quick Collection and then decide you want to preserve that grouping more permanently, you can create a new collection containing the photos in the Quick Collection. To do so right-click on the Quick Collection in the Catalog section of the left panel in the Library module and choose “Save Quick Collection”. In the dialog that appears enter a name for the new collection. You can also turn on the “Clear Quick Collection After Saving” checkbox if you want the photos removed from the Quick Collection after they are added to the new collection. Then click the Save button to create the new collection.

Best Camera App for iPhone


Today’s Question: Which iPhone camera app would you recommend that would give me the most flexibility in settings, including manual settings?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Overall I would say that the ProCamera app is probably the most flexible camera app for the iPhone. Other good apps include Camera+ 2, Lightroom, and of course the built-in Camera app.

More Detail: The Camera app that is included with the iOS operating system on iPhones and iPads is quite capable, with a variety of helpful features. For example, you can tap on the screen to select an area to be used for focus and exposure, and drag the sun icon associated with the focus square to lighten or darken the exposure. You can even tap and hold to lock the exposure.

However, in terms of specific exposure settings the iOS Camera app doesn’t provide much control.

One of my favorite apps for controlling exposure settings on the iPhone is ProCamera. This app includes support for raw capture, exposure setting adjustments (including long exposures), portrait mode with blur control, and much more. It sells for US$14.99 in the App Store (

Another very good app is Camera+ 2. This app also includes raw capture support and many of the features supported by ProCamera, with a lower price at US$7.99 (

The Lightroom mobile app is also quite powerful in terms of adjusting exposure settings, though without some of the more advanced features of the two apps above. However, the Lightroom mobile app is also included with the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan, so if you’re already using Lightroom Classic or Photoshop you have access to the Lightroom mobile app as well.

Keep in mind that there are limitations to what settings can truly be adjusted with the iPhone camera features. For example, long exposures are created not with a truly long exposure, but rather by capturing a series of images and blending them together. That said, the apps suggested above provide improved controls for the iPhone camera features beyond what is really possible with the iOS Camera app.

Anytime Removal of Chromatic Aberrations


Today’s Question: I somehow neglected to turn on the option to remove chromatic aberrations from some of my raw captures. Is there a way to apply that correction in Photoshop without having to go back and process the raw capture again in Camera Raw?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can remove chromatic aberrations within Photoshop at any time by using the Camera Raw filter. Just note that with the Camera Raw filter you’ll need to use the manual adjustments for chromatic aberration correction, rather than the automatic option available in Camera Raw when you are processing a raw capture.

More Detail: The Camera Raw filter in Photoshop provides you with most of the adjustments that would otherwise be available in Camera Raw when processing a raw capture. That includes the ability to apply chromatic aberration correction later in your workflow if you neglected to do so when processing the original capture.

I recommend applying the Camera Raw filter relatively early in your workflow to avoid confusion related to various image layers, such as when you are using additional layers for image cleanup work. I also recommend creating a copy of the Background image layer for the Camera Raw filter. So, start by dragging the thumbnail for the Background image layer on the Layers panel to the “Create a New Layer” button (the icon with a plus inside a square) at the bottom of the Layers panel.

With the Background Copy layer active on the Layers panel, you can then go to the menu and choose Filter > Camera Raw Filter to bring up the Camera Raw dialog. For chromatic aberration correction go to the Optics section on the right panel in the Camera Raw dialog and expand the Defringe section if it is collapsed.

You can then increase the value for the Purple Amount and/or Green Amount sliders to reduce the appearance of color fringing for those colors. As needed you can use the Purple Hue and Green Hue controls to increase or decrease the range of colors being affected.

These controls are the same as the manual adjustment for chromatic aberration that is found in Camera Raw when processing a raw capture. The checkbox to automatically remove chromatic aberrations is not available when using Camera Raw as a filter, but in general I find that fine-tuning is necessary with the Defringe controls anyway, so this isn’t too big an issue.

There are, of course, a variety of adjustments you may find helpful within Camera Raw as a filter. For example, I often use the Camera Raw filter to access the Guided Edit mode in the Geometry section in order to quickly and easily straighten out an image, such as is often needed with architectural photos.

Voice Memos for Identifying Subjects


Today’s Question: I do mostly bird and wildlife photography and upon returning from a trip to Ecuador with many images I then spent hours trying to identify the birds. Most of the time when shooting the guide would tell us what we were photographing but I was too busy photographing and did not want to stop and take notes. Do you have a recommendation for a device that one could carry to make voice recordings to later tie the identification with the photo?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I would recommend capturing voice memos with a dedicated digital audio recorder. The capture time for each voice memo could then be compared with the capture time of your photos to aid in quickly identifying the subjects in your photos.

More Detail: While today’s question relates primarily to bird photography, the same approach of using voice memos to identify key subjects can be helpful for many types of photography.

While smartphones include the ability to record voice memos, I find that using a smartphone for this purpose can cause more of a distraction than using a simple digital voice recorder that has buttons specifically for starting and stopping a recording. For example, the Sony ICD-PX470 digital voice recorder ( is a great solution for this type of scenario.

Before heading out on a photo outing be sure that both the voice recorder and the camera are synchronized to the same date and time. Then while you are photographing you can press the record button to initiate the recording of a voice memo as needed. The voice memo can include the name of the species or other subject, along with other pertinent details that may be helpful later. For example, if the subject you’re photographing is exhibiting a particular behavior that is noteworthy, you could mention this in the voice memo. Then stop the recording when you are finished with a voice memo.

A digital voice recorder is especially helpful for this purpose because each time you start and stop the recording you’ll be creating a new audio file. Later you can download the voice memos and your photos, and then use the capture time for each to determine which photos each voice memo relates to. The applicable details can then be added to the keywords or other metadata for your photos.

There are, by the way some cameras that have a built-in voice memo feature for this same purpose. However, in my experience this feature is generally only found in lower-end point-and-shoot cameras. A digital voice recorder provides similar capabilities for noting details of photos when you’re using a camera that doesn’t have a built-in voice memo feature.

Preserving Settings with Reinstall


Today’s Question: How do I preserve my catalog and presets when uninstalling and reinstalling Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Your catalog will not be removed when you uninstall Lightroom Classic. To retain preferences and other settings you’ll just want to be sure to choose the “Keep” option when uninstalling.

More Detail: There are a variety of reasons you may want to uninstall and reinstall Lightroom Classic (or other software applications), such as to troubleshoot odd behavior or other issues. Uninstalling and reinstalling Lightroom Classic is often recommended when plug-ins aren’t working properly, along with reinstalling the affected plug-ins.

You can uninstall Lightroom Classic (or other applications in your Creative Cloud subscription) using the Creative Cloud application. If you select “All apps” from the left side of the Creative Cloud window you’ll see your installed applications at the top of the list on the right side of the window.

To uninstall an application within the Creative Cloud application click on the ellipsis button (the three dots) to the right of the name of the application you want to remove. From the popup that appears choose “Uninstall”.

In the confirmation dialog that appears be sure to click the “Keep” button, which will cause preferences and other settings to be retained. If you click the “Remove” button those preferences will be removed and therefore reset when you reinstall Lightroom Classic.

After the uninstall is complete you can go to the Photo category on the left side of the Creative Cloud window and click the “Install” button to the right of Lightroom Classic. When the installation is complete you can launch Lightroom Classic, and you’ll find that your existing catalog and all settings will be just as you had left them.

Online Backup versus Time Machine


Today’s Question: Is Backblaze better than Apple Time Machine for restoring images?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I wouldn’t necessarily say that Backblaze ( is better than Time Machine for restoring photos. Each of these backup solutions has strengths and weaknesses depending on context.

More Detail: I use both Time Machine (which is built into the Macintosh operating system) and Backblaze to backup my internal hard drive. I also use GoodSync ( to backup my external hard drives. While there are differences between Time Machine and Backblaze, I wouldn’t choose one over the other and instead use both.

The key advantage of Backblaze is that it provides an offsite backup. A local backup is great, but it does mean that if a physical location has a serious problem (such as a fire) you might lose your original data and your backup data all at once. Having a backup offsite helps overcome this sort of issue.

Time Machine is what I consider a “local” backup solution, though you could obviously take the backup drive used for Time Machine to a different physical location. The main advantage to Time Machine is that it provides an incremental and historical backup, so I can recover files from various points in time as long as my backup goes back far enough.

For example, let’s assume I had been working on a document but made a critical error a few days ago, and I continued to make changes to the document over the several days since without realizing my prior error. With Time Machine I could go back in time several days to find a version of my document without the error, and I could recover the necessary text from that earlier version of the document (or recover the entire document if necessary). Similarly, Time Machine makes it relatively easy to restore a file that was erased accidentally.

Backblaze is more focused on maintaining a current backup in a remote location. If you need to restore individual files from a Backblaze backup, you can do that through their website. You could also recover an entire set of backup data, such as the backup of an entire hard drive, either via an internet download or by paying to have a hard drive shipped to you with the recovery data.

So, in some respects Time Machine makes recovery of files a little easier, but Backblaze provides the advantage of an offsite backup. I therefore use both in concert with each other, supplemented by GoodSync to back up my external hard drives locally.

Selecting Colors Outside Lightroom Classic


Today’s Question: I have watched several YouTube videos where it is explained how to select colors outside the Lightroom Classic window. You can simply click and hold on the eyedropper, in the color picker, and then drag your mouse over any color on your screen, even those colors outside the Lightroom Classic window. I can’t seem to get this to work on my Mac (macOS 12.3) using the current version of Lightroom Classic (v 11.2). Any suggestions?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Based on your description I suspect you have a permissions issue that is preventing colors from being sampled with the eyedropper outside the Lightroom Classic interface.

More Detail: There are various situations in Lightroom Classic where you will want to select a specific color, such as when adding text to photos when sharing them. In those cases, you can use the eyedropper tool within the color picker to sample a color. While you might assume that the color could only be selected from a photo, you can actually sample a color from anywhere on your screen, including the Lightroom Classic interface or another application or within your operating system.

For Windows users this feature usually works perfectly fine. Simply click within the color picker and hold the mouse button down. Then, still holding the mouse button, drag the eyedropper to the color you want to sample from anywhere on your screen. When the mouse is hovered over that color, release the mouse button and the color will be sampled.

If this behavior isn’t working for you on a Macintosh computer, then a setting in the System Preferences is probably getting in the way.

Start by clicking the Apple logo at the far left of the menu bar and choosing “System Preferences”. In the System Preferences dialog choose “Security & Privacy”. Then go to the Privacy tab and select “Screen Recording” from the list on the left side of the dialog. You’ll then need to click the lock icon at the bottom-left of the dialog and enter your system password to enable changes. Then turn on the checkbox for Lightroom Classic in the list on the right side of the dialog.

You can then close the System Preferences dialog, and at that point you should be able to successfully sample a color with the eyedropper from anywhere on your screen, even outside the Lightroom Classic interface.