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williamj1
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Adobe Lightroom 4 - Some Questions / Help Needed

Apr 14, 2012 7:43 AM

Tags: #lightroom #help #advice

Hi everyone.


After advice from several experts, I've just purchased Adobe Lightroom 4. I've already got Photoshop CS5, but I was looking for something proper to organise my photos, plus I found Lightroom easier to do the sort of editing I am wanting to do. Now, I only really use photoshop for things like colour pops, or really in-depth editing. Anyway, I'm loving Lightroom so far, but there is some stuff I'm not very sure of, so I'd appreciate some help


1. Organising


Firstly, I'm not really sure how to organise. At the moment, I've just got lots of folders with random events in My Pictures on W7, so I might have a folder called April 11, which contains photos from that month but that might have been a wedding or an easter holiday or both. So it doesn't really work. \


I understand in Lightroom what catalogs are. But I know enough to know that I don't want to group mine into those, its getting too complicated. What I don't know though is the difference between a collection and a folder. Basically, I'm wanting to reimport and reorganise all my photos, so I want to put them into "events" as such like you can do on iPhoto on a mac, so I would have "France Summer Holiday 11" for example, or "Mia's Wedding". I'm not really sure on the best way to do this ...?


2. Editing


I've played around quite a bit so far, and I really like what I've seen. On a lot of photos, I've made a lot of changes. But from what I can see, these changes are stored merely in Lightroom itself. For example, at the moment I'm importing photos from my external disk into Lightroom, which then saves them in C://My Pictures/Lightroom/Pictures . When I go look at these photos in windows explorer which I know I have edited, it doesn't show any of the changes or editing I've done on them. Now I realise this is me being stupid, but why doesn't it? Supposing I then want to email that photo to a friend that I have edited? How would I do that? I don't want to have to open lightroom and export every single photo I edit? There must be a simpler way?


Likewise for backing up, because all my files are in subfolders within C:// My pictures / Lightroom / Pictures, to back up I was simply going to set up windows to copy that latter folder onto my external HDD everytime I plugged it in. This would be pointless however if it isn't physically overwriting the original photo with my edited version?


3. Editing 2


Something else I like to do is make lots of different edits to the same photo. For example, at the moment I'm editing a photo of a pier at night. I spent ages adjusting colours and lighting and so on, and now it looks great. But I would also like to save a copy of that photo with the "old age photo" effect preset on. Is this possible? and how do I do it? Other than obviously importing a duplicate?


4. & 5. & 6 - Misc:


4. Simple question - how do I add tags, keywords or comments if I haven't done it on import?


5. My camera doesn't have built in GPS. Is it possible for me to manually geotag photos (in a batch, say for a Summer Holiday to NY), could I manually add a geotag for all these photos?


6. I also forgot to add copyright information on import for some, is it possible to do this after import and how?

 

7. I normally shoot in JPEG. I probably shoot shoot in RAW as everyone tells me to do so. Are there any significant advantages in terms of quality, and for editing with?


--------------------------------------------


Thanks for any help given. I appreciate this is a lot of questions, but I could really use the advice.

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 14, 2012 8:14 AM   in reply to williamj1

    You would do well to take some time to watch some tutorial videos on YouTube, Adobe.tv, or better yet subscribe to Lynda.com for a month and watch one of the video courses available there. There is a lot to learn so that you can understand the basic philosophy behind Lightroom. It is a lot different from Photoshop.

     

     

    1. The catalog is what holds all of your changes that you have made in Lightroom. It is a database and it is an integral part of Lightroom. You cannot function without the catalog. I'm not going to take the time to tell you how to organize your images because that is an individual choice. A collection is something that you can create and name it anything. Then you can add images to that collection from any folder on any hard drive. It does not move the image anywhere. It simply allows you to group images into whatever category you want. You might want to look into smart collections in the Lightroom help or in some of the tutorials that are available.

     

     

    2. You should consider the images in Lightroom as your "master" photos. Unless you have deliberately written the changes to the metadata, all of your changes are simply stored in the catalog. That's the way I do it. Then, if I'm going to e-mail an image or send an image to a lab to be printed I use the Export function to export copies for that specific purpose. Then, when I don't need that copy anymore I get rid of it. You might want to do it differently but that's how I do it. Lightroom backs up the catalog, but does not backup the images. So you have a backup of the changes you have made in Lightroom, but you need to design your own backup of your images.

     

     

    3. Take a look at creating virtual copies, and snapshots. There is information on those topics in the help file and in tutorials that are available. I like to create the virtual copy. It's only visible within Lightroom because it is simply a set of duplicate instructions in the catalog. But you can have as many of those virtual copies as you want, and you can do anything you want with each one of them.

     

     

    4. Keywords and comments are part of the metadata. It's in the right-hand panel in the Library module.

     

     

    7. When you get accustomed to shooting in raw, working with JPEG images will seem terribly limited. With raw images it is much easier to recover detail in shadows and highlights, and there are a lot of other benefits. If your camera shoots raw images, and if Lightroom supports your camera, it's worth experimenting with it a little.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 14, 2012 9:00 AM   in reply to williamj1

    You've asked all the right questions but the answers would fill up this forum for days. Follow Jim Hess's suggestions with one additional. Buy a book on LR that you can refer to when you don't remember the answers. Lynda.com and the various tutorials are very good, but it's hard to crank them up when you only have a quick question to move you one more step along. This is one complex program, that, like many others, becomes much more simple and intuitive the more you learn. Expect to be overwhelmed at first and keep plugging. Eventually it becomes relatively clear once you settle into your personal workflow (stay flexible because this will change as you learn more). When you start feeling comfortable, come back here for the specifics that you still can't figure out.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 14, 2012 9:03 AM   in reply to williamj1

    Hi William,

     


    1. Organising


    Firstly, I'm not really sure how to organise. At the moment, I've just got lots of folders with random events in My Pictures on W7, so I might have a folder called April 11, which contains photos from that month but that might have been a wedding or an easter holiday or both. So it doesn't really work. \


    I understand in Lightroom what catalogs are. But I know enough to know that I don't want to group mine into those, its getting too complicated. What I don't know though is the difference between a collection and a folder. Basically, I'm wanting to reimport and reorganise all my photos, so I want to put them into "events" as such like you can do on iPhoto on a mac, so I would have "France Summer Holiday 11" for example, or "Mia's Wedding". I'm not really sure on the best way to do this ...?

    I am not so sure if you understand *catalogs*.

    You need a catalog, exactly 1 in my opinion. A catalog is a database. The Lightroom database, where records about your images are stored, including the pointers to your images, which are not inside a catalog! LR backups just does the backup of the catalog (i.e. a file ending .lrcat). You need to take care separately that your real images are backed up !

     

    Inside your LR database the best way to organize is via collections - this will give you what you want with "France summer holiday 11" etc.

    Folders are relatively unimportant, just storage buckets. They should be *handy portions*, I would prefer them with below 3000 images each, as there currently some bugs to those bigger ones.

    Before you start with LR, you can organize your pictures in Mac Finder / WindowsExplorer.

    Or you could do it with the help of LR, by copying your images over during import into the destination folders (and deleting today's folders afterwards after having verified that everything is fine).

    A simple date-based structure will do, I'd recommend  a root parent folder like "LR images", underneath one folder per year (\2010\, \2011\, \2012\...) and underneath them either

    • just one folder per month (LR can auto-create them for you)
    • or you create the folders in import dialog as e.g. "YYYY-MM-DD description of shoot", to have a mini-diary overview also in your OS.

     

    Apart from that you create collections, either *dumb ones*, where you drag images into, or smart ones, where you specify criteria according to which they get auto-filled.

     

    2. Editing


    I've played around quite a bit so far, and I really like what I've seen. On a lot of photos, I've made a lot of changes. But from what I can see, these changes are stored merely in Lightroom itself. For example, at the moment I'm importing photos from my external disk into Lightroom, which then saves them in C://My Pictures/Lightroom/Pictures . When I go look at these photos in windows explorer which I know I have edited, it doesn't show any of the changes or editing I've done on them. Now I realise this is me being stupid, but why doesn't it? Supposing I then want to email that photo to a friend that I have edited? How would I do that? I don't want to have to open lightroom and export every single photo I edit? There must be a simpler way?


    Likewise for backing up, because all my files are in subfolders within C:// My pictures / Lightroom / Pictures, to back up I was simply going to set up windows to copy that latter folder onto my external HDD everytime I plugged it in. This would be pointless however if it isn't physically overwriting the original photo with my edited version?


    LR will never overwrite your original photos.

    You can save most of the catalog content into the xmp-part of the original photo, which is either a sidecar-file (.xmp) or part of the file format, like for DNG, TIFF, PSD, JPG. To do so you select the image in LR and hit <ctrl> s. Or you set it up for continuous update, which creates a lot of operations while you play back and forth in develop.

    I do that on my own, typically twice per file: once I am done with develop, once I am done with keywording and other metadata update.

     

    LR contains records about your images, i.e. a set of instructions how they are to be interpreted. That is all.

    So of course you need LR to export the result of these instructions, which is actually pretty quick.

     

    To backup your images you need to do that just once, plus you backup your LR catalog. Or if you save xmp to the files, you can do another backup once xmp is ready.

    I would not consider this pointless. You just have to think that there are 2 places with data for your images: the images themselves and a database with interpretation instructions.

     

    3. Editing 2


    Something else I like to do is make lots of different edits to the same photo. For example, at the moment I'm editing a photo of a pier at night. I spent ages adjusting colours and lighting and so on, and now it looks great. But I would also like to save a copy of that photo with the "old age photo" effect preset on. Is this possible? and how do I do it? Other than obviously importing a duplicate?

    Yes, this is one of LR's beauties: you create a so-called *virtual copy*, which is just a 2nd record for the same original image file with different interpretation settings, like black-and-white, a different crop size, different development etc. You can have as many virtual copies as you like, and you'll see them as additional thumbnails.

    Virtual copies are not saveable into xmp, though. There is another concept which is saveable into xmp: snapshots. but these are different states in develop history, and you do not see outside develop module that you have several.

    If you export virtual copies e.g. to jpg one file per virutal copy will be created.

     

    4. & 5. & 6 - Misc:


    4. Simple question - how do I add tags, keywords or comments if I haven't done it on import?


    5. My camera doesn't have built in GPS. Is it possible for me to manually geotag photos (in a batch, say for a Summer Holiday to NY), could I manually add a geotag for all these photos?


    6. I also forgot to add copyright information on import for some, is it possible to do this after import and how?

     

    7. I normally shoot in JPEG. I probably shoot shoot in RAW as everyone tells me to do so. Are there any significant advantages in terms of quality, and for editing with?


    --------------------------------------------


    Thanks for any help given. I appreciate this is a lot of questions, but I could really use the advice.

    ad 4: you use the library module, metadata panel to enter.

    ad 5: you use the map module. Either you manually drop your images on a map, or you have a separate GPS track to load and have LR assign via matching time-stamps.

    ad 6: like 4

    ad 7: You don't need JPG from your camera, you can achieve better results viy LR from RAW. Yes, there are significant advantages as to editing headroom.

     

    Overall, may I suggest my favorite learning material for LR? First watch Julieanne's Tutorial Videos.

    Then go play and use Victoria Bampton's eBook or paper copy of her "Missing FAQs to LR4": http://www.lightroomqueen.com/books/adobe-lightroom-4-missing-faq/

     

    Have fun,

    Cornelia

     
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