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How to stop "Save as" in Photoshop also saving to Lightroom?

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Active Member
Jun 22, 2013
San Francisco
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Lightroom Version
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  1. macOS 10.15 Catalina

My usual workflow: import photos into LR in a file called "RAW Originals". When I find a photo a want to work on I go to Photo/Edit in/Open as Smart Object in Photoshop. When I am done editing in Photoshop I choose PSD and "Save as" and pick the location to save, in my case an external drive labeled "Photoshop Keepers". For some time this copy has been also showing up as a psd file in the LR file which contains only RAW originals. How do I stop the psd photo from also being saved to the LR file which I intend to only contain RAW originals?
Yes, this behavior has changed. In the past, using “Save as” from Photoshop would make Lightroom lose the connection to the edited image, but not anymore. But why don’t you want the edited image to be kept in Lightroom too? You seem to confuse files, folders and the Lightroom catalog, but the way I understand it is that you want to only have the raw files appear in your catalog. Why? Don’t you want to have one single catalog where you can manage all your photos, regardless of their file type?
I want them separated because I spend a lot of time browsing my RAW files folders looking for old photos to edit. Having PSD files of edited photos just makes the browsing more difficult for us ADD types.
Many people want their Photoshop derivatives to be stored with the raw file it was created from, so that’s why it works that way by default: If you use the Edit In command from Lightroom Classic, it’s assumed you want the derivative both in the same folder and in the same catalog. If you don’t want it to work that way, the answer is to use an alternate method instead of Edit In.

It’s unclear whether you want the Photoshop derivative (A) stored only in the folder on the external storage volume, or if you also want (B) the Photoshop derivative kept out of (not tracked by) the Lightroom Classic catalog. But it’s possible either way.

If you want (A):
  1. Continue using the command Edit In > Open as Smart Object in Photoshop. Saving the resulting Photoshop document will automatically added to the same folder as the raw original.
  2. In the Folders panel in Lightroom Classic, drag the Photoshop document to the folder on the external storage volume. That will both move the file on the external storage volume, and update its tracked location in the Lightroom Classic catalog.

If you want (B), do not use the command Edit In > Open as Smart Object in Photoshop. Instead:
  1. If you have made any edits to the raw file, select the raw file and choose Metadata > Save Metadata to File (in the Library panel) or Photo > Save Metadata to File (in the Develop panel). Or just press its keyboard shortcut Command-S.
  2. From the Filmstrip or Grid, drag the thumbnail preview of the raw file, and drop it on the Photoshop application icon (or an alias of it), or in the Photoshop application window.
  3. In the Camera Raw window that appears, click Open.
  4. Edit and save the Photoshop document to the folder you want.
Because this method doesn’t use the Edit In command, you open the document behind the back of Lightroom Classic. It will not notice what you have done, so it will both be saved in the folder where you wanted and it will not appear in the Lightroom Classic catalog (unless you run Synchronize Folder on the folder you put it into).

A complication is that you have been opening it into Photoshop as a Smart Object, and my (B) workaround doesn’t do that. If you must use it as a Photoshop Smart Object, add these steps to workaround (B):
  1. First, in Photoshop, create a new document of the same pixel dimensions as the raw file, and leave that document open.
  2. When you drag the raw file thumbnail preview from Lightroom Classic in step 2:
  • If you want it to be an embedded Smart Object, drop it in the Photoshop document.
  • If you want it to be an linked Smart Object, hold down the Option key as you drop it in the Photoshop document.
You can create a Collection (or a Collection Set) of your edited images to make finding them much easier. I use many different Collection Sets containing different Collections for different types of images and different stages of processing. For example, Collection Set of Composite Images has Collection Sets of HDR, Focus Stacks, Panoramas, which have Collections like Unprocessed NEF, Processed NEF and Complete Focus Stacks (for the Focus stack set). This makes it easy to find images or sets of images you are working on.
UlThis approach uses the database functionality of LrC to help you organize your workflow.

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