Lightroom Top 10 Gotchas (or stuff you wish you'd known when you started)

Sep 29, 2007
Southampton, UK
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
If you’re just starting out with Lightroom, there are a few CRUCIAL bits of information which will save you hours of headaches and untangling. They’re the kind of thing that just make you say “I’d wish I’d known that before….” These are my top ten gotchas, direct from the forums.
  1. Lightroom is all about non-destructive editing - so don’t try to save over your originals.
  2. Lightroom doesn’t ‘contain’ files, it just holds data about them them - so don’t go deleting your originals thinking that they’re safely stored in Lightroom.
  3. Lightroom’s backups don’t back up your originals - you still need to do that.
  4. Lightroom’s catalog is just a database, and databases can become corrupted - backup regularly, and keep older backups for a while.
  5. Lightroom needs to know where the files are - don’t move or rename files outside of Lightroom, i.e. in Explorer or Finder, otherwise you’ll have a long job fixing all of the links.
  6. Lightroom will not match your cameras rendering when working with raw files as it’s just raw data, but you can use the new profiles to emulate the manufacturer’s look for some cameras, or you can build your own profile to match.
  7. Lightroom offers a choice of different colour spaces when you output, and AdobeRGB/ProPhotoRGB will look odd in programs that aren’t colour managed (like web browsers). Use sRGB for screen output like emailing or uploading to the web.
  8. Lightroom’s Grid view behaves differently to other views - anything you do in Grid view applies to all selected images, whereas other views only apply to the most selected image.
  9. Lightroom has 3 different levels of selection, not 2. Notice the difference, otherwise you could accidently apply a setting to multiple different images.
  10. Lightroom’s Flags are local to the folder or collection, whereas star ratings and labels are global. This means that a photo can be flagged in one collection but not flagged in the folder.
Any more gotchas or blinding flashes of the obvious that you wish to add? You know, the things that make you go ‘Duh!’ If so, start a thread in General Discussion and I'll add the best ones to this list.