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Replace RAW or PSD files in Lightroom with JPEG copies

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W vom Saal

New Member
Jan 13, 2023
Lightroom Version Number
Operating System
  1. Windows 11
Years ago, I made many simple photo adjustments using Photoshop. Now I want to replace most of the old PSD files with JPEG copies, because those old PSD files waste a lot of space and really have no useful information. However, I want to retain all the information associated with the original files: keywords, ratings, membership in collections, develop adjustments, virtual copies, and develop settings for virtual copies. My question: does anyone have a better way to do it than what I came up with?
My procedure (using the example of replacing a PSD file with a JPEG):
- In Lightroom, right-click the PSD file and Show in Explorer.​
- In Explorer, use Open With to open the file in Photoshop.​
- In Photoshop, save the file as a JPEG (File > Save a Copy > JPEG and then change the file name to remove the word COPY).​
- In Explorer, delete the original PSD file (or rename it if you want to keep it).​
- Return to Lightroom.​
- Right-click the PSD file, Show in Explorer, get “File Not Found,” click Locate.​
- Navigate to the new JPEG file and accept it (and if asked, choose to use the metadata from Lightroom).​
This seems to work, retaining keywords, collections, development settings, virtual copies and other information associated with the original photo, but it is a bit cumbersome. Does anyone have a better way to do it? Thanks!
because those old PSD files .... have no useful information.
If you ignore the fact the a 12bit RAW file has over 4,000 times the color accuracy compared to a JPG (4096 potential colors per pixel vs. 68.7 billion). Even more if you have 14 or 16 bit RAW files (assuming the PSD's were created from RAW files). If the PSD's were created from JPG's you may have added more color info in your Photoshop editing but most likely not.
those old PSD files waste a lot of space
In the larger scheme of things disk space is dirt cheap. So, you're idea is to spend maybe a 50 hours of time (depending on number of images) to save $200 on an external disk drive. That comes to selling your time for $4 an hour (assuming 50 hours to convert). Is your time really only worth a few buck an hour?

If I understand, the PSD's are as they came back from Photoshop and have no futher LrC editing done to them If that is the case you may be able to save a few steps.
  1. One folder at a time, expoort all the PDS's as Full size JPG's to the same folder as the PSD, include all metadta
  2. Using Windows File Manager, Move (not copy), all the PSD's to another folder. This will cause the images to show as missing in LrC
  3. In LrC "Locate" missing images. you will probably have to do this one photo at a time.
  4. If you had made any adjustments to the PSD in LrC prior to exporting, those adjustments are now doubled so select all the images, go to the develop module, turn on auto-sync and hit the "reset" button. This will remove the LrC edits you made on the PSD from the JPG image but that is what you want as those changes were baked into the exported JPG's.
Once you're done and it looks fine you can delete the PSD's
Thank you!
I agree with your initial comments. The files I'm looking to eliminate are PSDs made from JPGs, mostly not high quality, what my partner likes to call "memories" rather than quality photographs, so there would be no real loss just having jpgs. And I agree my time is not worth saving a small amount of disk space. If I could find a way to make it really easy, it might be worth doing. I appreciate your helpful suggestions.
In LR, Export the PSD as a JPEG
- ticking the box add to catalogue
- delete the PSD

What this sacrifices is the VCs, allocation to collections etc. Are these important? Some of this data (eg collections) could be restored with my Syncomatic plugin which uses filenames to match the corresponding files and copies over the metadata.

You could probably shortcut Dan's point #3 by renaming the JPEGs so they have PSD extensions. This would probably need to be done externally, eg in Bridge which allows you to select items in subfolders and set the file extension as part of the renaming. Providing the JPEGs went into the same folders that contained the PSDs, LR would be fooled by these JPEGs-with-PSD-extensions. My quick test looked OK, but note my probably. Maybe there is something I've overlooked.

In any case, test first, and make sure your catalogue and the images are properly backed up.
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