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The Top 10 Gotchas

Sep 29, 2007
Isle of Wight, UK
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
There are a few things that catch most people out at some stage, so I can’t repeat these often enough.

  • Lightroom is designed for nondestructive editing, so don’t try to save over your originals.
  • Lightroom doesn’t ‘contain’ photos—it just holds data about them—so don’t delete your photos from your hard drive thinking that they’re safely stored in Lightroom.
  • Lightroom’s backups only back up the catalog and not your photos—you still need to do that.
  • Lightroom’s catalog is just a database and, while comparatively rare, databases can become corrupted—so backup regularly, and keep older backups for a while.
  • Lightroom needs to know where the original files are, so don’t move or rename files outside of Lightroom (for example in Explorer or Finder) otherwise you’ll have a long job fixing all of the links.
  • Lightroom will not exactly match your camera’s rendering when working with raw files, as it’s just raw data and there’s no right or wrong way of processing it. If you like the camera manufacturer’s rendering, you can use profiles in the Calibration panel to emulate that style, or you can build your own profiles to suit your taste.
  • Lightroom has 2 or 3 different levels of selection—there’s most- selected or active, shown by the lightest grey shade, there’s the mid-grey shade denoting the photos are also selected but are not the active photo, and there’s the dark grey showing the photo isn’t selected. Notice the difference, otherwise you could accidentally apply a command to multiple photos.
  • Lightroom’s Grid view behaves differently to other views— anything you do in Grid view on the primary monitor applies to all selected photos, whereas most other views only apply to the active or most-selected photo (unless you have AutoSync turned on—there’s always an exception)!
  • Lightroom’s flags are local to the folder or collection, whereas star ratings and color labels are global. As a result, a photo can be flagged in one collection but not flagged in another. (That one only applies to LR3 or earlier - LR4 and later have global flags)
  • Lightroom offers a choice of different color spaces when you output photos, but Adobe RGB and ProPhoto RGB will look odd in programs that aren’t color managed, such as web browsers. Use sRGB for screen output, emailing or uploading to the web.
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