View Full Version : Lightroom 3 - setup tips?

09-04-2010, 09:37 AM
Hi members,

So I'd like to try LR3 and I recall seeing something about how to best set it up....

Are there any tips members can share about how best to START using LR3 for the first time? (and mistakes to avoid)

many thanks!

09-04-2010, 06:09 PM
Hey Marko can't really offer any tips- I just fumble through as best I can (haven't used half of the features related to sorting/archiving/meta data, etc). Here is a link to Adobe TV for the Lr 3 product, I am still going through them.

AdobeTV | Learn Lightroom 3 (http://tv.adobe.com/show/learn-lightroom-3/)

Mad Aussie
09-04-2010, 09:02 PM
Don't make your catalogues too big ... it takes forever to sync them otherwise.

09-05-2010, 09:09 AM
Don't make your catalogues too big ... it takes forever to sync them otherwise.

This is exactly what I'm after.... and I'm gonna sound like a noob here...but isn't the catalogue the entire inventory of the images you bring into lightroom? If so...how can you keep it small if you have tons of images?

Mad Aussie
09-05-2010, 02:54 PM
You could ... but you'd regret it very quickly. A Catalogue in LR is what you want it to be really so I make mine more or less mimic what I use on my harddrive/storage.

If you are like me, you'll have your photos divided on your harddrive/storage in various categories i.e landscape, portrait, still life, transport, birds, animals etc etc. Some of those can contain a lot of photos! If you have several thousands shots of birds for instance it can take awhile to synchronize. Synchronizing is the LR process of checking through your LR catalogue and the harddrive folder it points to and making sure you have all the photos in there or whether it needs to remove any that are not. For instance, remove a photo from your harddrive it does not automatically get removed from your LR catalogue. Also, export an image out of LR into Photoshop ... process it, and re-save it with a different filename and it will not automatically show up in the LR catalogue. Synchronizing the folder achieves this. This process can take a long time if there's thousands of photos in your catalogue.

Therefore, I try to keep my catalogues down to less than around 1500 photos give or take. Your figure may vary depending on the speed of your computer.

I have about 15 or more LR Catalogues. Inside many are sub folders which is also handy in LR because it sees these and allows you to sync those separately if you wish. This further speeds the process up.

09-05-2010, 07:08 PM
I had LR3 trial versions on my computers, Mac and PC, during the holidays. As a hobbyist with computer skills, I found the Library function unnecessarily complicated for my (simple) needs and preferred Picasa because it always catalogues by date by default, no matter where the file or directory is located. I don't catalogue by subject, as our Australian friend mentions.
The Slideshow segment is also unnecessarily complicated with too many options for my needs. I like the way Picasa works, starting a full screen slide show with one button press. In LR3 you have to turn off a few defaults to start a straight up slide show with no borders or backgrounds.
I liked the way it is possible to turn off sections of LR with a mouse gesture to give more screen real estate, and bring them back with a gesture. After a while, once I figured out where everything is, editing a picture became quite quick and easy. The Develop segment was adequate, but I found the tools like the ND filter and the selective editing brushes forced me into choices I didn't always want to make. Layer masks produce far more detailed results than what LR3 offers in my opinion. The Develop segment is non-destructive, and you are working on RAW images immediately, instead of using the PS RAW editor. This is supposedly a more advanced engine, but I preferred the separate application, applying basic exposure, noise reduction, sharpening and white balance editing before using Photoshop, where layers are the main thing. As most people recognize, the noise reduction in LR3 is top notch, but for me, that is a minor feature.
I came to like the automatic Flickr upload feature once I figured out how to use it. It exports the file automatically as a jpg to Flickr, but doesn't save a jpg file locally. It also seemed less intuitive than using the Flickr uploader as a separate application. Also the export function to create a jpg file was complicated. If I recall correctly, I didn't find the Print function very accurate or helpful, and printing from Photoshop produced much more accurate results.
I spent a lot of time learning LR3 and in the end decided it wasn't worth the commitment. I believe I have all the tools I need in Photoshop Elements and Picasa and there was no need to change workflow and use LR3 in spite of it being a very sophisticated all-you-need-for-photo-editing application.
Marko, I'm not sure any of this will speak to you, but as a non-professional, intermediate level hobbyist, I'm waiting for PSE 9 to come out.

09-05-2010, 10:46 PM
Unlike Mad Aussie, I suck at organizing stuff. I do not use catalogues or keywords. But LR is capable of locating any file on my computer or external hard drives.
Also LR automatically uploads by date, so even in my disorganization it keeps me a little organized. LR loads all my photos directly onto an external hard drive that I specify. The good things I do once I down load the photos from my card are, I go through and flag everything I think I do not want to save. Next I mark by stars photos that I want to work on, giving them a rating of 1 to 5. You can further categorize by colour as well. If I want to group photos for HDR I export them into their own folder onto my hard drive. If I see an image I want to work on right away, I use LR for the basics, I may use a preset or I may convert it to B&W. Much easier to do on LR then in Elements. If I want to do furhter adjustments I export it to Elements, sometimes just to add a signature and a border. You can export directly to Nik software from LR as well, if you use it. As far as cropping and straightening pics, nothing beats LR. It also has lens and camera profiles and correct for distortion. Once you get used to using it, you will not want to give it up. :) Oh, and after going through the photos, I can just opt to delete all the photos I flagged with one click instead of going through each one individually.

10-10-2010, 10:57 AM
sorry the thread's kinda dated but my 2 cents anyway....

My LR catalog is quickly approaching 20,000 images, but I have heard there are those (mostly pros that shoot volumes of images by shoot- ie, weddings etc) that prefer to open a new catalog for every shoot, to keep the burden down on LR. Personally I like the freedom of being able to quickly reference back to images shot in previous years, and I like to be able to "see" all of this in one place- like one library of images. Adobe I think claims LR3 shouldn't struggle with that many images in a catalog but I guess the big caveat is your hardware. My computer is pretty loaded.

I have been thinking about starting a new catalog for 2011, and then maybe start doing them year by year. I am not a pro and I don't shoot wads and wads of images every week, so shoot by shoot is overkill for me. In fact even MAs limit of 1500 images seems overly cautious to me- I just can't imagine with any reasonably modern computer (say last 4 years) that a catalog of 2000 - 5000ish images would show any serious lag issues, especially in the new version 3. Maybe I'm completely wrong.

And on mbragers assessment, picasa>LR, there's always going to be those few who see things differently, but I couldn't imagine using anything else for post processing at this point in time. It looks like statistically LR is becoming the asset mgr of choice for photographers, and for good reason.

Marko, there's a lot to write about regarding setting up LR, and I know only a fraction of what others (guys like Scott Kelby etc) know about it. It's mostly on establishing your cataloging- file storage structure, and how you wish to use some of the other "tagging" features JAS mentions (keywording, flagging, star ratings, colour tags, etc). There's also little things like where you want to save your plugins, and your temp catalog backup file, etc. If you get that all sorted out up front your life will be easier than mine- I've been a jump right in and learn on the fly kinda guy since LR 1.3 and I've had a few good scares and moments of frustration when I decide to do something differently when I'm already in deep.

10-10-2010, 02:21 PM
Thanks much for that input F8 and others.

I have started importing my stuff into lightroom and I'm about 50% done. I have decided only to use 1 catalog as well as i like to see all my stuff from one route. It just works better that way for me IF lightroom can handle it.... time will tell. i don't shoot as much as i did in the past so I'm guessing it will be fine.
That plus I can always start a new catalogue at anytime...

One thing i did notice that freaked me out at the beginning was that my main catalogue is NOT on my main computer, it's on an external. The first time I set up lightroom the catalogue's path was based on the letter from the external drive. But i have many different externals and they change letters when i connect and disconnect them....so I got good and freaked out at the beginning when the path kept changing because i keep switching between external drives. (I don't always keep them connected because of noise).

anywho.....i was able to solve this problem by RENAMING the external drive. Now lightroom always chooses the right drive with the right letter.

Thanks again!