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Lightroom Classic: Essential Training

Lesson 23 of 33

Catalog vs Lightroom Preferences

Mark Wallace

Lightroom Classic: Essential Training

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

23. Catalog vs Lightroom Preferences
You can configure Lightroom Classic to behave just the way you want. Mark explains the Preferences that apply to Lightroom Classic and the Preferences that only apply to each specific catalog.

Lesson Info

Catalog vs Lightroom Preferences

we can change our settings and our preferences to let light room know how to behave and to behave specifically how we want it to behave. So different photographers will have different workflows and different needs. And based on those workflows and needs, you're gonna need to tell Light Room Classic to do certain things specific the way you want them to be done. No. To light room catalogs or light room applications behave exactly the same. So we can do that by going up to the menu bar and clicking on Light Room Classic. And you'll notice that we have preferences. So we have preferences here, catalog settings. Identity plate set up and edit watermarks. We've already talked about editing watermarks and managing all of those things. The identity plate set up. We can talk about a little bit later on when we get into some other the modules, we need to talk about these two things, the preferences and the catalog settings. Now, before we get into that, I need to differentiate between what pref...

erences are and catalog settings are. So remember, Light Room Classic can have many, many, many, many different catalogs. You can have a catalog for client, a catalog for client be catalogue for a wedding in january and one for a wedding in february. However you want to slice and dice these. There's there are reasons for having separate catalogues for separate things. And so the preferences. Light Room Classic preferences are going to set the preferences that behave equally across all of your catalog's So it's saying no matter which catalog catalog I'm in, I want you to do these things this way. So you're telling them these are my preferences, no matter which catalog I'm in. The catalog settings are specific to that catalog. So, if I have a wedding, a catalog and Wedding Be catalog and the catalog settings are different. They will change based on which catalog you have loaded. The preferences will stay the same across those many, many catalogs. All right, let's go in here and let's look first at preferences. So when I click on that, you will see a very, very large uh option box that pulls up. So we're not going to go through all of these. This that'd be like going through a Sony cameras menu settings that would take hours. And so we just want to go through some of these after the most important. So, the general settings you can go through. And, um one of the things I like to do is to tell Light room which catalogue to start with. And so by default, I choose the most recent catalogue, but there are reasons why you might want it to prompt you instead of opening the most recent one. Or you can say, just always start with this catalog. Now, the reason that you might want to have this set up to say, a specific catalog or to prompt you is if you work for if you're photographing competitors, let's say Company A. Is a competitor to Company B. And you're photographing companies A's newest product that hasn't been released yet. They don't want anybody to know about it. Well, if you have all those photos in your library and you go to Company B and open it up, they're gonna see secret stuff that you don't want them to see. Or perhaps you shoot some wedding and now you're shooting a separate wedding. You don't wanna accidentally show the bride at a wedding that's not hers. She only wants to see her stuff. So you can sort of keep your worlds separate. And so that's why you can say make sure you ask me before you open this or always open this one. So there's no mistake. So this is sort of to protect secrets and to make sure people don't see things that they shouldn't see. And it keeps things really simple. Also have a bunch of different things here. Um the import options, one of the things that um I normally turn off, but I left it on for this demo is the show import dialog when a memory card is detected. So what will happen is anytime you plug a camera in or a memory card from a camera, it will automatically open that import dialog from Light Room classic. Now a lot of times I'm doing a lot of work with not only still photos but videos as well and it drives me bonkers when I'm trying to import my video files and I throw the card in there and it pops up in light room. And so I turned that off so it doesn't happen. And also when I did the import the original time, I said you might not see this import dialog appear and if it didn't appear for you, that's how you turn it on. Okay. So we also have um some other options for importing. I'll let you go through those. The one thing that we need to understand, uh that's really important is this one treat jpeg files next to raw files as separate photos. So a lot of photographers when they're shooting, they will either shoot raw only or jpeg only or they'll shoot raw plus J Peg at the same time, so that they have this workflow that allows them to have the raw files for full post production capability. And then the Jpeg files that are proofs that they can just really quickly say, here you go to a client. The client can look at those and choose which ones they want edited and then they go back to the raw files. And so by default, um Light Room Classic knows that cameras shoot raw and jpeg files at the same time. And so what it does is it just puts them together and only shows you the raw file and sort of hides that Jpeg file. So when I showed you earlier that there was a file name that said whatever it was dot N E F plus J Peg That was Light Room telling us that it was a Raw and Jpeg file, but it's really only showing us the raw file. So you can tell Light Room Classic. If you want to show me both files, show me the raw file and the Jpeg file, it's up to you. I only look at the raw files and so I don't treat these as separate files in the photos. And then also you can choose how to embed previews, you can choose sounds to play, et cetera. Um So those are the general setting presets. Are there are different presets that you have the presets upon presets, export file, named templates, Library filter presets, layout presets, textile presets, color label presets, text presets and on and on. So this tab allows you to manage all of that stuff and also where to store those. So do you want to store those um inside this catalog or do you want to store those in one uh specific place? So I almost never store my presets inside this catalog cause I want my presets to be available to adobe camera Raw and all of my catalogs. And I don't wanna have to manage that. But if you have a lot of presets and you really get involved in the preset world, you might want to store different presets in different catalogs specifically, if you're shooting weddings a lot and you want wedding presets to just stay in that catalog and then you have maybe scenic photos, You want those presets to stay in that catalog. There are reasons to to take them and put them in specific catalogues. I just keep them all in the same place so that they're available everywhere. The other thing that we have here, we're not going to cover in this class, but we have raw defaults. And so we're telling light room classic is how do I treat these cameras specific cameras? So what I've done here is I have a like M 10 and I noticed that every single time I brought in a raw file from, I like em 10, I was always taking the sharpening and putting at the exact same place as a starting point. I was always going in and opening up the shadows to a certain point for every single photo that I ever brought in, I was always going in and changing the saturation just a little bit. I was always, I was always doing the same things over and over and over again. And so I didn't want to apply a preset during import because maybe I wanted to convert something to black and white and use that preset. I just wanted to start from the same place. So what you can do is you can create raw defaults that are automatically applied to a camera on import and this is where you save those and you can do it not only by a camera, you can do different defaults that are by camera and the S. O. Rating. So you might want to have noise reduction automatically applied as the I. S. O. Gets higher and higher. And you can also have raw defaults that are saved not only by camera make and model, but also by serial number. So you might have a certain camera that's using a certain lens and it has a certain problem with a certain color. It's really specific to just that camera. You can make a default that works for that specific scenario and you can even do it for that specific camera make, model, serial number lens and s so it gets really involved if you really want to dive into all that stuff, this is the place to start poking around. Okay, there is a little cliquey box here that you can learn more about raw defaults, it will tell you all about how to set all of that stuff up. So I have done two of these for two of my cameras, external editing. We already went in and looked at how to add an external editor. This is all about that. So we've already gone over that file handling, you can go in if you're a person that really cares about how raw files are used if it's a raw lowercase or uppercase DMG file image previews and stuff. So you have a lot of control. The other thing that you can do that's really sort of nice is you can customize your interface so you can change the end marks, you can change the font size. So let me just show you why you might want to do this. So I'm gonna go here and notice I have. If I click up here, it just says Mark Wallace, this is sort of boring and this over here is sort of boring. Maybe I'm a wedding photographer or an event photographer. Let's specifically say I'm a wedding photographer and I want to meet with potential brides that are going to hire me. Normally, wedding photographers have a really nice place that have prints on the wall and they have books of wedding wedding galleries. They have all kinds of things to sell. And um, some of those wedding photographers have a big screen where you can sit down and the bride and groom can look at the photos in light room and look and see which ones they want to potentially put it in a book or they maybe want to look at different styles or whatever. So you might want to match your light room, classic interface to that branding that you have in your studio, you might want to spruce it up a bit so it doesn't look so industrial, you can do some of those things. So if we go back over here, light Room classic preferences notice in the interface, I can change the end marks. So I'm going to go at a small flourish and now notice over here, we got a little small flourish that's there, there's a panel, go to panel in Mark's folder, You can go here and you can add graphics, you can have a graphic designer that's entering some graphics there that you can then add. So you could have really specific branding. So you could have maybe your logo, you could have some swooshes or whatever. You can match the wallpaper that's on your wall, you can do crazy things to make the interface look great. And so if you're somebody that's interacting with clients a lot, this could be a really important feature for you. So anyway, you have those things, you can change the font sizes from small to large, you can change the screen color from medium gray to light gray to white. So you can do all these kinds of things. Now for me, I like to keep my interface at medium grey, not black or not white, but at medium gray because that's the best color that you can have when you're doing color correction, you don't want your interface to artificially influence your eyes. And so if you have a black interface, everything is going to look brighter. If you have a white interface, everything is going to look darker. So when you're printing and out putting things, you might be fooling yourself in your editor if it's not a medium grapes. That's why by default it's medium grade. Okay, I'm gonna let you go through and look at all these other options to show and hide things in the interface, the performance. You can really go in here and tweak the performance of light room Classic. The thing that I would highly recommend that you do is if you have a Gpu use that for image processing and so you have to make sure you're using process five or higher in your images. So if you have old images and the process in the develop module says version three, just change it to version five and then GPU processing is enabled. I've got a beefy radeon pro 50 600 and so it's really speeding things up here. Also. Light room sink. So we talked a little bit about sinking our light room images. This is going to help us understand what's going on with our adobe Creative cloud account. Um we can delete all of our data. It's going to help us specify exactly where those sink images are stored. And so this gives us some really fine control over that. Our display. One of the things that we can't show with the video because you only have one screen, but light room Classic is built for dual displays. And so that secondary monitor you can do all kinds of things with. So a lot of times I will have the secondary monitor set as a loop, in other words, full screen view. So as I'm editing in the develop module, I can see 100% size as I'm zooming around what the heck I'm doing. Or if you're at an event, if you're an event photographer, a wedding photographer, maybe you're working at a church or something like that. You probably have a light room classic attached to a video projector. That video projector is your second monitor. And so that you can, or if you're a teacher when I'm doing live events and things, I have a second giant screen. And as I'm working in a light room and I'm capturing images and doing a photo shoot, I'm not showing everybody might develop module and what I'm doing. I'm just showing them the final results on the big screen. And so they're seeing the finished product, not how I'm doing it. And so it looks really, really cool. And so as I'm shooting it just sort of pops up there using the develop settings that I've done. And it really makes it look really wonderful. It's a great teaching tool, teachers. Uh, you know, you get the idea, so this will help you choose which monitor to use for the secondary window and how that is done. And so because I only have one monitor in use right now, it just says you can't really make any changes. And then if you have a proxy server, this is sort of nerdy. You can set that up right here. Okay. Those are the preferences that apply to everything. Let's talk about specific catalog settings. And so these catalog settings. Remember these apply only to the current catalog. So you can tell this where your catalog is. So this is exactly where we said it was in my fake hard drive. How my master catalog. It's going to ask me when do I want to back up my catalog by default? I haven't said to once a week when I leave light room. You can say every single time um Never once a month. Whatever. We're gonna talk about backing up data in the next section. And so right now we're not gonna get into that quite a bit. This is telling us how our file settings are set, it looks like this is chopped off little bit. Let me see if I can open that up and get not a chopped off window. There we go. Okay. My computer is is saying, hey I need more space. Okay, this file handling, it wants to look at the preview cash. So every single file in here as it pops up on screen. Remember it's a preview, It's not the file, it saves us time. It allows us to see images really quickly and then when we open that and zoom in, has to process the file and then it pops in. And so this will uh tell us, how large do you want that preview to be? Wanted to be a big small somewhere in between and then what quality you want? And then when do you want to delete those previews? So what are those previews? So if I go here, this is a preview, it's not the actual image. If I zoom in, that's a preview, So this makes this really, really fast. If I go maybe to an image that I haven't uh seen before, so let's go here to maybe this fold right here. Notice is blurry, and it's saying loading, it's building the preview. So there's no preview for that. Now it is. Now I zoom in now I can see that, but now I've got this preview file on my hard drive. How long should it hang around? Well, it's going to hang around as long as I tell it to, so it's gonna hang around for 30 days, And if I zoom into this motorcycle picture, it's gonna reset that it's going to stay around for another days. But if I don't look at this image for 30 days it will automatically discard that preview to save space. Okay, the import numbers. Are there also metadata? We talked about automatically writing changes into X and P. That's really good. Include develop settings and metadata. So this is where is that metadata going to be stored is going to be X and P is going to store inside the Photoshop file. Um so you have all of that stuff also offering suggestions from recently entered values. I think you remember when I was putting in the key wording for Gillian and I said this is suggesting things to us like google does this is how it figures that out by looking at what you're doing and keeping track of all that stuff. The other thing that you might want to know about is address look up. And so when you put something into the catalog, if it has GPS data, something from an iphone or android, if you have a GPS module on your camera, if you check this, you're telling uh light room Classic that it's okay to go out and get that GPS data to provide address suggestions. Um and you're asking if she should export those suggestions. So what that's doing is it's taking the data from your camera, the location data and it's sending that over to google or somewhere else. Getting some location data and pulling that back in. And so adobe doesn't share any of that information with anybody. But if you're really super super private, you might not want adobe or google or whoever to see your image, location data. Or if you work for the military, if you work for a secret insulation has secrets. Um I know a lot of active military officers got in a lot of trouble for jogging with GPS devices and uploading things to Strada, which is a health tracking thing. The government said, whoa, you're giving away government secrets by mapping out our military bases. And so that could also happen with photos, you might accidentally give away corporate secrets, government secrets, things like that so that you might want to turn off um to provide yourself some super level of security. Also the same is true of face detection and so light room Classic can go through and sort by faces. So I have that turned off by default but you can turn that on and in a in the library module. If you notice at the very bottom down here we have this little face and if I turn that on and I'm not gonna do that right now because it consumes a lot of uh computing power. But if I turn that on, what will happen is it will go and use artificial intelligence to identify every single face in every single photo. In light room Classic. And it will build a grid and show you all those faces. And then you can go in and say this face is of Cindy and this is of chuck and this is of matt. And then you can, if you want to see all the photos of matt or send your chuck, you just click on the face and it'll go out and show you all the photos where it thinks that face appears. And so I have turned that off because we've been importing uh images really rapidly here for this class. If you have it turned on, its churning through all those photos and it takes a little while If you have a lot of photos, we have 3000 here. And so I didn't want to slow down the class by turning that on. If you have an iphone or any kind of IOS device. I think also android you are familiar with being able to look up photos by faces and so Light Room Classic also has that. Okay, so we also have one last thing writing data or time changes into proprietary raw files. You may want to turn that on or off. I leave that up to you. Okay, so we have lots of settings for the library. We have lots of settings for the Light Room Classic interface, all that stuff. But now, you know the difference between preferences and settings.

Class Description


  • Understand how Lightroom keeps things organized – the catalog system.
  • Use The Library module: importing, keywording, metadata, organizing, and more.
  • Use the Develop module: Make global and local adjustments, use the tools, use and create presets.
  • Understand the Map module: Organize your photos geographically and use privacy settings.
  • Use the Book module: Create a book from scratch.
  • Use the Slideshow module: Create a slideshow, create presets, learn strategies for increasing your income using the slideshow module.
  • Use the Print module: Create prints, create proof sheets for clients, and learn other hidden features.
  • Use the Web module: Create galleries for online viewing.

In addition to the modules Mark will be covering:

  • Custom Presets for automating your workflow.
  • Watermarking your images.
  • Using Publish Services.
  • Integration with Photoshop, Lightroom, and Creative Cloud.


This class is a step-by-step walkthrough of Lightroom Classic, perfect for the beginner as well as those who have worked with Lightroom Classic previously. This class is everything you ever wanted to know about Lightroom Classic but were afraid to ask.

This class will give you an overview of Lightroom Classic and show you how to maximize its potential by creating a workflow for importing, keywording, adjusting, and exporting your images.


  • Beginner and Intermediate photographers.
  • Professional Photographers looking to streamline their workflow.


Adobe Lightroom Classic

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Class Materials

Tether Tools Pro Kit Discount

Tether Tools Starter Kit Discount

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



This is an excellent class to learn about Lightroom Classic. Since it's not the same as Photoshop, I found Lightroom Classic to be confusing and difficult to intuitively figure out. Mark Wallace is an expert and exceptional teacher for the program and I learned so much today in this free class presentation that I am planning to purchase the program so I can continue to have a solid understanding of Lightroom Classic basics. Thanks, Mark, for inspiring me to get back into computer photo editing with LR Classic!