How Lightroom Works
One of the confusing things about light room is how it does what it does how do it do what it do so light room, as I mentioned, is a nondestructive a single image editor? How does it manage this non destructive editing meaning you can always get out of everything you've done? Whether it's cropping changing exposure doesn't matter what it is, you can get out of it so let's spend the few moments talking about how the heck it does what it does, which will also illuminate some important things for backup strategies and backing up your you know your world is very, very important cause it's not if you're going to have a hard drive crash it's wind so this is a little bit of the way about the way it works, so you've got your camera or your video camera on the left hand side here, this graphic and light room can't import and manage videos you can't edit um, you know, in light rain, but it can manage an import, which is great so you take your pictures off of your camera and you put him on your h...
ard drive a couple different ways you can do that in light room you can just plug in a memory card reader or plug in a card in your computer on this matt but pro actually have a slot for an sd card on the left hand side here, so you can either copy the images to your hard drive using the operating system. If you've got a specific folder structure directory structure that's higher cool that you have been using, you can copy your pictures just into there, and then tell him about light room or you can't import them straight from the memory card run into light room. The thing to know about light room is that it cannot show you anything on your hard drive that you didn't import into it, so you have to tell it that the photos exist unlike adobe bridge, which is an image viewing an organizational program that is also available with the created cloud used to get installed when you installed photoshopped, but that hasn't happened anymore. You have to install it separately, so with bridge you can see any file on your hard drive. You don't import anything into bridge light room can't see squat on your hard drive unless you import photos into it so that's an important distinction to make. For those of you who might be familiar with bridge and wondering how light room differs from bridge to bridge is a viewing and organizational tool light room is a really database anybody ever used a database filemaker pro, anything like that, so the way a database works is it creates a record for every thing that you want to make, what saves the database of your clients? So you have a record for every client that maybe has there. There, you know, name and address and their phone number, contact information and hopefully, credit card. So the database contains individual records for your individual clients or whatever it is. I have a couple of different databases in my life. I have one for serial numbers for software, and I have another one for classes because I teach a whole bunch of classes so and I need to find a description and a title. And where I taught that class, I have all that information in the filmmaker pro database. So light room is really it works just like that. So you import your pictures and they go anywhere you want on your hard drive. I stuff online in my pictures folder windows users also has a picture's folder, so that may be where your pictures, the original files actually live. Then you gotta tell light room about him. So you import those pictures into light room again from your hard drive if you copy them manually from the cards or just go from the cards straight toe light room, and then it will copy them onto your hard drive. Either way, that there's some folks like the great julian cost oh, the great julian costs she's amazing she's one of the adobe chief of angeles for imaging photos coffin and light room she swears that light room will work faster they're the import will be faster if you copy the photos to your hard drive using your operating system and then point light room to that place on your hard drive she swears it's faster I haven't done a test so I I don't know but she's awesome so I'm sure she's right but you can do it either way so you import them in the light room when you import them into the light room light room of course is the application that lives in your applications folder. Okay, so we're dealing with two folders right now. This will be important here in a second light room. Then we'll create a catalogue of your images. So the catalog is the database within the catalogue is a record a text based record for every single photo that you told it about in your pictures folder wherever you keep them. So your pictures never live in light room now that's important because that's how the nondestructive editing can happen because if you think about it light room is only every time you do something to an image it's updating that photo's record that text based record that record points to where the original images live wherever that is on your hard drive your pictures folder so when you're backing up your light room catalog that is not backing up your pictures light room also creates another folder of praecis light room is riddled with presets you cannot believe how many presets you can make in this program we can create presets for importing your pictures and inside of that pre set that can include your naming convention preset it can include your developed priest that do you wantto process your pictures in a certain way do you want to give them all a little vibrance boost when he import the suckers you could do that so pre sets for, you know, correcting exposure presets for naming your images presets for your metadata so that you're important copyright creator information is tucked inside of each and every file I mean presets to death presets for special effects you know black and white see pia vintage presets for engine yes, I mean and on and on and on and on and on so light room creates a separate folder for all these presets. So really you're dealing with four different folders when you're using light room one of those being the application folder itself but that's important to know so that you can understand how the darn thing works because I don't know about y'all but for me unless I understand the why behind the how I'm never going to remember that how hee I have to know why is that happening? I drove my parents insane as a small child why why why why why because we said why so this is how it really works so you import your pictures into light room light room makes two folders presets folder and that lives in your user folder in your library folder on the mat and then it makes another catalog and you can tell it where to put that catalog and then of course the catalogue includes a record for every photo keeps track of everything you want to do to it which points back to where the picture lives like we're never ever ever ever ever under any circumstances ever ever ever ever ever touches your original file never not once ever never that's great before we leave this graphic we can see that there are multiple catalogs there in that catalogue folder you can have as many catalogs as you want catalogs cannot live on a network server they have to live on a hard drive your pictures can live anywhere you want to put them your pictures can live on a network server but catalogs cannot they have to be local you can have multiple catalog your next question will be do I roll with multiple catalogs negative I do not have one catalog one catalog why would I have this one catalog catalogs air only searchable individually, so if I'm looking for let's, say, I'm going to make a I'm going to make a collage and photo shop and I'm looking for ah background of roses to make a nice, you know, happy soft romantic video for the wedding that I just shot. If those files are in different catalogs, I can't search for them and find them so searching is catalog specific. Your history is catalog specific, so let's say, I'm trying through some photos and I correct the exposure, and then I do this, and then I do a little teeth frightening little iris lightning, and then I do a little selective sharpening, and then I do a black and white. If I decide, I want to get out of some of those steps and go back to previous steps, you can't pick and choose which steps to get out of, but you can go back in time, but that history's catalog specific. Okay, so that's why I'll roll with one catalog. Everything in one so that it searchable everything is right there makes me faster now what I do is I customized that one catalog to within an inch of its life with collections which you're like albums with key wording and star ratings and all that kind of stuff but I like using just one catalog but that's just me you can do whatever you want I've not heard of an instance where the light room police actually comes to your house and knocks on your door but and also rolling with one cat along makes your backup strategy a little bit easier to manage you know because you've got several things that you gotta worry about backing up another reason to have one catalog and also keep your preset in a separate folder you could tell irene hey put my presets with my catalogue but if you do have multiple catalogs they want him to be able to look at that one priest that folder so easier to roll with one in my humble opinion lisa way have a few questions that just came in about this right on this subject matter so thrown your way just so we clarify for the beginners janice asks won'th saving all these versions of the photos in various folders fill up a lot of hard drive space oh I love that question thank you so much there are no versions of photos photos level in place one coffee the original file now in light room, you can create what's called virtual copies and that's just an alias so that it was light room doing is creating another photo record that's still attached to that one file. So if I want to let's say, I've just shot a wedding and I want to show the the happy couple maybe a full color imminent and a black and why, and then maybe a c p a tone or a color tint of some kind, and I'm not going to duplicate that image. I am just going to go on my heart I one time in the pictures folder or wherever you put them in light room. We can create what's called virtual copies and it's just another alias, her pointer it's, another photo record that points back to that one file so that I can have multiple versions with multiple treatments without, you know, losing all kinds of hard drive space because these files, they're honking big. You know, when I was shooting with, I had to ratchet down the quality setting of that cannon five d mark three. That I was shooting with because the files were like thirty megabytes each what no actually ran out of hard drive space in hawaii it was very sad so yeah you're not going to be duplicating and that's the beauty of light room now one thing that will you will get a duplicate if you send the file over to photo shopper elements and then you save that as a psd stands for photoshopped document and then so that would be another file on your hard drive but in so far as your originals you're not going to be duplicating him and that's the beauty of life fantastic okay here's a work flow questions which we may be getting into later but I'm going to run it to you from tracy so if I import my photos to my hard drive and then import them into the light room if I make changes to the image in light room and then I go back to the hard drive well I only see the original image there and the altar image if I look at it in light room very good question so if you do it that way you're not going to get a duplicate images but if you go behind white range back and let's say you open original file in photo shop or whatever and you do some stuff and you say that that will be an additional foul but you're not gonna do that you're going to stay in light room so once you get the pictures in the light room, stay in lightweight for everything for managing your directory structure, creating new folders, reorganizing the original image folders on your hard drive you're going to let light wouldn't do that anybody ever used any web developers out there let's say uh have used dreamweaver ever so creating websites with dreamweaver. So really, what is a website and this will make sense in the second hang with me so a website is a collection of multiple files well, when you create a website with a program like dream waver or you know the old go live that macromedia had an a no we didn't keep around you don't want to go behind dream wavers back and start reorganizing those files or doing anything to those fellas. You want to do everything in dream waver because then it sinks everything and it knows where everything is same thing with light room once you import your pictures in the light room, you want to stay there for everything and that includes moving your files around from folder folder let's say, if I I just get back from allie and I import them into a folder named malley on my hard drive and I'm like dead gunman, I meant to put them in a folder name two thousand fourteen you don't go to eur os to change that directory structure you stay in light room in change that directory structure that where it knows where everything is otherwise it will report that the photos can't be found if you've moved them or dance something to them like that so once you're in that room we stay in light room and if you stay in light room that way you're not going to end up with multiple copies of anything and any changes that you make in light room you're going to see them right there but the changes they're never baked into your original image so if you made a change in light room and you wouldn't look at that file on your hard drive in the s u would not see that any changes were made it would look just like you know, regular fall because it's original file but over in light room you can see everything that has been done to that thank you lisa and one last question from the internet then we'll go to our in studio audience just along that same lines d would like to know let's say you're working on a uh sorry ana collection on your hard drive for a client and then you move it to an external hard drive for basically long term backup and they want youto rework some photos is it as easy as just relinking that path or can you would you suggest moving it if using light room to your external hard drive yeah, you wanted you wanted well, first of all, when you import your pictures however way you do it, you wantto just do it once put him where the heck they're supposed to go, whether it's an internal drive or an external driver and now we're drive he's so light rain is going to know where they are. The collection is like an album and the collection itself lives in light rays, so that's not something that you're going to see on your operating system around your hard drive a collection is not another another file that gets made or duplicated on your drive a collection is just a notation in the catalog say, hey, light room, all of these records thes photo records, they're in this one little folder in light room, so that kind of thing only lives in light room, so you're not going to encounter moving it because the collection isn't a physical thing that lives anywhere it's just a notation in the catalogue and because you're working, you know, even though you're working on an external hard drive what's great about light room is the fact it's it's it can do that very quickly because it's making small notations not final destructive editing yeah, yeah, so the notations justice a text record, so for example question that jimmy and I were talking about yesterday is you know how they are these catalogs what's in these catalogs willis, like we said, is just text records our record for every photo with text in it very, very small. I've got about fifteen thousand photos in my light room library taken with variety of cameras, so they vary in pixel dimensions and therefore how much space they take up on my hard drive. But for about fifteen thousand photos, my catalogue is one hundred fifty meg let it so that's that's really need and you'll begin to understand when we get into the program and start working on it, it will become a little bit more clear but it's very important. Tio tio understand exactly how light room is doing what it does. Do we have a question here in the studio wanted teo clarify you talked a little bit about the benefits of putting everything in one catalog, and I wanted to find out if there's a relationship between catalogs and presets. So if somebody opted to have more than one catalog and there was a pre set that you did in, say, catalog a that you really liked, would you have to recreate it and catalogue be or is the presets another thing that lives sort of separate and relates to whichever catalog you happen to point to a precept from that's a fabulous question thank you the presets if you don't change the defaults and I'll show you how to change that our default because of course you're going want to go do that but by default light room puts the presets in a whole nother folder that folder is accessible by however many catalogues you make so you don't have to recreate your presets now if you do move your presets to live in the folder that the catalog lives in, then the other catalogues won't be able to see the presets so that's a real good argument for letting light room keep your presets where it wants to keep them which is outside of the catalogue folder outside of the pictures folder it's in your user folder library folder on your hard drive but it is important to know how many different pieces in part you're dealing with here for backing up every time you quit light room by default is going to ask you if you want to back up your catalog a lot of folks say a skip skip skip skip skip because one of your options just skip because the first thing that occurs she was like holy cow back at my catalogue that's gonna take forever right? Wouldn't you think that it would take forever because in your mind you're thinking that it includes the pictures that's not it it's on ly wanted back at the database that points to your pictures and like I said I have about fifteen thousand pictures in my latte room database my one catalog in my catalog size on my heart I was about one hundred fifty meg so it's goingto back up like that all right to get even more excited about light room one of the most painful things to teach an image editing and I can have fun teaching anything but even to me resolution is painful to teach not so much what it is because all resolution is the measurement that programs like photoshopping elements in light room used to determine how big the pixels are in your image the individual pixels so your images are made from individual pixels and if you zoom in hard enough you will begin to see them well resolution to split you tell the program how big or how small they are they can be any size for a given number of pixels let's say you took an image and it's three thousand by two thousand pixels well it's physical size if you were to print it would vary depending upon how big or how small your pictures where if they're honking big then you could make a hawk in big print it looked like crap and if the pixels are really, really, really really small then you can make a nice print that's a little bit physically smaller and in sighs so resolution determines how big those pixels are in programs like photo shop and elements, it is extremely crucial that you understand that and that you know how to change the pixel size or resolution without changing the volume of pixels that air in your image, because otherwise you'll destroy your image in, you'll lose quality so it's a complicated affair learning how to do that over in photo shop and elements if you've ever been in the image size dialog box, then you know exactly what I mean. We don't have any of that in my room. I don't even care about what your resolution is in light room, because light room is always going to give you the maximum quality it's going to try to adjust the pixel size according to what you tell it you want. So when we get over into the print module, excitement's got some beautiful template stis for printing, so if you like printing at home on your own ancient printer or if you prepare files to send to an online lab like in picks dot com, you can set up these beautiful print template he don't even have to care about resolution because you're in the print module of light room and light room goes, oh, she wants to print this. I better make the pixels nice and tiny so that she won't be able to see them individually like a stack of legos when I make the print, so light room will control all of that so that's another huge benefit if you've ever been befuddled by resolution or changing image size and funny shopper elements without losing quality, and you're just not going to have to worry about this in liar and so it's far easier to handle complex things like that light room tries its very best to keep you from getting into trouble with your images, quality wise. So that's a really great thing. I just feel people out there on the internet, have you? Yeah, because boy change in size without changing quality that's a tough one over in photo shop. Another great thing that is, um, difficult to understand and a little bit harry to manage over and photo shop and even elements is color space. So color what the heck is color space? Any little color space controls? How many number of colors or in your image? How many colors is that image hold? Well, depending upon the color space, it could be more colors if your colors and for photographers it's very important that we have as many as we possibly can it's more flexible that way so light room works in a very specific color space called pro photo rgb what the heck is that? Well pro photo and then rgb red, green and blue because that's what? Your cameras capturing so here in this graphic actually made this for my photo shop because it's a big old harry discussion over there not in light room. The profiler work space is the largest color space that we can use aside from our eyeballs are eyeballs give us the largest color space possible and no digital device at this point in time can show us a cz many colors is our eyeballs, khun see? So on this graphic here you can see that I've got it seems like two sets of grids okay atop each other. So the white grid in the background is the pro photo rgb space and so the colored grid on top of that is a different color space so that you can see the difference between how many colors you can have in one versus the other. So as you can see here, pro photo rgb shown in white is bigger than adobe rgb, which is what we see at the top left it's bigger than apple rgb which we see at the top right and you can see that the apple rgb space the colored grid is a little bit smaller than the adobe rgb space right on the second row here we're looking at pro photo rgb in white compared to see him like a and you'll notice that seem like a is a smallest color space that we're looking at here on our screen have you ever sent something off let's say you created your own business card and you sent him off to an online printer and you got him back and curious why they're so dark or why the color shift between what you're looking at on your screen which is likely rgb versus what you get back from a printer it's because the printer has to reproduce colors with actual inc on actual paper that's extremely limiting there's printers cannot reproduce all the colors that we can see on our screens or that we can see with our eyes so that's why the smallest color space that you can ever encounter or use the c m y k was that stand for siam magenta yellow black ik those four colors of anchored mixed together to try to reproduce all the colors that are in your image that's why things can look dark or not as vibrant not as colorful in print versus what we see on our screen it's got color spaces small I'm about y'all but when I started understanding this years ago it made everything makes sense to me it made sense that what I see on my screen isn't necessarily what comes out of my printer and why things can come back darker than I expect, but that's why? Because seeing like a is a really small color space when we get into making books on blurb, probably wednesday. What we're going to be doing is obviously working in pro photo rgb in light room. When we export the book, they're going to go to an s rgb workspace, which is what we can see to the right of cm like a sow srg be bigger than sam like a but smaller say then pro photo rgb little bit bigger than apple rgb so what's gonna happen is light room's going to convert those two srg b and then that's going to go toe blurb and blurb is going to do the conversion to seem like a so we're going to be able teo finesse our photos here in light room. We're going to make him a little bit lighter a little bit, so we know tio counter act the darkness. Is that the slight darkening that we're going to get there's not gonna be a huge amount of difference, but it is going to darken it down just a little bit, so we're going to expect that. So we know tio plan for that in our processing the last work space or color space rather down here at the bottom is pro photo rgb versus the human eye and so you can see that the human eye's a honkin big were a color space and you can see pro photo to sticking out a little bit so I hope that helps the whole color space situation make a little bit more sense but the great thing about light room is that it uses pro photo rgb and you don't even have to care about that until you export a photo or you send it over to photo shop from light room because when you do either of those two things you tell it what color space to use over there so you can tell a liar hey light room when you send this to photoshopped if you know you're going to go to a website with this photo you're going to export it for the web or process it over in photo shop and then put it on your website then you can tell it to go to s rgb because that's what our monitors you know our amusing really for the our web beating so you can tell it or hey light room keep this in pro photo rgb over there in photo shop when would you want to do that? Maybe your murder emerging several exposures and you're trying to keep maximum color information maximum data in your files so you can control what works or what color space light rain sins over to photo shop as well as when you export the image and that's really the only time you have to worry about this color space situation and all resolution too for that matter you can control what resolution you send where but if you're just in light room you don't even have to worry about it so there's all these complicated things that are painful to manage and other programs like photoshopped that just seemed to happen automatically here in my room which is really great lisa would you mind touching just very briefly about the benefits of working in this larger color space when your intention maybe to just go to the web or go to see him like a which is a much smaller space? Yeah well basically I like having his much data as I can to work with that gives me more flexibility in my editing but when you export for certain things that can take advantage of the extra data that it's kind of pointless to have it but it is important to know about it let's say I was working in pro photo rgb and I want to process the picture from my website I know that I'm not gonna have it's not gonna look is good on the web as it looks on my screen because the color space this smaller so in in knowing that then you can begin to plan for it, and you'll, you know, I think, encounter far less frustration or confusion. You know, why does this look so different when I print it or I posted on the web? Well, this is why so in understanding it, then you can begin to account for it and control it a little bit. But I like having a cz much data as I can your cameras capturing it. Why not use it, you know, and on lee on ly, get rid of it when your you know when you have tio when you're exporting or you're posting on the web or your printing, you know, used to imprint went, so I was a designer first, then photographer second little let's, say four photographer and then don't go the general. But I did it backwards and managing, you know, this whole singing my case situation was really harry. Well, now we're getting digital printers. And we used to always have to convert everything to see him like a ourself, and that was a harry process. But now, printers, that printer technology is getting so much better and so much better and so much better all the time that the printers now are saying, hey, sadness, sadness, whatever, and we'll let our equipment handle the conversion to get better results because that's their expertise, you know, another analogy is like you wouldn't go to your general practitioner for plastic surgery? No, you go to the specialist. So the printers, they are the specialist at these conversions, it's for their own equipment, they know their own equipment, so but now we're getting more and more that that digital presses are using rgb, which gives us, you know, larger colors and that's a great segway into why would you want to keep maximum data? Because I fired printing technology is getting better. Better, better, better, better, better? Better? What? What if we could print more colors in five years? Wouldn't you like to have that available? Tio so that's? Why? I like working with the most maximum data in the highest, you know, the biggest color space that I can, because printing technology is going to change and it feels good.