Six Ways to Speed-up Lightroom®
One of the hot topics these days and has been since Lightroom ever came out is how to speed it up, and there's little tricks that you may or may not be aware of to speed up Lightroom. So hard drive space, scratch disk space, so what you may not be aware of is how full your hard drive is affects how fast all of your software works, not just Lightroom, so if we go to the computer here, you may or may not be able to see your hard drive on your laptop here, when you double-click on that and this is a terabyte hard drive with 444 gigabytes available, or it might be different on a PC obviously but if you to About This Mac on your Apple Computer if you have an Apple, you can look at storage here and it'll actually tell you the same numbers there if you don't have your hard drive available, but if you've got like 80% of your hard drive filled up or if your hard drive's completely filled up, that's why everything is running slow. So you gotta clean that computer off, that's kind of a key thing,...
just computer maintenance, this isn't necessarily even Lightroom, but computer maintenance. So back to the key note here, let's see, RAM and 64-bit processing so technically now, if you have a computer that's been made in the last four to five years, you're in 64-bit processing by default, Lightroom's already ramped up to that and has been for quite awhile, so is Photoshop. RAM, so random access memory is a chip that's in your computer that you can actually add more RAM or subtract more RAM. I don't know why you'd wanna lower your RAM count but typical computer has between eight to 16 gigabytes of RAM, that's okay, I think this one has 16 as a laptop. When you buy a tower, you might have 32 or or even 128 if you spend a truckload of money, like if you're gonna buy an Apple iMac Pro. And it gives you all these options and the price goes up, depending on how much RAM you have and a few other things. Within that, the graphics processor that you have within your computer as well, when we look at the preferences, you might have noticed that it actually noted which AMD graphics processor I had in this specific laptop. The faster your graphics processor, the faster it's going to be able to render those previews when you're actually looking at them, not necessarily building them. But the more RAM you have, the better off you are because Lightroom uses a ton of RAM in terms of the memory, so just something to know. And this again, actually if you go to the computer and you go to About This Mac, it probably tells you, right here this memory. 16 gigabytes, 1600 megahertz DDR3, that's the amount of RAM I have. And whenever I bought this computer two and a half years ago, that was the maximum amount, so I maxed out the RAM on the computer. So for some of these photo processing softwares, it definitely matters how fast your computer is. It's not quite like video where you need the ultimate crazy ultimate expensive computer, mid-grade Apple Computer or a decent PC is probably gonna run Lightroom fairly quickly. It also depends on how big your files are coming out of your camera. The higher resolution the images are on your camera is gonna affect how fast they take to build because they're bigger image files which is fairly sensical. So moving on back to the key note here. I showed you earlier when I imported, rendering those one to one imports will take a little bit more time up front when you're importing your images that you've downloaded into Lightroom. But go get a cup of coffee or whatever. Sometimes, like I did a shoot at Jaws which is also known as Peahi, it's one of the biggest big wave surfing waves in the world off the north coast of Maui and I shot 9000 pictures in one day, on my D850, 46 megapixels. It was almost a terabyte full of images. So you can imagine, it took like an hour to render 9000 one to one previews, but it allowed me to go through lightning fast, well maybe not lightning fast, but pretty quickly to go through those images and figure out which ones are the one, technically, I'm still editing those images, because 9000 images take awhile, but if you're shooting lots of images, that will help it go much faster. And we've already shown how you do that. Let me just go back to Lightroom here so you can see, I'm just gonna hit import and show you where that is here. It's right here so you can choose standard, which is just your not zoomed in previews. You can choose minimal actually if you wanna imbed it in sidecar. Those will build super fast but they're gonna be like your filmstrip, your little tiny images, or I think for Canon cameras, they do have sidecar embedded files already being made in the images themselves from the raw file so those are already made, you don't even have to make anything. So it just depends on how fast you have to go, but choosing one to one solves a lot of problems for a lot of people and makes Lightroom much faster, so you're not waiting for it. So, let's go back to the key note. Setting up your preferences, which we just went over in the last section, that XMP little checkbox that we noted, will actually slow Lightroom down just a hair, but it is a massive backup in case something goes wrong, so I really recommend that it's worthwhile. If you don't have that checkbox done, you can hit command all to select all your images, you can hit command S and what it's gonna do is basically you can also go up here and go to save metadata to files and click that and that's gonna write out the latest set of metadata to the XMP sidecar files for each and every file so that it's saved, so if you don't check that checkbox, save, hit command S every once in awhile. I would just recommend checking the boxes. I have not noticed it really slowing things down much at all. So going back to the key note here. See, where we at? Optimize Lightroom catalog and connection speed, so this is a big one. If you go up here to catalog settings, I believe. Where'd it go, oh, they moved it. Isn't it right here? It's in preferences now or maybe it's in your file, optimize catalog, it used to be under Lightroom. So if you click optimize catalog it won't do it because it's gonna take some time. What it's gonna do is it's gonna basically check that all the images you say are in the catalog are where they say there are and it's reading them okay and everything's good with those files. And just it's gonna do like a tune up on your Lightroom catalog to make sure it's working the way it thinks it should be working and that can definitely help it run a little bit faster. So good to do that every once in awhile. Not something to do every week, maybe once a month, I don't know, however often you feel like you need to do it and if you have a giant file, a catalog like mine at home that's a half a million, that could take an hour. It depends on how many images you have in a catalog that said how long this is gonna take. So just be aware if you've got a giant catalog and you've gotta get work done, you may wanna do that later. Or if it's really bogged down, maybe you do that and you come back later and finish it then. Something to think about. In terms of connection speeds, let's go back to the key note here. This is a big one, this is probably the A number one besides the one to one previews. Misunderstanding of how hard drives work and what's really going on and we're really gonna get into hard drives when we talk about archiving and backing up your images, but, let's just talk about the different connection speeds 'cause a lot of us, for most of us we have our images on a external computer or external hard drive, excuse me. And those hard drives may or may not be so fast, depending on how they're connected and what kind of hard drives they are so there's connection speeds which the companies really love to tout. Thunderbolt, oh my gosh, it's 40 gigabytes per second. Woo hoo, well, that's theoretical, and in reality it's nowhere near that fast. Like in reality, the hard disk drive which means it's a spinning disc, it's not a solid state drive. This is from Other World Computing, they actually have real world data on their website when you buy a hard drive or whatever external enclosure, they tell you exactly how fast that will be when it's brand new. 213 megabits a second is a lot less than 40 gigabytes per second, that's like .0001% of that theoretical number and that's as fast as that drive's ever gonna get, and as you start writing on the inner part of the disc, it's gonna get slower and slower and slower as you fill it up so your hard drive, no matter what connection it's connected with, if it's a spinning disc drive, that's a pretty slow drive. If you use a RAID system, well let's go back, solid state is way faster so solid state, this is solid state, your memory card is a solid state hard drive. It's basically a silicone chip where they're changing the magnetic field for each little space of the chip to give you a zero or one. So this is 430 megabits per second, that's kind of average solid state hard drive. There's some solid state hard drives right now that go up to 2800 megabits per second. The hard drive within your computer, especially if you own an Apple laptop, is likely faster than any hard drive you're likely to ever use anywhere else. So if you're on the road and you want things to go fast, put it on this hard drive and then when you need to move it back home into your catalog, do that when you get back to the office or at home or whatever. 'Cause this hard drive, I think the specs on this exact model, they might be faster on the newer ones, it's like 1300 megabits per second, which is faster than this, because the way Apple has optimized their hard drives to make these things run fast. When I start this computer up, it takes like two seconds for everything to come, it's like wow. Imagine the old days with my 2008 computer, it took like 18 seconds to start up the computer, because the hard drive was so slow. So this makes a big difference, so if you want things to run fast, buy a solid state hard drive for your portable electronic drive. If you want things to run even faster, you would get like a RAID 0 array with four or eight hard drives and these are hard disc, spinning disc drives but it's using all of them at the same time, so then you start multiplying that by 200 by 200 by 200 and you get a 13, 1294 megabits per second, and that makes it faster and Lightroom's gonna respond much faster if it can access that information back and forth. So these are all Thunderbolt drives, but even though the theoretical limit is 40 gigabits per second, here no where near that in real world usage because the physical hard drive itself is dictating the speed, so that's kind of the bottleneck of the situation. So... I don't have any hard drives connected here, but if you are working on images that are on your external hard drive, and we'll be talking about this in the next few sections, where to put your images, how to name the files and the folders. This is a big deal, this is the biggest part of speeding up Lightroom. When you're on the road, I think G-Technology just came out with some brand new one terabyte solid state drive so they'd get like seven or 800 megabits per second. There's some, out of the world of computing, just came out with these insane drives, they cost a fortune, but if you need wicked fast drives, they're out there. If you're doing 8K video with red cameras, you might want some of these crazy expensive drives so you could actually even work that footage up on your laptop, so it just depends on what you need. The last thing I'll say, I think this is the last one, is embed, the metadata and the keywords, when you're importing, so if you go back to Lightroom here, and when I imported these images, you'll remember I chose this metadata preset here. I can actually even go down here, I've got a bunch of these presets and edit this preset. And I can put in a caption if it's all the same thing and I could actually put in sub location, city, all this information right here as I import the images and that's maybe all I have to do for the entire shoot is just put this info here. And that just speeds it all up. If you choose to do this after the fact, it's a hair slower in Lightroom. It's not too big of a deal but just depends on what you're doing, at this point, when I'm importing, excuse me, I'm generally applying a generic metadata set because say I'm shooting that surfing shoot, as you know it's Maui, Hawaii are the key words, big wave surfing, Peahi, Jaws, Peahi's the Hawaiian name for this wave. But then there might be a different surfer, maybe one's Kai Lenny, maybe Albee Layer's another surfer so I wanna go into each individual group of images and put the captions with the name of the surfer in there. So it depends on how specific you want to get on this and what you need to do, you may not need to do any of that but as we'll see later on, it's really a good idea to put at least two or three key words in here that at least can help you find those images down the road, especially depending on how you name your images.