I give up : Lightroom is not for me

Discussion in 'Digital and Video Cameras' started by radhak, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. radhak

    radhak Senior member

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    Last year this time I was yearning for Lightroom because I had heard of its legendary photo management workflow abilities. Then in August I grabbed a chance to buy the LR 4 for $37 (student price) on Amazon - an incredible opportunity, or so I thought.

    After using it for these many days, I finally have to accept that LR is a bigger pain for my style of work than a help. And its biggest selling point is my bug-bear : non-destructive editing.

    I'm not a professional photographer, and my need for an image processor is for quick tweaks and clean ups before I upload pics online for friends and family to consume. And while LR allows me to do the clean up and tweaks, the fact that I do not have an option to save the changes to the file is a huge negative for me. To publish the photo, or send by email, I have to export it to another file which will have these changes. And if I want to change half of the 300 pictures I want to share from a holiday cruise, I gotta export each one of these 150, then somehow merge with the rest that were unchanged, and upload them (or do all that in whatever order).

    I get the appeal of the non-destructive editing of LR - you always have the original picture unchanged, to be manipulated as many times as you want. But then, when I edit my picture, it's to crop them, highlight them, or whatever, with the idea that I don't need the original at all. I'm good with the changed image, and rarely (never?) will I want to go back to the original. The way it is, I end up with unnecessary duplicates of images - the originals, and the exports. And since overwriting the original file is not allowed during export, my 'workflow' now consists of exporting, then copying the exported file over the original. (I know, that might be shocking to some of you, but like I said, I ain't no professional).

    I'm only surprised that LR 4 does not offer a small toggle somewhere, a check box, that'd allow me to save my changes directly to the image itself, a 'destructive edit', so to speak.

    And yes, I know I can upload online directly from LR, and skip keeping a copy of the final image locally; but that means when my daughter wants to sync the picnic pictures to her iPod she gets the unprocessed pics, or when my wife copies over pictures to her work-laptop (which does not connect to online photo sites). No, I do need the final image saved up on my hard-drive.

    At this point, Picasa would work nicely for me if it's image processing were better; heck, maybe Elements might do for me; gotta check it out. There's a lot to love about LR, particularly that I can make a series of edits to one picture and copy those changes to all other pics from the same set in one fell swoop. But I wish they'd start thinking about the casual user too...
     
  2. Kaido

    Kaido Lifer

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    Yeah, I'd really like a "pro" version of Picasa. Something I don't have to think about to get into, but that gives me a bit of power to play with. Most of the time I just end up using a photo editor on my iPhone :p I really like Lightroom, but for basic stuff I end up just using Picasa.
     
  3. xSauronx

    xSauronx Lifer

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    FYI you can select a group, right click, and "Export" to decide where you want to put the exported files. you can pick one folder. set it up how you want then just ctrl click or shift click your photos, and "export with previous" should put them all exported the same way in the same place.

    sorry it doesnt destroy your photos, but if youre just using jpegs then storage shouldnt be a big deal, and if you just export to one place you can delete the imported photos when you are done exporting them.
     
  4. magomago

    magomago Lifer

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    Unless you have trouble with HDD space (which is ludicrously cheap) I don't get it; LR by default shows you the latest version of the image. Period.

    Why copy the image back over the originals? Better yet: why are you bothering to fiddle with the folders where your originals are stored?

    The more I thikn about it, I don't think your issue is Lightroom itself, but how you have it setup. You need to decouple where you STORE the originals to where you ACCESS your pictures.

    It sounds like if you are syncing images, it is checking a folder...


    Here would be my suggestion:
    - Do not load up the pictures to the normal folder you access.
    - Load all your photos into so other photo called "ORIGINAL_PICTURES" that all syncing tools do not access, that Lightroom dumps to by default.
    - Make all the image edits and cropping you want
    - Now go ahead and export your images to the normal folder that you prefer to navigate in.
    - Don't even bother loading up lightroom again

    To give an example:
    - I normally put all my pics in "My Pictures" because that is where all syncing for me happens
    - Instead of loading pictures in there, I create a folder under another Drive D:\ called "ORIGINAL_IMAGES".....D:\ORIGINAL_IMAGES.
    - Lightroom by default accesses the images there
    - I make all my change sin lightroom for my 400 pictures that I took on a day at the beach
    - I EXPORT to the "My Pictures" Folder
    - now when my kids, wife, parents, dog and cat wants to bring over their Ipod to sync pictures, it only accesses the "My Pcitures" folder and they get everything
    - now when I want to look at my imagines, I just sift through "my pictures" folder.
    - I completely forgot about "ORIGINAL_IMAGES" because that is what LrightRoom deals with
     
  5. Syborg1211

    Syborg1211 Diamond Member

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    So you never run into a situation where you edited a photo and looked at it later and decided you didn't like the changes you made? I'm always finding something I can tweak when I look back through my pictures. It's a lot harder to undo changes without the original file.

    When I get my photos off my SD card, they go into my photo archive, then I import the photos I want to edit/share with people. Then I export from Lightroom into my folder which is designated as photos meant for sharing (typically on my dropbox). This way I never touch the archived original files throughout this process. This might work better for me since I work with raw files which you HAVE to export in order to generate a share-able jpeg.

    I notice you have a D90. Any reason you don't use raw files? They offer a crazy amount more flexibility in editing.
     
  6. blastingcap

    blastingcap Diamond Member

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    HDD space is cheap. Just have an archive copy, then create temporary catalogs and export them to a temp directory. Repeat as often as you want.
     
  7. radhak

    radhak Senior member

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    Well, I'd be... those are pretty good suggestions. I could keep the LR work area (and originals it uses) in a completely different drive while the output could reside wherever the family goes for pics. And looks like I should explore the Export option a bit more.

    But it does seem like I'm adapting myself to fit the tool instead of leveraging the tool to work the way I do - I can't understand why they'd not give the option of over-writing my images. I daresay I can't be the only user with this style of work?

    I do shoot in raw, but not very often. Before LR I didn't have anything to handle raw, and even now I ain't got a good hang of it : Lightroom is a bit intimidating that way :$!
     
    #7 radhak, Jan 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  8. nOOky

    nOOky Senior member

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    I have never used Lightroom. I usually use paint.net as it's powerful enough for basic editing, and when I save the image I usually change the name of the file and save it to a different folder or the same folder and it asks if you want to overwrite the original (duh).
    Photo editing itself is an art form if you ask me, and I suck at it. I make changes, change settings, then compare them to the original, and I'm not usually sure if I made it better or worse!
     
    #8 nOOky, Jan 30, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
  9. Anteaus

    Anteaus Platinum Member

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    Lightroom's strength is handling large groups of photos, preferable from raw. You can apply group presets and tweak as you go. While it can be used for one off photo editing, it's interface is not optimized for it. Lightroom is mostly about optimizing process and less about creativity, though it can be argued that exposure is creativity. In other words, Lightroom is incredibly powerful but you'll get the most out of it if you intend on processing every photo you take instead of just one or two.

    I shoot only raw and when I travel it's not uncommon to have 500-700 photos to process. While it still takes some time, Lightroom makes it very easy because with a few mouse clicks and a button press I can bounce from one image to the next without having to deal with importing each image individually. It's especially useful when I start dealing with noise reduction and/or sharpening. With JPG you gotta just take whatever the camera gives you, whereas with raw I can choose just the right amount for each photo.

    If you are shooting JPG and just want to touch up the occasional photo, I'd recommend something like Photoshop Elements instead.

    As the person above said, editing photos is an art form because it's as much about feel as it is technical. I'd say just choose whichever tool makes it more fun for you.
     
  10. MagnusTheBrewer

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    It seems like you have more file management issues than Lightroom issues.
     
  11. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Lifer

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    You don't destroy film negatives once you print your photos, so why do it with digital?

    Like people have said, you're going about it in a way that is wrong. Not just different, but wrong. The reason I say that is because the pictures you want to share with your family are only a subset of ALL the pictures you take. No matter how good you are, most of your photos are bad and shouldn't be shared. So it really makes sense to have a separate folder for originals and then you pick the good ones and edit them.


    My problem with Lightroom is I format my computer and forget to backup the catalog file, so all my changes are lost... I suggest putting the catalog in the same folder as your original images.
     
  12. shortylickens

    shortylickens No Lifer

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    Adobes marketing department works a little too hard. The vast majority of people really dont need anything they sell. Most of us (if we applied ourselves) could get by with MS Paint for our needs. The rest could make do with Gimp or Picasa. A few might need some more advanced tools, and be willing to pay for them, like ACDSee pro, or Corels Paint Shop or Paint Brush.

    Photoshops prices assume you will be using it to make money off your work, which none of us here actually do. It also assumes you'd be willing to invest time in teaching yourself (real time, like a college class) and also the money if needed.
    My aunt runs a wedding photography business and she doesnt use anything more than one of those el cheapo programs most other "professionals" scoff at.

    http://www.barrettphotography.com/Home.html
     
  13. GoSharks

    GoSharks Diamond Member

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    Lightroom is not Photoshop.
     
  14. The Stigenator

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    let me say you are doing it wrong..

    you should be using the lightroom 4 'snapshot' feature, after you make changes, you can have several 'looks' of the same shot.. just export that picture to an new directory, never over right the original.

    what you need is to sit through the lightroom tutorials.. you will learn to love it just like I do. The tutorials help. There is a video on the web (try the torrent sites) on how to use LR3, but it applies to LR4
     
  15. Munky

    Munky Diamond Member

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    And this is why I don't do Lightroom. Tried it a few years back, and uninstalled it soon after. I don't clump all my mp3's or movies into one giant directory and rely on some library program, and I'm not about to do that with photo's. That way I am free to use any photo editor, including those available for Linux which runs in Virtualbox, instead of being tied to Adobe's proprietary crap.
     
  16. shortylickens

    shortylickens No Lifer

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    I never said it was.

    Am speaking in generalities. Adobe has convinced far too many unsuspecting people they need their overpriced software, which even includes Lightroom. Most folks could probably get by with free or cheap tools.
     
  17. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Lifer

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    What are you talking about? You can put your photos wherever you want. I just copy each day's folder from the memory card to my a folder named for the month. Lightroom has a button to add a folder, all you do is select the folder that you copied.

    What is proprietary about Lightroom?
     
  18. Munky

    Munky Diamond Member

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    Why does Lightroom need to keep separate "library" files of all my photos, which I may or may not have edited? It's doing a bunch of crap without me having asked it to do so.
     
  19. finbarqs

    finbarqs Diamond Member

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    just take a lightroom class so you'll understand the appeal of lightroom more.
     
  20. randomrogue

    randomrogue Diamond Member

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    This whole problem could have been avoided by spending $30 on a book that explains how to utilize the full potential of lightroom.

    I prefer Kelby.
     
  21. Tsavo

    Tsavo Platinum Member

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    +102
     
  22. radhak

    radhak Senior member

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    Yes, I get it - and that's my problem! I want just one copy of the photo! I never need those multiple 'looks', nor want to go back to a pic and re-do it for whatever reason. I don't have clients that come back and say they wanted the sky blown out more or the bride's ring finger to be burnished better. If my brother's wife wishes her hair looked better in that photo, I say, "we'll take another one", or even better - fix that existing pic again; if there's more loss of quality because of multiple edits and saves, I can assure you, I'd be the only one knowing of it, or worried even when told. This is the phone-camera crowd where bad quality pics are du jour!

    Um, you are half-right. This could have been avoided if I had read that book before I bought the software - so that I may not have bought it! Or maybe not - I don't think this whole idea of non-destructive edit would have sunk in if I had not used it first (I have that book btw, and it's as good as you say. I'm using it as a reference).


    +1. Me, for example! This is what I meant above - I wanted the software before I knew what I'd do with it. But it was a perfect storm - I take a lot of pictures; many need processing; I had heard LR's workflow and editing capability; and it suddenly popped up at $37 for me to buy at Amazon. At $300, or $150, I may have thought twice. At $37, it's a great deal, and believe me, I ain't selling it anytime soon! But rarely have I run into an 'adverse' feature of a software that makes me rethink the value of the software! (I know, I meant 'adverse' very casually - I know the non-destructive edit is the best thing ever for most users).

    Yes, that's the other thing - after doing so many edits to many pictures in multiple folders for various events, now I need to backup the LR catalog just as much diligently as the actual pictures themselves. If I lose that, I gotta start again! And as a database guy, trusting another's database makes me nervous...
     
  23. twistedlogic

    twistedlogic Senior member

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    Not sure what you mean by "library" files. There is one library made, it keeps the non-destructive edit instructions you've made to your images. This is easily backed up and transferable.

    Lightroom also makes a preview image of every photo you look at. This way LR doesn't have to touch any of your original photos and doesn't have to waste time/bandwith opening the entire full resolution image, as the one you see in LR is just a thumbnail of sorts, unless you've zoomed in to 1:1.

    Yeah that appears to be the problem. You are looking for a photo editing program, which is not what LR is all about. LR is "designed to assist users in managing large quantities of digital images and doing post production work. Lightroom combines photo management and editing in one interface."

    Once you leverage LR's features like snapshots, multiple libraries, export presets, keyword tagging, syncing photos, etc, etc. It is truly a wonderful program that will integrate with Photoshop quite well.
     
  24. elitejp

    elitejp Senior member

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    OP, if your just doing a few edits to your pictures such as just touching them up a little and then not really worrying about them again then you will see no loss in pic quality. The problem arrives when you do extreme edits, save it, redo the extreme edits, save it again and then decide you liked the extreme edits better in the end and do the edits again. In this case you will start seeing a difference. Probably not a big difference but probably something.

    The whole reason for saving an original is that you can always start off with a clean start. You have the most amount of color info as possible. This is also the reason people shoot and then edit raw files rather than jpg.

    I dont use lightroom but i will assume its the same way adobe bridge works. It doesnt create a new folder where all my originals are copied over to it. Rather I tell it where my originals are and it reads those files. I then edit the way i want and have PS set up to save the way i want to have it saved.
     
  25. Syborg1211

    Syborg1211 Diamond Member

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    There are different ways to set up Lightroom. You can make it so that instead of a catalog it creates another file right next to the original file that stores all your edits. I don't do this because it generates a crapload more new files instead of just one big catalog file, but if you are that paranoid about losing your catalog then you might change it to this.

    Also, I think the real problem is that people buy programs like Lightroom and expect the programs to adapt and add value to the user instead of the user adapting to the program and recognizing the streamlined process that the program such as Lightroom was built for.

    As for the argument of free programs over "expensive" programs, first off Lightroom is cheap as dirt compared to ANY photo equipment you want to buy. Don't put Lightroom in the same bin as photoshop. You might be able to do a lot of things using free programs that Lightroom can, but I'll bet you can do it faster and more effectively using Lightroom.

    There's also a ton of little programs that you might pay 10 or 20 dollars to perform a single task, such as HDR with photomatix or pano stitching with other programs. A program like Photoshop has every one of those little tools available and built in. Sure you pay a big up front cost, but you don't get nickel and dimed afterward. Plus it's all in one streamlined program versus several other ones. I don't own photoshop because I agree it's expensive, but I can see why people do.

    You should check out some of the free videos on PHLearn and watch what they accomplish using Photoshop and how quickly they can do it. Name one free program that can do the same thing.
     
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