Hi there, my name’s Liam and I’ve been working with Lightroom, or Lightroom Classic as it’s called nowadays, for many many years. Throughout those years I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and today I want to make sure you don’t repeat them!
Creating multiple catalogs
By now you’ve probably read an equal amount of articles telling you to either create just a single catalog or to create multiple catalogs. Some will say you should create a catalog per year, or one for professional use and another for private use, some even go as far as to say you should create a catalog per project.
I stand firmly in the one catalog for everything camp. I’ll even go as far as to say that you’re using Lightroom Classic wrong if you use multiple catalogs. There’s a myth that Lightroom Classic will suddenly start slowing down when your catalog has reached a certain size. But that is simply isn’t the case.
Even Adobe recommends a single catalog. I could make a whole video on this subject alone, to boil it down, Lightroom Classic has multiple ways of organising photos using tags and collections which make multiple catalogs unnecessary.
Moving files and folders using Explorer or Finder
Lightroom Classic gets confused once you start moving files and folders outside of the application itself. Which makes sense if you think about it. No one is telling Lightroom Classic where those files and folders are going. Once imported it is crucial that you only ever move files and folders inside of Lightroom Classic and not using Windows Explorer or Finder.
Enabling night mode
I remember a few years ago I had finished a long editing session and went straight to bed afterwards. After waking up I wanted to have a quick glance at my work and I realised all of the photos I had been editing had a blue shift.
Then it hit me. I had not disabled the night mode in Windows. Because the night mode will try to remove blue lights and makes everything warmer I had compensated by cooling off the white balance.
I learnt my lesson and have now disabled night mode on my editing rig. After all, studies are now showing that it might actually be bad for your sleep.
Using every slider
You don’t have to use every single slider in Lightroom Classic. Just because the option is there don’t feel compelled to use it if you’re happy with the way your Photo looks. If you don’t feel like using split toning, don’t use it.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment though. Especially when starting. Play with those sliders as much as you want and always remember a double click will reset it.
Not backing up
Lightroom Classic has a built in backup system for your catalog. Use it! And make sure your backups are stored on another device, not just your internal drive. If your catalog were to somehow irreparably break, there’s no going back. All of your work inside of Lightroom Classic would be gone. Because as we learnt in one of my videos, Lightroom Classic is a non-destructive editor.
Not many people might know this but there is another way of backing up your edits inside of an XMP sidecar file. Go into your settings and enable the option to automatically write changes into XMP. That way Lightroom Classic will create a wee sidecar file to your raw file containing information on the edit. So if you’re catalog has any issues you could also rebuild it using those sidecar files.