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Set Up Lightroom

1 - Backup the Catalog

If your Lightroom catalog becomes corrupted, you're in trouble.

Back it up every time Lightroom closes.

If you haven't already, go to Backup the Catalog.

2 - Catalog Settings

Go to Edit > Catalog Settings (Windows) or Lightroom > Catalog Settings (Mac).

Or, press Ctrl + Alt + ,.

General Tab

In the Backup section, consider changing the default to Every time Lightroom exits.

File Handling Tab

Standard Preview Size & Preview Quality

You can set the size and quality of the previews that Lightroom displays.

Use the size and quality that corresponds to your monitor's specification and to your needs.

Do the following.

1) Go to Edit > Catalog Settings (Windows) or Lightroom > Catalog Settings (Mac).

Or, press Ctrl + Alt + ,.

2) Click the File Handling tab.

3) Choose the preview size and the review quality.

• For Standard Preview Size, the default setting, 1440, is fine for most monitors.

If you have a very large monitor, try 2048.

• For Preview Quality, the default setting, Medium, is fine for most monitors.

If you have a very large monitor, try High.

All three quality levels are in the upper range of JPEG quality.

Automatically Discard 1:1 Previews

1:1 previews are large.

Therefore, the default setting, After 30 Days, will conserve your hard drive space.

Metadata Tab

The default metadata settings are fine for most photographers.

3 - Preferences

Go to Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Lightroom > Preferences (Mac).

Or, press Ctrl + ,.

General Tab

• Deselect the splash screen if you wish.

The splash screen is the credit window that appears briefly when you open Lightroom.

• By default, Automatically check for updates is selected.

• By default, Lightroom will open in the Import window when you attach a memory card to your computer.

If you don't want Lightroom to do so, deselect Show import dialog when a memory card is detected.

• If you're saving both raw and JPEG files on your camera, Lightroom, go to Both Raw & JPEG Files.

Presets Tab

The default preset settings are fine for most photographers.

However, if you're taking your Lightroom catalog from computer to computer using an external hard drive, read on.

Your presets won't travel with you.

That's because they're stored, by default, in a location distant from your Lightroom catalog.

Windows 10: C: > Users > username > AppData > Roaming > Adobe > Lightroom

Windows 7: C: > User > username > AppData > Roaming > Adobe > Lightroom

Mac: Macintosh HD > Users > [your username] > Library > Application Support > Adobe > Lightroom

You can store them in the Lightroom folder with the Lightroom catalog, in the Lightroom Settings folder.

Windows 10: C: > Users > username > Pictures > Lightroom > Lightroom Settings

Windows 7: C: > User > username > My Pictures > Lightroom > Lightroom Settings

Mac: Macintosh HD > Pictures > Lightroom > Lightroom Settings

Then—wherever your catalog goes—so do your presets.

Do the following.

1) Go to Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Lightroom > Preferences (Mac).

Or, press Ctrl + ,.

2) Click the Presets tab.

3) In the Location section, in the middle, select Store presets with this catalog.

If you already have presets in the distant location, and you want to store them near the catalog, do the following.

1) Go to the distant default location.

2) Copy the preset folders.

3) Go to the folder where your catalog is located, and paste the preset folders into the Lightroom Settings folder.

4) Close and restart Lightroom.

External Editing Tab

Lightroom automatically senses the presence of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements on your computer.

Set the external editor preferences.

• Select the file format that you're familiar with.

If you use programs other than Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, consider using the TIFF file format.

Also, while most labs want JPEGS, and a few labs can handle TIFFs, very labs want to work with PSDs.

• Set the color space to the one you're using in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

• If you're using Photoshop Elements, set the bit depth to 8 bits.

• Set the resolution to the value you use in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

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External Editor Preferences

File Handling Tab

The default file handling settings are fine for most photographers.

Interface Tab

• Select Zoom clicked to center.

Then, wherever you click, that will become the center point of the photograph when zooming.

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Zoom clicked point to center

4 - Import Set Up

Do the following when you import some photographs into Lightroom.

Your photograph files have JPEG previews.

They're embedded in the files, or are in sidecar files.

You can specify how Lightroom creates previews when importing.

There are four choices.

As you go from Choice #1 to Choice #4:

• Importing takes longer.

• The space occupied on your hard drive by the previews increases.

The import-speed and hard-drive space differences are small between the first three choices.

Choice #4, 1:1, slows importing substantially, and takes up a lot of hard drive space.

Many photographers use the default choice, Minimal.

That's because Lightroom can create a larger preview whenever its required.

Choice #1 - Minimal

Lightroom creates a small preview from the existing embedded/sidecar preview.

Choice #2 - Embedded & Sidecar

Lightroom makes the best possible preview from the existing embedded/sidecar preview on the memory card.

Color Management

The above two choices are not color managed.

The two choices below are color managed using the ProPhoto RGB color space.

Choice #3 - Standard

The Standard preview is what you see when you click Fit on the zoom bar in the Loupe view.

Choice #4 - 1:1

1:1 previews are what you see in the Develop module when you click 1:1 (100%).

1:1 previews display sharpening and noise reduction.

Choose One of the Four Choices

When you're importing some files, do the following.

1) You've done one of the following.

• You've connected your camera to your computer, and have turned it on.

• You've connected a card reader with a card.

• You've selected a folder to import.

2) Press g to make sure you're in the Library module.

3) Click Import in the lower-left corner.

4) Open the File Handling panel on the right side.

5) Choose one of the following on the Renders Previews menu.

• Minimal

• Embedded & Sidecar

• Standard

• 1:1

6) Finish the import process.