Notes on Lightroom

A few preliminary notes by Walter vom Saal

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This document contains various notes and thoughts on Lightroom.

In 2010 I shifted from using ThumbsPlus to using Lightroom.

- For notes on ThumbsPlus, including my reasons for giving up on it, see Notes on ThumbsPlus.
- There is also a page with a few comparisons between ThumbsPlus and Lightroom.

Positive features

Lightroom is extremely powerful and filled with valuable features. I won't try to list all these here.

Features I'd like to see added

Here are some features that Lightroom does not have, but I wish it did. The first three are features I am used to having in ThumbsPlus, and will miss after my shift to Lightroom. (These are the same ones described on the separate page about ThumbsPlus vs. Lightroom.)

Off line media. It would be nice if Lightroom made it easy to keep records of all your off-line disks. ThumbsPlus can keep these records for all media, including external hard drives, CDs or DVDs, thumb drives, or on any other the main database. You can see thumbnails or all photos on all your off-line media, including keywords, annotations, galleries. You could use the database to search for and find photos no matter where they are stored.

File types. Lightroom is very limited in the number of file types that can be shown and kept in the database. In contrast, ThumbsPlus can show thumbnails of a huge number of file types, and even for those where it cannot display a visual thumbnail, it can keep keywords and annotations. Here are some situations where I find that extremely useful:

If I want to keep a text file or a word file or an audio file to give additional information on a particular photo, a particular gallery, a particular set of photos, or a folder of photos, it is easy to add such a file, keep it with the photos, and find it in the database.

I had a camera that allowed me to record audio notes along with the photo. It was extremely useful, especially taking photos in another country with someone wh was explaining to me what different flowers, shells, and other things were. ThumbsPlus not only keeps the audio files, and allows annotations and keywords on the files, but it can be set to play the audio note along with the photo in a slide show.

See the full file folder structure. I find it frustrating that Lightroom does not allow me to see the full file folder structure. ThumbsPlus shows the entire folder structure on your computer (if you want to see it). I found this extremely valuable. Here are some examples:

Sometimes I might have an empty folder, such as a temporary folder that sometimes contains photos and other times does not. I want to be able to see that photo even if it has no photos in it.

Sometime I have companion folders mingled in with my photos that have documents or text files with related information. I want to be able to see those folders to know they are there.

Sometimes I make empty folders with instructions or cross references. For example, I might add a folder named "check copyright before adding photos here" or some such reminder to myself. Or I might add a folder named "ALSO SEE [name of some other folder that has related photos]." Again I found that extremely helpful. I want to be able to see those folders in Lightroom.

There are ways to see empty folders in Lightroom. One way is to create the folders within Lightroom itself. Or, if the folders already exist, you can put a photo inside each folder and import the folder into Lightroom. However, these are cumbersome and prone to error. MUCH BETTER would be if Lightroom would offer you the option of seeing your full folder structure. I hope it will do so in a future version.



See also:

Notes on ThumbsPlus

A comparison of ThumbsPlus versus Lightroom

Procedures for migrating from ThumbsPlus to Lightroom


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[Updated 3/24/2012]