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06-15-2013, 11:05 PM   #1
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Lightroom Beginner - Questions

I'm very much a beginner to post processing - Lightroom in particular. I'm currently using LIghtroom 4 on my macbook pro. I have just a couple questions about using it that I'd love some feedback on.

1. Most Mac users will be familiar with iPhoto, and I'm wondering if it's a good idea to continue using iPhoto & Lightroom together? Can the two even be used together? So far from what I can tell, iPhoto is a much easier system to use for storing and organizing photos.

2. If I am to switch to using Lightroom as my all-in-one, library, organizer, and editor - does it make sense to keep the RAW files after editing (they take up significantly more space)? There doesn't seem to be a function or an easy way to just convert my RAW to jpgs and overwrite. The jpgs have to be assigned an output folder as well, and if I don't want to keep the RAW files, I have to go into the folder separately afterwards to delete them all myself.

Other than that, I am loving the post processing capabilities of this tool.

Thanks

06-15-2013, 11:20 PM   #2
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1) Not a Mac user myself so others may have different/better answer but I would think you need to decide which to use and learn that. Running essentially two different DAM systems in parallel would be cumbersome and double work.

2) Yes, you keep the RAWs. Think of those as your negatives, jpegs are the same as prints. When you need a jpeg you make one to order, when you need a paper print you make one with the size and resolution you want. Others may disagree, but IMHO you NEVER get rid of a RAW. Lightroom takes some learning and partly because of concepts like archiving the RAWs not the jpegs. But if you shot film would you take the prints home from the photo shop and toss the negatives into the trash? In my case I keep the RAWs and not the jpegs. The only jpegs I have as separate files are those that have been sent to my agency, I keep them in an archive folder by year. To be honest I've never looked at them again. I always go back to the RAW in LR if I need another copy or want to do something different with a file.

One thing to make sure you take advantage of is the presets built into nearly every part of LR. Once you figure out how you want to do something make a preset for it and then use that. If I had to figure everything out each time I wanted to import a card of images I would go nuts. Instead the preset puts the images where I want, makes a backup elsewhere, applies a develop preset with basic changes, adds my copyright info and renames the files to my naming convention. One click and done. It took me months of tweaking to set that up but now it is simple.
06-19-2013, 04:59 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by slr_neophyte Quote
I'm very much a beginner to post processing - Lightroom in particular. I'm currently using LIghtroom 4 on my macbook pro. I have just a couple questions about using it that I'd love some feedback on.

1. Most Mac users will be familiar with iPhoto, and I'm wondering if it's a good idea to continue using iPhoto & Lightroom together? Can the two even be used together? So far from what I can tell, iPhoto is a much easier system to use for storing and organizing photos.
I do not know that I have the answer definitively to this question, but....my gut tells me NO and YES

Lightroom and iPhoto would use distinct photo libraries, so changes to a picture in one of them (Say Lightroom) would not be visible in iPhoto..and vice-versa.

Aperture (Apple's software that does the same - and, in my opinion better, but that's subjective - than Lightroom, and which I use myself) is specifically designed so as to permit it to share database with iPhoto.

So that's the NO part of the answer.

Of course, the YES part is, that if you can use both LR and iPhoto concurrently - in that they operate on different libraries and won't interfere at all. If that makes sense, I do not know.

I would not, personally, bet on iPhoto for managing large volumes of photos, backups etc. It's simply not geared for anything other than "family photos" of low volume.

I use Aperture as both "management", "backup" and "light post-processing/editing" hub, and it's leaps and bounds ahead of what iPhoto can offer. I would guess that Lightroom would have features similar to those of Aperture on that front also, but somebody else can likely answer better.
06-19-2013, 05:36 PM   #4
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I have both apps on my Mac but when I got LR4 I started doing everything in that and stopped with iPhoto just because it was easier to have all my pics in one program.

06-19-2013, 07:46 PM   #5
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I can say from experience that it can become quite confusing using two different programs for organization - had a recent thread about this.

jatrax helped me out with this - listen to what he is saying!
06-20-2013, 12:35 AM   #6
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I use Lightroom for everything, apart from any "heavy lifting" which I still do with PS.

Always keep your RAW images, their like your negatives used to be back in the old days, storage is pretty cheap these days.
06-21-2013, 01:50 PM   #7
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I'm not a MAC user, but I use LR in addition to a regular DAM software. THe key is that I do not use LR for management. It has its database and the keywords from my primary management program show up in LR and I can take advantage of them.

But, I would not use both programs for inputting keywords, editing metadata, moving files, etc. In a sense LR is just taking advantage of the information from my management software and letting me do the PP for my photos.

I'm sure many would see flaws in this, but LR is actually quite flawed for image management as I need it to be. I think am spoiled by the software I chose to use, which predates Lightroom. Lightroom has yet to add all the features I've grown accustom to. However, if Lightroom ever gets there, I would definitely simplify. I probably could use ACR instead of LR and avoid the double database, but the user-interface is much nicer on LR.

THe only other advantage I see to using my independent management software is that when I want to I can easily go use a different PP software or dump LR should something become preferable.

As for the other questions: I'm not sure I'd dump your RAW files. I'm often amazed at how even in going from LR2 to 3 to 4 at how I've been able to revisit a few of my original RAWs and end up with better results than before. Some of this is due to software improvements, but it also occurs as I improve with PP. RAW files are kind of like negatives and worth keeping for even the slightest possibility you need to revisit an image.

06-21-2013, 08:26 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by emalvick Quote
I think am spoiled by the software I chose to use, which predates Lightroom. Lightroom has yet to add all the features I've grown accustom to.
Care to share what you are using? And maybe some of the features you like that LR does not have? I'm always interested in better tools.
06-21-2013, 09:02 PM   #9
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When it comes to DAM I use Photo Mechanic to organize, tag, import my pictures, and LR for post processing, with additional PP in photoshop if necessary.

A somewhat dated but good text on DAM here http://blog.photoshelter.com/2009/06/digital-asset-management-and-t/

For initial, non heavy volume use that might be overkill, but if you do high volume this becomes useful - this is one example on how you can use both programs: http://www.luminescentphoto.com/blog/2013/04/12/how-photo-mechanic-saved-me-...-in-lightroom/

Happy hunting !
06-25-2013, 04:10 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Care to share what you are using? And maybe some of the features you like that LR does not have? I'm always interested in better tools.
I use IMatch which has a lot of categorization (keyword) tools that allow a more formulaic approach to keywording (thinking more advanced synonym/thesaurus) features as well as a lot of metadata customization and writing features that Lightroom just doesn't seem to allow. Lightroom is getting closer, and I could probably get by with it, now. However, I've often felt that Lightroom lacks a bit because it tries to do a few things at once rather than one thing well. Fortunately, it has gotten to doing the developing thing quite well, but the DAM features and performance have not improved significantly in the past few releases (at least since version 3).

Unfortunately, as others have mentioned and I did earlier, working with 2 programs that do DAM (even when I'm not doing it with Lightroom) can get tricky. THe trickiest thing with LR is that saving its settings in the images metadata can affect the performance of IMatch as a regular DAM because both software are independently accessing and writing to metadata. If you aren't careful, the conflict can cause issues. I've never had it happen, but I do worry about it.

As such, I think that if a user is using LR for DAM and is happy with it, don't change it. I'm finding that changing just because something might be better is only worth it if the better is something that can significantly improve your workflow. Changing to LR for developing was great, but I don't see changing to LR for DAM as worth the effort... yet.
06-25-2013, 06:10 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by emalvick Quote
more formulaic approach to keywording (thinking more advanced synonym/thesaurus) features as well as a lot of metadata customization and writing features that Lightroom just doesn't seem to allow.
Yeah, I'm used to the LR keywording system and I have a list of features I would like improved. It does hierarchical keywords, and I have a controlled vocabulary system in place but I'll admit it could work better. IMHO currently the area that needs the most work in LR.

QuoteOriginally posted by emalvick Quote
trickiest thing with LR is that saving its settings in the images metadata can affect the performance of IMatch as a regular DAM because both software are independently accessing and writing to metadata.
That would be scary, not sure I would feel comfortable with that, though theoretically it should work fine.
06-26-2013, 07:54 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
That would be scary, not sure I would feel comfortable with that, though theoretically it should work fine.
THe key is that the only metadata that I'm "changing" in LR is the develop settings that LR stores in the images and the associated thumbnails. I'm not even sure it is necessary to do that as you can just stick with the LR database. However, I do like seeing the most up to date thumbnails in my DAM.

So, it really isn't that bad. The biggest problem I see (from the forums for IMatch) is when people update and edit keywords in both software. You have to keep it clear where you are editing data and stick to one problem. If you aren't using LR for DAM then don't do it.

IMatch does the hierarchical keywords through its categories, but I like that some of them can be automated based on EXIF and other metadata. I also like that it allows formulas to calculate its categories/keywords. Use of its categories alone allow you to essentially "keyword" images for organization but not actually have them in the file. So if you are running a photography business you can make some hierarchical categories out of information you don't want to show up in the actual keywords fields. Last, I also like that when it comes to flat keywords you can select which portions of the hierarchy you want to show up. It is currently finishing up a major version upgrade, so some of the more detailed features are getting through beta, but the framework for everything has been there.

However, I've also found that switching DAM is definitely not for the faint of heart. Even if you are meticulous with your DAM, each program and software has its nuances, and you will have a lot of work switching and setting things up to work. IMatch is heavily metadata driven and heavily relies on EXIFTools, which gives a lot of flexibility, but also gives what might appear to many as too many features. It's a bit like Photoshop for photographers. Photoshop does a ton, but many of us only need about 10% of what it does. Unfortunately, finding that 10% isn't always easy when we start with it. Of course, that analogy is true of most software.
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