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Why is Lr so difficult and confusing?

Explorer ,
Aug 04, 2017

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I've been using Bridge+PS for years, from CS3 and forward, but when I tried to shift over to desktop Lr + LR for Mobile, I couldn't even get my foot in the door.

Starting from how/where files are imported and archived,  through how to save a developed image,  to syncing through the Cloud, it's like slogging uphill against the world's worst learning curve. I'm just about burned out trying, frustrated trying to find a resource that explains all this without convoluted obscure self-referential asides that assume things are known and make sense when they are not and do not.

PS  I'm just about fed up with being told that Lr is simple, clear, accessible and if that is not the case for me, then I just haven't tried hard enough to learn. Or that I simply don't understand how Lr works. So, if you don't have  a specific constructive suggestion, i.e., tutorials, in-person classes, people to talk to, materials to read, then please don't launch in a harangue about my failings.   This may seem  an idle complaint of a cranky old guy, which I am, but consider there are lots of people out there who feel as I do so you're helping a lot more folks than just me.

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Why is Lr so difficult and confusing?

Explorer ,
Aug 04, 2017

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I've been using Bridge+PS for years, from CS3 and forward, but when I tried to shift over to desktop Lr + LR for Mobile, I couldn't even get my foot in the door.

Starting from how/where files are imported and archived,  through how to save a developed image,  to syncing through the Cloud, it's like slogging uphill against the world's worst learning curve. I'm just about burned out trying, frustrated trying to find a resource that explains all this without convoluted obscure self-referential asides that assume things are known and make sense when they are not and do not.

PS  I'm just about fed up with being told that Lr is simple, clear, accessible and if that is not the case for me, then I just haven't tried hard enough to learn. Or that I simply don't understand how Lr works. So, if you don't have  a specific constructive suggestion, i.e., tutorials, in-person classes, people to talk to, materials to read, then please don't launch in a harangue about my failings.   This may seem  an idle complaint of a cranky old guy, which I am, but consider there are lots of people out there who feel as I do so you're helping a lot more folks than just me.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 05, 2017

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Lightroom is different to Bridge. Bridge is a browser which displays all folders and files on your computer. Lightroom is a catalog so you tell it which files you want it to manage by importing images/videos from your hard drive or camera/phone. All photo editing is non-destructive because the settings are saved in the catalog so there is no need to save individual files as you would in Photoshop.

You can create sets of photos e.g. for events and these are called collections. You can have the same photo in many collections because LR simply references the master file in the folder. If a collection is marked for sync LR will send smart previews to the cloud and these smaller optimized versions will show on phone or tablet devices where the LR mobile App has also been installed.

Take a look at these tutorials and let us know if you have any further questions.

https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/tutorials.html

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LEGEND ,
Aug 05, 2017

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Other tutorials

https://www.lightroomqueen.com/quickstart/

Products | Lightroom | Adobe TV

One other piece of advice: do not assume that Lightroom does/should work like other software that you are familiar with, because it does not work like other software that you are familiar with. Try to start with a blank slate.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2017

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The first time you opened Bridge or Photoshop, it probably was confusing also.

Photoshop looks at one photo at a time and allows you to change parts of each pixel with different tools.

Lightroom is a photo cataloguing tooI. When you "edit" in Lightroom, you are simply changing a description of the photo and not the pixels.

You use the "editing" part of Lightroom to apply different words (data) to see what the photo would look like with those "edits." Lightroom is basically a Librarian for your photos. You "import" the photos into the library (like the public library) and Lightroom like a librarian, "catalogs" each photo you import.

Through the "editing module" you actually add "data" to the catalog entry describing the photo so you can see it with a different look. It is like changing the description in a book library catalog but not really changing the book it describes.

I first learned on Photoshop 1.5 and the first few weeks were like learning a new language.

Learning Lightroom is no different. It is a new language!

- When it clicks for you, Lightroom is a fast and easy way to view a lot of images as on a Photography Lightable.

Like 99jon and dj_paige said, Lightroom is a different way to work with photos.

And like learning a new language, you need to give it time and a different approach.

Lightroom, UNLIKE any other application, is not easy to learn on your own. i.e. "figuring it out" is not really an option.

I was asked to write several books on Lightroom when it was at version 1, and I was so confused I had to talk with the developers directly . There were no online tutorials or  books. However, once I "got it" like a lightbulb going off, it was super fast for me and then I was able to explaining it in my books ( which were super basic and all out of print now)

Please do not give up.  You can continue to use Bridge and Photoshop the same way you always have and some professional photographers prefer to use Photoshop and Bridge.

However, you can  watch the entry level online tutorials or probably get a very simple book on Lightroom that makes sense to you even if it is not a book on the current version or LR, just to get the concept. In other words, Lightroom CC is the current version, but if you found an old book on LR 2 or 3 or ? or an older video, the concepts are still the same and it is the concept that is difficult to understand at first. The new version just can do more.

Then the rest will fall into place for you.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 06, 2017

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The first time I tried Lightroom I think it was late in Lightroom 1, and I literally hated it. Like you, it didn't make sense. I didn't understand why my images didn't have any changes applied to them. I played around with it for a few days during the trial period, and then I uninstalled it and forgot about it. It just didn't make sense at all. But I kept reading about how well photographers were liking Lightroom even then, so I decided to give it a try again when Lightroom 2 was released. I started watching tutorials And trying to give it a chance to sink into my thick skull. Eventually, Lightroom won me over and I have stayed with it ever since. It takes patience and you really do need to watch some tutorials. I'm going to give you links to some of my favorites. Take the time to watch them, and if they don't make sense the first time go back and watch again until you can follow the steps and make things work. Lightroom does almost all of my postprocessing work now. I turn to Photoshop occasionally for a few extra things when needed, but Lightroom is where I do almost everything now.

Lightroom Training Videos « Julieanne Kost's Blog

Getting Started with Lightroom CC - YouTube

Although the one link indicates that it is for Lightroom CC, almost everything there is for any version of Lightroom. And if you put in Lightroom as a search word on YouTube you can find all kinds of tutorials, some of them are very good some are not so good. You will have to decide for yourself which ones will be most helpful for you.

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New Here ,
May 13, 2020

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I also find LR incredibly frustrating.  First problem is when opened, it jumps to the whole screen and I can't make it smaller to look at myt desktop at the same time. So is there a way to reduce it to partial screen?  Second, How do you delete photos fromLR?  In clumsily navigating the page I managed to import my entire photo collection maxing out my memory.  So I need to delete many photos. It's not a very easy or intuitive system to learn.

Please could use some help

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LEGEND ,
May 13, 2020

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Start by reading introductory material for beginners such as the free e-book at lightroomqueen.com

 

If you jump right in and decide to use it without understanding what Lightroom does, you will be frustrated, and that is not a good way to proceed.

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Engaged ,
May 13, 2020

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To answer you first question, LR doesn't have to be always full screen. You should be able to reduce its window the usual way (you don't specify if your are using Windows or Mac). If thet doesn't work you might try to reset the LR Reference file by pressing <Alt><Shift> (on Windows) or <Opt><Shift> (on Mac) while starting LR.

 

To answer your second question, you must understand that your photos are not in LR. They are just referenced in the catalog. (The term Import is a bit confusing in this regard). So, deleting photo in LR has 2 different meanings:

  1. De-reference the photo in the catalog only (without removing the file from disk)
  2. Removing the file from disk (which implies to de-reference it in the catalog)

The choice is given when you select one or more photos and hit the "Delete" key, or select "Remove the photo" in the right-click contextual menu of the photo.

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