Why is Lr so difficult and confusing?

Explorer ,
Aug 04, 2017 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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LEGEND ,
Aug 05, 2017 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 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 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 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 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 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 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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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 13, 2020 May 13, 2020

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I have a course on LinkedIn Learning that explains the entire Lightroom ecosystem. The power of Lightroom is the connectivity it offers. Most users think of Lightroom as an application, but it is really a family of apps. I created this course to help new users understand the big picture. You can get a 30 free subscription to watch it. I hope it helps.

https://www.linkedin.com/learning-login/share?forceAccount=false&redirect=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.linkedin...

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New Here ,
Sep 25, 2020 Sep 25, 2020

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You posted this a while back but I am now discovering I agree with you and I am neither cranky nor old! Also it is ridiculously redundant.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 25, 2020 Sep 25, 2020

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Redundant in what way?

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 25, 2020 Sep 25, 2020

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I know this sounds strange to some, but Lightroom now represents what is normal in photo processing. It is not weird or unusual or crazy.

 

That will seem even stranger the longer someone has been using photo applications, but that’s because the entire digital photo processing universe has moved away from what photo processing was 20 to 30 years ago. Back then, all photo applications worked like Microsoft Word: You open a document from an operating system folder, you edit the pixels, you save a document back into a folder.

 

But about 10-15 years ago, things started changing because of digital cameras. The Microsoft Word model of editing photos in individual document windows (which Photoshop still uses) was no longer enough. It was especially inefficient for bulk processing the large volume of images that came out of digital cameras. Adobe came up with Bridge and hooked up Camera Raw to it, but that wasn’t enough either.

 

Lightroom went down the same road as Apple Aperture and many of the newer photo applications since then:

  • Images are tracked in a database, which allows easy bulk editing and allows preserving undo history across sessions, and a long list of other benefits.
  • One of the biggest benefits is applying edits without you having to save, and the edits are kept separate from the image (in the database), so that the originals are never altered.
  • Metadata tagging and filtering allows far more flexible handling and organizing of photos, but it means understanding how that is different and better from organizing only with folders.
  • If you want an edited image, you have to export a copy since the original was not altered.

 

This is now the one hundred percent normal way that many photo applications work now. Apple Aperture worked that way. Apple Photos, Google Photos, and I think Microsoft Photos does too. Luminar, Darktable, Lightzone, they all work that way… The new Lightroom (not Classic) goes even further down that road in that it is totally cloud connected so that you can get to any photo on any device at any time, like Apple Photos and Google Photos.

 

The reason I’m explaining all that is as soon as you understand the general model that Lightroom follows, a model so general that it’s extremely common, the sooner you understand why things work the way they do in Lightroom: Database-tracked, nondestructive edits, metadata-driven, etc. Once you get that, a whole lot of other newer photo applications will make sense to you too. So it’s worth the time to study and understand it.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 25, 2020 Sep 25, 2020

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Ok, there is lots of info in the thread to explain why Lightroom Classic is where it's at, and I basically agree that Lightroom is more efficient than ACR/Bridge. However, I think I understand your position and it's no different from the core users of Adobe Photoshop back in 2006/7 when Lightroom was being prepared for release in Feb 2007.

I was involved in the Beta program as a user of the application, and it was clear from comments posted in the forum that lots of current users (maybe a majority) were not inclined to adopt the application. To wit, they already had ACR/Bridge for free.

As far as I can recall Lightroom release was US$300 for new users. I cannot recall what was the offer price to existing users of Photoshop CS.

The launch name of the program was "Adobe Photoshop Lightroom", I was in the Beta forum and while I was not in favour of the name because it functions completely different to Photoshop. Anyway, this was a marketing decision. The name is still marketed as a Photoshop app.

Screenshot 2020-09-25 at 9.19.46 PM.png

Remarks in the forum suggest that proficient users of Photoshop / Bridge / ACR have difficulty adapting to the Application. 

I have used Lightroom from inception and my favourite feature is the Catalog database and the fact that I no longer have to deal with XMP sidecars.

Bridge / Camera Raw can suffice for the Library and Develop Modules but there is so much more in Lightroom.

 

Regards, Denis: iMac mid-2015, 5K 27”, GPU 2GB, Ram 24GB, HDD 3TB, macOS 11.2.3, LrC 10.2, Lr 4.1, Ps 22.3, Pr 14.8.0; Camera OM-D E-M1.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 25, 2020 Sep 25, 2020

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One other thought, LrC can only now be acquired by subscribing to the "Photography Plan" with Photoshop / Bridge / Camera Raw as the premium applications and LrC, Lr gratis. This is a great deal.

The question is does the plan need both Camera Raw / Bridge and LrC, which one will survive?

My "gut" says LrC.

 

Regards, Denis: iMac mid-2015, 5K 27”, GPU 2GB, Ram 24GB, HDD 3TB, macOS 11.2.3, LrC 10.2, Lr 4.1, Ps 22.3, Pr 14.8.0; Camera OM-D E-M1.

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Explorer ,
Oct 19, 2020 Oct 19, 2020

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I have tried LR twice now and I am totally confused. I have used PS since 1.0 and bridge. over 30 years. I really dislike LR. I am confused as to where my images are and I especially dont like that they sinc to the cloud. I prefer all my images to be stored safely on my own computer. I don't get what good libraries are. I have all my files in folders just how I want them using bridge. I an keyword and do evverythig I need in that as far as organizing and opening into PS or RAW. I don't get all the hype about LR at all. I hope theynever get rid of my old faithful Brige an PSCC.  And why cant I open from bridge into LR? Totally confused and frustrated. I dom't have time to learn something so complicated it is slowing down my production time. So I am sticking with the great and awesome PSCC and Bridge.

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Advocate ,
Oct 19, 2020 Oct 19, 2020

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Elanorc, This discussion is about "Lightroom Classic". It used to be called Lightroom when this thread was initially active. Adobe changed the name to "Lightroom Classic" a couple of years ago which has caused a great deal of confusion. Some still incorrectly still use that term. From your comments, it sounds like you are using the new "Lightroom" which is a separate web based application. While Lightroom Classic has some web connectivity, it never puts your images in the cloud unless you specifically do that through a function called Collections. With Lightroom Classic, you have total control of where your images are saved on your local drives.

This is a good video on YT by Theresa Jackson explaining the differences in Lightroom Classic and Lightroom:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAdfOyZFGCk

Kenneth Seals
Do you have questions about the different Lightroom applications? In this webinar I will explain the similarities and differences, and show how each of them ...

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Explorer ,
Oct 19, 2020 Oct 19, 2020

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Thank you for clarifying. I think I'll still stick with bridge, acr and
pscc though. Thank you.

Eleanor Caputo
www.studio18gallery.com

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New Here ,
Mar 31, 2021 Mar 31, 2021

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I agree with you! It's not the editing - it's the file organization. Doesn't seem intuitive. This is me: Where is.....wut? Why?  I read that Lightroom is a "database" and makes it easier to catalog or organize your photos. I'm looking for the explanations of that aspect.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 01, 2021 Apr 01, 2021

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You probably should take some time to learn how Lightroom Classic works, and then your confusion will go away. There are plenty of tutorials out there on YouTube and at Adobe.com, plus a free e-book at lightroomqueen.com

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 01, 2021 Apr 01, 2021

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I'm looking for the explanations of that aspect.

 

Have you ever visited the town Library?

To search for a book you access the Library Catalog (a database).

The Books are stored on shelves and the Catalog directs you to the location of the Books.

 

Lightroom-Classic also uses a Library Catalog (a database)- one that YOU add the data about your photos (by Import).

Your Photos are stored in Folders on your hard-drives- and the Catalog shows you previews of your photos, and it can direct you to those files for editing, as well as storing information about your photos (Keywords/tags, etc,etc).

 

Follow the advice of @dj_paige and read the Quick Start Guides from Lightroom Queen-

https://www.lightroomqueen.com/

 

Regards. My System: Lr-Classic 10.2, Photoshop 22.3, Lightroom 4.2, Windows-10 Nikon DSLR.

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