Sure, most computer users know adding RAM or a Solid State Drive (SSD) can work wonders to speed up Lightroom. However, here are three suggestions I recently gleaned from comments LR users made to speed up their workflow in response to blogger Scott Wyden Kivowitz’s Open Letter to the Adobe Lightroom Team. The seconds we spend waiting on Lightroom add up to hours and, at the end of the year, maybe days! These suggestions may work for you and they may not, but they’re all worth trying.
#1. Move the Develop Presets –
Move all unused user presets & 3rd party presets out of your Lightroom Presets folder (Go to your Lightroom Preferences and in the Presets Tab, choose “Show Lightroom Presets Folder…”).
Then, (NOTE! if you’re not already in the Develop Presets folder, look for the Lightroom Settings>Develop Presets folder and) select all or most of your unused presets and place them into a “Load When Needed Presets” folder. The Lightroom default presets are stored elsewhere, so you won’t see those. You can place the moved presets back into the Develop Presets folder when you want to use them and restart Lightroom to see them in the Presets Panel of the Develop Module. Keeping all those additional presets from loading may speed up LR a fair amount.
#2. Change the Metadata Panel Settings –
In the Library Module, change the Metadata Panel to Default. Some users claim it helps and there’s an Adobe Community post about it as well. Apparently changing the Preset pulldown to None may also help.
#3. Convert files to DNG on Import –
One user claimed that they’ve been importing their files as DNG and they have no symptoms of LR running slowly. With tens of thousands of images, I’m not about to start backtracking, but for those of you who are just starting or have smaller libraries, this may be a good idea. Maybe the reason that DNGs are better is because they embed the .xmp data in the files instead of using sidecars with Raw files. And, for those of you who are interested – XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform) was invented by Adobe and it’s is how Lightroom knows exactly what metadata changes you’ve made with each image in your library and why the Develop changes you make are non-destructive.
I’ve tried the first two and I see some speed improvement, which is nice, but the real test is when I’m working for an extended period on a lot of images.
Now, with this all said, the more important point here is that Adobe needs to improve Lightroom’s speed. So it wouldn’t hurt to leave a comment on Scott’s Open Letter to the Adobe Lightroom Team and then click over to the Lightroom Forum and add your comments on the Lightroom Installation and Performance page. You can also look for other solutions to different issues there. Sign in, you should already be a member anyway. Let’s start a movement to get Adobe to address this issue for version 6!