Reset Your Preferences File In Lightroom 6

Upgrades can be tricky. While Adobe has probably tested the upgrade process literally a million times, it’s impossible to account for every different configuration and setup that exist in the wild. So, occasionally, there is a hiccup…a glitch in the Matrix…and a rouge bit gets flipped on a disk and the result is a corrupted file. If that file happens to be your Lightroom preferences file, you may get an error when you try to launch Lightroom. Fortunately in Lightroom 6, Adobe makes it easy to reset your preferences.

In Lightroom 6, there are two preference files. Application preferences that control some startup options for Lightroom, and the user preferences, which represent the customizations you make to the Lightroom views, last used catalogs, and plug-in settings. This reset feature will only affect the user preferences. Catalog-specific settings are also not affected by the reset.

In previous versions of Lightroom, you needed to find and delete your existing preferences file in order to reset and regenerate a new file. That can get messy and complicated since the files are never in easy to manage locations. In Lightroom 6, you simply need to hold down Option-Shift (Alt-Shift on Windows) when you launch Lightroom, and it will prompt you to reset your preferences.

adobe lightroom 6 reset

Lightroom Fanatic > Reset Lightroom Preferences

Click the Reset Preferences button to reset your user preferences, or click Start Normally to use the existing preference file.

On the Mac, you may need to restart your system in order for the reset preferences to actually take effect because of the way that the operating system caches the preferences.


How To Automatically Launch Lightroom By Inserting A Media Card

The act of getting my images from camera in to Lightroom can be a laborious process, especially after a long day of taking pictures. It starts by opening the side door on my camera to eject the memory card. Then I need to carry the card over to my computer, reach over my desk and feel around the back of my computer and use my fingers to find the card slot and hope that I’m inserting the card with the right side up.

Even if that all goes according to plan, I then need to continue the tedium to open Lightroom. I have to find my mouse, which could be anywhere if my 5-year-old got ahold of it, then I have to see where my mouse pointer is on the screen and drag my mouse across my desk to get the pointer over the Lightroom icon. But I’m not done yet. I still have to muster enough energy to generate the force required to initiate a click over the icon to actually launch the application. Then I still need to actually go through the import process.

The engineer in me knows there has to be a better way. I think I can solve the card to computer transfer by enlisting the aforementioned toddler. If he can put a disk in the Xbox, how hard can it be to put an SD card in to a computer?

With that step solved, the next challenge is launching Lightroom. I could rely on my son to do this step, too, but I’m afraid he’d open up a browser instead and head to the Disney Junior website. So I’d need to find another approach. Fortunately, there is a pretty simple solution that aligns with the fact that  I have never inserted a memory card in to my computer and not opened Lightroom. So why not have Lightroom open every time I insert a memory card?

These steps are Mac-centric, but there is a similar approach on Windows machines if you search for the term “Autoplay”.


On the Mac, you can tell the operating system that you want to open a certain application when a device is inserted. In this case, the device is either your camera or the memory card from your camera. Setting it up is not the most intuitive operation, though, so I’ll walk you through it.

First, grab your memory card, hand it to whichever child you’ve designated as your card inserter, and have him or her put the card in the computer.

Next, open up the Image Capture application. You can ⌘+Space to open Spotlight and type in “image capture” to easily find it.

lightroom image capture mac launch

Lightroom Fanatic > Image Capture

As you can see in the image above, the SD card from my Fuji XT100 shows up as a device name Untitled. My Nikon D7000 “device” shows up as Nikon D7000.

Image Capture didn’t recognize a newly formatted SD card from my Fuji X100T as a device until it had at least one image on it.


With Image Capture open, select your SD card. Now, look on the bottom left of the Image Capture window and you’ll see the little expand triangle. Click the icon to find the options for what to do when you insert your card.

mac yosemite image capture open lightroom

Lightroom Fanatic > Image Capture Open Options

By default, the option is No application. Let’s change that by clicking on the drop down and navigating to the Lightroom application.

mac osx yosemite launch lightroom insert card

Lightroom Fanatic > Image Capture Open Lightroom

That’s it! You can now close Image Capture and eject and remove your memory card. When you insert it next, behold the labor savings of having Lightroom automatically launch!

A few extra notes…

I did have to repeat the process for my second camera and, on my Nikon D7000, I had to repeat the process for both my cards. But since I always format my cards the same way in the camera, Image Capture seemed to recognize any formatted card. I took a card from my D7000, stuck it in the Fuji, formatted it, took a few pictures, and Lightroom launched when I inserted the card.

Finally, the option inside of Lightroom to automatically open the Import dialog when an SD card is inserted is still unbelievably unreliable depending on your camera and whether or not Lightroom recognizes the memory card as coming from a camera. This tutorial doesn’t solve that, so you may still need to open up the Import dialog manually. How pedestrian! I did notice, however, that after I made the change in Image Capture that, when I already had Lightroom open, the Import dialog would open up when I inserted a card, but if Lightroom was closed, only the application would open, not the application AND the Import dialog. Half-way there!

Now, with all the seconds that you’ll save by automatically launching Lightroom, go forth and take more pictures!




Using Lightroom Smart Collections to Organize HDRs

Nicole Young (@nicolesy) wrote a great post over at Photofocus last week that showed how to leverage Smart Collections to organize your HDR-merge and Pano-merge images. This week, I wanted to follow-up on that post with a slight variation for those of us that use Photomatix for our HDR work instead of the Lightroom HDR merge.

Not using Photomatix for HDR? You can download a free trail of Photomatix on the Photomatix Download page. The trial of Photomatix Pro is fully functional and never expires, but adds a watermark to final images.

Ready to buy? I’ve worked with HDRSoft to get Lightroom Fanatic readers a special discount code for Photomatix. When you’re ready to purchase Photomatix, go here and use the coupon code LightroomFanatic to get 15% off!


The biggest difference when using Photomatix is the file type attribute used in the Smart Collections dialog. Photomatix does not support the default DNG file type that Lightroom uses. Instead, Photomatix defaults to TIFF, although JPEG is also an option. You specify the file type on the Photomatix export dialog.

lightroom 6 photomatix hdr

Lightroom Fanatic > Photomatix Export Dialog

The Output Format drop down at the bottom determines the file type. I always use TIFF 16-bit as my file type to provide the greatest quality output. For the other attribute used to create the Smart Collection, Nicole uses the text “hdr”, which I also use by specifying a suffix that also includes the text “hdr”. If you use a different suffix, just be sure that the suffix on the export dialog matches the filename attribute used to create your collection.

To create the Smart Collection, click the + next to the Collections tab and select Create Smart Collection, or navigate to Library > New Smart Collection. On the Create Smart Collection dialog, specify the File Type of TIFF and the Filename as containing HDR. Click the Create button to create your collection.

lr6 hdr smart collection

Lightroom Fanatic > HDR Smart Collection

If you have any HDR images from Photomatix in your catalog, they will show up in your new smart collection, making it extremely easy to find them! If you don’t see any images, make go back and check your file type and names in the collection properties to make sure they match the options you use when you create your HDR  images.

lightroom HDR photomatix smart collection

Lightroom Fanatic > HDR Smart Collection

Again, a big thank you to Nicole for the original post!

Lightroom Stores Facial Recognition Data In XMP Files

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m dedicating some time to dive in to Lightroom’s facial recognition feature. Initially, I wasn’t having a lot of luck actually using the feature itself, so I branched out a bit to do some tangential exploration.

This week, I wanted to pass along the note that Lightroom stores the facial recognition regions and names in the XMP sidecar files. If you are automatically generating XMP files, after you add the facial region and the name inside of Lightroom, the XMP file will reflect the area and the name in the Regions section. If you are not automatically generating them, you can use ⌘S to save the facial recognition metadata to the sidecar file for the current image.

lightroom 6 facial recognition xmp

Lightroom Fanatic > Faces In XMP

If you add a region without a name or if you remove the name, Lightroom will still store the region in the XMP file, even if there is no associated name. This is helpful since automatically finding the face regions in your catalog can be a resources intensive process to go through more than once.

lightroom 6 facial recognition xmp

Lightroom Fanatic > XMP With No Name

Since I’m still waiting for the preview creation and facial scan on my primary catalog and have tons of free time, I also went through the exercise of creating a new catalog and importing images with the XMP sidecar files to verify that the region came back intact, which they did.

lightroom 6 facial recognition xmp

Lightroom Fanatic > Facial Recognition Imported From XMP

I still rely on XMP files for some of my archives, so if I ever do get the facial recognition feature working and decide to include it in my workflow, I’m glad that all the work that I would hypothetically to do tag all the faces in my catalog will be maintained when my I push my images out to the archive pasture.



My First Failed Attempt At Exploring Lightroom’s Facial Recognition

If you follow me on Twitter (which you totally should), you already know that I was…underwhelmed…by the new features released in Lightroom 6. I was already happy with my Photomatix workflow for HDR, and the features and control available with Photomatix dwarf what is included with the HDR-merge feature of Lightroom. Then there is facial recognition…something I dabbled with in iPhoto and Aperture but that I never felt an overwhelming need to incorporate in to my workflow.

My therapist says that I need to learn to let things go, however, and that I should give people the benefit of the doubt. So I meditated, found my inner calm, and decided to give facial recognition a try.

I knew almost immediately that I had made a terrible mistake.

lightroom facial recognition performance poor sad

Simple actions, like adding a name to a face, would take Lightroom almost 10 seconds to complete. My computer was slowly grinding to a halt. I checked Activity Monitor and Lightroom was clocking in at 269%.

Lightroom Facial Recognition Performance

Lightroom Fanatic > Lightroom Facial Recognition Performance

I closed all my other applications and even reboot my computer, and that didn’t really help. My computer is probably average or above average compared to other photographers and Lightroom users, and my catalog of 30,000 isn’t out of the ordinary.

I saw that DropBox wasn’t synchronizing, and discovered that my preview file was at more than 5 GB. I thought maybe that had something to do with it, so I deleted my preview file, but that only made things worse because now Lightroom had to re-render all the preview files for all the images that it was trying to show me faces for in the Faces module. I think my Mac became sentient and developed emotions because I’m pretty sure I heard it crying and begging for mercy as it tried to handle the workload.

Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe my expectations were too high. I expected to be able to turn on the feature, have Lightroom scan my catalog and find faces, then start matching and learning who is who as I trained it. From what I can tell, it does a passable job at finding similar faces. The problem is that I can’t tell Lightroom that it is doing a good job for more than a few pictures every minute. At that rate, I might be done by Lightroom 7. Or 8. Maybe.

Here are a few assumptions. First, Lightroom needs the preview files rendered for my images because they are what is being shown in the Faces screen. Second, rendering preview files and trying to find faces at the same time is a bad idea. Both appear to be resource intensive. Third, trying to do facial recognition on my full catalog was a bad idea. I should have been more practical and selected a smaller subset.

All that said, I’m committed so see this through the end. Or maybe if I try to see it through to the end, I’ll get committed. I’m not sure. Maybe that’s what my therapist had in mind. Maybe I need a new therapist. For now, I’ll assume the former and dedicate the next few posts to things I discover using the new facial recognition feature. I think I’ve already found some neat stuff that I’ll share, but I would love to hear your feedback on the new feature, as well. Please leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter.