Before we start importing images, I wanted to familiarize you with some of the preferences available in Lightroom that you might want to tailor to your needs. We’ll go in to more detail on the different options later since I know you’re itching to start using Lightroom, so consider this the quick start guide.
You can get access to these settings through the Preferences dialog which you can find on a Mac by selecting Lightroom > Preferences. On Windows, go to Edit > Preferences.
- Automatically Check for Updates – Leave checked to get notified when a new version of Lightroom is available.
- Default Catalog: If you use a lot of catalogs, it might be worth selecting Prompt Me. If you always want to start in the same catalog, you can select it explicitly. Or stick with the default that will load the last catalog you used.
- If you want the import dialog to show up when you insert a media card, select Show import dialog when a memory card is detected.
- You can find the catalog specific settings by clicking Go to Catalog Settings.
- Click the Show button to open Finder or Windows Explorer to the location of your catalog.
- You can also select the frequency with which to backup your Lightroom catalog.
- Change the Preview Size and Quality if your system is having a hard time keeping up when generating preview images.
- If you want to back up your images independently of your catalog, or if you want other applications to see the changes you made inside of Lightroom, you might want to select Automatically write changes into XMP. If you later want to reimport the image in to Lightroom or use another tool that can read the XMP format, any edits you made will be reflected. If you don’t use this options, the edits are only stored inside the Lightroom catalog.
- Make defaults specific to camera serial number – Great if you have multiple cameras that needs specific changes out of the box. If I wanted to always do extra sharpening on my D700 and different ones on my D7000. Works in Develop module.
- Make defaults specific to camera ISO setting – Great if you want to bump up noise reduction on higher ISO images. Works in Develop module.
- Store presets with catalog – Useful on shared computers with multiple users, or when if you use multiple computers and share a catalog so you don’t have to install them on every Lightroom install.
- File Format – PSD if you are going to Photoshop or something that can read Photoshop format, TIFF for everything else (CaptureNX, for example).
- Color Space – There are a lot of factors that determine which one you should use, but if you already know which one you want to use, you can set it here. Lightroom’s native color space is ProPhoto RGB, so that is a good option to go between Lightroom and Photoshop to maintain as much color detail.
- Bit Depth – If your camera and editing software support 16-bit files, you can select the higher bit depth to keep more of the data between application handoffs. I would default to 16 bits unless you have a specific reason not to.
- Resolution – The default resolution is 240, but many printers rely on a resolution of 300 or higher. While this setting does not resample the image, it sets the resolution tag in the PSD file that can be used for exporting.
- If you want to use DNG, you can set your options here.
- This is also the place where you can purge your Camera Raw and Video cache.
- This is where you can change some of the settings for how Lightroom looks if you need larger fonts or different colors if you don’t light the defaults or if you might be color blind.