Lightroom 3 is a great program to organize your photos and is an excellent tool for editing your photographs. But, if you have an older computer system like I had, Lightroom 3 can get a bit sluggish. Here are a few things I found that can help.
After a while using Lightroom you may notice that Lightroom is running a little slower than usual. By optimizing your catalog you can fix this problem easily. To do this go to the top and select file then select Optimize Catalog. Now you will get the Optimize Catalog dialog box.(See Below) Now select Optimize Catalog. This will take a few minutes depending on the size your catalog. You will not be able use Lightroom during this period.
When uploading photographs use a card reader rather than directly from your camera and use a card reader that uses USB2 or USB3, if available. This way the upload is noticeably faster.
TIFF rather than PSD
For external editing use TIFF rather than PSD file format. TIFF files process faster than PSD files. To set this up, go to the top and select Edit then Preferences. This will bring up the Preferences dialog box.(See Below) At the top of the Preferences dialog box select External Editing. Go to the drop down box File Format and select TIFF. These are a few of the other setting I use. In the Color Space select Prophoto RGB. In the Bit Space select 16-bit/component. Set Resolution to 300. Finally, set Compression to None. Then press OK at the bottom when finished to save the changes.
Empty your Trash Bin often. Lightroom creates a lot of extra files. Do this and it will keep your system clean.
Uncheck Automatically write to changes in XMP
To do this go to the top and select Edit then select Catalog Settings. The Catalog Settings dialog box will now appear.(See Below) Select Metadata at the top. Uncheck the box marked Automatically right to changes in XMP. Then press OK. Please Note: This will disable the catalog from saving any changes you make in the catalog from updating the XMP Sidecar file. But it does improve speed. After you have modified a group of photographs, you can manually save to the XMP Sidecar file. Select all the photos that you are working on and press Control and then S to save the data to your XMP Sidecar file. This way other programs that use the XMP file can recognize the changes you made. Then press OK at the bottom when finished to save the changes.
Change the camera raw cache settings
To do this first select Edit. Then select Preferences. You will now see the Preferences dialog box.(See Below) Go to the bottom of the dialog box and change the default from 1 GB to a higher number like, 10, 25 or even 50 GB. I use 25 GB. Camera cache is used to store the image previews. By increasing the cache size it allows you to store more previews. This will increase your speed of moving between photographs. Then press OK at the bottom when finished to save the changes.
To help speed up your photo editing we are going to select a group of photos and have Lightroom create previews for that whole group of photos. This will allow you to move from photo to photo in a shorter period of time. In the Library section first select a folder or group of photos. Don’t select the whole catalog, as this could take a lot of time to process and is not necessary. To do this at the top select Library then Previews then select Renders Standard Size Previews. A dialog box will appear and then choose Build All. This will build previews for all the photos you selected. Now when you go and access each one of those photographs they will pop up much faster and not need to build preview each time you select it.
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Here are few upgrades you can perform on your computer that may improve the performance also:
Use a faster hard drive – This will improve your over system performance.
Add RAM of 8GB or more. Lightroom uses a lot of memory. so this will help with Lightroom performance.
If these steps don’t help enough it may be time for a new computer. In the next article I will be building a new computer with the new Intel Core I7 2600K Processor to supercharge the performance for Lightroom 3 and video editing.