18th May 2013

I recommend Adobe’s Lightroom 4, or 5, for the most efficient method of downloading photos, organizing them, making non-destructive adjustments, and for preparing your prints for Piezography. Lightroom’s sensitive “camera raw” adjustment features make it an ideal companion to the incredible detail that Piezography yields up on the black and white print. Purchase only from Adobe at a cost of around $100.

In addition, Lightroom is a treasure to the professional or amateur photographer who shoots on the run; has never known what to do with his/her many photos, and has never had the time to devote to perfecting them. I frankly do not know if photographers exist who have not ached to figure out where their assortment of photos are, or what to do with them if they can find them.

To list all of Lightroom’s brilliance is impractical in a short article, but here are some brief reasons why NO ONE can afford NOT to have Lightroom:

  1. All adjustments are ‘non-destructive’ – a clever word that means that you can ALWAYS return to your original copy, and RESET.

  2. Lightroom ALWAYS keeps a permanent history of ALL the changes you make, and it enables you to delete any particular one.

  3. Lightroom allows you to have multiple catalogs, in ANY location, such as on your computer, or in an external hard drive, or even merge your catalogs in one location. Follow David Marx for how to get started in Lightroom

  4. Lightroom allows you to transfer your develop presets from one catalog to the next. All you have to do is find the “develop preset” file in your latest catalog – open Lightroom, go to “file”, go to “open catalog”, navigate to where your catalog is (pictures folder, or external catalog, et cetera), find and click on the “Lightroom preset” file, you will see your “develop presets” file. Leave this window open, and get to the same place with the other catalog where you want to update your presets, and then drag the “develop preset” file onto the same file in the catalog whose presets you want to update, and VOILA, it’s done.

  5. Lightroom duplicates the powerful Photoshop Camera Raw adjustment suite. Lightroom calls this camera raw adjustment, “Develop”.

  6. The Lightroom to Photoshop transition is stichless, with one exception: LR changes the color profile from Adobe RGB to ProPhoto RGB. To avoid this, go to “Preferences” in LR, then to “External edits”, and set it for AdobeRGB. To edit in Photoshop, double click on any photo, and a dialog pops up that gives the option to edit in Photoshop. Once complete the save to tiff or jpg is automatically cataloged by Lightroom and placed alongside the RAW original and is ready for print (see the article on printing Piezography and Giclee). Also check out John Cone’s advice on the proper way to work with Photoshop and LR for Piezography.

  7. Lightroom can replicate the setting from any photo, to 1000’s of photos with two/three switch strokes, by highlighting, and “sync”, or “auto sync”, and by saving a myriad number of presets tailored to your creative vision.

Some additional helpful tips:

  1. Try to house your photos in one catalog. If you shoot more than 30,000 shots per year, buy one or more 3 or 6 terabyte Western  Digital external hard drives (choose the “My Book Studio – 3T  or 6T– see this review). You can buy the 3 terabyte from Best Buy for a little more than $200, connect it to your laptop, go to Lightroom to “file”, then to “new catalog”; a dialog will pop up and you can navigate to your connected hard drive from there (link to Best Buy’s 3T WD) . In fifteen years, I have never had a western digital collapse on me. I travel with them, and even the occasional accidental knock has not caused me a problem. It is a superb product.

  2. If you are starting out, or even if you are an habitual Lightroom user, I recommend Julieanne Kost’s Videos. She is delightful, extremely bright, and knowledgeable, and is the perfect antidote to your organizational and editing deficiencies. David Marx is also good, and as a third option you can try the SLR Lounge. All of these are excellent resources.

  3. Open an extra catalog on your laptop’s desktop, and for those times when you are away from your suite of external hard drives drag the selection of photos you might want to work on while away. Before leaving, drag your most updated  “develop presets” onto the same file from your new catalog, and on your return you can merge the work you have done while away onto your main catalog.

  4. ALWAYS back up your computer and photo storage hard drives before a trip. I back up every day, or every other day. Remember that Lightroom is a catalog, is NOT your actual pictures, and is NOT a back-up system. USE YOUR OWN BACK-UP SYSTEM. Travel with a back up disc so that your photos are NEVER vulnerable to deficient storage equipment.

  5. I recommend printing from Lightroom via Roy Harrison’s QTR print tool. The QTR’s excellent print dialogs adequately replace Photoshop’s photo and canvas sizing features, is available for $39 at, and is a stunning product and a completely self-sufficient printing system. The QTR print tool is a boon for piezography; it gives print-makers the control they need.


Photographic passion makes a more likely leap to perfect print through thorough organization and editing.

If you need help on any of the points above, contact me at  - loys[at]



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