Adobe Lightroom Classic - Using Smart Previews

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Green Fields of an Irish Spring Green Fields of an Irish Spring

We all get to the stage where images are stored on different drives and sometimes we won't have access to those drives.

Especially when working on a laptop, a desk drive might be in a different location and the images on it temporarily inaccessible.

Lightroom has a handy feature for this very situation, called Smart Previews.

Smart Previews allow you to edit images when Lightroom can't access the original file, it contains all of your edits to the file made when the image was accessible.

When you have imported images into Lightroom Classic, you can create Smart Previews individually in the Develop Module (CTRL-ALT-2) or individually and in multiples in the Library Module (CTRL-ALT-1).

To create a Smart Preview for one image from the Develop Module, see the image below.

Adobe Lightroom Develop Module Create Smart Preview
Adobe Lightroom Develop Module Create Smart Preview

 

In the panel on the right hand side, just under the histogram, click on Original Photo and you will see highlighted Build a Smart Preview for this photo to allow offline editing.

That's it, once you have clicked on this and you will now see Original + Smart Preview.

Adobe Lightroom Develop Module Confirm Smart Preview
Adobe Lightroom Develop Module Confirm Smart Preview

 

To create Smart Previews from the Library Module, the process is similar.

Here, in the image below I have chosen three images in the Library.

Clicking on the rectangle with 3 beside it will make Lightroom build those 3 Smart Previews in one go.

Adobe Lightroom Library Module Create Smart Previews for Multiple Images
Adobe Lightroom Library Module Create Smart Previews for Multiple Images

 

A dialog opens to ask if you want to Build 3 Smart Previews or Cancel, clicking on Build will create the Smart Previews - if you have more than a few it could take some time but the process will run in the background.

Adobe Lightroom Library Module Create Smart Previews Confirm for Multiple Images
Adobe Lightroom Library Module Create Smart Previews Confirm for Multiple Images

Smart Previews allow you to access images that are not available for whatever reason, they do take up space on your hard drive but not as much as the original image.

A typical Smart Preview will take up 1-2MB of space and are stored in the "...Lightroom Catalog Smart Previews.lrdata" folder in the same location as your Lightroom Classic Catalog.

Last modified on Thursday, 04 March 2021 01:24
Darren McLoughlin

International travel photographer and Irishman in search of the best bits of Ireland. Leading photography tours and experiences in Ireland.

Contributor to New York Times / Sunday Times / Irish Times

Cancer survivor.

Ask me about Ireland or about photography in Ireland.

https://darrenmcloughlin.com

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