Lightroom users beware!!!

I recently had a very nasty experience with Lightroom that has left me at a point where I am going to change my whole workflow over to Photoshop CS4.

After the first week on True North on the Christian Fletcher cruise Lightroom shut down and came up with an error message saying that the Catalogue was corrupt and that it needed repair. I tried to do that on board, but to no avail.

I could see the files in my external hard drive no problem, but could not access through Lighroom at all.

I went to PRA to get it sorted out today and the tech there was very helpfull and managed to reload the images back into Lightroom, but not all of the worked images have come across for some reason and I only have the RAW negatives for some of the images….many of the worked up files are gone!!!

After having used Lightroom for a few years now, I think that the work flow is slightly more user friendly compared to CS4, but where there is a potential scenario for this sort of meltdown to happen, guess what…Lightroom is in the bin for me.

I was fortunate to be sitting next to Christian when I had to convert my workflow over to CS4 and am now pretty up to speed with it..thanks Christian!

Just thought I should let other Lightroom users know that there is a potential glitch out there that could bite them!!

Oh and by the way…my glitch was easily found in a forum discussion by the PRA tech, so it is not the first time it has happened!!! Beware!!!


~ by True North Mark on September 14, 2009.

16 Responses to “Lightroom users beware!!!”

  1. Hi Mark
    Yea ditch Lightroom. A mate gave it to me about 2 years ago when I started shooting digital and I only used it to import and convert RAW files. That is before I got CS3. I too experienced the same problem as you! I haven’t used it since but am amazed at how many people still rave about it. Welcome back!

    • Interesting Dave!

      I am sure I am about to hear a whole heap of stories about Lightroom issues!



  2. Don’t ditch Lightroom mate, it’s briliant!!! Absolutely brilliant, much better workflow for photographers than PS.

    One thing they really stuff up in Lightroom though, is the default catalog preferences, you should change these immediately to:

    What you do is for your catalog (every catalog if you have many) you set it in Catalog Preferences to “automatically write xmp files”. That way you get an XMP sidecar file (that Photoshop can also read) for every RAW File that is constantly updated and you do not need to care about the catalog file all that much.

    You can also set Lightroom to create backups of your catalog in the catalog preferences, like every week, every day etc.

    If the catalog file crashes and you have the xmp files you are laughing, no problems. Just import the images again, all changes will be there in the xmp file. With the xmp file you can also copy to another computer or open in Adobe Camera RAW and the lightroom develop changes are present.

    Why the hell XMP files are not enabled by default is beyond me. Once you have them enabled, no worries at all. Of course, a catalog backup now and then is also a good thing!

    Let me know if you have any other Lightroom problems !

    • Thanks Bo,

      Even so I am feeling a bit gun shy and am happy enough with the new CS4 workflow I have developed.

      In fact I find that the filing system in Lightroom is a little confusing at times and back to basics with creating my own file to import to and save to before pulling into CS4 works well and is easily transported between my lappy and desktop.

      Any word on the PNG cruise option yet mate?

  3. Whatever works for you Mark is cool! But Lightroom is still amazing, been using it heavily since version 2 and I tell ya when you’re working on 84 days of straight shooting the library module is brilliant for organising. Develop module is sorta the same as Adobe Camera RAW although you can do much more (ever use the virtuel GND filter?) and much quicker and easier and of course you have history, undo buffer etc. No such thing in Adobe Camera raw.

    PNG….well unless you have a gig for me teaching Lightroom, digital photography, storage workflow etc (don’t need a cabin I’ll sleep on the deck under the stars with the mossies!!!!) 😀 😀 then I am afraid it is too dear presently.

    • 10-4 Bud,

      Unfortunately, this PNG cruise has not been promoted as a photo gig, so no luck there…maybe down the track sometime!



  4. Definitely want to do a True North cruise some day, preferably a South Pacific one.

    • Then one day you will Bo!!

      I will keep you posted with specials and the likes which do come up from time to time. Like we have 50% off Southern Safari from Adelaide to Ceduna at present in January.



  5. If you like the program, apart from this glitch, don’t write it off quite yet – your tech may be great, but they can’t know every program out there. This isn’t usually half as bad as it sounds, and completely preventable.

    All of the things you’ve changed in LR are stored in Lightroom’s catalog. Lightroom’s catalog is a database like any other, so there is always a risk of that catalog becoming corrupted, usually as a result of a hardware error. That’s why by default it asks you to back up the catalog on a regular basis. That’s what he will have found on the forums – and I’m guessing he probably didn’t read too much further. These things are almost always retrievable.

    So, the question is, did you allow Lightroom to run its catalog backups, and do you still have them? If you do, we should be able to retrieve most of your lost settings, and also avoid it in future.

    • Thanks for the heads up Victoria. The answer is that no I did not back it up, mainly because I did not know where to back it up to I guess and the fact that I work the images whilst away and then transfer to my desktop where they are then backed up automatically.

      But I guess I should have backed up on the run as well. The other thing I have not been able to work out and has been a big bear with me is when you have all the files on the lappy in Lightroom how then do you transfer to a desktop?

      The CS4 process easily allows this as it is a simple file transfer without any catalogue reference etc.



  6. Mark, go to catalog settings – set Lightroom to write xmp files and set it up backup database like once a day when you’re travelling or even every time you start Lightroom.

    I usually create a new catalog for every major project instead of having one mega catalog. Speeds up Lightroom.

    As for moving from laptop to desktop – there are several options.

    1) Copy the catalog file including its subfolders and all images to your desktop. Catalog file must be copied to where Lightroom stores catalog files. Can be a bit tricky to explain.

    2) Another easier option perhaps, use catalog export:

  7. Thanks Bo!

    I will give it a go!



  8. Yeah, as Bo said, everything that would be included with CS4 xmp’s would also be included with LR xmp’s. The bits that you’d be missing would be Develop history, collection membership, virtual copies, flags, and a couple of other minor bits and pieces that CS4 wouldn’t know what to do with. If you want to keep those bits too, use the Export as Catalog and Import from Catalog commands and you’d be all set.

  9. Mark, while I am sorry for you that you lost your edits with LR, moving to CS4 isn’t always an option. I like LR because it’s easier to do the simple things than CS4 is, but each to their own! If it works for you, as they say. I backup my catalog to a seperate RAID 5 disk array each week. That said, I didn’t know about the XMP thingy either, so thanks to those who posted about that!

    Happy photographing.

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