Make Lightroom Perform Faster

The new Lightroom beta is now available from Adobe and already photographers are complaining about performance issues. Here are some fundamental steps you can take to increase the performance of your copy of Lightroom.

Optimize Lightroom Catalog

The Lightroom catalog is a database, and over time this database can grow very large. This database needs to be cleaned up from time to time. From the File menu select Optimize Catalog and click the optimized button from the popup.

This process might take a minute or two depending on the size of your Lightroom Catalog, but is a great way to help optimize Lightroom.

Avoid Multi-Tasking

Lightroom likes to hog your resources, and some of your other programs probably have the same attitude. Free up resources by closing those other programs. Don’t make the mistake of thinking a simple application, like a web browser, is ok to keep running. When it comes to memory, your web browser might be using more resources than Lightroom.

Increase the Camera Raw Cache

Here is another great way to optimize Lightroom. Dive into your Lightroom File-Handling Preferences. You will find Preferences under the Lightroom menu (Mac) or the Edit menu (Windows). Now move to the File-Handling tab. At the bottom you will see Camera Raw Cache Settings and this is probably set to the default setting of 1.0GB.

You can go all the way to 200GB but chances are you have no need to do this. Try increasing this amount to 20GB. This can optimize Lightroom and give you a performance boost when generating previews in the develop module.

Run Lightroom in 64-bit Mode

This goes beyond any trick to optimize Lightroom. When you run Lightroom in 64-bit mode it has access to more than 2GB of RAM, the limit of a 32-bit operating system. By giving Lightroom access to 8GB or more, you will see a very nice boost in performance.

Render 1:1 Previews during Import

Before importing your images into Lightroom look at your File Handling options. Your Render Previews are possibly set to Minimal. Changing this to 1:1 will slow down the importing process but the benefits to your actual editing workflow makes the wait well worth it. If you do not render these during import then Lightroom will be constantly trying to build them while you are editing.

Automatically Write Changes into XMP

You can optimize Lightroom by telling it not to automatically write changes into XMP. From the Lightroom menu (Mac) or Edit menu (Windows) select Catalog Settings and then move to the Metadata tab. Make sure that the option is not checked.

Doing this will dis­able the cat­a­log from updat­ing the XMP Side­car file. It will improve performance but any changes made in Lightroom will not automatically be visible in other applications. If you choose to update these metadata changes you will need to do so manually. Select one or more images in the Library module and press Command+S (Mac) or Ctrl+S (Windows). If you’re working with DNG then you will need to choose Update DNG Preview & Metadata from the Metadata menu in Lightroom.

You should note that you only need to update manually if you want the changes to be visible in other applications. Most photographers can uncheck the option to write changes into XMP, in order to make Lightroom run faster, and then completely forget about it and never update images manually.

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