How to Make Lightroom Faster

How to Make Lightroom Faster

Thinking about how to make Lightroom faster? Waste much time waiting for your photos be edited? Lightroom is rather demanding photo editing software. The faster and more effectively you work in Lightroom, the slower the program itself will be. So, check out my 12 easy ways to speed up Lightroom.

12 Ways of Speeding Up Lightroom

There is no need to buy or upgrade your hardware, just follow my recommendations. Don’t forget to update your Lightroom version to the latest one which is Lightroom CC.

UPDATE LIGHTROOM CC FREE

Way 1. Use a Properly Sized Cache Folder

how to make lightroom classic faster cache

To make Lightroom faster, find the ‘Edit’ menu and click ‘Preferences’. It is also possible to use key combination Ctrl +. Now it is necessary to adjust the size of your Camera Raw Cache settings. You can do it under ‘File Handling’ as shown below.

Having a lot of extra space on your hard drive you may want to increase it even more. As for me, since I use SSD disks on my computer, and their sizes are rather limited, the size of my working drive is 256GB. So, I set it to 25GB in order to optimize Lightroom and work on the entire job at one time.

Way 2. Change Cache Folder Location

how to make lightroom faster

I recommend choosing the other drive for storing your Camera Raw Cache. Mind, if you want to speed up Lightroom, do not select external USB drive by no means. This way, you will slow down Lightroom performance. External USB drives usually work very slowly.

If you don’t have an opportunity to use extra drive but you want to speed up Lightroom CC, you can still use your OS drive. To change the Camera Raw Cache location, click “Choose” option and then select a necessary drive and folder. I work with my 256GB SSD drive, but I use it only for photo editing.

Way 3. Use Optimal Adjustments When Importing into Lightroom

how to speed up lightroom classic cc

Go to the Library module and choose ‘Import’. Then go to the Import Dialogue Box as shown in the screen above. Set ‘Render Previews’ to ‘Minimal’. You can find it under ‘File Handling’.

If the ‘Render Previews’ is adjusted to Minimal, you can be sure that while importing new images the photo editing software won’t spend additional time while rendering previews for the photos. Go to ‘Apply During Import’ panel. On the ‘Apply During Import’ panel, choose basic Develop Settings, metadata and keywords you want to apply to your photos while importing. This way it is possible to render previews that have these general adjustments.

Way 4. Adjust the Standard Preview Size to Your Screen

lightroom smart previews

There are many LR sections that use previews, not only the most obvious Filmstrip and Grid thumbnails. You will also see them in Slideshow, Print, Web Modules. If their quality is set too high, this will naturally slow the program down a lot, not bringing benefit.

To make Lightroom faster, open ‘Edit’ menu and click Standard Previews or use the shortcut Ctrl + Alt + for the same result. Bear in mind that you’re only setting these sizes to the particular catalog now being open, so prepare to repeat this several times for any other relevant catalog.

Way 5. Switch Off XMP When Useless

lightroom xmp

Open settings for the catalog again with Ctrl + Alt + and proceed to the section ‘Metadata’. You’ll see the ‘auto record changes to XMP’ option. Simply switch it off.

See if you can switch this feature off whenever there isn’t a sore need in it. Being on, it constantly duplicates every action performed with the file, recording them on a card file one by one.

Way 6. Remember about Catalog Optimization

lightroom catalog size

Having your Lightroom catalog too big (that being over 10 thousand images), you can benefit from the built-in option of optimization. You will find it under the corresponding name in the ‘File’ menu section. After you click ‘Optimize’ in the pop-up window prepare to wait some time until the process ends.

Normally photographers organize each photoshoot into a separate catalog. Since they amount to 3-5 thousand files the feature won’t be of much help. But if you have it different, then occasional use of the optimization tool will be a good way how to make Lightroom run faster for you.

Way 7. Render 1:1 Previews Before You Begin

lightroom build previews after import

Open the menu, there proceed to the familiar ‘Previews’ section where we now choose the ‘Render 1:1 Previews’ option. It has a dialogue box where you can initiate the building process (‘Build All’ option) to speed up Lightroom CC.

On condition that no filters were selected after you press ‘Build All’, the program will scan every photo of the catalog and render a preview for each of them. For a small number of around 100, the process should take 5-10 minutes. It will solely depend on your device’s processing capabilities.

In case the catalog contains something like a wedding photo shoot of 3-5 thousand shots, the process might stretch to several hours, if your processor and hard drive are slow. My advice is to begin the day prior to your planned photo editing job. If your computer is more powerful, set it for the lunch break. Imagine how much that would improve Lightroom performance if it doesn’t have to render any previews on the go anymore.

Way 8. Allow the Video Card to Take Up Some Processing

improve lightroom performance with video card

Some of you can benefit greatly from modern video cards, the more so if they are equipped with a bigger RAM capacity. A dedicated graphics card will generate more RAM for Lightroom, taking some processing off the CPU and loading it on the GPU instead. Thus, it makes them act together and speeds things up. 

You will especially notice the difference while using the adjustment brush tool, but the whole module will work more speedily. You will find the switch going to Preferences -> Performance. But before you use it, make sure that your video card is really dedicated. In case it isn’t, you should keep things as they are and use another way how to make Lightroom run faster.

Way 9. Turn RAWs into DNGs

speed up lightroom cc

If your camera shoots in RAW, it doesn’t mean that you should only work with this format. For instance, DNG has been developed by Adobe, the name stands for Digital Negative. The format itself was intended to be compatible with all photo retouching programs. The idea behind its creation was to preserve your digital files regardless of what new improvements camera manufacturers would think of, the same as the film used to be for older cameras.

Designed within the same company, DNGs are a sure way how to make Lightroom faster, because they were intentionally made simple for software to process. In some cases, that means a faster working process. If you’re willing to try, you will find this format among variants in the import module. 

Before you start converting, open File Handling to disable Embed Fast Load Data. Double check that you chose the new file format instead of your customary one.

Way 10. Install SSD

ssd for Alt: speed up lightroom cc

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The solid-state drives were a huge improvement when they were invented because they are able of performing 30 times faster than their predecessors. This means that you can speed up Lightroom in any process from loading images in or out to any picture editing procedures in between. Naturally, modern computer manufacturers start installing SSDs as default.

This is already so for all recent Mac models and also for other more expensive models of different brands. If your desktop doesn’t have one, installing it will not be difficult, but for a laptop, it might be a bit more complicated. In any case, this is surely worth it because if you manage to get an SSD installed, it will be the most efficient way how to speed up Lightroom.

Way 11. Ensure Regular Updates

optimize lightroom with updates

The program’s developers make sure to correct any flaws and also speed up Lightroom themselves. All is left for you is to install improvements as soon as they come out. For that, open the Help section at the top and proceed to Updates to check their availability and start the installation.

Way 12. Disable Address and Face Lookup Functions

how to make lightroom run faster

There are certain additional functions that are not universally useful, like looking up the address of each image or recognizing faces on it. By default, they are active and take away some of your computer’s processing power. So try deactivating them at least when they are not necessary to speed up Lightroom CC. When you need them, if ever, simply turn them back on.

For instance, I work as a food photographer and obviously, I don’t have the need in either of them, so I deactivated both long ago to optimize Lightroom. When you want to do the same, find your account name in the top left edge of the screen. It will drop down a menu where you can set -> Pause for those features. 

Lightroom is, without question, a great program for organizing, editing, storing your photos. I hope that my tips will also help you find applicable ways of how to make Lightroom faster so that you will be able to cut on picture post-production hours and add some to the shooting sessions.


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Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.

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