1. Moving photos while not in Lightroom
This is by far the biggest slip up that I see or hear about. If you move, reorganize or do anything to your photos outside of Lightroom then you essentially break the connection that Lightroom has to them. If you want to move your photos to another folder or hard drive, then do it from within Lightroom. It keeps things intact and keeps Lightroom in the know about where your photos live. If you want some more info on the topic, then watch a video I did about folders and hard drives a while back.
2. Reimporting your JPG exports
Here’s one that, for some people, makes sense. But for most of the Lightroomers I run into, it just tends to confuse things. When you export your JPEG photos from Lightroom there’s an option to reimport the JPEGs back in to your catalog (watch a video to see how). If you absolutely need a fast reliable way to be able to send a client exactly the JPEGs that you sent them the first time then maybe this option makes sense (barely though). In reality though, you’re pretty much polluting your catalog with a bunch of stuff that just gets confusing. If you don’t fall into a category where you constantly wish you just had those same exact JPEGs you exported a while back, then a good Collection workflow along with the File > Export dialog should keep you from having to worry about the final JPEG files. They don’t need to be in your catalog because they’re just a click away if you ever need to create them again.
3. Resetting a photo’s settings just to see it in a different way
This one sounds a little weird I know. Bus I’ve see a lot of people develop a photo a certain way in the Develop module. Then at some point, they’ll want to see it with a different effect or as a black and white (or some other “look” than what they currently have). So they undo or reset the photo and apply the effect. But what they really want are versions. They want to see their photo one way, and then maybe as a B&W and maybe even as a sepia tinted photo or something similar. In that case, Virtual Copies are the key and really easy to use. Here’s a quick video where I show Virtual Copies and a really cool way to use them.
4. Not using collections
Folders are where all of your photos go when you import them. Collections are where your good photos should end up. And the fact that Lightroom 3 now has the Collections panel in all of the modules makes them a no-brainer. Use Collections to sort your best photos. Trust me. It’ll make life a lot easier. Here’s a quick write up that Scott Kelby did that talks a little more about a good Collection workflow.
5. Thinking that Lightroom has a color space you can change
Lightroom’s color space is ProPhoto RGB. Plain and simple. You can’t change it. That’s the way it is. Now, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with ProPhoto for everything. You can of course choose what color space you want (sRGB, Adobe RGB, etc… when you head over to Photoshop. Check this video out if you want to learn more about it. Don’t forget, you can also choose what color space you want when you go to File > Export to save your photos as JPEGs.
Bonus: Not deleting your backups.
I could have named this “6 Common Lightroom Slip Ups” but 5 just sounds cleaner
If you’ve got any others to add (or feel particularly strong about one above) feel free to post it here as a comment. Thanks