Lightroom: Slow As Molasses Or Lightning Fast?

category: Lightroom • 2 min read

Adobe claims that Lightroom is extremely fast. Tons of people on the Internet complain that Lightroom is slow as molasses. Who’s right? Both. You can make Lightroom either run slow or fast depending on how you operate it. The major problem is that most people don’t bother to understand how Lightroom works, they only learn press this key or that key… They must be the same people that take photos instead of making them.

Let’s first understand what Lightroom does, and then you can operate to make Lightroom fast. Lightroom is a database program to catalog photo, to track them, to rate them and retrieve them. It has some editing facilities that are very similar to the raw processing in Adobe Photoshop.

  1. Because of volume of the photos involved, thousands, tens of thousands, Lightroom instead of reading every photo, interpreting every photo, processing every photo and finally displaying every photo, Lightroom builds a preview of each photo and then displays that preview whenever you look at that specific photo.
  2. Lightroom only uses the previews in the Library module, except for the 1:1 previews
  3. Lightroom only uses 1:1 in the Develop module, even when you choose “Fit” or any other display size.
  4. People are confused. Since you can see the bottom film strip in the develop module, then use it as a browse. Lightroom has to render each photos that you go through to a 1:1.

Making Lightroom Fly

  1. When browsing or searching for photos, use the Library module. Lightroom will always use the previews, instead of generating the 1:1 preview.
  2. When browsing or searching for photos, don’t use the 1:1 setting, unless you have:

    • Set Lightroom to build 1:1 previews
    • Done the 1:1 less than 30 days ago. By default, Lightroom deletes all the 1:1 previews that are more than 30 days old, because they take a lot of disk space.
    • Disable the drive indexing service:

    • Windows: Start > Run > SERVICES.MSC > Scroll down to INDEXING SERVICE > Double click and STOP the indexing service.

    • Mac: There are programs that will do it for you such as Spotless