Let's imagine you've lost the drive that houses all of your RAW files for Lightroom. Let's also assume ninjas broke into your off site location and stole your backup. Let's even go so far as to say that hackers erased all of your images backed up in the cloud. If you've made previews there may still be one way to recover your work.
If worse comes to worse and your original RAW files were lost, stolen, or deleted, there is a script to extract the previews that you have made for each photo. This isn't something that comes native to Lightroom so follow the steps below. Through Adobe Lightroom Help, you can download and install a script to extract full size preview JPEG's of the files you've lost. While this isn't close to the elasticity of RAW file, it will assuage the pain of losing your original files and restore it with full resolution JPEGs if you've made 1:1 previews.
I make 1:1 previews of all files upon import. This gives me 100% of the pixels of my photos, which is the highest resolution of a preview possible. This makes my culling process the fastest it could possibly be and allows me to quickly preview hundreds or thousands of photos without waiting for the preview to render. This could also help if Ninjas stole my RAW photos, which could happen. Below is a further explanation for all options for rendering previews if you are curious.
Use optimal settings in Lightroom | Previews Explained
- Render 1:1 previews intentionally
- Keep standard-size previews as small as possible
- Keep 1:1 previews as long as possible
- Keep the catalog and preview cache in the same folder
- Leave autowrite XMP turned off
- Optimize the catalog
- Increase the Camera Raw cache size
Download Script Instructions To Extract Previews
The following is a step by step procedure taken from Adobe's Lightroom Help Page for installing the script to extract previews.
- Ctrl + click (Mac OS) or right-click (Windows) the link to the script below, and save the script to your desktop. Double-click the file to decompress it. This creates a file named ExtractPreviews.lua. If you can't locate this file, you can search your hard disk for it. Download: ExtractPreviews.lua.zip
- In Lightroom, choose Lightroom > Preferences (Mac OS) or Edit > Preferences (Windows).
- Choose the Preset tab and select Show Lightroom Presets folder}
The Show Lightroom Presets Folder button takes you to the correct location only when Store Presets With Catalog is not selected. If Store Presets With Catalog is selected, navigate to and open the /Users/[user name]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom folder. Important: Apple made the user library folder hidden by default with the 10.7 release. If it's necessary to access these files to perform Adobe-related troubleshooting, use this TechNote to open this folder.
- Create a folder in the Lightroom folder called Scripts.
- Copy the ExtractPreviews.lua script (from Step 1) into the Scripts folder.
- Quit and reopen Lightroom.
- In Lightroom, choose the ExtractPreviews from the Script menu.Note:In Windows, the script menu is the last menu on the right.In Mac OS, the script menu is to the right of the Help menu. See the following illustration.
- Choose a location for your extracted previews.I hope you never have to use this feature to save your images but if you do, you'll be glad you made 1:1 previews.
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