Three Tips to Speed Up Adobe Lightroom

I have heard several photographers complain about how slow Adobe Lightroom is. While I agree that Adobe needs to make some improvements to their photo processor and image organizer, there are a few things we can do on our machines to help Lightroom run a little more smoothly.  

Photographer Sheldon Evans shares three tips to help speed Lightroom's performance, as we all know time is money, and any time we can save is valuable. Changing the preferences on how Lightroom handles things is one way to help improve the speed, so check out the different options or try out the suggestions that Sheldon gives in the video.

Another tip is one that helps us with one thing many of us hate: waiting for photos to load while going through your collection or folders of your work. While culling, I don't have time to share so sitting and waiting for the photo to load and switch to the next photo to wait again doesn't work. Building full previews while improving or even within the folder can be done to save time while going through the photos, but it does take some time to build the previews. I usually import and build while I do something else, and by the time I return to Lightroom it's much faster to browse through the photos. Sheldon shows how you can set up full previews.

What are some other tips to help speed up Lightroom? Share them in the comments.

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23 Comments

Leigh Miller's picture

or...we can just continue to put pressure on Adobe to improve their software and be worthy of the money they charge us for it's use. My job isn't to come up with workarounds for poor coding.

As in everything in life, it's far simpler and productive to change yourself rather than try to change others. Sure, provide feedback to Adobe, but don't sit on your hands waiting for them to comply.

Leigh Miller's picture

Read the other comments...

Got the point now?

I disagree with your inclusion of the word "just" and continue to do so. I have no empathy for anyone who wants to sit on their ass and whine. Sorry. :-/

To be fair Sam putting pressure on Adobe is not sitting on his ass and whining. I think it's safe to assume that as a photographer Leigh is probably doing his best to work with the software he has to get his work done.

I think Apple today, post Steve Jobs and Scott Forstall, is very much like Adobe in churning out bug ridden and broken software, and also too arrogant to truly do something about it. New emoji? They're on top of that like tax havens and diversity in the workplace.

That said, I still think Apple is the better solution for me, and the same goes for Adobe. I will continue to use their hardware and software while at the same time trashing Apple and Adobe as much as possible where they do wrong, and especially Apple, a company so unbelievably rich that they have no excuse whatsoever for a lot of the crap software versions and updates they keep putting out.

And again... Certainly he should complain to Adobe. But to "JUST continue to..." is sitting on your ass and whining.

Leigh Miller's picture

Ahhh so you still don't understand. Ok well thanks for playing.

Fine then! I'm taking my ball and going home! :-p

Adam Milton's picture

Lightroom's design is ham handed, and they have no interest in fixing the biggest issues. There is a chorus of photographers that agree. They have a massive user base that would appreciate these things, rather than working on features like the book mode, which is incredibly limited.

Take for instance the lack of editable keyboard shortcuts, which is standard in pretty much every single piece of professional software. You have to use some 3rd party plugin to change anything, and even then you can't necessarily do everything you want. How difficult could it truly be to give us this? I have complained to Adobe, they don't care.

Okay. Keep using it to the best of your ability to do so AND keep complaining or switch to something else. Look! I'm not defending Adobe. I'm just sayin' do what you have to do rather than JUST waiting for someone...anyone to fix things for you. I don't understand why that's so complicated. I imagine everyone on this forum does that in every other aspect of their professional and personal life.

I face the same problems with LR anyone does and, my primary camera being a D810, more than some. I'm not shooting weddings but it's not unusual for me to shoot over a thousand photos in a session, cull them in LR and process a few hundred selects. Put on your Nikes and just do it. AND complain! :-)

Thanks for the article. My Lightroom Classic had slowed dramatically since I first installed. Brushes had slowed to 15 to 45 seconds and some time more. Zooming would take over 7 to 10 seconds, with 1:1 previews built. I have the Geforce GTX 770 card with 4 GB, 64 GB RAM and a fast SSD. I disable the graphics card an have seen a dramatic increase in performance, brushes are instantaneous and move between images only takes less than a second and zooming is almost instantaneous. I agree with with Leigh it should work as advertised and work around are no excuse for poor coding.

I haven't had time to use the new ridiculously named Classic version since my computer is undergoing repairs, but I'm not surprised. Graphics card support has been awful since it was first introduced into LR. No point in speeding up some things and crippling or breaking others. I'm starting to wonder if Apple has hired a lot of former Adobe software people. The same crap goes on with iOS, and to a lesser extent the macOS.

Ah, another "How to make Lightroom FLY" video. Great for page views but crap when you need to get work done.

Adobe will sit on their butts because they got everyone locked in at $xx-xxx a month/year. You are part of the problem if you keep paying adobe for this quality of software.

I am running another Product and I don't need to look on the web for vides that "SUPERCHARGE" it. It even runs very well even when I am mobile and need to churn out D810 files on a Macbook 12" 1.3ghz and ONLY 8 gb ram and no GEOFORCE GTX770 card.

If it's works, then great; but ever since I updated to the classic version I've been experiencing random crashes. It only stopped after I disabled the graphic acceleration. So yea...

Goid old “reuse content” strategy. These tips circulate for many years and voiced by so many “popular bloggers”...

I simply don't understand why you keep trying to fix things that should be fixed by the people who rent you the software.
And please don't start with it's the best, there are always alternatives and nothing is irreplaceable.

I know it's hard to change your workflow, system, software but I rather spend more time and even money to have something where I'm not locked into a system.

People just trying to do their job with their tool of choice. There's nothing wrong with using it and trying to make it faster vs using another tool. The operative word in your comment is "rather".

As I said in a previous post, use it but also trash the company where they rightly deserve to be trashed. I've always said that I think Lightroom is the best photo editing app ever made, but that it's a shame Adobe owns it. Of course for professionals where time is money such a view can rightly not apply.

Thanks for all the tips, I will definitely try them. Just one suggestion, the background music is too loud, makes it difficult to hear what you're saying.

Cesar Sales's picture

I found the best way to speed up Lightroom: buy Capture One.

Paul Davis's picture

I agree with this whole heatedly. File imports, rendering and previews were all significantly faster and their tethered shooting experience is far more reliable than Adobe LR.

Personally, for most of my projects, I have switched to Capture One. However, for my event coverage, I still use Adobe Lightroom as I have my presets and workflow already set and maximized for that and I haven't invested in the time to use CaptureOne to replace that workflow process.

Sam David's picture

Ditch Lightroom, use Bridge with Adobe Camera Raw (with easy to create presets) and be done with it. I have yet to find anything in Lightroom that isn't in ACR, except LR has a totally useless filing system that only the geek who wrote the software understands. Bridge is just as easily searchable.