How to Speed Up Lightroom Classic 2023 WITHOUT Buying New Hardware
Is it possible to speed up Lightroom Classic without buying new hardware? Absolutely. That is when you follow these nine-speed tips.
You should always do these first three tips regardless of your Lightroom classic version.
Lightroom Speed Tip #01
So the first thing we’ll do is jump into preferences by holding down the command or control key plus the comic key to open up preferences.
Or you can go to your menu and select settings from here.
If you’re on a pc, you will go to file or edit to find the settings.
And here is that keyboard shortcut right there. All right, so we’re going to navigate to the performance tab here, and the first thing we want to do is set up the graphics processor.
So if it says graphics acceleration is disabled, we want to turn that on.
Now if you use auto, it may or may not recognize the card you’re using, and if it does, it will say your system automatically supports full acceleration.
If you’re still getting this message here where it’s disabled, you’re going to go into Custom and turn on these three options here, and then it’s going to tell you that acceleration is enabled.
That first tip right there should speed up Lightroom Classic for you.
Lightroom Speed Tip #02
If we look in catalog settings here, back up to the menu, and select catalog settings, and if we look under general, you can see that we have a location where that catalog is stored.
By default, it will be installed on your internal hard drive, but if you move it to an external hard drive, the external hard drive is likely slower than your internal hard drive.
Another thing you can do to speed up Lightroom Classic instantly is to move your catalog from that external drive to your internal drive.
Lightroom Speed Tip #03
The other thing you can do, so tip number three, would be to go back into preferences and ensure that your cached files’ location is also on your internal hard drive.
But more importantly, you want to ensure that that internal hard drive is not full or close to full.
If you only have a few gigabytes left, chances are that’s slowing down Lightroom Classic, your entire operating system, and any other apps you’re using.
Ensure you have plenty of hard drive space, 20, 50, maybe a hundred gigabytes or more because Lightroom Classic uses cached files to speed up previewing your images in the library and the developed module.
Now, if you increase the maximum size, Adobe, and other creators say that will speed up Lightroom Classic, but I’ve done some testing, and that is not true to learn more about that.
As you can see right here, I only have five gigabytes. In contrast, others recommend 20, 50, or more gigabytes, and I’m not seeing any speed increase by increasing the maximum size beyond five gigabytes.
To learn more about that, check out this video tutorial.
Lightroom Speed Tip #04
My next Lightroom classic speed tip is to use smart preview.
So a Smart Preview file is a lightweight, smaller file format that will load faster compared to other preview types created in Lightroom Classic.
You will ensure you are in the library module to create these Smart Previews.
Then you’re going to go ahead and select all the files you want to create Smart Previews for.
You will go up to Library, scroll down to previews, and click on Build Smart Previews, and it will automatically create those previews for you.
Lightroom Speed Tip #05
Return to Catalog settings and the file handling tab for the next speed tip.
And we’re going to take a look at this section right here.
We have some options here to change the standard preview size and the preview quality, and then you can also automagically discard one-to-one previews after whatever you select here.
During import, you have the option to create one-to-one previews, which are the largest, highest quality previews available in Lightroom, and it will speed up the process of viewing those images when you have one-to-one previews versus Lightroom having to create them every time you navigate to a new image.
But the downside is it takes longer to import those files.
Since all of those preview files, those one-to-one previews are being created at the time of import.
I use one-to-one previews, but after 30 days, I discard them because I no longer need to look at those files, and it saves some space on my hard drive.
Now the other thing you can do to speed up Lightroom is to change the standard preview size from auto to something smaller.
So auto is going to auto-select the size based on your monitor.
So if you want to speed up the process of viewing images in Lightroom Classic, choose one of these smaller options here.
You can also change the preview quality from high to medium to low.
And again, these will be smaller preview files, which will load faster in Lightroom Classic.
But these lower settings mean the preview is of lower quality and will look better with the higher options.
It’s the same with the preview size, but when you export the file, it will be the same high resolution as the RAW file you’re working with or that JPEG file.
Lightroom Speed Tip #06
For our next speed tip, we will go into the metadata tab. And if you have automatically right changes into XMP turned on as I do, consider turning it off if you’re having speed issues.
And that’s because Lightroom Classic will automatically write any edits you do every single time and place that information into that XMP file.
So that takes extra time. So turning that off should speed up Lightroom, but there are advantages and disadvantages to using XMP files.
That’s one disadvantage, and there are others.
If you want to learn more about XMP files and why I recommend turning this on, check out this video tutorial, where I explain what an XM P file is and why you should use it.
Lightroom Speed Tip #07
We have one more setting in catalog settings, the checkout: Face Detection.
If you have automatically Detect Faces in all photos turned on, that will slow down Lightroom Classic as it looks through every single image to try and identify that face.
If you have a lot of faces, you should turn this off.
Lightroom Speed Tip #08
Alright, so for these last two Lightroom speed tips, I’ve switched to a new catalog with many more images, and that’s because I want to show you what you can do to speed up Lightroom as you add more and more images to your Lightroom catalog.
So for this particular catalog, I have 228,316 images, and these are images back in the day from when I was a full-time wedding and portrait photographer.
Now, for me personally, I’ve never experienced a slowdown as I add more and more images, but I know others have.
So here’s what you can do to speed up Lightroom.
If you find it could be faster because you’re adding more images, create multiple catalogs instead of putting all those images into one catalog. You can create these catalogs based on categories.
So if you are a portrait and wedding photographer like me, you can create a catalog for portraits and another for weddings.
But even then, I have 90,000 images just for weddings. I could create a wedding catalog for each season.
So a catalog for 2008, another catalog for 2009, et cetera.
Now, if you’re not working as a photographer professionally, and this is just a hobby, you can still do the same thing.
You can create a Catalog for vacation photos, another for family photos, et cetera.
Lightroom Speed Tip #09
I will now contradict what I said in the last tip, which does not create multiple catalogs.
And here’s why.
Every time you want to go and find a specific photo,
Well, guess what? It may be outside of that specific catalog that you have open.
So now you have to open up the catalog where that image is located. So if I want to find an image from 2008, I have to find the 2008 catalog to open it up to find those images based on that year.