Uploading RAW files to send off for editing would be the pits. You’d be sitting for hours, maybe even days waiting for everything to upload properly. Luckily, we don’t need your RAW files to edit your images. Instead of spending hours wanting to pull your hair out, cursing our names, or just saying “forget this”, here are two really quick ways to upload images.
Below you’ll find instructions for exporting either Smart Previews or DNG files. If you’re not sure which method to use, here are some best practices.
Used only with Lightroom
Best used if each wedding is separated into individual Catalogs
Can still edit if on the road, don’t need RAW file
Can be used for Lightroom, Photoshop, Bridge, etc.
Best option if multiple weddings are organized in one Catalog
2. Smart Previews
What are Smart Previews?
Well according to Adobe, smart previews are “smaller stand-in files of your full-size images. Any adjustments or metadata additions you make to these files will automatically be applied to the originals.”
What does this mean for you? It means that you can significantly reduce the rendering time in Lightroom, which means faster loading. Creating smart previews allows you to edit for hours without overloading your system. It makes sense.
So how do you use them?
Smart Previews can be created from any file format on import by checking the box that says “Build Smart Previews” under File Handling.
For images that you have already imported to the Lightroom catalog, you can still create Smart Previews by selecting the images and then choosing Library –> Previews –> Build Smart Previews.
Where is your Lightroom catalog located?
If you keep your Lightroom catalog located on an external drive with all of your photographs, Smart Previews won’t be of much help to you. If both your Lightroom catalog and all of your images are located on your computer’s hard drive, Smart Previews are unnecessary and will take up space. They are most beneficial when your Lightroom catalog is located in your computer’s hard drive and your photographs are located on an external hard drive.
So how do you edit smart previews?
This is the fun part. If you’re on the road and don’t want to lug around an extra hard drive, you can now edit your images without having that hard drive with you. Luckily, Smart Previews allow you to edit your images even if they have been lost or gone offline. If you open an offline image in the Develop module, you will be able to edit the Smart Preview instead of the original image. Smart Previews are 2540 pixels on their longest edge, though are still helpful when the original file can’t be found.
If you need to email someone a RAW file, you can send a significantly smaller file of the same image with Smart Previews. You can export Smart Previews just as you would regular images, and when the original file comes back online you can apply all the changes you made to the Smart Preview to the original file. Additionally, any changes you make to the original file when it is online are automatically applied to your Smart Preview as well.
2. DNG Files
What is a DNG file?
Created by Adobe, DNG (Digital Negative) files are technically still raw files, that have no loss of data, they are just on a smaller scale. DNG files that are almost 1/20th of the size but still have all the components of a full high-resolution raw file. Handy, right?
Sounds good, but how does it all work?
Well, let’s start from the beginning!
1. Import your RAW files into Lightroom, and select all files in the Library Tab.
2. Under File, choose Export.
3. Make sure that the settings are exactly as shown below. We’ll be saving this as a preset, so that’s why we’ll choose the folder after Export. It’s important that you don’t rename the files, as the XMP files that we send you must match up with your original RAW files. Now, under file settings, the Image Format that we use is DNG, which allows us to compress the files for quick uploading.
Now, the two crucial parts of this are making sure that the “Use Lossy Compression” option is checked, and the “Embed Original Raw File” is unchecked. The first one compresses the file, and the second makes sure that our compression doesn’t go to waste by embedding the entire RAW file.
Under Image Sizing, Resize the Long Edge to 2048 pixels. This is equally important. It might be worrisome to make your image smaller, but keep in mind that you keep these files are only to send for editing purposes, and you hang onto the actual RAW files.
Then After Export, choose Show in Finder. This is especially handy for a preset so that you know when it’s finished, and can work on something else in the meantime. To make sure that your images downsized properly, the DNG files should be under 1MB each, and usually around 6-700KB.
Awesome! This process should have reduced the size of your entire session to about 5% of the original size. This also means that the time it takes to upload is going to be 5% of the total time. Talk about a time saver!
Now, take that folder that you’ve exported them to, and upload those files to us!
If you have questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can walk you through the entire process.