What are Lightroom Smart Previews?
Did you know that when you import images into Lightroom, they are not really being MOVED into Lightroom? When you import your images into Lightroom, you are simply telling Lightroom where the files are located on your computer or external hard drive. Lightroom creates a "pointer" to these images in the catalog file. When you make your edits in Lightroom, you are giving the program a set of instructions on what adjustments to make to the RAW image.
Well, Smart Previews are super small copies of your original RAW file. All of these little copies are stored in a compact folder on your harddrive that is much smaller than all those RAW files. This feature of Lightroom makes it easy to send and receive catalogs of images without needing to transfer the images files, saving a ton of hard-drive space and uploading time!
How do I create Smart Previews?
On import, you can build Smart Previews by checking a little box on the Import menu. Or if you’d prefer, you can build Smart Previews after you have imported and culled them by accessing Library > Previews > Build Smart Previews.
Why should we use Smart Previews?
These little copies of your original images can still give you and me full editing capabilities in Lightroom, just on a smaller image scale. This makes uploading and file sharing MUCH faster than copying all those RAW images into a shared folder. Smart Previews also allows you to easily edit your images without being connected to hard drive or computer that hosts the original file. Also, when you receive the edits back from me, you will be able to see the adjustments I made to your images BEFORE you have to export them! Outsourcing is SUPER easy with Smart Previews.