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How to Use Smart Previews in Lightroom in 60 Seconds

No one wants to lug around an external hard drive with them all the time. But what happens when you want to keep working in Lightroom no matter where the original images are stored?

The answer is Smart Previews, a feature that Adobe added back in Lightroom 5. Smart Previews are “proxy files”: they stand in for the original images. Despite being much smaller they still give you everything you need to work on your files effectively.

Check out the table below to see how comparatively small the Smart Preview files are:

Number of Images Original File Size Smart Preview Size
50 1 gigabyte 48 megabytes
100 2 gigabytes 98 megabytes
250 2.6 gigabytes 240 megabytes
500 5 gigabytes 481 megabytes

Maybe your internal hard drive doesn’t have all of the space you need to keep every image nearby. But I’ll bet you can keep the Smart Previews even when storage is tight. Let’s learn how to render and work with Smart Previews.

60 Seconds: How to Use Lightroom Smart Previews

This 60 second screencast will teach you to render and use Smart Previews. Let’s learn more.

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Envato Elements: Featured Lightroom Presets 

Thanks for watching the tutorial! Here are three featured presets available on Envato Elements. Lightroom presets can speed up your workflow, boost your creativity, and provide simple solutions to common editing challenges.

Creative Presets: Burgundy

This collection is perfect for all photography styles, including landscape, portraits, fashion and fine-art. Bring a rich, vintage tone and warmth to your images.

Burgundy
Burgundy by Presetrain  

Film Simulation Presets: The Film Collection

This pack is a great way to get started with simulating film styles. Each of the presets in this pack brings a slightly different film simulation to the table.

The Film Collection
The Film Collection by Presetrain

Look and Style Presets: The Editorial Collection v2 

The Editorial Collection v2 by Presetworks

These presets were inspired by the styles you might see in major magazines like GQ or Vogue. The selections run the gamut of styles, but can help you really tweak your images to an eye-catching style.

Keep Learning

Even if you spend a lot of time in Lightroom, there’s always more to learn! The tutorials below will help you keep learning.