Embedded Preview workflow in Lightroom Classic CC

Lightroom Classic 2018 introduces the embedded preview workflow that helps you to reduce the time to select the right images for developing (culling). While importing the images, select the Embedded and Sidecar option for building the previews.

When you import an image into Lightroom, it creates various previews for you. By default, Lightroom creates a minimal preview, which is the thumbnail that you see in the Library grid view. When you move to the Loupe view, it generates the standard preview. Further, when you zoom the image, it generates the 1:1 preview on the fly. These previews are different from the camera-generated previews. Since Lightroom needs to create these previews, when you navigate through many images in the Loupe view, you see the loading bezel. In other words, images take time to load. One way to overcome this issue is to create standard or 1:1 previews while importing itself; however, this process takes more time, since Lightroom builds previews.

The new feature helps you to overcome both these issues to certain extent.  In this workflow, Lightroom, instead of creating its own previews, reads and makes use of the embedded previews in the Library module. This process takes less time in most of the computers.

Embedded preview is a camera preview, which is created by the camera, and is available with the raw image. Latest Nikon and Canon cameras have full size embedded previews. Means, the camera-generated embedded previews can be used for culling. Sony, Olympus, and Fuji cameras don’t have full sized embedded previews. In this case, Lightroom checks if the embedded preview size is 50% of that of the raw image. If not, the standard preview is created instead of reading the embedded preview. Create a jpg sidecar image along with the raw. If the image has the sidecar file, it’s being read for creating the preview in the Library module.

While the importing is in progress, you can start culling, since Lightroom would be responsive while embedded preview is being read, than standard preview is created. Similarly, if you import images into multiple folders, the embedded preview generation is prioritized based on the folder you view. Embedded previews are available only in the Library module. After the culling, when you move to the Develop module, after edit, the standard preview is created. Means, you start seeing the Lightroom preview.

Images with embedded previews are marked by a symbol in both Library and Loupe views. Click it if you wish to convert an embedded preview into standard preview.

There is an option provided in Preferences’ General tab that converts the embedded previews into standard previews when your system is idle.

We hope you will enjoy the new culling experience.

Some of the caveats:

  • Generating embedded preview, if you convert the raw files into DNGs, may not be a great idea.
  • If you apply a Develop preset, while importing, you may see two different previews. Library preview won’t have the Develop preset you applied. The preview gets updated after you make a change in the Develop module.
  • Performance can vary based on the machine configurations.

We will wait for you feedback to improve this further. Thanks for your feedback!!

7 Responses to Embedded Preview workflow in Lightroom Classic CC

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  2. Jim Fesler says:

    1. Can you explain the caveat “Generating embedded preview, if you convert the raw files into DNGs, may not be a great idea.”. I convert Nikon NEF files eventually to DNG, but not until after I’ve done my preliminary edits. What is the issue?
    2. Can you go to RAW files, AFTER they’re already imported, and generate the sidecar file previews?


  3. Kristin says:

    Can I create embedded previews if I have already imported in a wedding and started culling and edited some? Do I have to update to the LR Classic before I can do this?

  4. Peter says:

    Thanks for the description. What does “Generating embedded preview, if you convert the raw files into DNGs, may not be a great idea” mean more precisely?

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  6. Seth Carnill says:

    This is great, but is there a way to use embedded previews after the images have been imported into the catalogue?

  7. Simon Rowell says:

    Is there a way to apply this to my existing catalog to take advantage of the speed or is it only for new imports?