Building Image Previews in Lightroom

1/10/2014 0 Comments A+ a-

Post 7
Building Image Previews in Lightroom®

While Importing From Your Card

While importing from your card, the right panel holds a large amount of options.

--> At the very top, you get to choose your preview options. Find and click on “Build Previews”. 

You will see choices: Minimal, Embedded & Sidecar, Standard and 1:1

Minimal (Lightroom default) immediately show images using the smallest embedded previews from the photos. This is the quickest method for getting your photos into the Lightroom catalog. This will give you standard-sized thumbnail images. You will need to wait for the previews to completely open before you start working on your images. If you try to do both at the same time, Lightroom could become sluggish.

Embedded & Sidecar displays the largest possible preview available from the camera. It will take a bit longer than the Minimal option, but is faster than choosing the Standard option.

Standard is the minimum that Lightroom can actually work with. This will take longer than Minimal or Embedded & Sidecar. However, when it is done, Lightroom will have previews that match the minimum requirement for working in the Library. You can get to work on individual images as they each complete importing. (Note: Adobe recommends that when using a 23" or larger monitor it to is best to set the Standard sized previews so that they are rendered at 2048 pixels.)

Importing your photos with the  1:1 preview size selected will result in Lightroom taking even longer to complete the import process than would have been the case if standard-sized had been chosen. 1:1 previews also take up significantly more disk space than standard-sized preview image. I would only use this option if I were importing one or two images and doing a great deal of work I needed to see in every exact detail.

If you're not going to be working on the photos immediately after import but do need to get them into Lightroom as quickly as possible, your best option will be to choose Minimal import option. Once the photos have been imported choose either  Render Standard-sized Previews or  Render 1:1 previews from Library module Library>Previews menu.

Next thing to do, if you haven't already, is to test each of these import options out.

(Next Post: Smart Previews)

These posts are part of a series: Introduction to Adobe Lightroom

Jennifer Apffel is a photographer with over a decade of experience in portrait, event, and product photography. She also does freelance graphic design and fine art. For more check out,, or look for her on


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