Lightroom & PhotoLab 3 working GREAT together

Over the weekend I (re-)discovered that PhotoLab 3 has a Lightroom plugin that facilitates sending images back and forth. Because I only installed Lightroom after PhotoLab 3, this had not installed. Following the documentation, I got it installed and am delighted to find it works really well. So well, in fact, that I have reworked my processing flow for some significant improvements.

First up, I do not pay for Lightroom. I have a free Adobe account, which enables me to run Lightroom and use the Library module without restriction. The Develop module is non-functional. I have written elsewhere in this forum about my love for the way Lightroom handles keywords and this is the only reason I use it.

What I was doing was importing my images into Lightroom, adding keywords, saving the metadata to the files (DNG files) and then fully switching over to PhotoLab 3 to select, process, and export my images.

What I am doing now is using PhotoLab 3 only for the processing step. I import, keyword, still write those to file for resilience purposes, then audition and select those I want to process, all in Lightroom. Then with those images selected, I send them to PhotoLab 3.

When PhotoLab 3 opens, the images are all inside a newly created Project which is automatically opened, and so in the PhotoLab interface I am easily able to work with all of the images as I had previously. I use PhotoLab to get that legendary sharpness and noise reduction, plus all the other tweaks needed. When all of the photos are done, I return to the Project view, select them all, and click “Export to Lightroom.”

This step takes a while, between PhotoLab’s export and Lightroom spotting the newly arrived files and automatically importing them. The way they are imported is perfect. They are again in an automatically created Collection (like a PhotoLab Project), which makes the next steps easy, plus they are also placed in the same folder as the originals, and automatically stacked with their originals. Perfect!

All of the metadata from the originals is correctly transferred to the new, edited images, and I am now fully back in Lightroom mode with beautifully edited images and the export (and plugin) power of Lightroom to do the final exports.

The only significant downside I have yet to address is by choosing to return the edited files as DNG files, they grow in size by about 70%! It may be better to choose TIFF, or find a way to crunch the DNGs after the fact.

So now I have a fully (free) Lightroom photo process, but with the incredible processing power of PhotoLab — and very little downside! Thanks to DxO for doing a superb job with that plugin.

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Sounds like you use the Adobe Bridge function in LR.
Did you try Bridge standalone also? Also free with a adobe account.
That does exactly the same as you decribe.
When i open a selection in bridge i send it to PL and it automatic creates a project labeld with a bridge ikon.

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I had tried out Bridge, but did not like it. It does do keywords, but not as well as Lightroom does. The setup I have described above does not require Bridge, and in fact I do not have it installed.

As I understand it, the functionality is “provided” by the LR plugin that DxO provide. I guess the basic capability may be native to LR, but the plugin likely smoothes out the process. As I said, it works perfectly. Apart from the DNG size (which is really a PL export feature), I would not change a thing about how it works.

Can you tel me the difference?
I have a few itches using bridge.
1 i can’t hide sidecars in the folder view
2 if i use filters on the left it’s folder limited not libary wide spread.

My workflow is now
1 import from sd to a designated folder.
2 use FastRawViewer to cull and create XMP along with it by using a starrating.
3 use Bridge to atach tags and keywords which are added to the XMP file.
4 open DPL for editing.
(DPL writes iptc and tags/keywords in the propertie of a jpeg)

So my searching of a image is after indexing more precise in DPL then Bridge.

One advantage of bridge is it covers all file types, video , stills, pdf… So i can tag also other kind of files which are usefull in windows explorer for search function.

Edit : I didn’t installed free LR because as i read correct all edit functionallity is blocked, so it seems a lot of dead weight in using the app. But this is a thought not a experience.

I cannot recall the exact differences as it was a brief experimentation a while ago. I found an old post on these forums where I said I had managed to import my old Lightroom keyword hierarchy, so it does at least handle that. I think the problems were in how you added the keywords. Lightroom allows multi-photo (in Grid view), auto-completing, and also on-the-fly creation (including hierarchy). I think it was one of those aspects that didn’t work, or didn’t work as well in Bridge. I.e. it was doable, but not as efficient.

As for LR being dead weight… I don’t notice any problems using it, even with PL running at the same time. It is most definitely worth it for me because I cannot find any other system that matches LR’s capability — what it supports, and its efficiencies.

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I was using XNviewMP for a wile but the XMP’s where bugging DPL’s database, so i migrated to Bridge in awaiting of the implementation inside DPL to create, manage, edit tags and hierachical keywords written in XMP in a easy and quick way.
Me i don’t need a smooth librarysystem i have a straight forward year, 3months , date and event folder system and not 1000 images a month, but a stand alone living outside a Database info file like XMP style is a must.
I think i check out your LR freeware see if it’s better then bridge for my workflow. :slightly_smiling_face:
DAM in DPL is evolving and the search functions are quite usefull, it writes IPTC and Exif and XMP information as keywords in a export file but it’s Database restricted for tagging and keywording and can’t edit IPTC yet.
So until that happens we need to sidestepping in alternatives.

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The way we all set up our workflows is highly personal, but it’s good to let people know what works at a technical level. That’s why I posted above. Possibly no-one will have exactly the same requirements but it may help some people find new ways in their own processes, as it might for you with LR versus Bridge.

But… with improved performance (already promised) and some more work on the DAM in PL, I live in hope of just using PL from start to finish. :slight_smile: