Adobe Lightroom is a powerful and widely popular software application for photographers and photo enthusiasts. It offers a plethora of editing tools and organizational features that make it an essential part of any photographer’s workflow. When importing your images, Lightroom gives you the option of importing as Camera RAW files and DNG. Typically, many users will simply import as Camera RAW but let me show you why I feel importing as DNGs instead will be nothing but beneficial for you and your workflow.  Let’s jump into the topic of Lightroom DNG.

Importing Files as DNGs into Lightroom Video

DNG stands for Digital Negative and it is essentially Adobe’s version of a Camera RAW file. Everything that can be done on a RAW file can be done with a DNG with the additional benefit of the DNG being 10-15% smaller in file size. This can prove to be incredibly advantageous as you can shoot and store more of your images without sacrificing quality. One of the features that I like the most about having my images as DNG files is that it eliminates the presence of the .XMP files that will appear alongside your Camera RAW images as you begin to edit.


This not only helps get rid of the excessive amount of .XMP files but it also saves all of the information about your edits right into the DNG file and, therefore, helping you make your images much more manageable.

Let’s review the primary arguments for using DNG files in Lightroom.

Universal Compatibility

Unlike camera-specific proprietary raw formats, DNG is universally supported by most modern image editing software, including Lightroom. This means that by converting your camera’s raw files to DNG, you ensure that your photos will be accessible and editable in the future, regardless of changes in software or camera manufacturers.

Smaller File Size

When you import raw files from your camera into Lightroom, the software often creates a sidecar XMP file to store metadata and edits. However, DNG files consolidate this information into a single file, eliminating the need for additional sidecar files. As a result, DNG files can be more compact than their original raw counterparts, saving valuable disk space and making your photo library more manageable.

Data Integrity and Reliability

DNG files contain a checksum, a unique identifier that helps detect and correct errors. This feature ensures that your image data remains intact and uncorrupted, reducing the risk of data loss during storage or file transfers. By importing DNG files into Lightroom, you add an extra layer of reliability and peace of mind to your photography workflow.

Enhanced Metadata and XMP Compatibility

Lightroom stores metadata and editing information in an XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform) format. When you import DNG files into Lightroom, this information is embedded directly into the DNG file itself, simplifying the management and organization of your photos. This embedded XMP data is also compatible with other software that supports DNG, streamlining the sharing and collaboration process with other photographers or clients.

Long-Term Archiving

Photographers often face challenges when it comes to archiving and preserving their work for the long term. Proprietary raw formats might become obsolete, making them difficult to access or convert in the future. However, DNG files being an open format can be reliably archived and accessed even as technology evolves, safeguarding your images for generations to come.

Simplified Backup Strategy

Managing backups of your photo library is crucial to protect your creative work. When using DNG files, the embedded metadata and edits make it easier to maintain a consistent backup strategy. You don’t need to worry about synchronizing separate sidecar XMP files, as all the information is already stored within the DNG file, ensuring a more straightforward and efficient backup process.


Importing DNG files into Adobe Lightroom is a smart choice for photographers who value compatibility, data integrity, and long-term archiving. The open nature of the DNG format provides peace of mind, knowing that your images will remain accessible and editable in the future, regardless of any changes in software or hardware.

By embracing DNG files in your photography workflow, you can optimize your file organization, reduce file size, and simplify your backup strategy. Lightroom’s seamless support for DNG files, combined with the format’s numerous benefits, makes it a powerful tool for enhancing your post-processing and archiving practices. So, if you haven’t already considered using DNG files in Lightroom, now is the time to make the switch and future-proof your photography collection.

If you would like more information about how to increase your efficiency in Lightroom, check out our Lightroom Workshops in SLR Lounge Premium where we show you everything from how to organize your images to mastering post production. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos, tutorials, and updates!