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Post Production Tips

Speed Up Your Workflow by Rendering 1:1 Previews in Lightroom 4

By Pye Jirsa on March 27th 2013

The following is an excerpt from the SLR Lounge Lightroom Workflow System Workshop on DVD, a system designed to increase your post production speed by 5 to 10 times. Click here to view more details.


After you have imported your images into Lightroom 4 and applied your standard import presets, it is a good idea to render the previews for your catalog before you start working on your images. In this article, we will discuss what rendering previews does as well as how rendering 1:1 previews can significantly speed up your workflow. In addition, we will also discuss the differences between Standard Previews and 1:1 Previews.

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How to Render 1:1 Previews

First, go to the Grid View by hitting “G.” Then, go up to the Library Menu at the top of Lightroom and hit “Previews.” Then select “Render 1:1 Previews,” as shown below.


Once you have selected “Render 1:1 Previews,” a dialogue box will appear, like the one below. Hit “Build All.”


Once you have selected “Build All,” Lightroom will start rendering your images. You can also view the progress of Lightroom rendering these previews at the top left hand corner.


Depending on how fast your computer runs and the size of your catalog, this process could take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or more.

How Do 1:1 Previews Speed Up My Workflow?

When you render 1:1 Previews of your catalog, Lightroom will create all of the previews that are necessary for developing your images, as well as for zooming in and checking the sharpness of our images. In other words, Lightroom will render 1:1 Previews, Standard Previews, and Thumbnail Previews all at the same time. This means that Lightroom is rendering the previews that are necessary for both the Library Module and the Develop Module.

When you have rendered the previews for all of your images, you can quickly go from image to image in your catalog instead of sitting in front of your computer and waiting for Lightroom to render previews of every single image. Although it may only take a few seconds for Lightroom to render the preview of one image, these seconds will add up when you have to go through every single image in your catalog.

Standard Previews vs. 1:1 Previews

As a reminder, you need to have at least the Standard Preview of your images rendered when you are in the Develop Module so that Lightroom does not have to render its own previews as you are working on your images. The Standard Preview is the smallest preview necessary to be able to develop your images, so if you want, you can just run Standard Previews for your catalog. However, we highly recommend that you render 1:1 Previews instead of just Standard Previews. So, if we already need to have the Standard Preview of our images rendered, why do we will need to render 1:1 Previews?

Well, the reason why is because rendering 1:1 Previews will simply save you more time. As mentioned before, when we render 1:1 Previews, we render all 3 versions – 1:1 Previews, Standard Previews, and Thumbnail Previews. That way, when you need to zoom in on an image and check the sharpness, Lightroom will not pause and wait to zoom into your images.

Conclusion & Learn More!

If you do not render previews prior to working in the Develop Module, Lightroom will pause as you go from image to image to render each one as you are working, which will slow things down tremendously. So, save some time and render your previews! Hopefully this article has helped you understand why it is important to render 1:1 previews so that you will adopt this into your workflow to speed things up.

To learn more about the SLR Lounge Workflow System Workshop on DVD or to purchase it, click on this link.

To purchase the Lightroom 4 Workshop Collection which includes A-Z Tutorials, the Preset System, and Workflow DVD, click here.

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Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks for posting.

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  2. Daniel Fugaciu

    I started using this and I can’t edit in my plugins anymore when the main drive is disconnected. They are all grayed out including photoshop. Once I plug in the drive all work again. They are running from a different drive not the data drive. Any tips?

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  3. Brendon Davis

    Just wanted to say thank you. This is awesome. Had no idea this existed. Rendered the previews for all of my pictures that I uploaded and it was finished while I was eating dinner (I wanted to do it at a time of convenience). Again, thank you so much!

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  4. Matt

    I have an image that is sharp in develop mode, soft in library, I changed image to 1:1 preview and it is still soft in library. What gives? Lightroom 4…

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  5. Arun

    Thanks for the tips, it is helpful.


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  6. Brett

    Very helpful. I didn’t know you could build 1:1 previews after importing. This making editing so much easier.

    Also, a hit for others: make sure to use USB 3 for your external hard drives. USB 2 is just painfully slow!

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  7. Yonathan

    That’s helpful. Thank you. From now on I will import 1:1 previews to save time when it’s time to edit them.

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