My Plea to Creators of Clip Art, Stock Photos and more

I love love love Adobe Lightroom so much I spent many days creating a post: Use Lightroom to Organize Thousands of Images and Lightroom Basic Organization-Functions Jenny Lens MFA PDF. Plus I teach Lightroom Productivity and Creative Tools. LR is my fave! I use it more than anything.

I totally appreciate the immense talents of many fine digital artists. They inspire me and fill my art, teaching, posting with lovely images. Plus thousands I won’t live long enough to use, but enjoy. I love a few amazing companies who compile and sell these amazing creations. Thank you.

BUT I AM FRUSTRATED AND ANGRY. You bet I’m screaming. Why?

There’s NO app, NO software, NO PDF, NO search, nothing which helps us find a cute bunny or teacup or feathers or whatever IF the file is named “element” or “image” or whatever. Lightroom won’t display files to install directly into Photoshop or Lightroom or if ai, eps or pdf files. Even if you don’t or won’t use Lightroom, this all applies!

Imagine you have a bookshelf. You organize it by book color, then oversize books on bottom shelf. Fine. Now imagine NO Book Titles. Just element1 or image1. You organized the books, but how do you find the book you want? How do you find a book by author? Topic? Anything other than color?

This is the same thing! You get a folder full of images, but no names. A bird, a flower, a frame, a folder is a number or something like “element.” Oh.

— Files and folders are not named in ANY way to search or easily FIND the images we need and want! Plus no keywords (fine, that takes time). Descriptively naming Files and Folders should be no brainers, can be easy to apply, and so useful!

— Plus artists too often don’t put THEIR names on all the folders or files. I often find art in my LR catalog, drives or cloud, yet no idea who created it. What is that about? Branding and ownership, anyone? Not just in EXIF (which few do) because that requires clicking on each image and viewing in Lightroom. PUT on file and folder names too, so we can easily see!

It’s YOUR product. Protect and promote it! 

Plus, by including the creator’s name, we learn which artists we like. I pay attention when their work is offered at substantial discounts. Or I sign their mailing lists and find out about their sales and new products. Which I often buy. But I could buy their products IF I didn’t spend HOURS adding the creator’s studio name to files and/or folders. (I don’t have time to do this for everything.)

— Lightroom will quickly batch rename files, but it takes time to select them, decide on a name, type or copy/paste the creator’s name. It’s much, much faster if the creator does this. They sell dozens or hundreds of images in a package. We buy thousands at a time, buying bundles with many packages! Plus we must manually rename folders.

NOT the customer’s job to rename files and/or folders. Not when we buy bundles with many more files and folders than any one artist sells at one time! This applies when we pay for access to all the files in a creator’s site. We download hundreds, maybe thousands of images and many folders at once. But they had time to add this info at the time they created all this, over a period of time.

— I’m don’t have time nor power to beg artists who create the clip art I love, to please take a few steps so we, their customers, the people who BUY their products, can efficiently use their products. (I have written a few, but few get it. When MY customers and students make suggestions to ME, I pay attention!)

AND for years, so effin’ frustrated talking to the companies who sell their products. BUT they talk to the artists. THEY have the power. This helps THEIR bottom line too, ya think?

I get so sad and WASTE so much time renaming files and folders JUST so I can find what I bought!

WHY is this so hard for people to understand? No keywords, no descriptive filenames, rarely descriptive folder names, and often lacking the artist’s name. No amount of organizing images will ever help us find files if they lack any descriptive info.

However, IF the artists invested a tiny bit of time using Lightroom BEFORE they offered wonderful clip art and stock photos for sale, their customers, you and I, could save a HUGE amount of time!

— Lightroom stops when importing when encountering a few issues. Some creators don’t save their Photoshop files with “Maximum Compatibility” as a default. It’s easy to change the default in Photoshop Preferences. Then forget about it.

— The other issue is Bitmap images, often used as Displacement Maps or textures, usually tif or Photoshop files. I have to open each of them, them, resave as grayscale or move to another folder, if I want to keep the bitmap. IF you don’t understand this, it’s ok.

It’s only vital to know if compatibility issue or bitmap tiffs, Lightroom won’t recognize the files. The import stops.

I usually dump bitmap files. Nothing telling us we have bitmap files nor images incorrectly saved. Even if you don’t use those files, they are included in your purchase of a variety of images.

I often import, then dump files I don’t want. I can’t see all files all til they are imported. See the catch there? Use LR to organize and sort files. But cannot use LR if the import stops. Oh.

Importing a lot of images takes time, so it’s efficient to import while you are doing something else. Sleeping, exercising, in the kitchen, working on other apps, whatever. The error message always appears UNDER every open window or doc. So you don’t even know there’s a bottleneck. Urgh.

— PDF and Text files and folders SHOULD be labeled! How-to files, text files with links to download because some don’t post where they sell images and PDFs can easily be overlooked when sorting, importing and renaming lots of files. Why make it hard to see these essential files?

— Finally, quite often creators sell files which can only be used in Lightroom or Photoshop. Brushes, patterns, styles, actions, Lightroom presets, Illustrator fonts and more. IF the folders are not labeled (Photoshop or Lightroom Files, something simple like that), or buried inside nested folders, you might not install them! If you buy a BIG bundle, there’s a lot to sort out. Easy to overlook or forget something. Seriously! It happens!

— That said, I still use Lightroom most every day. I’d dump it in a minute if there were ANY other app which offers as many features. In addition to the organization features, there are a ton of preset or filters, plus tons of sliders to make incredible adjustments and changes to every image.

Magical, powerful, inspiring fun and also uniquely irreplaceable.

Lightroom users love and use this empowering, liberating, fun, sometimes frustrating program.

— BUT if creators just did their part by naming their files and folders with more info, we could use their products more creatively and efficiently.

It’s also why for every ONE bundle I buy from Design Cuts (my fave!!), Creative Market or Deal Jumbo, I spend DAYS renaming and organizing images. It’s a never ending task.

— I created this Lightroom Basic Organization-Functions Jenny Lens MFA PDF. You can see highlights of why Lightroom is THE best tool to use for organizing images. Plus offers unique creativity tools. (I created this back in 2015, but it’s still accurate. Updates add and fine-tune features. But rarely changes the way Lightroom organizes info.)

Want to know more? Sign up for my Lightroom Productivity and Creative Tools course now. Despite these issues, LR will improve YOUR life in so many ways. Let the fun begin!