Lightroom: Open photos on desktop, develop, save, without importing to a catalog

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 5 years ago
  • Answered
  • (Edited)
I'd like to be able to open any photo on my desktop and use the develop module in Lightroom without having to import it into a catalog. Just open, develop, and save
Photo of mreznicek


  • 2 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes

Posted 5 years ago

  • 1
Photo of Steve Sprengel

Steve Sprengel, Champion

  • 2571 Posts
  • 314 Reply Likes
This is exactly what Photoshop's Bridge does with Photoshop's Camera Raw plug-in.

So you're effectively requesting part of an existing application you can already get from Adobe.
Photo of Rob Cole

Rob Cole

  • 4831 Posts
  • 370 Reply Likes
My guess: this feature will not be implemented anytime soon in Lightroom.

Perhaps we could offer you some tips to make it easier to use *with* a catalog?

For example, I have auto-import set up so I can drop photo files on a desktop icon and have them auto-imported into a temporary folder in Lightroom. With that and a preset for exporting, one could:

* drop
* edit
* export
* remove from catalog or delete from disk (if desired).

pretty darn quickly.

You may find however that the catalog, and importing, can become your friends, instead of impediments, after a while...

Photo of Allan Olesen

Allan Olesen

  • 64 Posts
  • 6 Reply Likes
Mreznicek, I am curious to know if you are against the idea of the photo being imported, or if you just haven't found an easy way to do it directly from Windows Explorer or the desktop, or you have another reason?

I am asking this because I have a feeling that Lightroom is getting an undeserved bad reputation because users think that they are forced to open Lightroom first and then navigate to the correct folder to do the import. But actually, you don't have to do that.

If you initiate the import from Windows Explorer*, you have 1-2 additional mouse clicks, compared to opening a program which does not require import. You can for example use Open With for this, though it refuses to work in some installations.