So, you’ve heard that Lightroom 3 is out. You’ve read about some of the new features for professional photographers. You’re sold. Now it’s time to upgrade.
Adobe has made the process of upgrading from Lightroom 2 to Lightroom 3 relatively painless in most cases. I’ve upgraded many Lightroom 2 catalogs for use in Lightroom 3 while testing the product and have yet to encounter any serious errors. Let’s do it!
[A quick side note. Step 1 is written specifically for US customers. Our international readers may have a different experience or be required to pay different prices. Let us know about your experiences in the comments section and skip ahead to step 2.]
Step 1: Obtain the Software
If you haven’t yet done so, you’ll need to go ahead and obtain a copy of Lightroom 3. In his post called “Advice on Buying Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3,” David Marx talks about his favorite places to get software. Amazon.com. Well, that’s my favorite, as well. The problem is, we don’t want to wait (not even until tomorrow) to get started using Lightroom 3. That’s ok. We’re still going to end up buying the upgrade from Amazon…we’ll just use the 30-day trial from Adobe until our serial number arrives.
Here’s an important point which some people don’t realize: The downloadable 30-day trial, the downloadable full install or upgrade and the physical CD-in-a-box copy (full install or upgrade) are the exact same thing. In other words, we can download the 30-day trial today, install it, upgrade our Lightroom 2 catalog(s) and begin basking in the Lightroom 3 goodness (for up to 30 days) while we wait for our serial number to arrive in the mail from Amazon (or whatever retailer you purchased your copy of the software from). When the hard copy arrives, simply enter the serial number from the boxed package and your once-trial version is now a fully registered copy. You don’t even need to take the physical disk out of the box.
Here’s the link for the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Upgrade from Amazon.com. If you don’t already use Lightroom 2, you can purchase the full version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 here. Although, if you don’t already use Lightroom and won’t be upgrading, I’m not sure why you’re reading this post. Hmm…
Step 2: Backup your Data
Though a Lightroom upgrade doesn’t really mess with any of your computer’s core data, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a complete and recent backup of your computer’s internal hard drive as well as any external drives containing your images or catalog(s).
Step 3: Install the Software
Once you’ve downloaded the software (or received the CD, if you went that route), double-click on “Install Lightroom 3″ on a Windows machine or “Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.pkg” on a Mac to begin the installation process. Follow the instructions in the dialog boxes.
For the timid or the curious, here are the steps on a Mac (click on the images for larger versions):
Step 4: Upgrade your Catalog(s)
When you launch Lightroom 3, it should ask you if you’d like to upgrade your existing Lightroom 2 Catalog. It’s safe to go ahead and begin this upgrade process as Lightroom makes a duplicate copy of the Lightroom 2 Catalog before upgrading. If you have multiple catalogs, you’ll have to choose the catalog(s) you wish to upgrade one at a time.
Once the upgrade is complete and you’re happy with the results in Lightroom 2, you may delete your old Lightroom 2 Catalog. It may be a good idea, however, to hang onto a copy of it as a backup, just in case.
Step 5: Enter your License Key
If you’re using the 30-day trial version, you’ll be reminded each time you open Lightroom that your copy is unregistered. When you receive your full copy in the mail (if you ordered the CD), simply enter the serial number from that CD sleeve or product box in your already-installed copy of Lightroom 3. No need to insert the CD or try to re-install.
Step 6: Remove Older Versions of Lightroom
Once you’re happy with the upgrade, you’ve tested your new catalog(s), and you’re sure you haven’t lost anything important, you can go ahead and remove Lightroom 2 (and Lightroom 1, if you still have it) from your computer.
Removing Lightroom: Mac
Easy! Just navigate to your Applications folder in the Finder and drag “Adobe Lightroom 2.app” to the trash can. Then just empty the trash. That’s it. All of your images, presets, etc should remain intact.
Removing Lightroom: Windows
Use the Add/Remove Programs feature in Windows to uninstall Lightroom 2. It should leave your existing catalogs intact.
Step 7: Enjoy
That’s it. Have fun with your new software. Take lots of pictures. Be creative. Make mistakes. Use Lightroom’s unlimited history to undo those mistakes.
Be sure and keep checking out our articles tagged with “Lightroom 3″ for the latest tips, news and tutorials on Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3. In fact, you can subscribe to an RSS feed for those articles with this link, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Tell us about your upgrade experiences in the comments section, ok?