Preserving Lightroom edits while migrating to Photos.app

I’ve been a Lightroom user for a number of years, without ever really taking advantage of its advanced features. When Apple unveiled Photos, it looked just about perfect for my use.

There are some things I miss, but having my entire library on all devices is an absolute killer feature - Lightroom is no longer installed on my Mac.

The Problem

I capture all my pictures in RAW format (using my awesome Olympus EM10) then frequently tweak them afterwards on my laptop. This means I had hundreds of files with non-destructive changes stored inside my Lightroom catalogue.

I wanted to migrate without losing these edits, but at first glance it seemed my only choice would be to discard them and start again. Turns out there is a simple way to keep edited copies side by side with my originals inside Photos.

Exporting edits using a smart collection

The first step is to use Lightroom to export a JPEG version of each edited picture with the changes baked in. Finding them all sounds like a daunting task, however smart collections come to the rescue here:

The rule Has Adjustments: is true will collate all edited photos into a single view.

Creating a smart collection with edited pictures

After that, a quick Edit -> Select All in the grid view, followed by File -> Export with the settings below will place an identically named JPEG in the same folder as each original.

Exporting edited images

Inside Photos

Once this is done, it is safe to import the library. Photos has some built in cleverness that will automatically recognise the duplicates and merge them together. Pictures with both a JPEG and RAW copy are given a small icon in the corner of their preview.

RAW+JPEG in Photos

By default the edited JPEG version will be displayed, but selecting Image -> Use RAW as Original or Image -> Use JPEG as Original switches beween formats, providing access to the original RAW file for future editing.

Switching between RAW and JPEG Originals

For me this is a pretty good compromise. If I don’t mind losing a little quality I can apply further edits to the JPEG. If quality is important I will need to re-edit the original RAW in Photos, which is an occasional pain, but a whole lot better than either losing everything or having to rework every single photo from scratch!

Compressing HTML in Jekyll without a plugin

For a couple of years this site has been hosted on the excellent Squarespace, but it has always been on my to-do list to create something simple and static. Last week I took the plunge and everything is now up and running using Jekyll hosted on GitHub Pages.

I was keen on keeping the site as lightweight as possible, but I assumed some performance tweaks like minifying html would be impossible without plugins (which don’t work on GitHub hosted sites).

That changed when I stumbled across jekyll-compress-html, a jekyll layout that minifies HTML using pure Liquid, which means it works perfectly when building on GitHub Pages.

Using it is dead simple, simply download compress.html, save it in _layouts, and update your base layouts to reference it:

---
layout: compress
---

The compression behaviour is configured in _config.yml. The full set of options are detailed in the documentation, but mine looks like this:

compress_html:
  clippings: all
  comments:  ["<!-- ", " -->"]
  endings:   all

Digging into the source, the magic is achieved by capturing the content of the page into a variable

{% capture _content %}{{ content }}{% endcapture %}

followed by a bunch of string manipulation using split, remove and replace. For an example of the results you can view the source on this page.

This is a brilliant hack, and a great reminder of the power that Jekyll provides out of the box - you might not always need to reach for a plugin!