Last year (wow, time has flown!) we shared about smart previews, what they were, why they were useful, and how to create them when importing images. Today I want to share how to create them for images already in your Lightroom which do not have smart previews AND how to remove them once you don't need them anymore.
Identify Images Needing Smart Previews
The first thing you want to do is isolate the images without smart previews. Now, if you just started using them last week, then it will be easy to identify those without - just all the other images. I
Once the smart preview for the images have been made, you should see "Original + Smart Preview" when you click on any one image. If you don't see that then you need to try again.
After you are sure you have the smart previews made, you can then move the originals to another drive - THROUGH LIGHTROOM, and work only on the smart previews.
Remember, the purpose of smart previews is to allow you to work on an image that isn't on your internal hard drive, usually because you have a laptop like mine with pathetic storage.
Discarding Smart Previews
Once you are completely finished editing the images it would probably be a good idea to discard the smart previews because they do take up space on your drive. The originals remain on whatever external drive you put them on, so they are safe and sound; you are merely getting rid of the smart previews because you don't need them anymore.
- Isolate the images for which you no longer need smart previews. That may be via their collection or keyword, or library filters.
- After isolating them click on Library > Previews > Discard Smart Previews.
- Remember that once those smart previews are gone the only way you can access the images is by hooking up the external drive that they are on.