Lightroom 3 Process Version

1) What is Lightroom Process Version?

After you convert all of your Lightroom 2 catalogs to Lightroom 3, you will notice that images from the converted catalogs will have a warning sign when you view them in Develop module (under the image). In addition, you will also see a new drop-down under “Camera Calibration” that was not there in Lightroom 2 called “Process”, which contains “2003” and “2010 (Current). Here is how it looks:

Lightroom 3 Current Process Version

If you click on the warning sign below the photo, a new dialog box will come up like this:

Lightroom 3 Update Process Version Dialog Box

The message inside the dialog box that says “New processing technology is available for this image” basically indicates that although Lightroom 3 came with plenty of new features (especially in sharpening and noise reduction), it never upgraded your imported images to work with the new features of Lightroom 3. Adobe did this on purpose – they did not want to mess with your photos and make them look different after you upgrade from Lightroom 2 to Lightroom 3, which is why they provided the option to work in “LR2 legacy mode”. You will also notice that some options, like “Detail” under “Noise Reduction” are grayed out.

2) Update Process Version

To take advantage of all new Lightroom 3 features, you will need to update your photographs to the latest “2010 (Current)” Process Version. You can do this by going into every single image and clicking the warning sign, or by selecting all images and upgrading them all at once. I recommend the latter approach, especially if your Lightroom catalog contains many photos.

Here is the easiest way to convert all images to the 2010 Process Version:

  1. Go to Library Module or press the “G” key on your keyboard.
  2. Click on the root folder that contains all of your images (left panel, under “Folders”).
  3. Press “CTRL+A” to select all images in your catalog.
  4. Right-click any of the images that were selected, then go to “Develop Settings” and choose “Update to Current Process (2010)”.

Once you do this, all of your images will get upgraded/converted to the latest Process Version, which will allow you to use the new features of LR3.

3) New Images and Import Process

By default, all new images that you import into Lightroom 3 should have the latest Process Version. However, if you used to apply specific settings to each photo upon import in LR2, you will then also have to update those settings to reflect the new Process Version in LR3. Here is how I suggest to do it:

  1. Go to Develop Module or press the “D” key on your keyboard.
  2. Find “Process” drop-down under “Camera Calibration” and select “2010 (Current)” from the list.
  3. On the left tab of Lightroom, right-click your import preset, then select “Update with Current Settings”.
  4. Select all settings by clicking the “Check All” button, then click the “Update” button on the right lower corner.

This will update your import preset to use the most current Process Version for your images.


  1. 1) Игонин Алексей
    June 13, 2010 at 6:17 am

    Насим, добрый день. Благодаря вам стал потихоньку любить Лайтрум. До этого как то не считал его хорошим конвертором. Хотя – это очень мощная программа. Третий лайтрум рулит. Начинаю осваивать.

    • June 15, 2010 at 12:18 am

      Алексей, не представляю свою жизнь без Lightroom – я очень к нему привык и все реже и реже использую Photoshop :)

      • 1.1.1) JL
        June 23, 2010 at 3:29 am

        Thanks for your explanation about upgrade from LR 2 to 3. Very usefull and clear.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          June 29, 2010 at 11:15 pm

          JL, you are most welcome! Please let me know if you have any questions.

  2. 2) Dave Landry
    July 8, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I am reluctant to apply the new process settings to my old processed images for fear that they will change in ways that I don’t like. Can you add a bit more informaiton about the impact of this change on existing images?

    • July 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

      Dave, I applied the new process settings to my old images and I have no issues with the changes. Backup your Lightroom catalog, then convert the images and see how you like them. You should see very minimal changes that should not be noticeable.

      So far I have converted all of my catalogs back from 2006 and everything looks good!

  3. 3) Brent Harsh
    October 17, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks, I had been annoyed that almost all my imports were not using the new process version; this post helped me realize that I had built my develop settings in LR2 and so they did not have the new version saved in them. Nice. I would tend to recommend caution about defaultly applying the new version to all photos though – I did see some significant changes on some images which I had deliberately “stressed” for effect (ie, silhouettes, stage lights, musicians, etc) and I really preferred the old settings. Only those photos that you want to make more changes to should you update the process version (but definitely do it then for that image!)

    • October 22, 2010 at 2:11 am

      Brent, thank you for your feedback! I do not apply much effects in Lightroom, so it was an easy transition for me. But thank you for the tip – I’m sure others will find it useful.

  4. 4) jagdish
    January 10, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    hi ,

    I bought Nikon D3100, n Adobe Photoshop Lightroom v3.3, but i dont know how to edit my photos.

    Specially, How to remove black spots on face, dark circle under the eye, color on lips, can i fix blur images?

    Thanks in Advance,


    • February 18, 2011 at 2:53 pm

      Jagdish, for that kind of portrait editing, you will need to use Photoshop.

      I recommend buying a good book on Photoshop and Lightroom…

  5. 5) Beverly
    July 31, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Thank you Nasim for this informative post. Just a month ago I upgraded LR1 to LR3.3 and wondered what that mark was trying to tell me! :) Thank you too for ALL of the excellent information you share on this blog about the world of photography. Your Omar and Osman are adorable!! Thanks so much for your time and effort. You and your wife are so kind to us.

  6. 6) Collins
    September 1, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I love your site, quick clear, and from what i’ve seen accurate. And you have beautiful shots to back up your claims ^__^

    I’m not sure if you’ve answered this else where…
    I love using lightroom, but my Raw files in lightroom just arn’t being interpreted correctly. Which has led me to use lightroom to edit the JPG’s of NX2 exports

    What do you do ?

    • September 9, 2011 at 8:54 am

      Collins, thank you for your feedback. If you are referring to custom settings such as sharpening, saturation, active d-lighting, etc. in your camera not being imported by Lightroom, then yes, that’s unfortunately the problem with a proprietary format. I personally never set any Nikon-specific camera settings (everything is set to default) and I shoot with Active D-Lighting turned off. Since I shoot RAW, none of those settings actually matter for me, since I can make any changes I want in Lightroom. I have adapted my workflow for this and have been doing it for the last 3-4 years without any problems. If you do want to retain your settings in Lightroom, the only thing you can do is save your photographs in NX2 in TIFF format and then open them up in Lightroom/Photoshop. But once you do that, you will have a storage problem with retaining huge TIFF files and RAW files. I import everything into Lightroom and convert Nikon’s NEF format to DNG. All Lightroom changes are then preserved in those DNG files.

      Hope this helps.

      • 6.1.1) Collins
        September 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm

        Hmmm i never thought about doing that.

        Ill give that a try and see how that works for me.

        Thanks so much ^__^

  7. September 16, 2011 at 3:08 am

    Thank you so much for this clear, concise explanation of how to fix existing images & future imports, it had been confusing me for ages. All sorted now, much appreciated! Chris.

  8. October 4, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Nasim :

    I am new to your site… I have been using LIghtroom and currently have about 10000 pictures, give or take. My catalogs and file structures are a mess! I have decided that probably the only thing I can do to rectify the situation is to literally start over with new catalogs and then move my photos – really starting over. In addition to a new structure it would give me a reason to delete a bunch of files that are no longer needed in the process. It might be a long winter ahead….!

    I have realized with your site what I have been missing – a good way to organize catalogs (i.e. year by year)…. I wish I had realized that several years ago! Anyway, I think my new structure will utilize your methodology and am wondering if there is a batch method to rename a whole group of images as I go in my “new” catalog structure…and also if you have any other suggestions for this daunting task ahead of me. By the way, I live in the Denver area, and wonder if you might do ‘one on one’ type sessions to help guys like me get it right…!

    Look forward to your response…thanks. Your site provides a lot of great information – it shows a lot of work has gone into your material!

  9. 9) Christina Jomes
    January 10, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Thanks for this clear description.

  10. 10) Marleen
    January 10, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Hi there, a friend of mine just got Lightroom 3 and recently tried shooting in RAW. When she tried to import her images, Lightroom did not recognize them. I have the same camera, the same program and have been shooting in raw for sometime now and did not have a conversion problem.
    My question is, is there some setting that needs to be switched for her program to process her RAW files?

  11. 11) Shaibal Nath
    January 13, 2012 at 8:56 pm


    Could you please explain how to conver an image in JPEG post processing in Lightroom 3.2.


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