Turbo boost your upload speed by using lossy DNGs

The technique described below can be used by any client who shoots in RAW mode.  It is particularly useful to those with slower upload speeds as it will allow you to upload your files in a tiny fraction of the time as before!  And it is easy too!  It can be used for both the culling and image correction services, but not for retouching or album design.


You will use Lossy DNG files to reduce your file sizes by 90-95% without a loss in final file quality. The basic premise is you can upload files of reduced size for us to edit and then apply the returned metadata to your full size, uncompressed files on your side.

***Note: This requires a minimum of LR4 or CS6 to work***


Step 1: Creating the lossy DNG files

Use LR4 to create Lossy compressed DNG files from your original raw files. To do this:

  • Import your raw files into a catalog
  • Select all the files you want to send to Lavalu and Export them. In the Export dialog box under "File Settings"  change the Compatibility to 6.6 or higher and check the Lossy Compression box. Also resize the long edge to 2000 pixels.
  • If you are having us to culling (image selection) then you should resize the files to 3000 pixels on the long side so we have more data to view details in the image.
  • NOTE:  DO NOT change the file name of your lossy dng files while exporting.  If your lossy dng file names are different than your raw files the xmps will not work.
  • Export the files to a new folder and upload this new folder of small DNG files to the Lavalu server.
  • Once your upload to Lavalu is complete you will no longer need the small files on your side. 
  • Be sure to indicate on your order form that you have uploaded lossy DNGs!
Step 2: Receiving the finished work from Lavalu

Lavalu will adjust the files per your preferences and then return xmp files for you to use with your raw files in either Camera Raw or Lightroom. The xmps are used in the same manner as if you had sent us the full size raw files.  (By placing them in the same folder as your original raw files and then using the "Read Metadata from File" command in Lightroom.  Detailed steps can be found here.)

Technical note for those who use full size DNGs in your normal workflow

This workflow assumes you are using your original RAW files. If you have already converted your images to (full-sized) DNGs upon import into Lightroom we can still use the Lossy DNG method described above, however the deliverable will be a LR catalog (instead of xmps) and there is a two step process on your side to transfer the metadata to have the adjustments in your existing catalog.  If this is the case, please make a clear note on your order form so we can get you the appropriate deliverable.


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    Ebony Steadman

    Brilliant! I will definitely give this ago for my next order.

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