About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Solving a Photoshop and Camera Raw Speed Issue

Solving a Photoshop and Camera Raw Speed Issue

I have been having a devil of a problem with Photoshop and Camera Raw for quite some time now. Basically, when opening an image, or pretty much anything that triggered the Camera Raw engine, it would take ages to load the window. I’m not talking about a minor inconvenience of a few seconds either, I’m talking about minutes. On occasion it could take up to 10 minutes to launch the Camera Raw window, which in turn would grind Photoshop to a halt. I searched online for a solution but couldn’t find one. Then, the other day, like a bolt of lightning, a possible solution occurred to me, and it seems to have solved the problem.

In the past I’ve had problems with performance in Lightroom when there are too many Lightroom Presets installed. Ridiculous as it sounds, this can actually slow down Lightroom significantly. I didn’t really have any presets installed in Photoshop though. However, some of the presets that I have used in Lightroom, in particular those from VSCO and RAD install custom colour profiles, which are shared between applications. In fact, because you gave to have a separate colour profile for each make of camera, some presets install a lot of colour profiles. I had hundreds installed.

(Incidentally, my presets don’t use custom colour profiles - just saying :-) )

So it occurred to me, that if a lot of presets could be slowing down Lightroom, could a lot of colour profiles be slowing down Photoshop and Camera Raw? To that end, I set about deleting them to see what happened. Of course, first I had to find them. Unfortunately, Adobe litters support files across your system in lots of different places, so that’s not an easy task. Luckily I found them quickly enough though. My first guess was right so I saved hours of trawling my system through dumb luck. Unfortunately, now that I’ve deleted the files I’m not 100% sure where they were. I probably should have written this post there and then or at least made notes. Oh well, I’m pretty sure that this is where they were though (on a Mac):

(Your user folder)/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Camera Raw/CameraProfiles

Profiles put in here are actually common to Lightroom and Photoshop (and anything else that uses Camera Raw, such as Bridge) so be aware that if you remove profiles from here, they’ll be gone in both applications.

I moved them to a temporary location on my desktop rather than deleting them, in case there were issues, but there weren’t so I deleted them after the fact.

I fired up Photoshop and opened a RAW image, and sure enough it loaded almost instantly. Just to be doubly sure, I rebooted and tried it again, and the problem seems to have been solved.

So, if you’re having a problem with Camera RAW talking minutes to load, you might want to try this and see if it helps. I’m not sure but it may have speeded up Lightroom a little too. Unfortunately, it means that I loose the custom colour profiles for VSCO, but I will try and re-installing just a few of them and see if it helps.

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