Just got a trial of Lightroom 6.7 to try out their HDR and Panorama features. Currently using Lightroom 5.7 which predates these two features.

However, I ran into a particular problem. Lightroom fails to produce an HDR file since it cannot write to the file-system where my images are. It is read-only for safety which works for every other Lightroom feature since it is designed to be non-destructive. This way I know that there is no way for anything to overwrite my images.

Except that for the HDR feature, and I assume the Panorama one too, Ligtroom tries to create a new file in the same location is the original file! Is there any way to change this and to give it a directory to write into?

Of course, making the file-system writable would avoid the issue but I am not confortable doing that.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you use external xmp files of you store the receip in catalog? And as far as I remember LR try to write the resulting DNG in the same place and I do not know way to avoid this. But If you want just to play why do not copy images on r/w media/disk? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 22, 2016 at 19:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Sure, I can make a test with a R/W disk but to justify paying for it, I better figure out how to make it work with my workflow. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Sep 22, 2016 at 21:51

1 Answer 1


I think the short answer is "no" if you are doing a direct lightroom merge to HDR. You can use an edit-in and choose "merge .. in Photoshop" and do the merge there, and from Photoshop you can save-as, though this is not quite the same thing as letting LR do it.

I think the more broad answer is having the drive/folder as read-only is not compatible with a number of lightroom features. When you edit in an external program (most plugins, or even photoshop) the normal behavior is to export a file (usually a TIFF) into the same folder as the original image, and operate on that file. Subsequent edits are usually done by editing that same TIFF (or occasionally producing yet another one). And clearly direct modification such as convert to DNG requires write access, as does writing metadata (for some file types), and updating capture date/time.

While it is perfectly true that Lightroom is "non-destructive" and so should not need to write to the original file for most usage, many of its features assume it can write to the folder on which the file resides, and a very few to the file itself. While there are some workarounds, it may be worth asking if you can put the protections at a file, not folder level, to protect your originals.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That''s a fair answer. I was hoping there was a work-around because the assumption of R/O is built into my workflow - by my own doing, of course, but it has more impact than just for LR. My folder hierarchy is organized in 22GB trees which get backed-up to Blu-Ray twice for off-site storage. Only the last tree gets added to the backups. So not only would files appear force to backup already archived directory trees, they may also no longer fit on Blu-Ray! \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Sep 26, 2016 at 3:56

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