A question that I often see on Adobe’s Lightroom User to User forum and even personal emails relates to a ? badge appearing on photos – “What does it mean and how do I make it go away” The short answer to the question is that Lightroom no longer has access to the photos marked with the ? badge. So now that we know why – what is the solution? Well, it just happens that the underlying cause and solution have been around as long as Lightroom itself. In fact, such is the confusion it caused in the past that I wrote a tutorial (Find missing or moved folder) with the intention of helping Lightroom 2 through 4 users better understand why the issue occurs and how it can be easily fixed. The tutorial remains valid right through to Lightroom 5. That being said, there is now a twist to how Lightroom might indicate that a photo is missing. The twist is the use of a ! badge instead of ? and a new feature called Smart Previews.
With this latest update I’ve revised the screen shots and included some basic information on the use of Smart Previews. These can be used when the user has deliberately disconnected the original photos but still requires access to them to apply develop adjustments.