Im sure youve heard, but in case you haven’t, Adobe has released a free public Beta version of Lightroom 3 for the purpose of getting public feedback on new functionality/features. You can read my take on Lightroom 3 Beta if you want to learn more. When you read the LR3 Beta release notes (seriously, you should!) you’ll notice 3 important statements in the known issues section:

Lightroom 3 beta will not upgrade Lightroom 1.x or Lightroom 2.x catalogs. The beta is intended to be used for testing and feedback purposes. Lightroom 1.x, 2.x and 3 beta libraries will be able to be migrated to the finished version of Lightroom 3.”

While data loss is not expected, this is an early beta quality build and you should always work on duplicates of files that are securely backed up.”

Develop settings applied in Lightroom 3 beta are not guaranteed to transfer correctly to the final version of Lightroom 3.”

In light of this, I often hear people asking how they can bring raw photos developed in Lightroom 2 into Lightroom 3 Beta. Here’s how you can send copies of your photos with Lightroom 2 adjustments to Lightroom 3 Beta:

1. Select the developed photos in Lightroom 2’s Grid view.
2. Go to File > Export or click the Export button.
3. On the Export dialog, choose a folder where you want the copies to be saved, choose a file naming convention, set the File Format to DNG (assuming you are working with raw originals).
4. Click Export.

Note to Windows users: Lightroom 2 and Lightroom 3 Beta cannot run at the same time. Close Lightroom 2 before launching Lightroom 3 Beta.

Note to Mac users: You can leave Lightroom 2 open if you wish. In fact you can even configure Lightroom 3 Beta to open after export via the Post-Processing section of the Export dialog, which will automatically bring up your exported copies in Lightroom 3 Beta’s Import dialog (nice!).

5. Launch Lightroom 3.
6. Import the DNG copies.

All your Lightroom 2 adjustments will be written to the DNG copy on export. It is important to note that the individual history steps from Lightroom 2 are not written to the DNG copies, so you will only see the final configuration of settings you applied in Lightroom 2. However, the good news is that Snapshots are written into the DNG file, so if you created Snapshots in Lightroom 2 those will appear in the Snapshots panel in Lightroom 3 Beta. Converting to DNG should also help those folks using camera’s supported by Lightroom 2.6, but not by Lightroom 3 Beta.

To take advantage of Lightroom 3’s improved processing and color noise reduction you will need to go to Settings > Update to Current Process Version. You can toggle between process versions using the Settings > Process Version menu. Process Version 1 is what you have in Lightroom 2. Process Version 2 (Latest) is the updated version for Lightroom 3 Beta. Check out Lightroom 3 Betas Help file to learn more about the new process version.