March 2015 Articles
All edits are stored within the Lightroom Catalog. They are completely reversable at anytime. There is no need to “save” your work unless you want access to the edits outside of Lightroom.
You can write external XMP edits for individual files while in the Develop Module. Go to Photo>Save Metadata to File, ⌘-S (Mac) or Ctrl-S (PC). This writes a sidecar XMP file to the hard drive for raw images. For JPEG, TIFF, PNG and PSD files, metadata by defualt is embedded in the file.
XMP data can be automatically saved for all images with a preference change in the Catalog Settings.
Go to Lightroom>Catalog Settings, Metadata tab. Choose “Automatically write changes into XMP.” Think twice before you do this though, because it could slow down your workflow as Lightroom continually saves data to your hard drive as you edit.
XMP edits saved externally can be viewed by Adobe Bridge.
Image files must be on a hard drive before Lightroom can import them.See “Where Should I Put My Photos?”.
Lightroom can copy images to a drive, and import them at the same time, but I don’t recommend this method for beginners.
Use the “Import Add” method instead. This is the best and safest way to import photos. It puts you in control of file management.
- Quit out of Lightroom if it is open.
- Copy images from your camera’s memory card to a hard drive.
- Rename the new image folder.
- Eject the memory card, and launch Lightroom.
- Click the “Import” button in the lower left. Find the newly copied folder of images in the “Source” panel on the left. Double check to make sure “Add” is selected at the top of the screen. Click “Import” on the lower right of the screen.
The photos are now part of your Lightroom catalog, and they reside on your computer exactly where you put them. You know where they are, and if needed can find them later without the help of Lightroom.
The catalog name is listed in the very top of the Lightroom application window. If you know the names of your different catalogs, this should tell you what you need to know. If it says something generic like Lightroom 5, then you have opened the default catalog, created the first time you launched Lightroom. See “Where is My Catalog”.
While in Lightroom you can find your catalog by going to your Catalog Settings. On a PC you will find Catalog Settings under the Edit tab. On a Mac you find it under the Lightroom tab. The path to your currently open catalog is listed at the top of the General tab in Catalog Settings. Click the “Show” button to go to the catalog file on your computer.
The Lightroom catalog you want to work with is probably on an external hard drive. The computer you are using doesn’t automatically know about the catalog on the external drive. Double clicking the Lightroom application icon launches a brand new, empty catalog.
Stop everything! Don’t re import your images. Go find the correct catalog.
There are two ways to open a specific catalog. If you are already in Lightroom you can go to File > Open Catalog... Use the browser to navigate to the catalog you want. Hopefully you remember where you put it.
Opening a new catalog will close out the one you currently have open and relaunch with the one you just selected. It may ask you to save a backup. You can skip that part.
If Lightroom isn’t open, you can launch Lightroom directly from the catalog file. Catalog files have the extension “.lrcat”. Double click the catalog file to open Lightroom.
Quit out of Lightroom.
Browse the computer to find the folder that contains your photo library. To move the entire photo library, choose the highest level folder that contains all of your photos.
Copy this folder to a new internal or external drive. Do not move your photos to a USB thumb drive, or compact flash card.
After the copy has completed, rename the original folder (in the original location). The new name doesn’t matter. Adding a couple of “x’s” at the end works, and is easy to keep track of.
Go to the folder panel. Right click on the top most folder with the question mark. Go to “Find Missing Folder”. Find the copied folder on the new hard drive. Confirm that there are no missing photos in the catalog.
Now you can delete the folder on the original hard drive, the one named “XX”.
Go to the Folders tab and right click (control click Mac) the highest level folder with a question mark icon. Go to Find Missing Folder... Use the browser window to navigate your computer and find the missing folder. The folder has either been renamed or moved since it was first imported into Lightroom. When you find the new location, Lightroom will fix the link to the folder and all of the folders inside of it, assuming those folders weren’t renamed or moved to a different location.
Find a specific file by clicking on the exclamation point in the upper right corner of the image. Click the “Locate” button to navigate your computer and find the image.
You can make a quick collection of all of your missing photos by going to Library>Find all Missing Photos.
Lightroom did not loose your photos, it just lost track of them. You either moved them, renamed them, or renamed the folder they live in.
You are responsible for educating your catalog’s brain. When you import photos, you teach Lightroom about them. You can’t change your mind about those photos later on, and not tell Lightroom about it. Lightroom is a smart brain but not a mind reader.
Lightroom knows about the location and names of your images when you import them. Moving or renaming files or folders after they have been imported is the same thing as changing your mind. Lightroom doesn’t know where to find something after you’ve moved or renamed it.
It’s a good idea to organize your photo library BEFORE you start building your Lightroom catalog. It is important that you know how to find any image on your computer without Lightroom, (or Picasa, or iPhoto, or Microsoft Picture Manager, etc.)
Lightroom is a powerful database than can help you organize and find things at lightening speed, but it is only an application. If you've been around computers for even a short time, you know that bad things happen. Sometimes applications don't open when you need them most.
Always know exactly where your photos reside. Be able to locate them with your Finder or Explorer.
How you organize your life is completely personal, and so is your photo library. Some of us are more tidy organizers than others. It only matters that the organizational structure makes sense to you.
I organize my photos by date and event name. Every time I take my camera out, I start with a fresh memory card. When I return to my computer, the images on each card become a new folder in my photo library.
My photo library is on a drive named “photography”. The Photo Library is a folder. Inside of the Library Folder are folders for each year. Inside of each year folder is a folder for every event, listed by date.