Adobe Lightroom® CC for Beginners

Lesson 1/29 - Introduction to the Catalog Style System


Adobe Lightroom® CC for Beginners


Lesson Info

Introduction to the Catalog Style System

You are here because you want to learn Lightroom. Some of you probably already know Lightroom, we've had some conversations about Lightroom kind off, you know, in the break room and stuff like that. So you probably already know a little bit about Lightroom. Some people are gonna come into the class not knowing anything about Lightroom and some people are gonna come into this class thinking they know Lightroom. And so there's a varying degree at which people know Lightroom, and all of those are just fine. So we're going to take you through the process of importing images into Lightroom, we're gonna talk a little bit about where the files are, what a Lightroom catalog is, how to interact with it, and then we're gonna go through all of the most important things that you need to know about Lightroom, in order for you to be able to function inside of this incredible universe that Adobe has created. It is not a Photoshop class. Although we will talk a little bit about some basic, you know, m...

aneuvering to Photoshop and back, and a little bit of basic editing type stuff there, but not very much because this is all about Lightroom and we want to show you not only how to organize your images, and adjust your images, but we also wanna show you how to share your images. So we're really gonna be talking about Lightroom from start to finish, but in a very basic way so that those of you who are just learning how to use Lightroom or you've never used Lightroom, you're all gonna be just fine in this class. So, but let's start by talking about what Lightroom actually is. And this is where it gets a little dicey, because I know that there are some young people out there that we're talking to and then there's also older people, and then there's middle aged people, and so I may have a problem here. Because the reference I'm going to use is a little old. It's gonna date me. But if you need to understand the concept of what Lightroom is, the best way to describe it is a card catalog in a library. Now, there may be a lot of young people that have never done this. They haven't ever experienced this, in fact when I first went to college we used a card catalog in a library. And for those of you who don't know what that is, it's a box. It's a big box with drawers that you pull out and it's got little cards about that size in 'em and on it, it tells you what the book name is, it tells you a little bit about what the book is about, like a synopsis of the book, tells when it was printed and all that, and then it has a Dewey Decimal System on it that tells you where to go find the book over on a shelf in the library. So that's what a card catalog is. And so if I was looking for a book I would have to go, and they would have a card catalog by topic, and then one by author, and then one by book name, and there were repeats of every single book in all of these different filing systems. Now, today, you use Google, and you type in a name of a book or a concept and it shoots up a whole bunch of webpages. Most of you never even go to a book or find a book or go to a library, you just look at that concept on various websites and half the people in the world go to Wikipedia and learn the wrong thing about the topic, but regardless people are searching that way on the internet and it's giving you different information. Right, that's how we find books today. And you can actually find those books. Google books has scanned like millions and millions of books so you can get 'em on. So, rarely do people go to libraries. But, in the old days when we would go there, I would have to go to a card catalog and I would look up a topic and I'd say I wanna learn about Antarctica. So then I would look up by topic and then I would start thumbing through the card catalog, and I would see a book that struck my interest, and I would read the synopsis and it would say, you know, penguins and whatever, and I would be like oh I wanna read about penguins in Antarctica so I would take down that Dewey Decimal number and then I would go to the stacks where all the books were and I would look a book, and then on the shelf, there in the right spot, would be a book with the right Dewey Decimal number on it, and I would pull that out, and I would go, and I would pull 20 books because I really wouldn't know which one was gonna work, and I would take 'em to a table, and I'd set 'em down and I would open 'em up and I'd leaf through 'em and then I'd put about five of 'em. And I wouldn't put them away. A librarian never wants you to put the books away. And the reason is, is if I put them three books away from the correct spot, they will be lost forever, right? Because the Dewey Decimal system gets you to the exact spot, but if it's like 12 books down you'll never think to like go and look around there. So you could just totally lose a book in the library. So you put them on the table and you just leave them there and the librarian will take 'em back, and the librarian is skilled at finding the exact right spot and putting 'em where they go. Okay, so then I have my books and I take my books home and I read them, and then I bring them back to the library and then they put them back. But the reference is always there in the card catalog, or for the newfangled student the reference is inside of your Google search or your internet search, or whatever. But the physical book that was written is still in the library on the shelf and you don't actually have it in the card catalog. Okay, that's what Lightroom is. Lightroom is simply a card catalog. When I import, and we're gonna talk about importing, but when I take images and I import them into Lightroom, I am not taking the actual image and putting it in Lightroom. That's not what happens. What's happening is Lightroom is reading every single book on the shelf, making a synopsis, putting it on a card catalog, and sticking it into a card catalog. Then, when I go to Lightroom and I search for an image and I try and find something, it says hey, there's an image like what you're trying to find, and it's over in this disk, in a certain folder over there. Would you like to play with it? I would, and then I work with it, and then as soon as I'm done with it I just let the librarian put it back. So, Lightroom is really the card catalog and the librarian all together. The problem is, is if I take that file instead of moving it around inside of Lightroom, right? 'Cause Lightroom is the librarian and the card catalog, if I tell Lightroom that the book is over here, the photo is in this disk on this folder, and then I go start messin' with where the books are by moving the files around inside of my hard drive, guess what happens? Lightroom can't find it anymore. It knew where it was when we started, but then I started messin' around with it and I screwed it up, and now it's lost, because I put it away instead of letting Lightroom put it away. Okay. Does everybody understand the construct now? That is what Lightroom is. It's a card catalog for your photos. So let's talk about where photos go and where catalogs go, and stuff like that. So, if you're looking at, so we're looking at the computer now and I'm looking at the library module. Interesting that they call it a library module, isn't it? Okay. I just connected those two. I didn't realize that they, I was like oh, it is a library module, there we go. Okay, so, it's a library module because that's where we organize images and we look at 'em and we try and find them and things like that. But let's take a quick tour around the library module and then we're gonna talk about where all these things come from. So if you were to open Lightroom and already had images in it, this is what it would look like. If you didn't, then it would just be blank and we'll kind of show you that in a minute. But there are several areas inside of Lightroom that you need to be aware of. The middle area here is what's called the grid. That's where we view our images. And over to the left of it there's a navigator. And the navigator's just basically showing you the image you're currently looking at, kind of a little bit bigger, but if I zoom in on it, it gives me the chance to like point at what I wanna look at. So that's what the navigator is. And that's kind of a unimportant item in the library module, but it's just there. But below it is the entire catalog. And when you look at this catalog section here you can click on all photographs, and if I do that it would show me every photograph in my catalog. So it's like taking the entire card catalog and like dumping it out in a big pile in front of you, and saying here's everything in our library, right? It's not everything on your disk, it's not everything in the entire world, it's just what has been put into your library, right? Or into your catalog. And then there're other different sorting methods here too, like all synced photographs. Now all synced photographs references anything that has been synchronized to Lightroom Mobile. So I can see that I have 11,000 images that have been synchronized to Lightroom Mobile, which is really cool and we'll talk about that a little bit later. But imagine that I have 11,000 images that are completely accessible on my iPad, in my phone, like everywhere I am I have access to 11,000 images. That's pretty cool. Okay, there's also a quick collection, we'll talk a little bit about that. Previous import. Anything I last imported, I can click on it and it'll show this is what you last brought in to the catalog. And I can also show what I last sent out from the catalog. And then I can also see photos that failed to do something. So if I get an error inside of Lightroom that says I couldn't build a preview or I couldn't build a smart preview or I couldn't export or I couldn't, it will automatically show up in this catalog area saying I couldn't do this to this set of images. And it's just an easy way to quickly click on something and find the latest whatever came in, the latest whatever went out, or things that had errors. That's pretty much what this area is for, but below that is the real important area and that's called the folders area. And if I open the folders area you'll see that I have a series of blocks. And each one of those blocks represents a hard drive, or basically a stack of books. So, if I have imported something into Lightroom, this hard drive will show up. But if I have a hard drive and I've never imported anything from that hard drive, it won't show up here because this is not a file browser. I'll show you a file browser. That's a file browser. Your Desktop. And anytime you attach a hard drive it shows up here. And then you can kind of riffle through things and look around and find things. And if I wanna look into this hard drive I can open up the hard drive and I can go to the jobs folder and I can look at different jobs here like this, and say oh I wanna look at this job and then I can go into the raw files and like I can do that. That's a file browser. It is 100% dependent on me digging around and looking for things. That's a kin to me walking into a library, going to the stack of books, and just start looking around trying to find something. Not very efficient, but I could do it. Okay. I would just have to know exactly where the book is. Oh I remember that, you know, Man Ray Photographic book is on the fifth floor at the back corner you know, in this section of the library. But, I would only know that if I had visited that book before or if I had put it there, something like that. Okay, so, now, if I go back to Lightroom you can see then that I've got some of these hard drives are light, and some are dark. If they're light, that means they're currently attached to the computer. So it can actually access them right now. Others are dark, meaning I can't access that because you haven't plugged it into the computer. Now that doesn't mean that the library can't tell you about those images. I can click on any of these. So for instance I can go to the studio working drive, which is actually my drive at home. It's at the studio, just sitting there. But I can't access it because it's not plugged in. But I can certainly open it up and I can see, see all these question marks? Those question marks are because it can't find 'em. But I can click on any of these things. So I could click on say, let's go down here to this image right here, or this selects area here. There we go. And I've got photos of a family, right? I could go down to, let's see, I can go to this wedding here, no let's go to this wedding here, uh where are we? Right here, and I can click on these. And there we go, we've got a whole wedding going on there, right? So this is a wedding in the Grand Canyon, and I can look through these photos and I can keyword 'em, and I can write comments about them, and I can go down into the metadata and write captions about them and do all sorts of stuff, and choose them and star them and flag them, because I'm just working with the card catalog. The information about the books, right? But I can't get them because they're not here. They're not attached to my computer. They're unattached on a hard drive somewhere. Okay. So, if I want to access those photos, all I have to do is take that hard drive and plug it in, and now they're instantly accessible. Okay, but all the information about what I've done to the photo, the stars, the flags, the keywords, the metadata, the captions, the titles, and all of the adjustments, turning it to black and white, adding contrast, all of that is inside the catalog. It's in the computer, in the catalog. It is not with the file. The file never gets touched. We don't ever do anything with the file, it just sits there. The only time something gets done to a file, to an actual raw image in your stack of books or in your disk drives, is when you take the stuff that you've done to it inside of Lightroom and you export it. When you export an image, you are making a new copy of that image and you're putting it somewhere, whether it's you're delivering it up to a website or you're putting it on your disk or you're burning a disk of it, or you're emailing it, whatever you're doing, you're making a copy of that file and sending it out, and all of those changes are then baked in. The keywords, the adjustments, all of that becomes part of the file and it is hard coded into it. Then you send it off and it gets printed or it gets put on the website, or whatever happens to it. But until that point, Lightroom is only putting stuff into the card catalog. That's all it's doing. Now, it's important to note though that if I am in a disk that I have access to, and I click on an image, so let's just say that I come down here and I click on say this, so this is just a random shot of like a silo that I saw with the moon. Now, if I take that shot and I right-click that folder and I say show it in the Finder or if you're on a PC it would say explorer, I click on that, it shows me where it is on the disk. And inside that disk, there's all the photos. But if I were to do something here inside of the folder area, like for instance I can right-click any folder and I can go here and say let's create a new folder inside of it, and let's call it selects, like we wanna organize everything that we selected. And I want to include the selected photos in there. So see how I've got one photo selected. If I hit create, it just created a folder inside of here, and it put one photo inside of it. Now let's go look at that same folder that we just opened up, and notice that it has taken all of those, well the one image that I selected and put into a folder that it made, called selects, and it's right here. So I told the librarian to put another stack of books and move this book to this stack. The librarian did it, so it physically happened, but Lightroom knows where it is because Lightroom's the one that did it. Now, let's go the opposite direction and lets say, oh dang it, I want all of those images to be in that folder. Well what happens if I grab those images like this and I grab them, now I am not in Lightroom. This is Lightroom, this is my Desktop. Let me just, I'll hide Lightroom so that okay, we are not looking at Lightroom. I am doing this myself. So this is a kin to me going to the stacks and grabbing a whole section of books and saying these oughta be somewhere else. So I take them and I move them into the selects folder like that. Well now they're all in the selects folder, right? I know where they are. But if I go back to Lightroom, there's gonna be a problem, and that problem is that Lightroom's not gonna know where these images are because look, it thinks that there's only one photo inside of here, and the rest are inside of here. And so as a result of that, when I click on something here and I go up to the top area right next to the histogram, you'll see that the first photo has what's called the original and a smart preview. But if I click on this photo here, the original photo disappear, it doesn't know where it is. And so even though I can work on it and I can adjust it and things like that, I can't export the full file. And if I right-click it and I say show it in the Finder. So let me just, show in Finder, it says oops, I don't know where it is. That's because I moved it instead of letting Lightroom move it. So, when you are working with a catalog system you have to actually move your stuff and rename your stuff inside the catalog system. So Lightroom needs to be involved in all of the moving, all the renaming, all the folder making and stuff like that needs to happen in Lightroom, not outside of Lightroom. Once you've imported 'em into Lightroom, Lightroom is the ecosystem. And you work within Lightroom and then all will be well. If you don't work within Lightroom and you start messin' around outside of Lightroom, then you come back to Lightroom, then you go outside of Lightroom, and then you come back to Lightroom, and some people use like Photo Mechanic, right? Or they use Photoshop, or they use Bridge. And they're using all these things together and the problem is, is they work on Lightroom and they go to Photo Mechanic and they go on and do this, and this, and they move stuff around, and then they come back to Lightroom and it doesn't work and they're like I don't know what to do, my photos are all missing and I can't figure. And usually they send me a big long email which I can't read and don't have time to read because I'm on a plane and I'm on my way somewhere and shooting or whatever, and basically the just is, I can't find any of my stuff it all disappeared on me. That's because they were screwin' around outside of Lightroom. They were running into the stacks of the library and moving stuff around, and then when they came back to the card catalog, it wasn't accurate. Okay, now how can I fix this? Okay you gotta, remember we're gonna talk about all this stuff and get you more adept at using Lightroom, but since we're in this spot I'm going to show you how we fix this. So if I can't find my images, if I highlight all of the images that I can't find and I right-click it and I show it in the Finder, right? See it won't even allow me to show it in the Finder because it's like I don't even know where it is, right? But, if I want to find these images I simply click on 'em, I right-click it and I say show in the Finder and it says I can't locate it, I hit locate and then I go show it where those photos are. So I go like this, it's inside of this folder, inside of this folder, and then I have to tell it which one it is, and it's the number one CR two, so I click on that and hit select. And now it moves that one into here, but look what else it did. It figured out, oh, all of those images are in there. So I only had to move one of them, and it figured out oh, all the other ones. This little yahoo went and moved stuff without me knowing about it, but now I know where they are. So now, they're all inside that folder, and all is well with the world. KneeJack7 had asked can you move the photos and create files in Lightroom without the hard drive being actually connected? No. So right there when you're moving them within, can you do that without it? No. You have to, if you want to actually move stuff around you actually have to have the hard drive connected because it's not gonna do it later, it's gonna do it now. So that's a really great question, but you can make, if you wanted to do stuff on an airplane without the hard drive connected, and then you wanted to move that stuff around later. You could use what's called collections, which we'll talk in a minute to do that, 'cause that's virtual. And then later on you could go to that collection and say okay I wanna move this whole set somewhere else on this hard drive. But the answer to that is an emphatic no. Great, thank you. Okay, all right. You can do so much more to the files when they're not connected. You can adjust them, you can work on 'em, but you cannot move them or rename them until it's connected to the drive.

Class Description

“What an excellent class. I'm a semi-beginner, already know the basics, but wow ... this class adds an extra layer of super AHA moments that shave years off your life! What a great teacher, thank you so much Jared!” – Elaine
Get your photos out of your camera and into the world by using Adobe Lightroom® CC. Organize, enhance and publish your photos all in one place by creating a workflow that fits your lifestyle. Veteran instructor Jared Platt will get you started in this amazing program. You’ll learn how to: 
  • Import and organize your images
  • Develop and retouch your images 
  • Create a workflow that works for you 
  • Publish your images and create prints or books
Adobe Lightroom® was designed to make your post-production process efficient and help you achieve consistently professional results. This class will be your quick start into this program.

Never opened this program before and want to make sure you have the basics covered first?  Check out Adobe Lightroom® CC Crash Course for a quick primer and learn Lightroom® CC in 60 minutes.

Software Used: Adobe Lightroom CC 2015.4 - 2015.8


Kat Jones

Well, I've been a Photoshop girl since the beginning and have dabbled with LR and thought I knew quite a bit about it!! It turns out I've just been playing with bits of it! This is an amazing course. I will need to buy it for all the tricky bits that I just haven't quite grasped. Jared is amazing. Clear, concise, methodical, smashing. Thank you, Creative Live. What a service! Cat Jones Wormit Fife Scotland PS - Delightful to see Jared's Scottish piccies - very familiar, although not with the model!!!


What an excellent class. I'm a semi-beginner, already know the basics, but wow ... this class adds an extra layer of super AHA moments that shave years off your life! What a great teacher, thank you so much Jared!

Jo Wilkens

Really amazing class. Incredibly informative. Mr. Platt is incredibly accessible and easy to understand. The course is thorough and I can't begin to tell you how helpful this class has been!!!! I fumbled around in LR but couldn't get half of it to do what I wanted, thought it should be able to do, and thought it probably did do (to live up to all the accolades I hear from other photographers).... I'm so happy I'm just about in tears to see what I'm going to be able to do going forward. Thank you, thank you, thank you!