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Catalogue Overview

Lesson 8 from: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC Workflow for Photographers

Daniel Gregory

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Lesson Info

8. Catalogue Overview

Feeling like your Lightroom catalog is a disaster is normal, Daniel says. In this lesson, he talks catalog strategy, like when to use multiple catalogs and how to manage multiple catalogs.

Lesson Info

Catalogue Overview

light room catalogue import photo nightmare. Uh, but I think somewhere in the world, uh, there's this wise holy mountain were on the top sits somebody of all infinite photo knowledge. And they have this perfect light room catalogue environment they live in. It's the garden of Light room. And then from that, this they spent spinoff proclamations of their genius and the rest of us just feeling like idiots because we're like, I understand what it's supposed to do. And then there's kind of what it does do. And like I have said many times that we learn what other people do, and that seems to make sense. And we adopt that. And now we've got another problem, and at some point we end up with not just what we think to be is too many photos. But we might also end up with too many catalogues and too many old catalogs. And then we go to say, I'm just gonna get myself cleaned up, and we just start randomly opening catalogs, and it's like you need to update this catalog. And like I thought, I alread...

y updated that catalog. And then it says there's already a version of this updated catalogue and we get in this weird space three star bring all that up is I want you to know that that is normal and that's OK. Sometimes we have to accept the reality that things are a little odd to move forward. And once you get that written plan down, once you get that structure down, you will be fine. You might have to take some steps backwards to come, actually, also like forward. And so I wanted to talk a little bit about catalog and catalog strategy about you know, you've got some catalog or the thinking. What are some of those benefits of a multiple catalogue? Why would you have one catalogue? How do you do with a multiple catalog? And I mentioned my travel catalogue and I want to circle back on. What is that? And how does that actually work for me? The catalogue you're looking at in the class is not my catalog. This is just random images I throw in here that air effective for helping me teach things and demonstrate things. They're not even my my real photographs that I highly prized in value because I worry it will be destroyed in Los. If that was the only copy here, even though I have my backup. So I have multiple catalogs I operate in. And even though I tell most people one catalogue to rule them all, you know, we end up in that multiple environment. So what are some of things we need to consider is you're thinking about your actual workflow. One catalogue would be the ideal world toe live in, I think because we can't search across multiple catalogs. And so if I have more than one catalogue, one of the things I have Teoh give up in my workflow is my inability to reach across all catalogs. I can't go in and say, Oh, search across. I can't tell light room, Go into every catalogue and look for this photo with this set of keywords in this I isso and this file may it can't do that. It can Onley searching the catalogue that is actually open. So if you're a person who likes that wants that consistency of the experience of always being able to find something and knowing that it's all in one location, having this idea of ah main catalog or a central catalogue of one is probably the starting point for your workflow. Now I have friends who are and I bless them and revere in front of them because they, our wedding photographers, the volume of work they have to do the amount of hustle they have to do is immense. And I'm not a wedding photographer. People call me and ask me, you know, good friends will call. I would really love it if you'd shoot our wedding first. I'm like, Have you ever looked at my work? Unless you want to be like artsy egg lit blob like But wedding photography have such a different workflow and in a lot of ways, it's it's finite to the event and to the couple. So if you're a wedding photographer, it might make sense to do a catalogue per wedding. And so even if you do the forget what they're called engagement shoots, the the early part, the wedding, and then you have the burn, the dress or whatever that's called. Laurie and I got married with five people around us. A lot of a lot of that, Um so but if you have like, even if you have, you know an engagement shoot, the actual wedding shoot, the after thing, whatever, all in one catalog. Because what would happen in that case is somebody calls up and says, I need I would call my photographer. It's a Oh, I'm looking for these photos. Can I get these? The Gregory shoot You just open the Gregory catalog record King catalog. Everything will be there. You don't need to have every wedding, potentially one catalogue, because there is. Even with all the work Adobe does, there is a diminished return is the catalogue gets bigger and bigger and larger. There's just it's going to slow down a little bit. And even though there is efficiency that Adobe spends a lot of time making light room faster with each update and enhancing the efficiency of it, more stuffs in there. So a smaller catalogue will be lighter weight and easily searchable. And if it's self contained, that way works great. Maybe your commercial photographer and you have 10 clients. So if your client is Coca Cola, Coca Cola's those photographs are all under the Coca Cola realm and the shoots you've done for Coca Cola, and that's distinct from what you might have done for Dodge or for some small company locally. So maybe multiple catalog's worth, because you're gonna dip into that catalogue based on the product piece. So in that world, maybe multiple catalogs makes sense. Also easier to back up. You just take the whole chunk of the catalogue, back it up, put it in long term archival storage, somebody who got married 15 years ago. If you're still responsible by contract to hold those photographs, you just put him in a long term storage vault somewhere online and know that you could get to it if you needed it. But the odds are pretty small if you have a single. If you're like a lot of photographers, though, I think that doesn't necessarily make sense. That's a business decision. But for the a lot of people using light room, they're just photographers. That's their hobby. It's their their semi professional. It's the passion about, or there's somebody like me who's I'm in the fine art Space mawr that I am in other spaces, and so I just want most of my work in there because I don't know, necessarily that a shoot I did in Mexico might tie into something that I did in my backyard because it ends up being flowers or abstract things or something like that. So having all of the kind of one spot for me just to kind of build approves makes sense. So there's no right answer to the that which catalogue and what tohave the Like. I said, the big separations, You can't search across multiple catalogs. And if you have one catalogue, this goes back to the travel piece on that workflow piece. If I'm gonna travel, I've got to make a decision. I'm gonna take a light room on my laptop with me. I gotta make system. I'm gonna take my entire catalog with me. Now. One of the benefits that lack room has is I don't have to take the photos with me. So when you are missing photos and light room, it just comes up with a question mark. It says photo missing, But you can continue to add it all your metadata. You continue to work in the library module, you consort, moving collections. If they're smart previews, you could continue to edit them. So at one point I carried my entire catalog with me and they were all smart previews, and then I could add it to my heart's content. Sit on the airplane, edit every me good. Try to do that Once airplane came back. Could get the lid on the laptop open anymore. So that fantasy, if I'm gonna do all this work, went away. That was literally the moment where I realized, Why am I care? My whole catalog with me, I have the six hour flights across the country was like, That's my time. I'm gonna work on the plane. But I have enough room, sometimes even work. So there's got I got to do something different. So I had enough room to take out a piece of paper and write down on the airplane. So I started thinking about OK, well, what really is my goal and having those photographs? What was just to try to do maintenance in house, playing work? Clean up. My problem will come back to a second. I was trying to clean up my messes I had created before. That was one thing. The second thing was, I was like, Oh, I want my I want all these photos in my life room catalog. I want to take photographs when I'm in Maine or in Europe, and I want to come back and want to put them into my labrum cataloguing it was just there. It's done on the trip, but I don't have to worry about it. And I realized, Wait a minute. If I had a second catalog that I travel with that only is responsible for my travel photographs. And when I say a travel catalogue, if I was to leave here today and tomorrow, I had to go down to San Francisco. When the plane land in San Francisco, we went to hotel. Drop off. Here I go out and photograph. Come back That night, I create a brand new catalog called San Francisco. Nothing in it. I import all the photographs into that. I work on him. I added him. Tag, um, develop module. Whatever I need to do, I get back to the studio upon would be Island. I import that San Francisco catalogue into my main catalogue once that's in, and it goes through its backup cycle of the three drives, and I know it's archived into the cloud that San Francisco catalogue goes into the trash. It doesn't exist anymore. Everything that moved into the main catalogue. I then go to Denver, Colorado Plane lands in Denver. I created Differ catalogue. It is a temporary catalogue. So in my workflow it was I want everything in one big catalogue. But I don't want to travel with my main catalogue, nor do I need it. If I was a commercial photographer or an editorial photographer, I might have clients who say to me, I need this photograph. I'm on the road for four weeks. Well, I'm either gonna travel with all of my hard drives then or I'm gonna have a different business workflow to address that issue. There's other ways to get to your photographs. If you needed to send them to a client, it doesn't have to be. I take all my photos with my room. You could connect back to your network at the house. You could have an assistant work. There's a lot of ways to solve that problem outside the light room sphere, so it doesn't have to be the all encompassing element there. So as I'm traveling, I just know these air temporary catalogs and lewdly. If you look at my computer, it says Tim Import Temp Catalogue. As soon as that's in the master catalogue and backed up, it's gone. Went to Yellowstone for a week, shut about 8 photographs. Four of them were in focus, and, Ah, so I imported all those photographs and I got back. And then they were gone. And it's the trepidation is when you're deleting the temple on your Lego man. I sure hope everything imported right, right? It imports you. Look, There were 4000 photographs in the old contemporary catalogue, 4000 photographs just imported. Everything's good when it imports. It brings all the development sittings brings all the ratings, brings all the pick flags, brings all the keywords, brings all the metadata. Apply now my development presets and all that. They're toe light room, and I store them outside the catalogue, so I could still have some of those elements. But I'm not doing heavy lifting that my work clothes, not the heavy lifting there. So travel catalogue is temporary where people get confused. Sometimes when I say that is what they think is I have my main catalog and then have a catalog of everywhere I've ever traveled, and that's not the case, these air literally one and done gone catalogs. And for me, that's been huge in my workflow efficiency. Because, really, when I met Sam in San Francisco and I'm calling an editing and I'm deleting and making things go away and things were staying in, whatever I'm working on, Lee the San Francisco stuff, that's my That's my workflow. Now I had to accept that I'm not gonna have all my photographs with me. Truth is there. They don't want to travel with me anyway, like they're happy. Air conditioned studio music's playing well, Disco lights spins. They're fine, so they don't have to worry about traveling. I don't have to worry about losing them. If you haven't had something stolen traveling overseas, it's heart wrenching. But imagine if your bag that had your catalog in it disappeared. They got three weeks on the road. That's gone you're now worried about is my backup even at home still there? Do I have that leave everything that doesn't need to be with you elsewhere? So that's my my structure for my catalog, and I had to sit down to think about what I need more. Am I when I'm home. I want it all and I want it all in one catalog. I don't want open the multiple catalogue piece. I'm in that position. Now we're teaching. I'm like, all there's a photograph. 10 no, that's actually my other catalogue. Have to remember to go export it imported that I'm making edit here that I then think all that. I need that at it back there. That's the multiple catalogue problem. But if it works for you and your business, go with it. And don't even think about it. I love this idea of multiple catalogs for clients. I'm wondering, is there a maximum catalogs? You can have maximum for the battle hard drives You can storm on Yeah, in light room when you come in. Now, if we can jump to the computer, might room you've got the, uh, open a catalogue. So as long as there's catalogues on the hard drive, you'll have the opportunity to open those up to your meetings. You have You can see under a recent here we have a whole bunch of them. I've got people I work with, and that's one of the ways we they will send me file. Sometimes I'm like, I want the whole catalog. So they just export a catalogue, which I'm gonna show of a collection, and they'll just give me that. And I can open that I could make some edits. And as long as we're not in the catalogue at the same time trying to do said it same time it it reasonably works out. Um, for the catalog, I'm also going to show you, um, workflow. That's an import workflow for organization for collections. And that was one of the other reasons that got me into thinking about my travel catalogue because I was doing a workflow piece to help me stay organized in the travel catalogue. Came from that Also in that consistency part. If you've got client work and then you've got personal work, two catalogues, plant work personal, and it doesn't mean there won't occasionally be some overlap in the Venn diagram there, for for the most part, a lot of that could be separate. And in that recognition of who you are is the is the artist, photographer creator. There might be in your own world, a different mindset. You take to your own work verse client work the time pressure is different. The expectation might be different. Your mental approach might be different, so it might be advantageous is you think about what you know. I just love to be able to just kind of be free and not worry about stuff. Like if my client stuffs not in my light room catalog and I opened my personal one. I just feel more relaxed because I'm not thinking about work. I'm thinking about my own photography. That might be the reason. Have more than one catalogue. And yes, you lose this multiple search ability. You've now gotta maintain the two different catalogues. Gotta worry about that. That might be worth more in the long run than having it together. And if you decide to do multiple catalogs, do multiple catalogs don't get stuck in no word nor landing between where you're like half my client stuffs in one catalog. I have a client catalog. It's not there. That's the worst spots. Let's say you're there. Good. Um, I think I could probably make a pretty good living if I was willing to travel the people's houses and just fix their light room scenarios because they're like I have this stuff and it's not working. I don't know where anything is. So step one in this process. Find where everything is. Where your photographs. What hard drives are they on? Light room will tell you it used to be on a hard drive called SanDisk six. Go find Sandis six. And if you can't, you're like, Oh, I moved him from Sandy is six to that one hard drive I bought and it was purple. Go find that purple. Go find the photographs. You gotta have that. That park. When you decide what the structure is, then set aside the time to actually do the work. This is gonna take time because it's gotta move photos around. It's got import thing. So this is not 30 seconds and you're all fixed. But what you're gonna want to do is get you little documentation down. I about six catalogs and I want to get into one. This is real. 06 catalogues live, okay? And I want my new catalogue to live on this hard drive. And I wanted to be called this. Okay, so that's your first pieces to get where everything is once you have that If you're gonna move from multiple catalogs or you have multiple catalogs, light room will take a catalogue and import it into another catalogue, and it will bring. It will give you options to bring in the files. Bring in all of the metadata, the copies. And if it finds duplicates in there, it will ask you how to handle the duplicates. And so if you're stuck with, I've got four catalogues. I don't know what's in them. Just imported all into one. Get yourself to a spot where you know you have everything. If you have stuff that is between, you have to catalogs and you're like, I this isn't working. I need I have one catalogue. I need to do the client split. We're gonna talk about collections in the second. That's gonna be your best friend. You're gonna put your client stuff into a collection, and then we can export a collection as a catalogue so we can pull all those photos out of your one catalogue and break him in two separate catalogues. So we're never in a position and not being able to change decisions. We just have to make sure that we know the direction. We're gonna go. I'm gonna show you how to do the import export. We're not to be left high and dry here where I just say it'd be really cool if you just went off and did that. I'll wait. When you're done, we'll start again.

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I watched this course live. Really good!. Of course, I like all of Daniel Gregory's classes. It's a real treasure when one finds a really good teacher who thinks like oneself. I thought that I already knew Lr well so I was really surprised about how much I learned from this course. I learned so many ways to improve my workflow efficiency.

Anne Dougherty

I was impressed by the amount of information covered in depth, and by Mr Gregory’s teaching style. I’m somewhat new to Lightroom and found his explanations of its capabilities, and why you would use it rather than Photoshop for specific processes, enormously helpful. I especially appreciated his lessons covering printing. This is invaluable information. Great class.

Warren Gedye

This was a great course. Daniel certainly explains it well and in terms I can understand! Super worth it and learnt loads of new tricks! Great job!!

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