Understanding Catalogs and File Management
Hey this is Ben Willmore and welcome back to Lightroom Classic, the Complete Guide. Let's take a look back at what we've covered thus far. Some of you are just turning in now. And this will be your first time. Well, we've already gone through two days. So on the first day, I gave you kind of an overview about how to think about Lightroom and how it might be different than other programs. Therefore, you can have a good nice base of how to truly think about it before we get into the deep functions that are available. In the second day, we talked about how to get your images into Lightroom. And how to customize the interface so it doesn't have to look like the standard one. Instead, you can optimize it for your particular use. Well, then today what we're gonna get into is we're gonna talk about Lightroom catalogs and file management in general. Because any time you work with Lightroom, you're always gonna be working with a Lightroom catalog file and it's very useful to really know what it...
's in it. And how to think about it. So, what is a Lightroom catalog? Well it's the file that's keeping track of everything you do in Lightroom. So if you have a set of photographs and they're not gonna show up in Lightroom until you import them. We covered that yesterday. But in the process of importing those photographs into Lightroom, it adds them to the Lightroom catalog. And when it does, it creates a separate record for every single picture you import. And let's take a look at what kind if information it stores within the catalog file. So let's just look at one record for one photograph. And let's see the various elements that is contained within. First, it creates a preview of that image. And therefore, because it has that preview, you can view that picture even when the hard drive that contains the original isn't attached to your computer. But just because you see that preview in Lightroom, doesn't mean it actually contains your original file. We'll still have those stored on our hard drive. So it keeps track of the name of the original file. And that's important because that means if you change the name of that file outside of Lightroom, now then suddenly the record it has for that image is not gonna match up anymore. It's not gonna know where the original is. Because the only way it knows what the original is is through the filename that is stored at the moment you import it and it also stores the location on your hard drive. Therefore, it knows the exact folder structure of where that file should be found so if it ever needs to use the file, let's say for high resolution printing, it knows where to look for it. Then it also stores some information from your camera. Your camera's serial number. The f-stop you used, the shutter speed, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Like the date. And therefore, it makes it quick and easy to search based on that information without it having to look back at the original file every single time. Then, it also stores any changes that you've made within Lightroom. So if you go to the develop module and you grab the contrast, and you bring it up to +21. All it's doing is putting the word contrast in the setting of + and it puts it in this text, right in that Lightroom catalog file. Then you move another slider. You bring your highlights down to -53. And all it's doing is writing it down as text. And therefore, it doesn't actually change the original file, it just keeps track of what you've told it you want to happen to that file. It's just a text record and that's stored in your Lightroom catalog file. So here's one of our records we might have. Remember, it's the preview, it's the location, filename, and general information about that file. But the original photo is not in Lightroom. A lot of people when they first start using Lightroom, they see their images within Lightroom interface, and they assume somehow they're inside of Lightroom and therefore they don't have to think about where the original files were. Those original files still need to reside somewhere. You still need to back 'em up. You still need to keep them. It just happens to be that because Lightroom made a preview of the image at the time you imported it, that now that original drive doesn't have to be attached to view your photographs, but if you want to open that image in Photoshop, you want to print it high res, or do a lot of other things, you still need the original. So be very careful with where you put them. So that means also don't move or rename your files outside of Lightroom. Because Lightroom is no different than any other kind of a database. Let's say you're on a website and you're gonna go shopping. Well, when you view a website that sells you things, you see pictures of the product, you see a description of that product and everything else, but on the backend, the people that actually run that software, that same program most likely tells 'em what shelf in the warehouse is that in. And what quantity is there. Well if somebody goes and messes with the shelves in the warehouse without updating the software, the two get out of sync. The same thing can happen with Lightroom. So I'll be trying to talk you into making all your changes from now on within Lightroom so it stays in sync with the contents of your hard drive. Now, there are two different kinds of programs you can work with. There's a browser and then there's a catalog. An example of a file browser would be Adobe Bridge. And so let's look at the difference between Adobe Bridge and Lightroom, which is more of a cataloging program. So first, with both programs, it's very slow to see your initial view of a folder full of images. Let's say you have a folder of 200 pictures. When you point both programs at that folder, it'll take a little while before it starts showing you the images that are contained there. Because it actually has to read the files to actually get that info. Then, with Bridge, it quickly forgets which folders you've viewed in the past. So if you go back and revisit a folder two years later, Bridge will have to take a fresh look at that folder as if it's never seen it before. And it'll again take a little bit of time for it to generate the previews that it displays on screen. Lightroom on the other hand is a cataloging program. And that means at the time you import your images, it stores a preview. And because of that, when you revisit a folder, it doesn't matter which folder it is, it could be a folder you imported 10 years ago. It's gonna be about instantaneous that the images can show up because at the time that imported, it created an optimized scaled down preview and that's all it's loading. So it's much faster than a file browser like Bridge. When you search, if you try to search within Bridge, I have a catalog of 220,000 photographs. Well if I attempt to search that number of photographs for something. Let's say I want to search for every image that is in a wide aspect ratio like a panorama. I'm probably gonna be waiting a few hours for it to finish inspecting 220,000 pictures because it doesn't keep a record of what it's looked at in the past. And so it has to inspect every file one on one and look through the information about it. Lightroom on the other hand, being a cataloging program, it stores information about our file the moment we import it. And it can very quickly search that. So our searches are pretty much instantaneous. And because of that, it makes it much more useful for searching. It has many more options for doing so. Then, sometimes I need to travel. And I'm running with the laptop. Well if that's the case and I'm using a file browser like Bridge, the moment I disconnect the hard drive that contains the original pictures, I can no longer view those images because Bridge is a file browser. It makes it so it only shows you a folder that you point it at. And if that folder's not available, it's not able to show you the pictures. But in Lightroom, we can not only view our pictures when that hard drive is not available, in some cases we can also adjust them. And we can use certain features for organizing those pictures. And not just that, we can export our pictures. We can print our pictures and we can do slideshows. Even when we don't have our original pictures with us. Then, when you think about this though, there is a consequence of making a catalog. And that is, if we use a file browser, it discards information about your files relatively quickly so it doesn't keep up a lot of space in your hard drive to keep track of information. Well, with Lightroom though, anytime we import our images, it has to keep records of the previews and all the information about your files. And that starts taking up space on your hard drive. So using Lightroom is gonna have a folder where your catalog is that starts getting bigger and bigger the more files that you put into it. But it's going to be very useful for your longterm photo archives. Like all the photos I've shot for the last 20 years are in there. With Bridge on the other hand, I use it mainly for non-photo files. If I have a let's day, an Adobe Illustrator file, an InDesign file, a PDF, something that's not a photograph. Then I'm gonna be using Bridge because Lightroom doesn't usually handle those files. And the other time I use it is anytime it's either not my photograph, or it's a photo I only need to see temporarily. It's something where I'm going to look at it for a few minutes, and then I'm gonna discard it and never want to see it again. Well, that's when I use Bridge, but if it's my own photos, and I want to see them long term, Lightroom's where I prefer to be. So let's take a look at where is your Lightroom catalog file and what's contained within it? What makes it up? Well we can find out where our Lightroom catalog file is just by launching Lightroom. And then if you go to the Lightroom menu at the top of your screen if you're on a Mac, or the Edit menu if you're in Windows, you're gonna find a choice called Catalog Settings. When you choose Catalog Settings, you're gonna get to a second screen. And in there, right up near the top is a line that tells you exactly where your Lightroom catalog file is located, and there's even a button on the right side. If you click that button, it will bring you to that folder, so you can see its contents. Here's what a Lightroom catalog file's made up of. Most of the time it's actually three files. And if we view it as a list instead of icons like this, you might get a sense for how big those files would be. And so the main file that Lightroom is working with when you import your pictures is your Lightroom catalog file. It's the one that ends with the file extension of lrcat. That's your Lightroom catalog. In that file is where it's keeping track of the name, location of all your pictures. It's also keeping track of the metadata from your camera like your f-stop you used and your shutter speed. And any changes you've made in Lightroom. Like in the develop module when you would process the picture. Well, all that information is contained in the one file right there. Now that file usually takes up, at least in my Lightroom catalog, about 17 1/2 kilobytes per photograph. That's like the size of a small text email. So it's not very much information considering what we can do with it once it's storing that info. Now we have two other files in there. And there's a big one up here. And that's my Lightroom previews. That file is what allows me to view my photographs when the hard drive that contains the original is not connected. Now I could throw away that file and it would not mess up Lightroom unless I don't have the hard drive that contains my originals attached. Because it's only that file that allows Lightroom to show my pictures when the hard drive's not there. If I were to throw away that file, I'd just need to make sure my hard drive's attached there. It would take it more time to display my images 'cause it wouldn't be able to just look up small preview images. Now let's think about how big that file is, well my original files, 220,000 images takes up just almost six terabytes of space on my hard drive. But if you look at that file, it's 166 gigabytes. That's a lot smaller than the originals. In fact, it's only 3% of the size of the original files. That's what I'm gonna store on my hard drive. That's what I'm gonna travel with when I grab my laptop and head out the door. And it's gonna allow me to view every file that I've imported into Lightroom without needing those originals. And I think 3% is not all that much considering what I can do with it. There's one extra file in there. It's your Smart Previews file. And some people won't even have that file if you've never used a Smart Preview before. But what that allows us to do is adjust some of our images when the hard drive is not attached. If you don't have that file, and you haven't created any Smart Previews, then anytime you detach your hard drive and you don't have access to the originals, then you could only view your images and organize them. You wouldn't be able to adjust them. Because that file can get quite large, we usually only create Smart Previews for images we really think we might need to work with. And we don't do it for every single image in our catalog. The file would just get to be too big. So then these three files are connected together only through their file name. So the very beginning of the file name you'll notice is identical on all three files. And that's the only thing that tells Lightroom that these files relate to each other. What that means is if you ever go in here and you want to change the names of these files, then you need to change the names of all three files. And you need to make sure that it perfectly matches in that portion of the file name that's highlighted. So in order to rename the files, what you do is you quit Lightroom. Because if Lightroom's running and you suddenly rename the file that it's trying to write information to, it's gonna have issues. So you quit Lightroom, and then you can click on any one of those three file names. And type in any name you'd like for the beginning portion. If you do though, then copy and paste that beginning part and put it into the other files. And make sure you're only replacing that very beginning portion. And as long as the three names match, you can rename your catalog file to anything you'd like. All right. Now let's talk about how many catalogs should you have? Here's the way I think about it. First, if you're what I would call a personal shooter, that means you take all the photos. You adjust all the photos. And it's only you that needs to access that information. Then, most definitely use only one Lightroom catalog file. That's gonna keep life easy simple. And there's not gonna be any management that you have to think about. But not everybody has that simple of a setup. So another one would be what if we have multiple shooters, but only one person adjusting the images? So it could be you go to a wedding and you have three people shooting during that wedding. But when you get back to the office there's only one person that deals with the files on the computer. They make the adjustments. They export the images. They print. All that kind of stuff. If that's the case, then I would again say, one Lightroom catalog file would make life stay easy, simple. But then you can get into complex situations. If you have more than one person taking the photographs, you have more than one person making adjustments, and you manage things on a project by project basis. Like the Smith wedding. And then the Johnson wedding. And everything else. You could create one catalog for each one of those projects or shoots or clients. You'd have to decide how it would be best to divide that up. Because you can only work on one Lightroom catalog file at a time. And that means if I need to adjust pictures at the same time as somebody else, well we could divide up our Lightroom catalogs into different projects. And I can say for now, I'm gonna work on the Smith wedding project. And so I have control of all those files. While at the same time, someone else was working on a different shoot that's in a completely different Lightroom catalog. And so that's how you could work with a more complex setup. So you could here have a different catalog for each one of those projects. Now for me personally I work with a total of four catalog files. And let's take a look at what's in them and why. First, I have my main or master Lightroom catalog. That's where I have 220,000 photographs. And that's what I've shot on my big serious camera. Most of those pictures are in raw format. And it's what I consider to be my really high quality captures. But then, I have a separate catalog. I called it the bus catalog here and that's because I'm into vintage buses. Well most of the photographs that I have of vintage buses are not ones that I took myself. They're things that I got off the internet, got from friends and all that. And anytime I try to organize those images, I organize them in different ways than I would my normal photographs. And so I put them in a separate Lightroom catalog so I have to switch to that catalog anytime I want to think about vintage buses. I have a third catalog and it's where I have my iPhone photography. My iPhone photography is mainly casual captures that I wouldn't necessarily make big prints of, or do other really high quality work, so I keep it in a separate catalog because I don't want those images showing up when I do searches and other things. And I'm assuming I'm looking at really high quality images so I keep 'em in a separate catalog. I have finally a fourth catalog and that is I capture fine art nude photography and I can't use those images if I'm doing corporate training or other types of things so I keep them in a separate catalog. And therefore I know that they're never gonna appear when I'm doing any kind of training. So for me, four catalogs is how I work. But when I work with four catalogs, you can have the same photograph in multiple catalogs. I don't do that 'cause that ends up meaning a lot more management. You have to think about what happens if somebody adjusts it in one catalog and in the other? Two separate adjustments. So those four worlds, those four catalogs that I use, the photos that are in each are not intermixed between the other catalogs. They never mix. And in general, I would advise you to use one catalog if at all possible. It just keeps life easy. And you don't have to think about how to manage multiple catalogs. All right. Now, if you happen to use multiple catalogs like I do, there are two places in Lightroom you should know about. Because these are areas that could mess you up if you don't. So the first one is, if you go to Lightroom's preferences, in the preferences is a section called General. And in General there is a choice called Default Catalog. And that means each time you launch Lightroom, which catalog should it open? And there you can tell it exactly what to use. There'll be a list of catalog files that you've opened recently. And so I have mine set so it opens my master catalog every time I open it. So I have to manually do something in order to open one of the others. Because the majority of the time I work in Lightroom, that's the catalog I want to work with. But you could set it instead to open your most recent catalog. So it might be different every day you work in Lightroom, it would just depend on which catalog file was open at the time you quit Lightroom. So I just want to make sure that you knew that that's there. The other thing you can do is have Lightroom ask you. That's the middle setting that's here. And therefore, every single time you open Lightroom, it will ask you which one you'd like to open. That's what I would use if we're doing a separate Lightroom catalog for each project. Therefore when I launch Lightroom, right at that moment, I decide which project do I want to work on and I open the appropriate catalog. One other thing you can do though is when you're launching Lightroom, if you're quick enough, when you double click on Lightroom, before it's done launching, you can hold down the Option key on a Mac, which is Alt in Windows. And if you do, that will cause it just for that time, only because you held down that key to ask you which file to open. It'll come up with this screen. All right. Well let's get into Lightroom and let's start learning how to manage our files. Now let's talk about managing your Lightroom catalog file. We talked about it on a conceptual basis. But now let's actually do things like rename it, move it, that kind of thing. Well, first if you want to find out where your catalog file is, I'm gonna come up here and go to my Preferences setting in Lightroom. And in here, you're gonna find this is where I tell it the default catalog I'd like to use. And in this case, each time I launch, it's gonna open my main catalog. Which means the next time I launch Lightroom, it's not going to launch a demo catalog we're using here. It's going to grab my main one. And if I come over here to Catalog Settings, right here is the name of my catalog file. This one's called Demo Catalog. And it shows that it's located on my desktop. Well let's go actually see it by clicking on the Show button. And let's see what we could do about it. I'll open up that folder. Here it is. Now before I do anything in this folder, I want to make sure I quit Lightroom. Because that's the file that Lightroom is currently have open, and if it tries to make any changes to it and I've come over here and moved it or renamed it, or did anything like that, Lightroom is suddenly gonna have issues. So before I go over here and actually change things, I'll return to Lightroom. Close this screen. And I'm actually gonna quit Lightroom. Now that Lightroom is quit, I can come in here and if I want to, remove this folder. Or rename the folder. Here I'll come down to my desktop and I'm gonna change this to Ben's Small Catalog. No problem changing the folder name. There's also no problem moving this folder into a different location or even a different hard drive. Then if I want to rename these, I start with the file that ends with lrcat. I click on it. And I'm just gonna type in a new name. I'll call it Small Catalog. Then, I'm not gonna retype that name to rename the others. Instead, I'm gonna copy and paste 'cause it's way too easy to change the capitalization or add an extra space somewhere. Or do something where the names don't perfectly match. To ensure they perfectly match, I'll come over here and make sure that I Copy that. And then when I come to the next one, I only take the very beginning of the name right there. And that's what I'm gonna replace. So I'll just use Paste and I'll do the same thing to the file above. Because the only way that Lightroom knows that these files relate to each other is through their file names. And so if I mess up and I put an extra space between small and catalog in any one of these, it's not gonna know that they should relate to each other. But, what have we done here? Well, we have renamed the folder that this is contained in. We've renamed our Lightroom catalog files. And if we wanted to at this moment, we could drag this folder to somewhere else on our hard drive. Then, this happens to be in the same folder as my Lightroom catalog. But this is the files that are in that catalog. The actual pictures. They're not usually contained in the same folder. Usually I have 'em on a whole separate hard drive. In fact, I have an external hard drive here that contains all my pictures. And my Lightroom catalog file isn't usually there. But just to keep this simple, they happen to be in the same folder. I'm even gonna rename that main folder that contains my pictures. Now that's gonna cause an issue though. If you think about what's in your Lightroom catalog file, it keeps track of the name of your files where they're located. And we just changed the name of that folder. I'm also gonna move that folder. 'Cause I want to put it somewhere else, like on a different hard drive. Make it on an external drive for instance. So we're gonna have to figure out how to fix that once we launch this catalog into Lightroom. Now remember in Lightroom there was a setting that told it what my default catalog is. And that's the catalog file it would open if I launched Lightroom right now. And that was not this one called Small Catalog. It's never heard of it of a catalog with this name because we just renamed it. So what I'm gonna do next is I'm gonna double click on this catalog. Therefore, it'll cause Lightroom to launch and since this is the file I double clicked on to do that, it should know to open that exact catalog. Okay, we're back in Lightroom. You can see it still has the three photographs that were in the catalog here. And if I come up here to my Lightroom menu and choose Catalog Settings, you'll find that right here where it says location, the name has been updated. It's now Ben's Small Catalog. And that could be in a completely different location had I moved it. But we have a problem. I renamed and I moved the folder that contained my original pictures. And that's not uncommon. You get a new hard drive, you give a fancy new name 'cause it's a new drive to you and you move your photos over to that drive. And then when you launch Lightroom, this is what happens. Look over here on the left side of my screen. And notice where it says Bennie Boy, there's a folder there called Rename This and there's a question mark on it. And that's because when it looks in the Lightroom catalog file, it's got a record of exactly where that was stored and it can't find it in that location. So we gotta fix it. What will I do? I'm gonna right click on that folder, and there's a choice called Find Missing Folder. When I choose that, I can now navigate in my hard drive and I can find not in here, instead it's this folder called I renamed this. 'Cause that's what I happened to name it. I gonna hit choose and when I do, watch my folder list. You will see it change not only to get rid of the little question mark, but it also changed the name of the folder itself. There's no longer the question mark, which means it now knows where those pictures are. So if you ever make a change, move all your images to a different drive, you're gonna suddenly find that there's that question mark and you're gonna need to deal with it. There's one other thing that's useful to know about there. And that is Lightroom does not show you the path on your hard drive it would take to get to that folder. 'Cause it tries to keep your folder list really simple. On occasion you need to see the path it takes to get to that folder. So right now, I don't see the name desktop in there. And that's actually where that folder is located. So there is something you can do. If you right click on a folder, you will often find a choice called Show Parent Folder. And that means show the folder that this folder is inside of. So if I choose Show Parent Folder, now you can see desktop. It usually doesn't show that because there are no photographs that are actually on my desktop. I never imported things directly from the desktop and so it just tries to keep a simple list. Well when might I need to do that? Show the parent. Well what if I had let's say 30 or 40 folders full of images, that were on a hard drive and I just moved them to another drive. And when I launch Lightroom the next time, it's got question marks on 30 or 40 different folders. I wouldn't want to have to right click on each one individually and tell it where it was moved to. 'Cause that would take me 30 or 40 different moves to do so. It would be more convenient to just right click on one of the folders, and choose Show Parent. Then I'd actually see the folder it was contained within, and in a lot of cases that'll be the name of the hard drive that it's in. And I could then right click on it. And choose Find Missing Folder 'cause it had a question mark on it, it doesn't know where it is. And therefore I can do the whole thing kind of as one batch instead of doing the individual folders. Now you're only gonna find the choice called Show Parent Folder if you're clicking on a what I might call a base folder like the most furthest out folder. So if I look at this one, it doesn't show me what folder this is contained within. And so therefore I can right click on it. And I can say Show Parent Folder. And it'll show the next level on my hard drive. And I can continue doing that until I get all the way down to the name of my hard drive. Now if I expand these all out, it's just showing me more and more of the path it takes to get to this folder. But I'm only gonna have that choice available if I'm way out here on the base most, furthest out folder. If I'm here and you can see the folder that is contained within then it doesn't say Show Parent Folder. Why? Because it's already showing it. You can already see the folder it's contained within. And this one. I can already see the folder it's contained within. So it's only if I went to here that I could say Show Parent Folder. The other thing I can do is once I've done that, I've moved all my images from one drive to another, I showed the parent folder so I could see the actual level and do it all at once, I probably don't want all this clutter in here afterwards. So if you have any folders here where there's a number on the right with zero on it. And there are just some subfolders within it that contain your pictures, you can also right click and say hide parent folder. And that's gonna get rid of that particular level within Lightroom. So I'm gonna hide all these parent folders now. To clean things up and get back to the way we were before. Now if I get to a folder that actually contains some pictures, then if I right click on it, I'm not gonna find a choice in here called Hide Parent Folder. 'Cause a parent is considered an empty folder that you'd see on your hard drive, but you don't usually see in Lightroom. So that can be convenient to know about, but it's not all that discoverable if you're just experimenting with Lightroom. So now we know how to rename our catalog file. We know how to move it. And we know how if we move our pictures, to get rid of the little question mark icons. Now, let's get into talking about your backups. If you go in here, you have two different kinds of preferences. We have our catalog settings here. And then we have our normal program settings here. I'm gonna go into Catalog Settings and right down here at the bottom, there's a choice called Backup. This asks how often should Lightroom backup your Lightroom catalog file? Since that file contains all the adjustments you've made in the develop module library, it's a really important file. So it is a good thing to back it up. So here you could have this set either maybe to once a week if you don't do extensive work in Lightroom every single day, or you could have this set as soon as every time Lightroom exits. Then every single time you quit Lightroom, it'll ask you, hey do you want to back up your catalog file? And you can decide have I made big enough changes that it's worth spending the time to make a backup or not. It's a personal choice on what to use. If you do a lot of changes, you have a lot of different people working on your images, you can have it ask every time. Or if you just wanted to be a little more casual about it, you could say once a week. Now, if I have it backup my catalog file, here I can force it to. I'll the next time Lightroom exits, close this up. And I'm just gonna quit Lightroom. When I quit Lightroom, you gotta be careful because it's gonna ask if you want to backup your files in this little screen. It'll pop up and you gotta look right here. This is the setting, of your normal setting. You can change it again just like with the preference I showed you a moment ago. Right here's the thing you need to pay attention to though. Backup Folder. This would be most ideal if you make it so it's not on the same hard drive that contains your normal Lightroom catalog. Because what if that particular hard drive dies? What if I spill coffee on the drive that's sitting right here on my table and it contains not only my original Lightroom catalog, but also the backup files? Well if that one hard drive dies, I've lost 'em both and I'm outta luck. So usually you want to set this to end up going to a different hard drive. Or what I do on occasion is I actually have this go to an online backup like Dropbox or Google Drive. That kinda thing 'cause then I have it in an online form where I could always get to it, even if I'm traveling. But right there's where you choose where it's gonna go. I'll click on choose. And I'm just gonna choose a spot on my desktop. Maybe I create a new folder and I'll just call it LR for Lightroom, Backups. Hit Choose. And now I can find exactly where it's going to appear. There are two check boxes here. And if we have both of those turned on, it's gonna take more time to do the backup. But it's gonna make sure there's nothing within your Lightroom catalog file that is corrupt. Because who knows what's happened over the space of time it's taken since your last backup. But that will end up making it take a little bit extra time. Now since this file only has three pictures in it, this should go almost instantaneously. I'm gonna hit backup. And let's take a look at what we get. Here's our normal catalog file. That's not where I told it to save it. Instead, I created a brand new folder on my desktop. It's right here. And if we open it up, right there is a folder with our backup. If we open up the folder, there's one file inside. And it's a zip file. That means that Lightroom after it backed up the catalog file, it compressed it to make it smaller. Now what I'd suggest you do is when you backup Lightroom, if you've made significant changes or you're about to make significant changes, I would name your backup. Because otherwise all you get is the name, or I should say, the date and a generic number for the name. Well what I do is I leave the date there and then I put some text in. Like right now, I might call this like when I left home, I took my Lightroom catalog file and I backed it up, and I gave it a name similar to what I just typed in here. So that I knew I was about to leave and teach this class, and who knows during this class if I'm gonna do something to my Lightroom catalog file just to demonstrate something, that I wouldn't really want to keep. And I might forget about it when I get home. So I made a backup. So if i find out when I get home that I've done something to my Lightroom catalog file. Maybe I removed a bunch of pictures, or I messed up a bunch of adjustments. Just as part of this class. I could, always go back to my backup and I'd know exactly which backup to go to because I renamed it. I do the same thing whenever I'm gonna leave for a big trip or before I upgrade to a new version of Lightroom. Because usually when you upgrade to a new version, it changes your Lightroom catalog file. And so it'd be nice to have a backup right before that happened. Just in case something goes wrong in that process. So, I always rename my backups if I've made it for a specific reason. Now, if you ever needed to get back to this, like something happened, maybe your Lightroom catalog file got corrupt for some reason. Or, spilled coffee on my hard drive and the drive just died. And this is sitting on another hard drive somewhere. Well, how can I get back and start using that catalog file now? Well, all I need to do is double click on this catalog file to expand it. Now, it's a normal Lightroom catalog file. And if Lightroom is quit, and I'll just double check that it's quit, I could go to the folder that contains my normal catalog file. The one that I use day to day. Here's where we were working before. There's my actual catalog file. Here's the backup. And I could just drag this to here and tell it to replace the one I've been working on. As long as I do that when Lightroom is not running, then it'll be fine. And the next time I launch Lightroom, if that's the catalog that's used, it'll be using what is my backup instead of the one that might have gotten corrupt or the one where I've made changes and just realized it. And decide, oh man, I'd rather have the way the catalog looked when I made the backup. So I just drag that over. Then if, you come back, this folder often gets really full. These files are not tiny. In this case it is. It's 1.7 megabytes. But most of the time these files can be gigabytes in size. So you probably don't want to keep too many of 'em behind. I've seen people before though that have their catalog set to backup once a week. They've been using Lightroom for years, and there's literally hundreds of backups sitting in a folder that is never looked at. And that's clogging up their hard drive. What I would do is go in there and if you have any significant backups like right before you upgraded to a new version of Lightroom, I might keep those around for a while. Maybe up to a year. But the other ones that were just incremental backups that I might have done every week or so. I would start throwing away the older ones. As long as I know that my Lightroom catalog file hasn't been having any issues, then there's no need to keep those older catalogs. And you'll free up a lot of space on your hard drive. So, now let's get back into Lightroom, and let's start talking about working on individual files and folders. Well, there's our folder list on the left side of our screen. Let's talk about this little light that's there. If you look closely on the left side, that little green light tells you that the hard drive that it's referring to is actively available. Well I have another hard drive here, an external, and I'd like to work with it. So I'm gonna switch to my normal Lightroom catalog. And let's see what happens when I disconnect this external hard drive. You'll see that when this first launches, I have two drives on my list. Both of 'em have a little green light. Well, I'll hide Lightroom just for a moment. Here's my hard drive on the right side of my screen. And I'm gonna just tell it to eject it. Once that drive goes away, that means Lightroom no longer has access to it. I come over here and it might take it just a moment, but now if you compare those two hard drives in the list, you'll see only one of 'em has the green light available. The other one is gray. And that means that Lightroom can't access that drive. It tried, and it just couldn't find it. If I end up doing that, then there's certain things I cannot do when the light is gray. What can't I do? I can't rename my files. Because if you rename a file in Lightroom, it does the same thing on your hard drive. I can't rename a folder. I can't create new folders, like subfolders because those are all things where it would actually need to make the equivalent changes on the hard drive. And it doesn't have access to it. Now if I have Smart Previews, I can still adjust my pictures. And I can still export them at a medium size and even print them at medium sizes. But it can't have access to the high resolution pictures. Now I'm gonna disconnect the cord to this drive. And just plug it back in, which should cause it to mount again. And we'll just wait a couple moments and if you watch that little gray dot on the left side of my hard drive name, it should only take it a few moments to mount and then Lightroom will take a few moments to realize that the drive showed up again. But once it does, we should get a green light. And when we do, we should be able to rename our files, create new subfolders, rename existing subfolders and all that kind of stuff. So you see the little green light, there's all my files. But I could have still viewed those files when that drive was disconnected because the Lightroom catalog file contains previews, which is great. So when it comes to drives, there's a couple things there. And that is if you change the name of a hard drive. Well, that's when that little gray light's gonna turn off. And it's not gonna know where that drive is because it's looking at it based purely on file name. And that's when you might need to use that trick I mentioned where you right click on a folder, and you choose the choice called Show Parent Folder. And you would do that, sometimes you need to do it more than once until you get all the way down to the name of that hard drive. You'd be able to right click on it and say Show Missing Folder. And you could point it to the newly named hard drive. But as long as the little green light is there, you should be able to do just about anything to those files. Now let's look at how we can work with individual files and folders. So, first if we want to rename something, if it is a folder, you can right click on a folder and you're gonna find a choice called Rename. And if I rename this folder, (laughs) then it just renamed it on my hard drive. I can come in here as many times as I want and as long as the hard drive that contains the originals is available, I can rename it. It's just doing the same thing on my hard drive. If on the other hand, I do that manually outside of Lightroom, if I can find that folder, here it is called Fall color, and instead I just call it, that's a no-no. Because now Lightroom has no clue you did that. And if I come back here to my folder list, see what it did? Question mark icon. So if we want to make changes to file names and folders, we need to do it in Lightroom. Otherwise, it's gonna get our of sync with the, what's going on our hard drives. So, in this case, I'll right click Find Missing Folder. Go back and try to find that folder. Hit Choose. And then Lightroom updates, and in this particular case, looks like I had a few extra images in that particular folder, so it is showing me some of those. Or actually, just have to click on the folder name. There we go. But we're all back and it works fine. If you want to create subfolders. Just if you right click on a folder, that's where we can rename. We can also Remove there. But you're gonna find there's a choice right here called Create Folder inside. And so maybe I create a folder. And I call it Finished images. You've gotta be careful though when creating a new folder. This little check box is to determine if any pictures you currently have selected are gonna be moved into that folder or not. So you've just gotta be aware is that turned on or not? And did you really mean to move any pictures or not. I'll turn it off. Now I can expand this folder. And you can see we have another one inside. If you want to move images between folders, all you need to do is click on the image you want to move over here and drag it on to the folder list. And if I drag it onto this folder, I can easily move it there. When I do that, it is moving it on my hard drive. If you hold down the Option key, Alt in Windows, you'd move a copy of that picture. So if you want it to be in two folders instead of just one, you could Option drag. Now what if I want to instead rename a file? Well if you're used to a lot of other programs, if you ever see the file name sitting right next to your picture, you're used to being able to click on it up there and change it. But, if I click up there, it doesn't become editable where I can sit there and type something in. So instead on the right side of my screen when I'm in the Library module, there's a choice under the heading called Metadata. And Metadata is all the text information related to this file. It tells me the size. It tells me the date it was captured on. What kind of camera and lens. And one of the choices right there is File Name. And so that's where I can just highlight the name and type in something new. And now if I look above my little thumbnail version of my picture, I can see that the name has indeed changed. But doing that for a large number of images can be time consuming if you're gonna redo every one of them. So you could also do it as a batch operation. You can have a folder of hundreds or even thousands of pictures and if you'd like to rename them, all you need to do is select all the pictures. And I usually just type Command + A on a Mac, Control + A in Windows to do so. And then on the right side where it says File Name, it will have the word mixed, to indicate that there's more than one file name. And there'll be an icon just to the right of it, over here. And if I click on that, it will bring up a screen that allows me to rename a large number of images. Now if I were to look here, we have a little pop up menu called File Naming. And this is where you can have presets. We talked about these presets when we talked about importing images into Lightroom. And that's where we ended up creating the presets. And now we can use those same presets we use when we import our pictures. We can use them here afterwards. So I might end up choosing this choice. That particular one is gonna grab the year for the shoot that this was actually done in, the month, it's gonna put in some text, and then it's gonna number them. Or, I could go up here, there's one called Ben's Default. All sorts of choices. And if I click OK, it's now going to rename those based on that particular template. And to access that, I selected multiple images and on the right side of my screen under the choice called Metadata, there was a little icon just to the right of it. You'll find the same choice up here under one of the menus. I'm used to using the icon though, so it takes me a while to figure out where it is under a menu. It's either under the Photo menu or Library. I think it's under Library. It's right here. It's called Rename Photos. All that does is bring you to the exact same screen where we could use the templates. All right. Now let's switch catalog files because this catalog only has three images in it. Let's go for one that's a little bit more complicated. I'll just go to the File menu and choose Open Catalog. And on my desktop, I should have something to work with right here. You can switch between Lightroom catalogs anytime you want by just going to the File menu and choosing Open Catalog. And it will close the catalog you've been working on, and then open the other. You can only have one catalog file open at a time. And let's take a look now at a few different details when it comes to working with folders. First off, if you look in the folder list, you will sometimes find that this little triangle that shows up next to a folder will be grayed out. And if you ever see that, it means that that particular folder does not contain any subfolders within it. Whereas, if the triangle is available, then if you click on it, it should expand and show you any subfolders that have been created there. If when you look at the name of a subfolder, you see that the name itself is gray. I'll create one of those by creating a brand new folder and making sure there's nothing in it. Then, you'll find that if the name of the folder itself is gray, it means that the entire folder is empty. There's simply nothing in it. So the grayness means either no subfolders if it's the triangle and it means nothing is in that folder if it's the name of the folder itself. So it can be a little confusing when you see that the name of one folder looks different than the others. Well that was probably a newly created folder and you simply haven't moved anything into yet. Now, let's take a look at expanding these folders. Well if you have a lot of subfolders, like here I have 2017. I expand that. Here I have Buenos Aires. I expand that. And then I might have even further levels to organize my images in. Well if when you click on one of these triangles here to expand and collapse, it's just gonna remember the previous state of your viewing. But if you hold down the Option key, Alt in Windows when you do it, it should expand all the subfolders that are contained within it. So if you really, you're gonna start investigating the depths of your hard drive, sometimes holding down the Option key when you click there can be convenient. Now you're gonna find we can create, we can rename folders. But there's something we can't do and that is we can't delete them. If I right click on a folder, you'll find that there is no choice called Delete. The closest we can find is one called Remove. Why would it do that? Well, if you think back to when you imported images into Lightroom, there are certain files that Lightroom ignores. And that is anything that wouldn't be the potential of being a picture. That means if you had a PDF file in folder. Maybe it's a model release from a photo shoot. Or there's an Excel spreadsheet that was the budget for that shoot. Or any other kind of file that Lightroom ignored and did not import, well if it allowed you to delete folders here, and it actually deleted 'em off your hard drive, along with all the contents, it would be too easy for you to accidentally delete something without realizing it. Because Lightroom might show the contents of a folder being zero because there are no photos in the folder. But there might still be some other files in there. And so therefore, it will not allow you to delete one. So, how can you get rid of a folder? Well I usually do a two step process. The first thing I'll do is I'll right click on a folder, and there's a choice in here that allow me to show it in the finder. If I'm on a Macintosh. There'll be a similar choice down there for Windows. It may say show in Explorer, 'cause I think that's what Windows calls the file management program. So that's actually gonna bring me into my operating system and it's gonna show me that folder. Then I'm gonna delete that folder using my operating system instead of using Lightroom. And I'll expand the folder and just make sure there's nothing in it first. So if there's no PDF files or anything else there then I can grab that folder and I'm gonna drag it to the Trash. Close that. And now when I go back to Lightroom, it might take it just a moment to realize the folder's missing. But you see the question mark on it, so now Lightroom realizes it's not there. Finally, back in Lightroom, I right click on the folder and I choose Remove. So it's a two step process they force you to do. And that's just because Lightroom only keeps track of pictures and if you had other kind of files in there, it doesn't want you to be able to accidentally delete them without real thought. So what did I do? I right clicked on a folder. Then I chose Show in Finder. Then I manually deleted it using my computer's operating system which made that folder show up with a question mark on it. Finally, I right clicked and I chose Remove. Remove means have Lightroom no longer keep track of whatever was there. But don't change what's actually on the hard drive. Well, since we already deleted it from the hard drive, there's not much to be done there anyway. But that should give you an idea of why you can't delete a folder. Now let's try to figure out how can folders literally change the way you think about your images. 'Cause here's the problem. I have in my Lightroom catalog over 200,000 pictures over many different years. And if I go back and revisit a folder that I captured many years ago, it can take me quite a bit of time to get reoriented with that folder and figure out which of these photos are ready to print out and show my friends, which photos did I never really have time to work on, and which photos are just the bad photos that I shouldn't spend any time reevaluating. Like this is a perfect example right here. Well, if you use folders to organize your pictures, and keep track of the status of your images, life can become much easier. Let me show you the way I do it. And then we'll actually do it to a folder that's here. I'm gonna go to my list of folders. And you notice that there's only one folder here that doesn't have a subfolder. Because the little triangle that's there is gray. But all the other ones have subfolders. Well let's go to one of the subfolders and expand it. And see what kind of subfolders do I work with. Well you'll notice that I have a folder here called Outtakes. Those are pictures I don't think I'm gonna need to look at again. They're either out of focus, it's not a good composition, or I just had a much better version of that particular scene that I did like. And so these are the ones that I just don't want to spend any time looking at again. Let's open up another one of these that might have more complex structure. And different subfolders. Here's how I really work. Whenever I'm out to process a folder, here's what I do. I go to the folder. It has no subfolders to begin with. I select all the images that are in there by typing Command + A, Control + A in Windows. I right click and I say let's create a folder inside. And I call that folder In Progress. So I know that these are images that I should work on. And I say yeah, let's include the selected photos. Hit Create. It's now moving all those folders into a subfolder called In Progress. Then, I click on that folder. And I start processing my pictures. And let's say that when I'm done processing, this particular picture, I know I'm done with it. I like it. It's ready to show my friends. Everything else. But I want to be able to return to this folder easily and remember that that picture is ready. So what do I do about it? Well, I take that particular image and I drag it so it is in the base level folder. The name of the actual shoot folder. So over here, it tells me there's only one picture there. And let's say here's another one. And this one's done being adjusted. It's ready to show the public. Looks great. So I'm gonna drag it as well to that base folder. Now that one, the number went up higher and that's due to something called stacking. Which we'll talk about later on. But if I work that way, where I put my images into a folder In Progress, when I return to a folder many years later, I'll know that all the pictures contained within there aren't done yet. Those are ones I could still spend time on to get more images to be finished. Then, I can click on the base folder and I know these pictures are ready to show anybody. I know they're done 'cause that's the only reason I'd leave 'em in the base folder. But then what happens if I come in here and I find a picture like this one? A picture that isn't good at all, and I don't feel like throwing it away yet 'cause maybe I'll realize I took it for a reason, but I don't think I should spend more time with it. Well then, I right click on the main folder, the base folder, Create New Folder Inside and I call that Outtakes. And I'll move that folder into the outtakes folder. Therefore, when I return back to this folder of images, and I revisit it five, six years from now when I have more time to process the images that are here, I'll know that I shouldn't need to waste time going to the images that are in this folder and looking at them fresh. The only time I would go in here is when I find that the picture that I took of the similar subject matter that I thought was gonna work out, ended up not working out at all. And I just want to see what other versions of that picture might I have. So this image here is also done being processed. So I'm gonna drag it to the base folder. But then there are other times when I need to move things to different subfolders. Sometimes what I need to do is stitch multiple images into a panorama. For instance, if you look at down here, these boat images, I took one shot here, where I have the left boat in here and some extra space. But the boat on the right is being cut off. Well, I tilted my camera towards the right and I took a second shot. These two pictures I ended up stitching together into a panorama. Well, what happens when I'm done stitching that panorama. I have the end result right here. I can see the whole set of all three boats, but now I have these two pictures which were the originals. That that, you might call it a derivative file, was based on. That could be the same thing if you have a set of exposures that you merge into what's known as an HDR image. Of if you make a composite where you combine together multiple images in a Photoshop file. Well, I then select those two images, and I create another subfolder. And I would call that Support Images. This is also where I put model releases and other things. But those are images I know I probably shouldn't throw away. And if I ever return to this folder, and I decide that I want to restitch that panorama or do something else, and I want to find the original files, now they're easy to find. 'Cause they're in a folder called Support Images. Well, if that panorama image is done and ready to show the public, I drag it to the base level. Then, I could be looking through here and maybe, and I'm not sure if I'll have it in this particular set of images, but I might find a personal photograph. It's a photo that I would not share with the general public but it's something I want to keep and I want to be able to easily get back to it later. Well, what do I do with it? I right click on the folder, create another folder inside and I call it Personal Images. Therefore, if I have images in here, if I'm ever revisiting this folder, friends ask if I've ever been to this area of Brazil, well I click on the base folder name. And I know that all those images are finished. Ready to show people. Ready to make prints. Or do anything I want with them. So I'm ready to show them that, but then I think about what kind of audience am I currently showing this to. It is family? Where they might want to see my personal photos as well. Well, if so you can view the contents of more than one folder at a time. So right now we're viewing the base folder. I'm gonna hold down the Command key, Control in Windows, and just add the personal images too. Now we're viewing the contents of two folders at once. And therefore I can either exclude those if I'm doing a public seminar or just showing a stranger photographs. Or I can include them if family is looking over my shoulder. So if you come up with a consistent folder structure, there are many things you'll be able to do and take advantage of in Lightroom, that you otherwise wouldn't be able to. The main thing for me though is I can revisit any folder of images. And I can tell by looking at my folder structure exactly how many pictures do I still need to work on. That I don't consider that I finished. That's the contents of the In Progress folder. I can see how much of the images I've already worked through by seeing how many of them have been moved to Outtakes. Those are images I don't need to look at again. And if I get to a folder that does not have an In Progress folder in it, that means that the In Progress folder, I worked on every single thing that was in there. The contents in that folder got down to zero, and I simply deleted the folder. And so if i ever get to one that doesn't have an In Progress, I know that I'm totally done working on that particular shoot. So if I click on the base level folder, these are all the pictures that I ended up getting out of that shoot. And the only thing I might want to do is if family's there, I might want to show also the personal images and therefore I would find this image of my wife that I wouldn't show just the general public if they had asked about that subject matter. Now there are a few other kinds of subfolders that I make. And you don't have to get as detailed as I do. I've just found that the more that I think through this, and I'm consistent with the folder names, the more I can really look back at my photos and have useful information. So other folders that I create would be, I create ones for skies. Because often times I'll take a capture of just a clean sky with nice clouds in it. And no buildings or other things like trees. And those I might use when I'm gonna composite more than one photograph. I have a photo with boring sky in it. I want to go look at my collection of skies. And pick a new one to put in there. I also do the same for backgrounds. Which means I might composite a person that's standing onto a new background. And so I just capture clean backgrounds that look interesting from various locations. And I also capture textures. Textures would be things that I might want to overlay on pictures to give it different feeling. Where it has the texture actually applied to a normal photograph. And so if I end up creating subfolders for all of those, then I can easily search. Because at the top of the folder list right up here, there's a search field. And so if I wanted to find for instance all my personal images from this particular catalog, I type in the word personal and now it only shows me the folders here that contain personal pictures. And so I can come in here and if I Command click on each one, that's Control click in Windows, I could select all of those and maybe look for a particular picture from that trip I was thinking of that I remember taking. I could do the same thing for backgrounds, clouds, or anything else. There's one additional thing to know about folders in this management system that is critical. And this is the one thing that I really don't want you to forget about. If there's one thing to remember, this is it. And that is if you go up here to the Library menu, you're gonna find a choice called Show Photos in Subfolders. And I kinda wish that that choice was actually found right up here in my folders list where I could see if it's turned on or not. Every single time I look at the folder list. 'Cause let's see what that does. Well it does two things. The first thing is right now when I click on the base folder that's here, it's showing me only the pictures that are located in that exact folder. And it's ignoring all of these subfolders that are contained within it. All those images are being ignored. Only showing you what's in the base folder itself. If I go up to the Library menu though and turn on Show Photos in Subfolders, now it's going to include all of the images that are in every subfolder. And the numbering that's to the right of each folder is also gonna think the same way. So now if I were to add up the number of images that's in the In Progress folder, and add that to the number of Outtakes, the number of Personal Images and so on, it would equal this number. Although just adding these together wouldn't because we have a few images in the base folder itself. You'd have to add those as well. So what I find is often times people will end up forgetting about this setting right here. And if you end up forgetting about that setting, and you have it turned on like it is right now, you'll end up moving an image to a subfolder and you'll think you made a copy of it. The reason you'll think you made a copy of it is because you're viewing the base folder that's there, and you still see the picture, and then if you were to click on the subfolder you put it in, you'd see it there too. And you assume it's in both places. But that's not the case. If this is turned on, you most likely moved the picture to the subfolder, it's just that you're viewing not just the contents of the base folder, but you're including all those subfolders of what you're viewing. So most of the time I have that turned off. And when I turn it off is when all these numbers change. I should say the base numbers change so that now you can see that there's only eight pictures that are actually contained in the base folder and if I were to move one of these images like this one and put it over here in In Progress, it's no longer showing up when I'm viewing the base folder because this setting is turned off. And so if there's one thing to remember, the question I get the most inquiries about is why does it look like I'm duplicating things? Whatever it is when you show me dragging between folders doesn't work the way it did for you. Well it's because you have that setting set differently. So this setting here I usually have turned off. Therefore, when I go through things, and I drag between folders, I am able to see those numbers changing. So if this one here's a great image, and I put it on the base, that number increases and that number does not include all this stuff from the subfolders. So do you know that status of all your images? If you go back to a folder that's three years old how long does it take for you to get reestablished? With one of those folders be ready to show a slideshow to your friends, and know are there any images there that still need to be worked on. Well then, how much would it change your life if you think through a folder system for your work? Maybe you adopt mine. And you have In Progress and Outtakes as your main thing. And the base folder contains finished images. But don't just think about mine, think about what's unique about your work flow and how you might want to do it differently. Now your homework is actually to develop your own system for this. And it's fine to copy mine, but you might want to deviate from it. I end up capturing a lot of skies, a lot of textures, and a lot of backgrounds. You might capture something completely different than that. And you just want to think through it ahead of time and try to come with a name that you can be consistent with. Because if you can be consistent, then you can use things like searches to very quickly find what you need. Now, tomorrow we're gonna talk about transforming your images from just the raw data that your camera captured which often looks dull and somewhat boring, into a much more exciting version of your picture by using Lightroom's Develop module. I think you're really gonna like that session. But, before that, why don't you head over to Facebook. We have a separate Facebook group that you can ask to join. And if you go there, that's where you can ask questions. And I go in there and look at questions. Sometimes if I have time I'll answer 'em. But otherwise we'll do a Q and A and I'll do a separate Q and A, and I'll get my questions from the Facebook page. Now if you purchase the class, you should know that you get extras. Not only can you play back the class at your convenience, you get a lot of the images that I end up working with so you can practice on the same files. And you get a PDF workbook for each lesson. And you get this list of extras. Like develop presets, key wording sets, and other benefits. It's a great way to really learn Lightroom. If you want to find me, these are the various areas on the internet. If you want to see my images or just see what I've been doing traveling wise. And this is Lightroom Classic, the Complete Guide.