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The Lightroom Library Catalog

Lesson 3 from: Lightroom® 4 Fundamentals

Laura Shoe

The Lightroom Library Catalog

Lesson 3 from: Lightroom® 4 Fundamentals

Laura Shoe

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Lesson Info

3. The Lightroom Library Catalog

Next Lesson: Staying Organized


Class Trailer

Day 1


Pre-Show Banter


9:00 am - Introduction: Why Lightroom®?


The Lightroom Library Catalog


Staying Organized


Backing Up Your Library


Importing Your Photos


Preferences & Settings


Settings Q&A


Reorganizing Files and Folders


Using Views and Labels to Evaluate Photos


Filtering and Stacking Photos


Assigning and Managing Keywords


Keywording Q&A


The Metadata Panel


Searching for Photos


Creating a Collection


Day 2


Day 2 Pre-Show Banter


The Map Module: Assigning Locations


The Develop Module


Fixing Your Photos: Histograms and Cropping


Fixing Your Photos: Spot Removal Tool


11:30 am - Upgrading to Lightroom® 4


11:45 am - Basic Developing in Lightroom® 3 & 4


Basic Developing Part 2


Color Adjustments


Tone Curve Panel


Making Subtle Adjustments


Lens Corrections


Local Adjustments: Partial B&W


Local Adjustments: Portrait Touch Up


Additional Local Adjustments


Graduated Filter


Bonus: Day 3 Preview


Day 3


Day 3 Pre-Show Banter


Bonus: Recap of the Develop Module


Virtual Copies


B&W and Creative Effects


Noise Reduction




Sharpening for Portraits


Syncing Changes to Multiple Photos




Creating and Using Presets


11:45 am - Lightroom® and Photoshop


Sharing Your Work


Exporting for Web


Exporting for Print


Workflow Recap


Thanks + Credits


3:00 pm - Lightroom® 4: Publishing


3:30 pm - Lightroom® 4: Video Editing


3:45 pm - Lightroom® 4: Book Module


Lesson Info

The Lightroom Library Catalog

So how does light room work now? I like to use a public library analogy for this. So think of yourself walking into your local public library. I'm in Seattle, so our downtown library has 10 stories of books. It's a beautiful library, and you should photograph there if you get the chance. But anyway, you walk into the library and you see stacks of books stacks of books everywhere. Right now, that's the first critical component. There we go stacks of books, the first critical component in the library. But what is it that allows us to actually work with those stacks of books to see them to to appreciate them, to find them? What's the other critical component to the public library? The card catalogue? Exactly. Now whoever said that is as old as I am, but I love the card catalogue analogy. Today it's the Web catalogue, but the card catalog. It's got a great visual here, so the card catalog is the second critical component. It allows us to access the books. In that catalogue, you have an ent...

ry for every single book that the librarian has created. An entry for its got information about the book. How to find it. Cross reference information toe other books, etcetera. When you walk into the library, you're probably gonna be sitting down at the catalogue toe work with the resource is in the library, and only when you know you really need to get to the detail where you actually go out to the stacks and grab the book. So in the light room world, your photos are just like the stacks of books. So your raw files, your J pegs, whatever they may be there, just like the stacks of books in the library, they sit out on your hard drive. In some folders, however, you choose to organize them. No, the public library. Those books could be organized anyway. The librarians want to organize thumb. There's just some kind of system. Same with your photos. However you choose to organize them. They're sitting out on your hard drive in the stacks and then light room creates and works with a catalogue, and this catalog has an entry for each image that you've told light from about. Now I'm gonna jumping back and forth. But in the public library and allergy, there could be books in the stacks that are not in the catalog right library and overlooked it. If the books are in the stacks. But there's no entry in the catalogue. No one can appreciate those books. No one can see that. There, there, No one can access them. Same with light room. You may have thousands of photos on your hard drive, but until you create a light room catalogue entry for them, you're not gonna be able to see them in light room. Flight one can't display them or allow you to work with them. Okay, now it's this catalog that facilitates the very fast searches. So Public library. I'm looking for a book on women in World War two. I have two choices, right? I can walk along the stacks through 10 floors of the Seattle Library looking for a book on women in World War two. Or I could go to the catalogue and find it right away. Same in the light from world like a bridge. Adobe bridge walks along the stacks. It goes out to your hard drive, reads every file looking for the ones you want. Light room. When you say I want my winter tree photos, it looks in this centrally located, very small catalogue that contains information about your photos, and I'll actually show you the catalog file later. But just think of it is a little folder on your hard drive that it's easily accessible by light room. Now, when you're working in light room, I want you to think about yourself as sitting down in front of the light room catalogue lighter, miss showing you its catalogue. Okay. All right. Let me see what I had next year. Okay, well, the next question is, Well, what is a catalogue entry we look like? Well, of course, visually doesn't look like this. I'm still back in 1985 but it's a text file, right? But each entry has information about your photos. So this is just a sample. Of course. It's got the file name. It's got where it's located on your hard drive. It has the metadata for your photo. For example, information captured by your camera information you enter in light room like captions and keywords, Copyright, contact, information, stars, labels, etcetera. And then what? What I consider to be the develop instructions as you're working on a photo in light room sliding the contrast slider using the spot removal tool Light room is developing and storing a set of instructions, and they're stored in this catalogue. Light room isn't writing them out to your files. It's not baking them into your files because they're just having a set of instructions. Story in the catalog. You can throw that those instructions await any time and hit the reset button, and they're gone. So that's what allows you to work non destructively in light room. Is that is, that is, it is just a set of instructions stored independently. Now, the last thing in the catalogue that is confusing to people. It's like sometimes I think I shouldn't bring it up because it could could make you think too hard. But I've heard too many sad stories for people because they don't understand this. And that is that light from stores J Peg previews of your photos In its catalogue, it stores J Peg copies. Imagine the public library scenario with a Web catalogue in that Web catalogue these days, you could have a snapshot of the front cover right, so in light rooms catalog, it's storing some snapshots of your photos. A little thumbnail size, a standard size screen size and then the full size the same size that your camera took. So stores thes three J pigs. Now, do you ever need to think about the fact that you're looking at thes Jay Peak snapshots rather than your photo? No, not really. But there's one scenario I'm gonna cover, just, uh, to make sure that you understand why it why and bring stuff. Why it's important. So But the bottom line is when you open light room, it's It's like magic, right? All of your 30,000 photos air just instantly there, assuming you've already imported them. Well, that wouldn't be the case of flight room needed to go out and read each of your raw or JPEG originals. It would take hours before you'd see them all. So the reason there instantly there is because, like rooms just for convenience showing you these snapshots, that it's got easily accessible Now, the reason I bring this up is that some people open light room, they say, OK, you know, if you I got my photos into light room, I can see him here, so now I can go delete them from the hard drive because light room has my photos. Right, Please. And I don't look right. The camera for this one. Don't do that. Okay? If someone asks you, where are your photos? And you say after this course there in light room, then you need to go. You need to purchase the recorded product of this this workshop and and go through this lesson again. So and I or come to me for for a better explanation that I've given. That's probably the real issue, but light room never owns your photos. Okay? They sit out in the stacks on the hard drive, just like the public library analogy, and it just references them. OK, so it doesn't take over. Don't delete your photos. What you're really seeing in light room, particularly in the library module, are these previews. Now, when that pedal hits the metal and you're going to the develop module to develop a photo light room will, in fact, go read that raw file or that original JPEG so that you get the utmost in quality as you're doing that work question. Yeah, I assume that ah, light room can have multiple catalogue entries for a single photo. Is that right? I have. Let's say I want to do a black and white square crop, and then I want to Do you know, I don't know something else. Some other type of stuff with it will do that. And how does it do that? Well, you will not use multiple copies of the file for that. Those days are gone where you had to actually duplicate files, take up much the double the hard drive space. What you're going to see tomorrow is that you're gonna create what's called a virtual copy, which is not a second file. It's just a separate set of instructions so you can have as many sets of instructions as as you need to accomplish those. Now. I thought the question was going to come up in terms of how many catalogs should I have? Well, I didn't give you guys opportunity to ask more questions. I'm sure it would have come up, but just like in the public library, I generally I guess I can't back up like I think I can hear. I got to stop this. Um, generally, I recommend one catalogue for all your your photos. Think of the public library. Let's say the 10 stories of books that they're different categories on each floor. There could be a separate catalog on each floor, right for those books. But if I want to pull together all the books by Susan Susan Smith and she's written nonfiction and fiction and biography and all of that, I have to go to these 10 separate catalogues to find out about these photos books and try to bring them together. Same with light room. Keeping all of your photos in one catalog allows you to bring them together. So if you have a nature catalog and a people catalog, but you want to find all of your five star favorite photos well, you've got a brick wall between those catalogs. Light room only works with one catalogue at a time, and it becomes a complicated process to bring those together. So I like the one catalogue answer. Let me just see if that was the last last slide here, and then I could take some few questions on this. Let me go. Let me just do two more slides on this once I get back. Okay, I want to talk about we're going to do this hands on will make more sense. But what importing means? Okay, When I bought a car, a Japanese car, let's say it was made in Japan. When it was imported, it was physically moved from Japan into the United States. Right? So when I think importing, I think physically moving. That leads to the misconception that you're physically moving your photos in tow, light room and light Ramones those photos. Not true. They're still sitting out the stacks, but the import dialog, which will see, has two pieces to it. First, If you're starting with a memory card, it allows you to copy the photos into the stacks onto your hard drive. Of course, you have to do that, so that's putting the photos into the stacks on to your hard drive than the other piece that you'll always do. The import dialog adds that catalogue entry into the light room catalogue. So you are how thousands of photos on your hard drive. You'll only be doing this this second step here. Adding the information to the catalogue and then the last one and they'll take a few questions is exporting. So I told you you have your original file, whether it's a raw file of JPEG and you're building this set of instructions that's great for appreciating in the light room world. But imagine sending your friend a raw file in a set of instructions and saying, Go spend 100 $50 on light room if you want to see what this supposed to look like, right at that point, you have to create a copy with those instructions baked in. So that's what exporting a copy is about. Is actually taking that work, baking it into a copy so that you can share it with the rest of the world. A few questions on this catalogue concept How light from works right by? Yeah, I do one. I've made the mistake of moving my catalogs and then I have nothing left or I go into my folder and they're all in red. So is that something that has changed with light rain? Four. Or do you mean that you get question marks on your folder and then the folders turn red. So then I can't find the images on light room anymore. Okay? I'm not sure what the red is, but the question marks. People get question marks on folders and photos that has to do with moving the photos outside of light room. Right, So you're breaking that link. So I'm not sure if it's later this morning or this afternoon. We're going to go into an exercise and how to prevent that and how to fix that once it happens. I have done that a couple times, and I go to try to find them again. And then I just to re important. Ever imagine this. You're in the public library and you decide to move a book from part one part of the stacks to another. The next person who acts is it, accesses it through the catalogue, goes to where it's supposed to be and walks back with a question mark on their forehead. Right, because you've I mean, you've broken the link between the two so very common, um, amongst you know, amongst new and intermediate users. And I've got question marks and some of my folders, too. Laura, you had mentioned, um, keeping everything in one place, and I'm kind of, you know, I work with, like, tens of thousands of images each year, so I've kind of been going, like on the year thing. Is there an easy way, Teoh, Like, say, now I want to put from a way back to 2008 upgrade everything like before and put it all together without being too scared about it. Way to do that. Yeah, after this morning? Absolutely. Yeah. I'm talking so far. Talked about the catalog, right? Not the stacks, not the photos, Which is what you're kind of referring to. I'm gonna go into how I suggest you organize them. And then I'm gonna get into an exercise once we get into light room in terms of how to reorganize things and know that you can have things on multiple hard drives, which I'm gonna get into in a few slides. So yeah. Okay. Day. I love next drives and not all necessarily connected to light from all at the same time. The last part threw me a little bit, but not necessarily connected the light room, but yeah, I mean, this is great because you guys are anticipating my next. My next question in terms of Well, where should things be? And then how do I How do I handle that? catalogs. But I'll just mention in case I forget later, your catalog can be on an internal or an external hard drive. The one place that it cannot be is on a networked drive. Now your photos can be on a network drive on internal drive on an external drive. But that's just the one. Little caveat on the camel. All right, another way. Do have a number of people, and maybe they just joined us. But about why choose light room over a doe became a raw aperture, etcetera. And perhaps they don't really understand. That light room is for, um, the cataloguing part, I guess. Not Sure, if you could maybe just highlight that again. Well, let me just point out that I started, you know, for I want to say many, maybe five years with Photoshopped, right? So camera or bridge camera, raw photo shop. And when light from one came out, I downloaded that and went well, you know, that's cool. Looks kind of nice. It fell very awkward, so I put it away and I kept with my very comfortable workflow is very powerful. Why change, right? But then light room to came out with even war, powerful developed tools, local adjustments. So I decided to give it a chance and what I found after spending just a few months with it, getting past the awkwardness, understanding how it worked, really starting to explore the power of the developed tools as well that I could not. I can't imagine going back. Okay, I know Camera has the same developed tools as light room does, but the light room interface and the flow from one module to another within program is so much more elegant. It's so much less clunky. Even in camera. You can't see two photos side by side or before and after side by side, and there's other limitations as well. So it's a more modern, elegant way to work. I'm not a Mac user, so I can't speak specifically to aperture. But I have to say, just from monitoring Twitter, I see a lot more people switching from aperture to light room than I see from switching from light room temperature. And one of one of the main reasons, I think at least from my understanding, is that there's so much more support for light room. There's such a huge lightning community out there. So many training tutorial. Resource is forums, etcetera. Um, that it's easier to work with this for that reason alone.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Lightroom Day 1 Slides.pdf

bonus material with enrollment


Ratings and Reviews

Miguel Lecuyer

Great workshop! New to Lightroom and found it very helpful. Saved me a couple hundred dollars and time by not taking an evening LR class. Creative Live workshops match my learning style perfectly. Laura is awesome! My only complaint is maybe Laura can use a PC next time which is what she seems more comfortable using. Her shortcut mix-ups on a Mac were making me a bit dizzy :)

a Creativelive Student

I cannot express enough how impressed I was with Laura and this class. I learned more in the 3 days of this workshop than I did in all 6 weeks of a class I took online that cost three times as much. I left not only impressed by the class but MOST importantly - refreshed and energized to put my new knowledge to use! Thank you for that!!!

a Creativelive Student

Excellent workshop bar none. I learned more about Lightroom than I did from any other tutorial/workshp that I previously encountered. Thanks Laura!

Student Work