Understanding Lightroom Catalogs and File Management
Today, we're going to be talking about file management and working with catalogs. But before we get into that, let's look at what we've got thus far because right now we're three days into our total class. And the total classes is 20 days long, so that's only the littlest bit in. So let's take a look. First off, on day one, we gave you an overview, the big picture of Lightroom, what makes Lightroom special and in general, how to think about it as a whole because there's a lot of ways that Lightroom is quite different than other programs like Photoshop. So we wanted to make sure you have that solid foundation before we got into the details of using Lightroom. On the second day, we talked about getting your images into Lightroom so that you can access them all and the settings involved in doing that. We also talked about customizing Lightroom so you can make it your own. So when I get into Lightroom, you'll see that I have my own name in the upper left and I've controlled the general loo...
k of Lightroom. So if you're just tuning in today for the first time and you've missed those other two days, just know that that's what we've done on the first two days. So if you purchased the course, you can always go back and replay those days and catch up. But today, what are we gonna get into? Well, we're gonna talk about Lightroom catalogs and file management. Now I know file management doesn't sound like an exciting topic, at least not to me, but you're gonna find that lafter today, it's going to be much more clear how to think about using Lightroom. You'll know for instance, you'll hear people talking about, do you use one Lightroom catalog or do you use multiple? You'll know the answer to that at the end of today, if you should use a single Lightroom catalog or more than one. We'll also talk about how we manage our files where for instance, if you know the status of all your images, if you really know have I worked on this image before, is it done, is it ready to show somebody else, how you can keep track of that kind of stuff over time. So let's get into Lightroom catalogs. Whenever you work with Lightroom, regardless if you new it has a catalog file or not, any time you see any photos in Lightroom, you're looking at a Lightroom catalog. And a Lightroom catalog, what you do is you have a bunch of photographs on your hard drive somewhere, and at the moment you tell Lightroom to import them is the moment that those images are added to the Lightroom catalog. Now let's think about what is a Lightroom catalog. Well, when you import your images, it makes a record for each one of those images. And so it's like having a database where each image has its own little record and that's what's in your Lightroom catalog file. Now if we look at an individual record within that catalog, it's gonna have information like this about your images. The moment you import your pictures is this moment this record is created. What we have is a thumbnail or a preview of the image, and that's important because in Lightroom, once you've imported your pictures and it stores that little preview of your image, that means we can view our pictures even when the hard drive that contains those pictures is not attached to your machine. Then on the right side, it keeps track of some information about that file. At the top it has the filename. Now that's important because if you go and change the file name on your hard drive, not doing it in Lightroom but doing it when Lightroom is not running, you just innocently click on the name of the file and change its name, well then this record, which is for that particular image, is no longer gonna match what's on your hard drive. So whenever Lightroom goes and tries to find this image, let's say you wanna print it, where the little preview that it's storing is not enough information, it's not big enough to print a really high quality image, it's gonna go and look at that filename and if it doesn't match what's on your hard drive, it won't be able to find and print a really high quality image. Below that, it's got the location of where the file is. And again, if that changes, if you go and move the file on your hard drive so it no longer matches the record where Lightroom thinks the file is, then when you go to do something where it needs the full picture, the original image, it's not gonna be able to do it because it simply won't be able to find that. Below that, on the right side you'll see that it has your camera settings. Let's notice the metadata that came from your camera, and that's where you have things like your shutter speed, your aperture, the serial number of your camera, what model of lens you use, all that kind of stuff. Your camera records that, and Lightroom keeps track of all that information. Then the final thing it keeps in the catalog are the develop settings. That means if you go into Lightroom and at the top right you click on the Develop module and you start adjusting your picture, all Lightroom does when you make an adjustment is it writes down what you did. So if you moved to the exposure slider to the right a certain amount, it just simply writes down exactly how far over did you leave it. And it just does it as text inside the Lightroom catalog file. And what's really nice about that is because it's just writing it down as text, it doesn't change the original picture. The original picture is sitting there untouched and it's only this catalog file that's keeping track of where is the original file and what have you done to it. You think of it as you've done it to the picture, but what you did is you simply recording what you've done inside that catalog file. Your original picture is untouched. If you want a version of that picture that has been changed, then you're gonna end up exporting it. When you export the file, you get a copy of it in a different file format, like a JPEG or TIF or something else, something you might email to somebody else. And that file will have the change incorporated, but your original file is sitting there untouched. And that's really important because that means we can explore as much as we want. We can experiment with that image and never have to think about oh no, I might not like that next change I'm gonna make, I'm uncertain about it. Well, you can make as many changes as you want because it never changes the original, you could always start over again or back up at any point. But it's the Lightroom catalog file that keeps track of all those changes, keeps track of the names of your images and where it's located. So we gotta know where is that catalog file because anytime you're working in Lightroom, there is a file on your hard drive that has all the information in it. And let's figure out where it is. Well, in Lightroom, if you're on a Macintosh, you go to the Lightroom menu at the top of your screen and there's a choice in there called Catalog Settings. Now in Windows, there isn't a Lightroom menu so you have to go to the Edit menu to find the same choice. And if you do that, once you get in, you'll find this screen shows up, and right at the top it says location and mine says Ben's Lightroom Catalog. Usually, it would list the path it would take to get there. And on the right side is a button that says Show. If you click that, it will actually bring you in your operating system to the folder that contains your Lightroom catalog. A lot of people launch Lightroom the very first time and didn't realize they were creating this special file that keeps track of everything you do with your images. They have no idea where it's located on your hard drive. Well, if you go in here to your catalog preferences and you click the Show button, you'll find out exactly where that file is. And that's important because that's a file that you're gonna wean back up. You're gonna wanna store that on other drives so that if this hard drive ever fails on me, I can go and get that back up. And so that's one reason you'd wanna go there. If we go in there, this is what I might see. And there is actually three files in the folder. The one on the far left is your actual Lightroom catalog file. That's the file where it's keeping track of every image you've ever imported, keeping track of its name, keeping track of the location and all of the adjustments that you've done. Then we have two extra files. And if you look them, you have one that ends with the word previews and a second one that ends with the words smart previews. And if you haven't used Lightroom much, you might not have that one that says smart previews because that only happens if you've used a feature in Lightroom called smart previews. If you've never touched that feature, you wouldn't have that file yet. So anyway, when you get those three files, and let's figure out why is it in three pieces instead of just one. Well, if I already view this as a list where it tells me the file size of each one of those, here's what I might see. And when we look at it, the bottom file is my actual Lightroom catalog. And over on the right side, it says it's 3.85 gigabytes. It's a pretty big file. But just so you no, that has 220,000 photos in it. That's records for 220,000 photos. Considering that number of images, that's not that big of a file to keep track of all the adjustments I've done to all of them, to keep previews of each image and all of that. Then the other two files, those are big. Look at that top file. 1.66 gigabytes. That's pretty huge. And the one called smart previews is 19 gigabytes. So we have a varied size there. So the file that I need to backup on a regular basis is the bottom one because that's the most important one, that contains all the adjustments I've made to my pictures and it would be really bad if I lost that because then when in Lightroom, my pictures wouldn't even be in Lightroom, I'd have to reimport them. And when I reimported them, they might come in with default settings where they're not adjusted. So that's the file that I need to backup most frequently. Those previews aren't as critical because if I launched Lightroom and let's say I just threw away those top two files, my hard drive got full and in an emergency I needed to just somehow get free space and I threw away the top two files, well, Lightroom would still know where all my pictures are, it would still know all the adjustments I've made but what I wouldn't be able to do is I wouldn't be able to see those pictures without having the hard drive that contains them attached to my machine. Because it wouldn't have any previews of them. It would have to look to my hard drive to say hey, where are those pictures, what do they look like so that when I tell it to view what's in a folder, it would go on the hard drive and actually read all the files and create new previews. If I have the top file, which is the catalog previews, that means I can view my pictures even when the hard drive that contains them is not attached to this machine. That means when I'm traveling, I'm on a plane or anything else, I can look through all my photographs, I can be organizing them and showing them to other people even though they're all sitting at home on a huge hard drive that I don't wanna carry with me. That middle file called smart previews is special, and we'll talk about it in more depth in other sessions. What it allows you to do is actually adjust your pictures when the hard drive that contains them is not attached. And that's special because other programs in general can't do that. So if we have smart previews, then it means that when I'm traveling, I'm on a train, I'm in a taxicab, I can just open my laptop and if I can find an image that has a smart preview, I can start adjusting it even though the original file is not with me, it's sitting at home. And that makes it quite special so I can really work with and organize my images when the drive is not attached. But if my hard drive is full, I know I'm already done adjusting all of those pictures and I need to free up some space, I could delete that middle file, the one that ends with smart previews. I'd still be able to view my pictures because I still have the top file. Those are normal previews, meaning that they wouldn't let me adjust my pictures but at least I could see them. But that middle file there, if you didn't need to adjust any of your images, you could throw it away and you can always regenerate those previews. If you open Lightroom when the hard drive that contains your images is attached, there's a menu choice that we'll talk about in another session that just says you can generate a smart preview for one image or for a whole bunch of images, and it would regenerate that's called smart previews. So when we're in our catalog folder, we got three files. The bottom one is the most critical one, never throw that one away, protect that one. It contains all your adjustments. It makes Lightroom know where your pictures are. So that file is critical. Above that are two things that make it convenient. The top one makes it so we can view our pictures when the hard drive is not attached. The middle one makes it so we could possibly adjust those pictures when the hard drive is not attached. That middle file is only created if you use a feature called smart previews. And you don't automatically get smart previews. You have to do something to tell it that this specific image needs a smart preview. We'll cover that in a different session. So in general, that's what your Lightroom catalog is. We know now where to find it on your hard drive. Remember we go to Catalog Preferences and there was a button that would send us to this folder. But now what we need to decide is should we work with one catalog or multiple? Because at any time in Lightroom, you can go up to the File menu and there's a choice for creating a brand-new catalog. There's also a choice for opening a catalog so you could switch between them. And it really depends on how you work and mentally how you think as far as if you should have a single catalog or more than one. So let's take a look. Some people work with a single, what I'll call a master catalog. Every single photo they have ever shot is in that catalog file and they only have to deal with one catalog. And then other people choose to use one catalog for each shoot, or one catalog for each client, or one catalog for each day or whatever it happens to be, but they decide to split it up into multiple. And we got to think about why would you want to do that? What are the advantages and disadvantages? So the problem with the Lightroom catalog is only one person can be accessing it at a time. So if you're an individual, you don't work with other photographers at all and no one else that you know adjusts your pictures, it's just you, it's your stuff, then you can really get along with, most likely, one catalog. But if you're someone that has to work with multiple photographers and multiple people in an office that might need to access and adjust your pictures, then it might be more convenient to work with more than one catalog. So let's take a look. So if you're a personal shooter, that's what I'll call it, where you're just taking personal photos or fine art photos or whatever it is but it's for your personal use, or professional use, but you're not sharing it amongst other people, they don't access your files, they don't adjust your files, one person shooting, one person adjusting, one person managing everything, then really, one catalog keeps everything simple. So that's what I would have, one master catalog, everything's simple, you never really have to think about it. It's nice. But then you get into something where you have more than one person shooting. You're a wedding photographer and there's three of you. Whenever you go to a wedding, all three of you are out there shooting. Well, it doesn't matter necessarily how many people are shooting, what matters is how many people need to access these photographs afterwards? How many people need to adjust them, print them and do all of that? And if there's only one person back in the studio or the office that is responsible for adjusting, printing and all that, I would still recommend one catalog. Keep everything simple. But then here's when it breaks down where one catalog just won't do it. And that is mainly in the middle choice here, which is you have multiple people that need to adjust the pictures, or multiple people that need to print the pictures, or multiple people that manage projects. You're a big, big wedding business. You have eight, 10, 12 shooters that go out and they're shooting multiple weddings in a single day, they come back into the office, there's more than one person that processes those images, and that's when you run into a problem that the Lightroom catalog can only be opened on one machine at a time. And so if you had all of your images in a single catalog, then you're kind of in a little stopgap there where only one person can work on it at a time and there's no way one person can be adjusting like three completely different shoots at the same time. It just doesn't work out. So instead what you end up doing is you end up having one catalog per client, per shoot or per subject. Like project, you could say. And then that's something where you might end up with a catalog that's for one wedding. Then you go to the File menu and you create a brand-new catalog when you work on a graduation shoot. Then you have another project, you go up to the File menu to create a brand-new catalog and you have another retirement party you're shooting. In Lightroom, go up to the File menu and you got another wedding to shoot. So you have a separate folder with a separate set of three files in it. Remember there's a Lightroom catalog. There's the previews, and there's a smart previews. Every one of these catalogs would have that in a folder. And now what's the advantage of this? Well now, one person in the office could grab that first wedding catalog and work on it while simultaneously someone else grabs the other wedding catalog and works on it. So they're independent projects. They don't rely on each other. And so it can be a nice set up for that. But for a personal shooter where if you're the only person that ever works on those images and prints them, Now you have to start managing multiple catalogs and remembering what catalog is that picture in, and what status is that catalog in? Did I print those compared to others? And to me it's a little bit more, you could say, messy if you're single person working on it. But a lot of the times you end up with a hybrid of that, where you're somewhere in between. And here's my personal set up. I have my main catalog. It's got over 200,000 pictures in it and in general, where I go shooting, that's where everything goes, with a few exceptions. I also have a separate catalog called my bus catalog, which sounds really weird, but you know how everyone has their personal passions? One of my personal passions is I have a vintage bus, a 1963 Flxible Starliner, not that you know what that means but Google it and you'll find out. And I have a lot of pictures of buses, like thousands of pictures of buses. And I don't want them cluttering up my main catalog because when I think about buses, my mind is thinking only about that, I don't wanna see my landscape photos at the same time as those. And also, when it comes to making my images searchable, I can attach search terms to my images, known as keywords, and I use a completely different set of keywords for buses. I might have one of different models, different years, and other things that I'd attach to it and I don't need to have a long list of the words that I use for landscapes and other things intermixed. And so I decide that it's more convenient to have it as a separate entity, a separate catalog. I also have a separate catalog for my iPhone photos, because I think of my iPhone photos more as personal photography, not fine art because they're not high enough resolution to make big prints, at least the kind of prints I like to make. And most of the time, there's so many casual shots in there that I just don't want it cluttering up my main catalog of images. And then I actually have a fourth catalog, and that is I shoot fine art nudes. My favorite kind of nude is where there's no real nudity being shown, but they happen to not have clothes on. And those are ones where if I'm teaching a class like today, often times I'm in a corporate environment teaching a group of people and it's just not appropriate to have those show up in a corporate environment. So to make it safe so I know that never happen, I keep it as a separate catalog. And so for me, that's my set up. So you have to think about, and that'll be part of the homework for today. Many days we have homework, and one of those days will be thinking through how many catalogs should you really have? And for each person, it's a different answer. For many people, it'll be a single catalog. But for others, it really makes sense to have multiple. There is one other situation which we can talk about a little bit and that is often times, you'll end up with two catalogs simply because you have two computers. You have a desktop computer at home that's always sitting there and when you go out into the field with your laptop, you go out shooting and you're on a trip for a week, you're temporarily using your laptop that has a different catalog on it. And then when you get home, you'll have to learn how to integrate that catalog with the main one that you use day to day on your desktop. And we'll get into that. But before we do, are there any questions about how many catalogs you should have and what is contained within the catalog? Any idea?
Can you have the same image in multiple catalogs?
You can have the same image in multiple catalogs, but it does create confusion. And the reason for it is if you adjust the same image in different ways, in one catalog you make image black and white and you crop it as a horizontal, and in a different catalog you could make it very vividly colorful and crop it square, now there's still only one original file. Both catalogs happen to be referring to the same folder and the same file, but they have different adjustments. And that can be fine. But now you have to decide which version do I want to go find, and you have to start remembering what catalog is that in. And there's one final problem with that is there's a way to get Lightroom to save the settings that you've applied to the image, not just within the catalog file but actually in the folder itself. And we'll talk about that in a different session, but it's, notice an XMP file? What it would be is a file with the exact same name as the actual original photo, but it ends with the letters XMP and it simply contains the text of where you move the adjustment sliders to. And there can become a little bit of a conflict there, where you've adjusted two different catalogs and you might not realize which one is most current. So there's a little potential for confusion there. But you can still do it, you just have to be more aware of the details, okay? Now let's switch over Lightroom and take a look at how some of this actually works. And then we'll get into managing folders and you can see how it can make a big difference in how the way you think, just by the way you name your folders. You'll see. Let's switch over to Lightroom. And let's say that you saw my little talk about catalogs and you decided you wanna work differently than you currently do. Let's say that either you've been working with more than one catalog because you read somewhere that, that's the way to go and you decide that no, it'd be easier for you to work with a single catalog instead of multiple; or you're the other way around, you have been working with a single catalog but you end up hiring a couple of people to work in your office and since only one person can work in the catalog file at a time, you wanna do something that's somehow separated into multiple catalogs. So how can we do that? So first let's start off with how could I separate it into multiple catalogs because I wanna give a catalog to somebody else so they can work on that project. Well, here's what you could do. In Lightroom, I'm gonna go to my folder list and when I do, I'm gonna pick a folder that I would like somebody else to be able to manage, where they can adjust the images, they can do whatever they need. And so I'm just gonna pick random folder here. In fact let's pick one that doesn't have as many pictures in it. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna type Command + A for select all just so it knows not to just work with this one photograph I have selected but to work with all of them. That would be Control + A if I was in Windows. And I'm gonna go to the File menu and there's a choice in here called Export as Catalog. And that means create a brand-new catalog file and it's gonna contain only the images that are selected, and these images can be for multiple folders. I just hold down the Command key on the Mac, Control in Windows and click on more than one folder if I'd like to get as many as I'd like to put into that catalog. You can also, if you happen to know how to work with collections, click on the collection and get that to export as a catalog. But you choose Export as Catalog, and when you do, this comes up. And at the top it just says Save As, and I'm gonna call this because that's when it was shot, St. John WA, because St. John Washington is where these pictures were taken. And down at the very bottom, you'll find that it gives me some options. It says we're exporting a catalog with 40 photos in it, and down here it says include available previews. Well, if that's turned on, it means when I get the catalog file, I'm not gonna get just one file. Remember when we looked in the catalog folder, often times there are three files in there? Well, if I have this include available previews turned on, we're gonna get a second file in there for the previews. And then here it says build/include smart previews. And that would mean make sure that all these images can be adjusted even when the hard drive that contains the originals is not attached. So I could do that, and it's gonna smart previews for all the images that are there. And we'll have a third file in that folder that says smart previews in the end. Then there's a choice at the top that says export negative files. That means original images, like the raw files or JPEG files, whatever the originals are, we're gonna make a copy of those as well. And that would be used if the person that I'm gonna give this to needs to not only be able to adjust those images but also do things like print high resolution prints of them where it actually needs to look back to the original images to get all the data out of them. And so I'm gonna choose that. And now I'm gonna click on Export Catalog. And on the upper left, you can see there's a progress bar saying it's exporting the catalog. And when it's done, if I were to go and check on my desktop, come on, sometimes you wish you could just pull that, speed it up, but with 40 photos you shouldn't take too long. But it is copying all the originals. The originals do retain in the original spot as well, and it's not gonna remove these photos from this catalog. I'd have to manually do that. So it's kind of making a copy into that catalog. But if I come here and I hide Lightroom and I look on my desktop, you can see that right here is a folder that has the same name that I named that catalog. And if I were to open that folder, you'll find that there are, right now, two files in there, a previews file, which is so I can view those images even when the hard drive that contains them is not attached; there are the smart previews file, which allows me to adjust them when that drive is not attached; and finally, once it was done exporting, there's the actual catalog file itself. And only if I turned on that checkbox to export what it called I think the negative files, which means the original files, will you have this folder up here which is a copy of the actual images. Here, I happen to have them in subfolders, but those are the actual files themselves. If I didn't tell it to export the negative files, it wouldn't have the top one. So there, I could do that for each one of the projects or folders that I wanna have separate catalogs. And I could go from a set up where I had a single catalog to one where I had as many catalogs as I wanted. So now let's look at the opposite to that. Let's say that instead I'm used to working with multiple catalogs and I want to consolidate them into a single one. What you can do is either create a brand-new catalog to start with or just open any one of the catalogs that you want to become your master catalog, the one that contains everything. In this case, I'm gonna create a brand-new catalog. When I do, it asks me where I'd like to save it, and I'm just gonna call it Master Catalog. I'll hit Create, and it asks me about backing up things and we'll talk about this later in more detail. For now, I'm gonna choose skip because otherwise we have to wait for a backup to finish. Any time you close your Lightroom catalog it might ask if you wanna back up or not. There's a setting in your preferences for how often it'll ask you. But here, I have an empty catalog. If I look at my folder list, there's nothing there. It contains no photographs, as if I just installed Lightroom. Now what I could do is go to the File menu and there's a choice called Import from Another Catalog. Import from Another Catalog. This would be if I already have more than one catalog and I wanna combine them together. So I'll say Import from Another Catalog, I'm gonna go here on my desktop. And I believe in here, I have... Here are some catalogs to consolidate, I just moved some individual catalogs into a folder, here they are from various shoots that I've been on. I'll come in here and just double-click on a folder that contains a catalog, and I'll find the catalog file. It always ends with the letters lr for Lightroom, cat for catalog. That's the catalog file. I'll click choose, and now it's gonna compare that catalog to the one I'm working with to see, are those images already in this catalog or are they new? And if they're new, what should I do with them? So over here on the left, it indicates that there's, it looks like there's 12 photographs in there. Down here it says there are some new photographs, 12 of them, that are not in the catalog I'm currently working with. Remember I have an empty catalog? And it wants to know hey, what should I do with it? Should I add them to this catalog and leave the files in the original location? Or should I copy them to a new location? Because I might wanna consolidate them onto maybe a main hard drive, you'll see more when this is appropriate when we talk about traveling and you might wanna move things. But for now I'm gonna tell it to not move them. Then it was comparing the images that we're importing right now to any that might've already been in this catalog if the same photo was already in this catalog. It would compare the two to say hey, did they have different adjustment settings in that catalog versus this one? And if so, what would you like to do? Since these are not in this catalog yet, we can ignore that part. In this part of the right side where you see these thumbnails, will only show up if the checkbox in the lower right called Show Preview is turned on. If I turn that off, then you get a smaller dialog. So if all you're trying to do is consolidate multiple catalogs together, then when you choose Import from Another Catalog, in here you're mainly gonna tell it probably to import them without moving the files and just click Import. Once it's done with this, all I need to do is repeat the process again and again for however many catalogs I have. So I'll go to the File menu, I'll choose Import from Another Catalog. I'll back up one level and grab my next one that has a catalog. Hit Choose, just use the same settings, click Import and wait for it to finish. Then do the same thing again. Import from Another Catalog, navigate to my third catalog. And don't even change the settings, just hit Import. And now it's consolidating all these catalogs. We'll still have the original catalog file, so it's really making a copy into this catalog. But I can have then, if I go into my folder list, more than one folder worth of images, more than one really catalog combined into a single. So we talked about getting some files into a separate catalog, in case I wanted to have somebody else work on it, and now we've talked about consolidating multiple catalogs into one. There are a couple other situations you might run into. Let's say that I was about to travel. I usually have a desktop computer, and when I'm traveling, I'm gonna use a laptop, a temporary machine, I only use it when I travel because my main machine is that desktop machine sitting at home. How am I gonna manage that because somehow I'm gom have to work with a catalog in both of those machines. So there are a couple of different ways of doing it. The first thing you could do is when you travel with a laptop, if you don't need to work with images that you shot in the past, you only need to work with images that you shoot while you're out on the road, what I would do is on that laptop, I would create a brand-new empty catalog. That means I would launch Lightroom, I'd go to the File menu and here's a choice called New Catalog. That would give me an empty catalog file and (mumbles) out on the road shooting, I could import my pictures into that catalog and be good. When I got home, I would go to my desktop machine, I would feed it the catalog file I had been working on on my laptop by choosing Import from Another Catalog. Just like here when I was consolidating catalogs into a single file, it would take those images from the laptop and import them into my main catalog I have at home. And that's where when it said there's new files and when I was consolidating catalogs, I told it not to move them, I might tell it to move them. There's a choice that you can say move because I probably wanna get them off that laptop and get them on to whatever big hard drive I have where all of my photos are stored. And that's the time when you might use that option when you're importing from another catalog where it said you wanna just leave the files in the same spot or would you like to move them? And if you tell it to move them, all you need to do is point it at the hard drive you want to put it on. It's just a choice that will ask you that. The other choice you would have is if you need to travel with that laptop but not only am I gonna work with newly shot files but I also wanna be able to see all my other photographs and I wanna be able to adjust them and do other things with them while I'm on the road, because I'm gonna be on the road for two months and I wanna be able to work on the other images that I've shot in years past, so what would I end up doing? Well, I would come in here and I would hide Lightroom and I would navigate to wherever your catalog file resides. I'm on my desktop machine, I'm gonna go to where it resides, I happen to know mine is here, but you remember that if you go into your catalog preferences, there was a button that you can click on that would send you here. So if you didn't know where this file was, you could access it. And in here I would grab these three files, that is the catalog file itself; the previous, which allows me to view all my other images when the drive that contains them is not attached; and the smart previews, which allows me to adjust some of the images. I would grab those three files and I would copy them onto my laptop before I left on the trip. And then when I get back from that trip, I would end up using the Import from Another Catalog feature to have it incorporate the changes. Let's look at that. So first thing I'm gonna do here is I'm gonna copy that file we were looking at just a second ago and act as if this copy is being put on my desktop, one copy in the other copy on my laptop. So I'm actually going to duplicate this file. I'll change the name when it duplicates. I'll just have the word copy on the end. Well, I could change it to maybe put the word laptop on the end so I know it's my mobile catalog. And just imagine that this particular catalog is on my laptop machine. Since I only have one computer up here, I can't literally show you desktop and laptop. And I'll just change the word copy on the end here to laptop. Now if you ever do change the names of these files, what you have to do is the only way it knows that these previews and these smart previews relate to this catalog is by the name. So if I ever changed the name of a catalog file like this, what I would do is click on it and copy that file name without the file extension on the end. Then I would click on the next file down and I would rename it as well, using the exact same beginning of the file so the only thing that's different is the file extension on the end. And I would do the exact same thing with this. That would be if I was going to end up doing this on more than one computer. So if you need to change the name of them, know that the only thing that links these files together is the names are identical. Now I'm gonna actually open that file, and I should probably actually do this with fewer images than this because that file contains 200 and some thousand. So let's do a slightly different method. I'm gonna go into Lightroom, I'm gonna open my main catalog file here and we'll just export a little portion of it so we don't have to wait very long for it to compare 200,000 photos to see if anything's different. What I'll do here is let's just say I'm gonna travel and when I travel, I don't need to work with all of my pictures. The only thing I really need to work with is some pictures that I shot this year. And when I shot them this year, let's say it happens to be down here, these ones that I shot in Argentina. And so I'm gonna take this particular set of images and I'm gonna choose that Export as Catalog, and I'm just gonna put this as if I'm gonna use this on my laptop. So I'm gonna call this laptop catalog. I don't need to export my negative files because all I'm gonna need to do is adjust these pictures. As long as they have smart previews, I can do that. And then I'm gonna act as if I'm on my laptop. I'm off on a little journey and we'll try to make some changes to those files and we'll see what happens when we come back. I'm gonna over here now and open that catalog that I just created. There it is, laptop catalog. So this would be as if I am on a separate machine now. And all I'm gonna do is maybe change the cropping on a few pictures, make a few black and white, do anything like that and we'll see what happens when I return home and Lightroom notices that I've used the crop tool and I've cropped this image into a crazy crop, and I grab another set of a few images, I'll go to the Develop module and we'll talk about adjusting in a different session. So for now, just know that I'm making some sort of change that would be visually apparent. I made these black and white. So you can tell that I've made a change, right? I cropped these three, I've made these three black and white. And I might've done that while I was on the road. Now I get home. And if I got home, I would have my original catalog open, my master catalog, the one I always work on. I would've never closed it. And so I'm acting like I'm at home now. When I return, the way that I get the changes that were made on my laptop to be incorporated back into my main catalog, the one that's always open on my desktop machine is I do this, I go to the File menu and I say Import from Another Catalog. When I Import from another catalog, I find the catalog that I have been using on my laptop. I can just put it on a little external drive and connect it to my desktop machine and I say hey, here's the file I've been working on while I've been traveling. I hit Choose, and now what it's doing is it's first looking for new photographs. If there's any new photographs, it's gonna import them into this catalog to add those ones that I shot while I was on the road. And then down here, it's gonna look for changes that I've made to existing photographs. And do you see how it found six photos? Remember I've cropped three and I made the other three black and white? Well, it just realized we have those photos already contained in this catalog, but they're different in the catalog you've been working with, the catalog you're telling it to import from. And you can tell what to do. You can do nothing, which means it'll ignore those changes you've made. Probably don't wanna do that. Or I can say make the develop settings in metadata only. So develop settings mean any adjustments I've made in cropping, and metadata would mean things like keywords to make the images searchable and that type of thing. And then over here, we can actually copy the original files too if I have them. But I wouldn't need to do that because they're already sitting on the drive. These are files that have been on my desktop machine for some time. So we'd use the setting here, and now when I end up importing these, I'll tell it to import all the pictures, it's gonna get those six changes to be incorporated into my main catalog. So here's only the new files that are here, all the other files are still here. It's only showing me what it just imported as a change. And so anytime I travel, what I personally do is I take a copy of everything that's in my Lightroom catalog folder from my desktop machine, and I copy over to my laptop. I travel, I shoot new photographs, I adjust the photos that are already in the catalog, everything else. When I get home, I come to my desktop machine, I go to the File menu, choose Import from Another Catalog and I give it the catalog I have been traveling with. And that's when it compares the two catalogs. If it finds any new photos, it will import them. If it notices that I've made changes to the photos, it will incorporate those changes as long as I tell it to with that one little pop up menu. Remember I had the choice to ignore the changes or get them in there. And therefore, you can work with more than one catalog, but you can manage it between them. Takes a little bit of time to get used to it, but it can work nicely. Any questions about doing that? Yeah.
Yes, Ben. Instead of doing it this way, if you have, you're out in the field shooting, use the laptop, make changes, put on an external hard drive, take it home, plug the external hard drive into your desktop, instead of moving the catalogs over if you just use the import feature in Lightroom, will it carry the changes over? Or do you lose the changes?
Now say it again, where is your catalog file residing when you're traveling?
Okay, (mumbles) when I'm traveling, my laptop is just a backup storage and I use my external hard drive for when I actually process the photos. So if I get home and take the external hard drive and plug it into my desktop, and instead of transporting the catalog over, if I just use the import feature in Lightroom, will I lose the changes I've made?
Yes, in general. It depends on how those changes are saved. There is a way to get the changes to be saved, it's what's known as XMP files. And if you happen to have it set up to do that, it's in your preferences where you can have it do that, then when it imports them, it would know that you have the adjustments and it would recognize them. But there are a lot of other things that it wouldn't recognize. Like if you put a photo into what's known as a collection, it wouldn't know that, because that's not stored in the file itself. Or if you made what's known as a virtual copy where you get two versions of the file. Maybe you want one black and white and one color. Well, that wouldn't be transferred over. And so I wouldn't generally use the import feature because also it takes some time for it to generate previews of each image, whereas the catalog you have been working with while traveling already has those previews. And so it wouldn't take as much time, it would have to generate them from scratch. Instead it would just copy them over. And so it depends on how you work. It's not that, that can't work, but there's a lot of things about it that's not ideal. If you use collections, if use virtual copies, or if you don't make it so it saves your adjustments as what's called an XMP file, then there's a lot of things that are not quite being transferred there. So instead if I use an external drive when I'm traveling, I just plug that external drive into my desktop machine when I get home. I would open the catalog that I'm always working with at home, it's always the same catalog there. I'd choose Import from Another Catalog, I'd feed it that catalog that's on that external drive and when it asks me what to do with the original files, I would most likely say copy because I wanna get them off that drive on to my main storage, and I would tell it to copy into that. And that, I think, would be the most ideal way, yeah. Sure. All right, now let's take a look at folders. Folder sounds like a very simple topic, but you would be amazed at how the way you think about folders can completely change the way you work in Lightroom. So I'm gonna look on the left side of my screen here in Lightroom where we have our folder list. And the first thing is I have the name of my hard drives. I have my internal drive here, which is just called Macintosh HD, and I have an external drive here, which is called LaCie, which is a six terabyte, I think it's six terabyte, external drive here, which is my backup for all my images that are at home. And you can see that. To the left of each drive, you'll find a color, it's supposed to look like a little LED light that you might find in the actual drive itself. If that light is gray, then it means the drive is not attached. So if I were to power down the drive that I have here, I will eject it and go back to Lightroom, you'll find that it'll take Lightroom just a moment to realize that, that drive is no longer connected. But eventually, that little light goes gray to the left of the drive, and that means the drive simply isn't there. Now I can still view the photos that are on that drive. I can still click here and see the list of folders. And if I were to click on any particular folder, I can view the contents and that's only because when you import your photographs it creates previews. And those previews are stored in the same folder as the Lightroom catalog file. Remember there was one that ended with word previews? Because of that, I can still view these. But you see that each folder has a question mark on it, indicating that it can't find those folders. Now if I plug this hard drive back in, it'll take it a while to spin back up and to mount on the desktop, and then it'll take a few moments for Lightroom to realize that it's there. But once it is there, that little, I'll just call the light to the left of it, should turn green to indicate that it's actually there. So let's talk about what we can and cannot do when that little light is gray. Well, I can't do things that require the original photographs. That means I can't move a photo from one folder to another because it would need to physically do that on this drive. And so I can't. I can't rename those files because again, it needs access to the original files. If I don't have smart previews created, then I can't adjust the images. But if at some point I created a smart preview, and in case you need to know how to do that, you can click on any photograph when the hard drive is attached, you can go to the Library menu and right here is a choice called Previews, and right there is Build Smart Previews. I can have a thousand pictures selected right now and if I choose Build Smart Previews, I'd get a little progress bar in the upper left as it actually processes them and creates those previews. But once it's done, I can adjust those images even when this drive is disconnected. But only the images that have smart previews. The other thing I can't do is print or export a high resolution, like full size image when the originals aren't attached. Because the previews that you can generate at the moment you import your pictures are only so big, so they only can be used for so high res of a use. Now let's take a look at some basic ideas about working with folders, then I'll show you how the way you think about folders can dramatically change the way work in Lightroom. So if you wanna move files between folders, then all you need to do is come in here and click on the folder to view its contents. And if you'd like to move a particular image or hold down Shift and select a bunch of images and move them somewhere else, just need to click on them and drag them on top of another folder in the folder list. When you let go, it would move them to that other folder. And if you just move your mouse on top of a folder and pause, it will automatically expand the folder if there happens to be subfolders within it. And I could let go to move the images. I'm going to cancel that because I don't wanna randomly move this to folder and forget where I put them. But you get the idea. If you want to copy one, because maybe you want to two versions of it, although that's not the best way to have two versions because there's something called a virtual copy which would save space, but we'll talk about that in a different session, you could hold down the Option key, Alt in Windows. That's the same key you hold down if you're dragging it on your hard drive outside of Lightroom to get a duplicate. If I would like to create a subfolder, because maybe I went to Iceland and over six days of time I shot in Iceland, but they're all sitting in one folder and I'd like to divide them up in the individual days because each day I went to a different location and I wanna create that, something like that, what you can do is in your folder list, if you right-click, there is a choice here called Create Folder Inside. And that means it would create a subfolder. And this would come up just asking you for a name, and then you have to be careful here because there is a checkbox that's turned on by default called include selected photos. And so yo got to be careful with that. If you didn't realize you have a bunch of photos selected and you just click Create real quick, it's gonna actually move those images. If you want an empty folder, just turn that off. And now we're just creating a subfolder. I happen to have a lousy name of subfolder for it, and it would be inside of whichever folder I right clicked on. If you're using a Macintosh and only have one mouse button and you're not used to right clicking on a Mac, it's the same as holding on the Control key on your keyboard and clicking the mouse. Control click is the same as right clicking with a two button mouse. So we can create subfolders. Other things that we can do is when we click on a folder, if I expanded it and it has subfolders, if you look at mine, I have a lot of subfolders in here. When you click on a folder, you can decide, should I look at only the images in that exact folder and ignore those subfolders? Or should I include them? You do that by coming up here to the library menu, and right there you're gonna find a choice called show folders in subfolders. And therefore, if I click on the base folder, like if I were to click on the folder called and that choice is turned on, I'm seeing the contents of every single folder that's inside of that 2016 folder. If I turned that off, I'm only seeing the ones that are in this base folder and none of the subfolders. And that also affects the numbers that appear next to each folder. So I can tell there are no images that are sitting all by themselves in this folder called 2016. They're all contained within subfolders. Whereas when I turn that off, I should say turn it on, where you can see what's in the subfolders now the numbers next to each folder, that's not only what's in this folder, the base level of this folder, but also the subfolders. It's adding them all together. A couple things about this. If you ever create a subfolder, which I'll do here, and there's nothing in the subfolder, then you'll see that the name of the folder is gray. It's not to indicate it doesn't exist, that would have a question mark in it, meaning it can't find it. It just means there's nothing in there and it's just a nice way to know that if you click on that, there's a reason why you're not seeing anything. And so grayness means simply doesn't exist. A grayed triangle next to a folder means that there are no subfolders. So if you look at it, some of these little triangles are kind of a bright gray like this one here. That means you can expand and collapse it, and you should expect to find more folders inside. These here look more speckled, like a lighter gray, or I should actually say darker gray in that case, and that means there are no subfolders inside of them. So sometimes you get used to that and it can be a helpful. When I'm on a folder, if I tried to delete the folder, you'll find that there's no choice for deleting a folder. You can remove a folder, but that's not the same as deleting it. If you remove a folder, it means make it so Lightroom does not keep track of that folder at all. It doesn't show up in Lightroom. But it doesn't mean that, that folder doesn't exist in your hard drive. Lightroom is incapable of deleting a folder. And there's a good reason why. And that's because when you import your images into Lightroom, it only imports photographs. If in the same folder you have a Microsoft Word document or you have a spreadsheet or you have a PDF file, those files are ignored because Lightroom is not designed to deal with them. And so if it allowed you to delete a folder, you might click on a folder, you look within Lightroom and it looks to be empty because there are no photos in it. If it allowed you to delete it, there might have been important PDF files and Word documents and other things in there. So if you ever need to physically delete a folder, what I would do is you can click on the folder and if you right-click on it, there's a choice here called Show in Finder. The wording will be slightly different in Windows because whatever you call your operating system's navigator, might be like show in Explorer, like Windows Explorer, but this would actually take me on my hard drive to that folder and then I could manually delete it in my operating system. And that way, it somewhat forces me to inspect the folder to make sure there's nothing special inside of it like PDF files. But that can be kind of confusing if you don't think through it. If I'd like to rename a folder, you can just right-click on it and you'll have the choice called rename and it'll let you type in a new name. And anything you do to the folder list here in Lightroom will be reflected on your hard drive. So if you change the name of a file, it changed on your hard drive. Change a folder or move something between folders, it's just doing it on your hard drive. It's important though that you do it in Lightroom. If you wanna change the name of a folder, do not just go to your hard drive in your operating system and type in a new name because if you do that, you're going to get this in Lightroom. Lightroom has a catalog file. And if you remember in that catalog file, it keeps track of all your pictures and all it's doing is writing down what's the name of the file and where is it on your hard drive. If suddenly it's no longer in a folder with that name that Lightroom thinks it's in, suddenly you're gonna find a question mark icon next to a folder. And if it's like that, it won't know where those files are. So what can I do about it? Well, if it doesn't know where this folder is, I can right-click on it and there's a choice called Find Missing Folder. Find Missing Folder. And that means I choose it and now I should navigate on my hard drive to wherever I moved that folder, or if I renamed the folder, whatever I named it to, I need to go manually find it myself. I think I renamed this one. And choose it and then if I hit Choose, it will suddenly realize that okay, you have moved it and renamed it, and suddenly it'll no longer have a question mark on it and it will know where everything is. And suddenly it can find all those images. If on the other hand you need to rename a file instead of a folder, it's a little different because you can't just click up here on the file and tell it to rename. There's a couple options we have. The first thing you should do is if you're in the Library module and you wanna rename a file, go to the right side of your screen. And on the right side of my screen, there are a couple different options that you can expand and collapse. I'll collapse them all down here. One of them is called metadata. And within the area called metadata, up near the top is where it says file name. And right there is where you could click. And here I could type in a brand-new name. When I press return, if I look back over here at the little versions of my pictures, the thumbnails, you'll see the file name is now different. So what did I do, I clicked on an image. I'm in the Library module and on the right side of my screen is where I found under the choice called metadata, file name. And that right there is where you can change it. If I wanna rename all the images in a folder, because if you look at these filenames they're not very useful. They might be the filenames that your camera assigned and I would rather have more useful names, what I could do is select all the images. II can do that by typing Command + A on a Mac, Control + A in Windows, and then if I go to that area where I could rename the files over here on the right, you see it says file name. And since I have more than one selected, it says mixed. Well, over here on the right side is a little icon, and that icon is for renaming multiple pictures. If I click it, this comes up. And this is how I can rename my files. This uses presets, there's a little pop-up menu. If I click on it, you will have a few choices in here, but I've made some of these myself so you're not gonna have all the choices that I have available. Let's make one of these though a preset. I'm gonna go to the bottom choice, there's a choice called edit, and this is where I kind of develop a formula for how to come up with a file name. And up in this area near the top, I'll select all this and just hit the Delete key to start fresh, so there's nothing in there to begin with; and down here are the various choices I could use to build a file name. Here I could use the original file name. Maybe I just want to put the original file name and on the end of it put some new word like I don't know, edits, or some other word. I could do that and just hit the word insert and it'll start off with the file name, or actually I'd probably go down here to the original file name. So there we'll start with the original file name. Then up here I can type things. I can hit the space bar or an underscore or just say photos, whatever I'd like to type in. And then let's say I want it to number the files. Well then I come down here and I find a choice that would number them. And the choice I would use is called a sequence. And so I can come in here and say I want it to number it and maybe do it three digits long. And it gives me an example at the top of what it would look like. So there's the original file name, it looks like a space, underline, photos, and then it numbered them. We're creating kind of a formula for how to name these. Here's what I'm gonna use though. Down at the very bottom is a choice called custom text and we're gonna incorporate that. So the first thing I'm gonna do is I'm going to have it put a date at the beginning because I just want it to know what date these were shot in. And I can find that choice in here. I could choose any one of these formulas for how it's put together, depending on your personal choice if you want the year, month, day. I'll use that one. After year, month, day, I'm just gonna put in the spacebar and then I'm gonna go down to the very bottom where it says custom text, hit Insert. After that I'll put another spacebar and then I'll do a sequence number that's four digits long. So what's that gonna do? That's gonna make it, here's an example, put the date at the beginning, put some custom text that I'll be able to type in at the moment that I'm renaming my files and then put a number, which should be a nice way to do it. If you don't like that the date is all jumbled together like this, you'd prefer to have dashes between the month and year, you can kind of build that up manually. Let's try that. I'll go to the beginning, just click at the beginning, and down here I'll just choose year as a four digit. Then I'll put an underscore maybe. I'll go down here and choose months as two digits. And it depends if you want a day or not, maybe I don't want a day, I don't care what day it is. So I'll select those and I can cut and paste if I wanna put them in a different position. I'll end up getting rid of the year that I already had there, and just pasting to put it in there. So now if you look at my formula, you see how I have the year, an underscore and then the month. You have to kind of manually build it up if you wanna get fancy. But what's nice is you only have to build this once. So spend the time to figure out exactly how you wanna name your files, then go to this menu at the top and one of the choices is a save the current settings as a brand-new preset. And give it a name that's memorable to you. Since I already have presets that I'd like to use in here, I'm just gonna remind me to trash this one so it doesn't clutter things up later. But just so you can see that when I click Done, it will be a choice available in this menu. So here I can come in and choose one of my presets, and if it used that choice called custom text, when I'm in here, it'll ask me what to name these. And so I'll come in here and rename those files. I could've typed in whatever I wanted there for the name, but when I click OK, it will automatically rename all the files in the folder. So how did I get to that? I selected all of the images I wanted to rename. I was in the Library menu on the right side under metadata, it said file name, and right there on the far right was an icon. You don't have to go to that area to find it, it is also found under either Library or Photo menu. It's library it looks like, right here, Rename Photos. That takes you to the exact same spot. But since I'm used to going to the right side of my screen to rename individual files, that's where I usually go to get to the icon to do more than one. So now we know how to rename folders, rename files, and we also know how to move files between folders by just dragging them. What I would suggest that you do at this point is start thinking about how using folders can help you manage your pictures. Let me show you what I do, and then there's a homework assignment for today that would allow you to be guided through developing your own system. So let's take a look at how I use subfolders and how I found it really helps to manage my files. Because if you think about your files right now, just think back if I were to go in your folders, to a folder that's let's say three years old in your archives and I point at a folder for a particular shoot, how long would it take you to get ready to show all the good pictures from that folder? The pictures that have been finished processing that you know are good enough to show the public, how long would it take you to do that for a random folder that's three years old? Probably take you a while, wouldn't it? And think about how much time it would take you to get reacquainted with that folder of images. Let's say you have 300 pictures within the folder, how do you know wc pictures you've ever worked on? How do you know if these pictures you worked on them but they decided they're not good, like you don't need to work on them anymore? This one's out of focus, this one's not a good composition. If you went back, how long would it take you for a folder that's three years old to do that? Well, here's how long it would take me. Take me just a moment to do this. I'm gonna pick any folder at random. I don't care how old it is. I'll open it up and I can tell you, there are 17 pictures that, from Hemet, California, I could show you right now that are ready to show the public. Or in Iceland, here's 17 photos and I can, with all confidence, tell you that I can go through here and be ready to show you every single picture because I know exactly which ones are ready to be shown. If I go into Iceland, I can tell you exactly how many images I'm not done working on yet. I can tell you exactly how many images I don't need to look at again. And I can also drill down to personal images that are just of my friends, my wife that I wouldn't wanna show to the general public, and that's all because I developed a system that I use consistently for naming my files. And I'd like to share that system with you. Let's take a look. With my images, the way I work is the only images that I have on the base level of a folder that represents a shoot are the ones that are ready to show the public. They've been processed, I know they're good, I know I'm proud of them, I know I'd be ready to show a friend whatever is there. That's what is left on the base level of a folder. I right-click on a folder and I say Create Folder Inside and I create a folder called In Progress. And that's where I drag all the images I'm not done working on yet. And when I come back and revisit a folder and I wanna work on it some more, that's where I click to find the images I know I'm not done with yet. When I work on a folder that in the In Progress folder, if I decide it's not a good picture, it's out of focus, it's a bad composition or I simply have a better shot of the same subject matter, then I right-click on the main folder, I say Create Folder Inside and I create a folder called Outtakes. it's just called outtakes. And I drag that file that I don't think I need to look at anymore onto the Outtakes folder. I don't delete it because what if the file that I think is the best for that particular composition ends up having something wrong with it and it just doesn't work out when I'm done processing it? I wanna be able to go back into my outtakes and say oh, I was wrong, that wasn't a bad shot, it's the best shot I got. The one I thought was the best shot didn't work out somehow. So I'm not gonna throw them away yet until I'm done processing the entire folder, then I might decide I could clear out the outtakes. But outtakes are images I don't think I'm gonna have to look at again. And so I dragged them all in there. Then let's say I'm in progress and I finished processing an image and I think it's a great shot, it's ready to show the public. So what do I do? I click on it and I drag it to the base folder, the parent folder of that. And then the number next to that base folder, right here, would increase by one to say there's now 18 pictures ready to show the public. Then let's say that I end up using one file to create another. For instance, I shot five pictures that should be stitched together into a panorama. So the end result is the panorama, but those five pictures are part of its making. That's when I create a subfolder called Support Images. And support images are files that were used in the creation of other files. It might be three exposures that were combined into one for what's known as an HDR picture. It might be it's the original picture to one that was opened in Photoshop and a bunch of layers were added and retouching and all sorts of things were done in Photoshop. So I have a file that's from Photoshop, but then I have the original raw file. Where does that original raw go? It goes into Support Files because those are files I wouldn't wanna delete necessarily because if I ever find a better way of processing a panorama let's say, I wanna restitch that panorama from the originals using that new software that comes out years later, that kind of thing. But I know that those support images are images that were used in the creation of others. That makes sense mindset wise? Then I also create a subfolder in some shoots called personal images. What are those? Well, those are images of my wife taking photographs of her. Or here, it's just a friend of mine that I shot that the general public wouldn't have any interest in that. Or here, that's another friend taking a photograph. I don't wanna throw the picture away, it reminds me of this trip and so I wanna keep these, but I don't think the general public would be interested. So I'm separating them. What's nice is when I have family and I wanna show them things, they might be interested in those personal photos. So what I can do is click on the baselevel folder, hold down the Command key and click on Personal Images as well. So right now I'm viewing the contents of two folders at once. And so I can always include them. Now it's important though that you realize what setting you're using right here where it says Show Folders in Subfolders. Because watch what happens to all these numbers. Do you see how I have the number 17? Those are how many images ready to show the public? Well, if I turn that setting on to show the folders and the subfolders, that's gonna now be the total of all of these subfolders so I can no longer tell exactly how many images are ready to show. And when I click on this folder, I'm no longer looking at only the images ready to show the public. So it's important to come up here and be sure you know what that's set to. And so I can go to any folder that I've ever shot and I can tell you that in Yellowstone, I'm only ready to show you one picture right now. But if I come down here to Burma, I got 71 pictures ready to show you. And therefore, at any moment, I'm ready to show a slideshow from any folder that I've ever shot. And I find that to be transformative when it comes to how I work with my pictures, because in the past before getting a consistent system set up, I'd go back and it would take me half an hour to remember what the heck did I do with folders in the past? And so that's how I find it to be useful. But my system isn't most ideal for you. If you shoot weddings, it doesn't mean that you need to think about it in that way. Maybe for you, for weddings, is you need to have folders for group shots and other things, but there are other ways of organizing things. So let me just mention a few other types of folders that I use. I also shoot some consistent content in many different areas, and that would be like I take pictures of skies and it has nothing to do with where I was shooting that day, it's just I collect pictures of skies. I collect pictures of textures and things that could be potentially used for backgrounds when I combine images together. And so those are other subfolders that I might create. So any questions about what I end up doing with subfolders? Does it sound like it could be something useful for you to come up with a system similar to that?
You're right, it's transformative. What do you eventually do with pictures that are just bad? As soon as you look at them on the big screen, you say they need to be trashed.
If it's like bad, bad, I mean my camera went off by accident when it was moving, you can click on the image and hit Delete, the Delete key, and it'll ask you, do you wanna remove it from your catalog, which would mean leave it on your drive but get it out of Lightroom, or do you want to actually delete it? And for those images that are just absolutely bad, the shutter went off by accident, I delete them right away. If on the other hand I think it's not my best shot of this particular subject matter but it's still somewhat okay shot, I'd move it to the outtakes because you just never know if there's gonna be an issue with one of the other shots that you thought was better and that you might have to go back and that might be your only usable shot because the focus was off or something else. So I'd move them to outtakes. And only when the In Progress folder gets to be empty, meaning I'm done processing this folder, would I consider possibly going to the outtakes and deleting things? But I personally don't because hard drives are pretty cheap these days and who knows what I might need that for. Oftentimes I need to take a little part of an outtake and use it when I'm retouching. Like in Photoshop, if I need to remove a large object out of something, I may need to grab a tree or something else in a background from another photo that I thought was a lame photo and use it, and I'm gonna get that out of outtakes. All right, well let's think about some things. So question? Do you know the status of all your images? If you were to go back two, three, four five years, would you be able to figure out what images are ready to show someone else? If not, why not develop a system? How would it change it if you had your own system? Now I know you're thinking you've got a lot of photos in your archives, what I would suggest is develop a system. In the homework for today, we'll help you come up with your own system, and then just start from today on using that system. And as you have time, work backwards in your catalog until you eventually, hopefully, get all of them converted. But your homework all has to do with developing your own system customized to your needs, and we have a PDF to help guide you through that process because my system is not right for everyone. Finally, if you wanna find me, you're browsing around the Internet, just wanna know how can I find out more about Ben, on social media, here are some of your choices. And you can also go to my main website, which is digitalmastery.com. But this has just been one session of Lightroom CC Photo Editing. We have a lot more to go. And if you think about just what this one session can do to the way you think in Lightroom, imagine what it's gonna be like after we've gone through 20 sessions like this.