Lightroom 3.5: Moving files between catalogues

Started Oct 30, 2011 | Discussions thread
Bob Meyer
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Re: Why do you use multiple catalogues?
In reply to richardplondon, Nov 8, 2011

richardplondon wrote:

solyluna wrote:

Thanks for the extensive info re: LR back-ups.
I created a new catalogue for my husband's pictures - transfer was a breeze.

Richard, I have the back-ups scheduled for once a week. From what I understand, it really does not make a whole lot of sense to have so many back-ups?

If something goes wrong, it is always good to have some kind of a recent duplicate available. But you are unlikely to need previous ones to that, to be also available. We tend to want the most recent version that works. A typical "rotating" external backup routine gives you one or two more chances, if the last backup turns out to be faulty fro some reason. But the usual fear - that you have been repeatedly been backing up rubbish for ages - does not really apply AFAICt, with a database like this - which uses self-checking so that any problem quickly becomes evident.

The benefit of having older catalogs available is this:

Last month, you spent an hour or two editing one of your images, getting it perfect. Last week, you accidentally deleted that image, along with it's metadata. Last night, you made a backup of the catalog, and deleted all catalog backups older than 5 days.

Oops. Assuming you have a backup of your images, you can get the raw file back. But unless you also have backups of older catalogs, you'll never get your metadata back.

The standard practices of IT are a good model to follow if your work is really important to you. Keep nightly backups for at least a week to a month (depending on your risk tolerance). At the same frequency you delete nightly backups, save that last daily backup to another directory where it won't get deleted. Save weekly backups (if that's your frequency) for at least a month. Save monthly backups for at least a year. Save yearly backups permanently.

In my business world (IT), I've seen more than a few cases where people needed to restore files that were several months old. I can easily imagine the same need with photos and metadata.

I do a nightly incremental backup to both an offsite backup provider (SOS) and a network storage drive. If any image files change, they get backed up. If the catalog changes, it gets backed up. I'm reasonably confident in my ability to recover what I need independent of LR's catalog backups.

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