Lightroom newbie question - culling for real

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
Zeee Forum Pro • Posts: 19,801
Re: Not sure where you are with your testing

Just in case a few pointers about the catalogue. Sometimes new users confuse the catalogue with the files. They refer to the catalogue as the files. They are two separate things. The catalogue is a database that records all your edits.

I'm on a Mac so unless you specify a location the first time you open LR by default it puts the Lightroom folder that contains the catalogue in Pictures. Not sure where it puts it on a PC.

My files are on an external drive. I can use different editors to make adjustments and it won't effect LR's edits, as long as they are non destructive. The catalogue just needs to know where the files are.

When I took lessons they taught me to use LR to move folders around. Easiest way to maintain the link between the catalogue and file. If you are moving 10,000 files then it is better to use the OS and then re-establish the link/s later. LR can lose files along the way.

There have been many conversations about one catalogue vs multiple catalogues. Multiple catalogues defeat the purpose what the cataloging system can do for you with key wording etc. There is no known limit for the catalogue size. There have been reports of over a million files in one. The catalogue is every small because it is just a database. I've been using it since 2012 and it still under 1000MB.

The key to LR is just a little organization and simple maintenance. When you exit LR make sure the Test integrity and Optimize are checked. Exit once in a while to do this. Here is good document to keep LR optimized. Once set up it is a breeze. You don't need to do this right away.

That being said after years of using LR I have seen people asking fo help because of files being stored all over the place, broken links that were not looked after, etc. This often causes issues with new version updates when the catalogue is upgraded. I have never had a single catalogue issue. Again a little organization and maintenance.

My structure. The ext drive is called Photos and parent folder is My RAW Collection. Subfolders are by year and in every year by event and date. There are many ways to set it up and use key wording, etc for searches. I would suggest to start off with a plan for the structure which will save you grief 5 years from now.

I import to the desktop (HD) then using LR drag the folder into the appropriate year in Photos. I use the Camera Default Master files in the HD to set up what I adjusted when LR imports files. They are just dummy files but it helps me control my import settings as sometimes I change them.

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