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"10 years of photos multiple drives-catalogs require attention " Seeking Expert advice :)

George Burrows

Drummer Photographer
Joined
Feb 5, 2017
Messages
36
Location
Chicago Area
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Lightroom Version
Lightroom CC
Operating System
Windows 10
Greetings,

My LR skills have improved since 2009. However, 20TB of photos tell remain a nightmare. ( Windows custom desktop PC (Gamer but only for photography)


I have lost photos by moving them without catalogs, saved multiple SD card shoots in multiple places. Could save several TB if I removed/duplicates.

I am wondering how to start organizing photos for prompt access.

Wedding Photographer organizational skills are imperative. ( I am starting to submit photos to a drum magazine)

Than k You for reading my post,
George
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
16,195
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Let’s look at a few things.
  1. Lightroom CC is the cloud version of Lightroom and I’m guessing that you are really using what is done called Lightroom Classic with image files stored locatlly.
  2. You have a catalog that you are using currently. Let’s call that the master catalog file.
    1. Use the “find Missing Photos” function to determine how many are missing​
    2. Attempt to find all of these missing photos Use the Missing Folder function in the folder panel to fix en batch as many that are simply in folders that you moved outside of Lightroom​
    3. Don’t worry if you run into road blocks. Just clean up the master catalog as best as you can​
    4. Search using Windows Explorer to find other catalogs that are not previous versions​
    5. Use the Import from another catalog function to merge these distinctively different catalog file into the master​
    6. Repeat the “Find Missing Photos“ /and search to resolve as many missing images that can be accomplished.​
  3. Once we have all of the know unique catalogs in one master catalog, We can look for duplicates (there are plugins that help with this)
  4. After We have resolved all of the unknowns, we can work on organization, relocation of original image files and take a stab at the image files that are not in your master catalog.
Work on Step 2 and let us know how you get along. We can work with you on places where you are stumped.

The overall goal here is:
  • to get all of the images in one catalog file,
  • relocate all of the image files on one or two consolidated disk volumes
  • remove duplicates
  • Reorganize your folder structure to logically store your image files
  • import and stray image files that are not currently cataloged
  • start using Lightroom Classing to organize your images with keywords and in Collections
 

George Burrows

Drummer Photographer
Joined
Feb 5, 2017
Messages
36
Location
Chicago Area
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Thank you for the concise reply!
I have one question before I begin.
I have many catalogs, no master. You stated, "Use the Import from another catalog function to merge these distinctively different catalog file into the master"
Do I select a current catalog and make it the master for all the catalogs I find doing the above mentioned?
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
16,195
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
I would look for the most recent catalog that has the most images in it. This is the one that I would call “master” If it will help, you can exit LR and rename the file to “Master.lrcat”. And the associated previews folder to “Master Previews.lrdata” and a Smart Preview folder if there is one in the same folder.
 
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