• Welcome to the Lightroom Queen Forums! We're a friendly bunch, so please feel free to register and join in the conversation. If you're not familiar with forums, you'll find step by step instructions on how to post your first thread under Help at the bottom of the page. You're also welcome to download our free Lightroom Quick Start eBooks and explore our other FAQ resources.
  • Stop struggling with Lightroom! There's no need to spend hours hunting for the answers to your Lightroom Classic questions. All the information you need is in Adobe Lightroom Classic - The Missing FAQ!

    To help you get started, there's a series of easy tutorials to guide you through a simple workflow. As you grow in confidence, the book switches to a conversational FAQ format, so you can quickly find answers to advanced questions. And better still, the eBooks are updated for every release, so it's always up to date.
  • It's Lightroom update time again! Color Grading and improved zoom across the whole Lightroom family, plus graphical watermarks for the cloud-based Lightroom apps, as well as the usual new cameras, lens profiles and bug fixes. See this blog post for Lightroom Classic and this blog post for the Lightroom Cloud Ecosystem changes.

Advice for a Reluctant Lr Consultant

Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
40
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Classic latest Windows version
Operating System
Windows 10
A photographer acquaintance has asked me for help with some Lr tasks. I tried to tactfully decline, partly because I’m totally a Mac person and he runs Lr Classic on Windows, and partly because it’s not what I do. But he’s persistent, so I agreed to help out.

I’m an advanced user (an ACE), so I know my way around Lr, but I don’t regularly do the kind of things he wants—and never on Windows. So I did some research and decided how to proceed. I’m sure there are some variables about his system that will affect my plans, but I won’t discover those till I get there and start working on his computer.

Here are his requests and how I plan to proceed:

Converge everything into one catalog—I assume he’s got multiple catalogs on his hard drive. I’d start with one Master catalog, then use the Import from Another Catalog workflow to combine them all.​
Get rid of duplicates—I think he’s talking about actual duplicates, not virtual copies. I’ve read that you have to search for and delete duplicates one by one, unless you buy a plug-in. Sounds like a pain.​
Change the filing system to make simple links rather than extended complicated ones—I believe what he wants here is to simplify the folder hierarchy. I’d move child folders into parent folders wherever possible. I’d also recommend he start importing files by date using the year/month/day format.​
Store everything on a single portable hard drive (5 TB) with a backup on a second portable hard drive—By “everything,” I assume he means all his photos, not his catalog. Storing photos on an external drive seems simple, but backing up from one drive to another requires extra software, like ViceVersa, doesn’t it? I think I’ll recommend he buy that to make ongoing backups of his primary external drive. Or I could recommend he subscribe to a cloud backup like Backblaze for his computer and external drive.​

Sorry for the long post. I’d appreciate any advice on a better way to proceed, especially if there are Windows-specific differences a Mac user like me wouldn't know about . (BTW, the Lr version and OS answers are for his system, not mine.)
 

PhilBurton

Lightroom enthusiast (but still learning)
Premium Classic Member
Premium Cloud Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
2,263
Location
California, USA
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
I concur mostly with your recommendations. In fact, we could eventually have a blog post called "Lightroom Data Hygeine," summarizing such recommendations.

Lots of people here advocate a date-based filing system, something like YYYY-MM-DD.

When reorganizing the file system, make all changes inside Lightroom.

I don't concur with the recommendation for a portable hard drive unless there is a specific reason to do so. For a desktop system, performance will be much better with an internal hard drive (in the system case) than an external drive. For a laptop, there is usually no alternative for the amount of storage needed.

Rather than a "second" EHD, the recommendatiion could be, "Do backups frequently of all your photo files." "Back up the system catalog every time Lightroom is closed."
 
Joined
Nov 27, 2013
Messages
1,369
Location
Queensland
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
My thoughts-
1. Converge everything into one catalog—I assume he’s got multiple catalogs on his hard drive. I’d start with one Master catalog, then use the Import from Another Catalog workflow to combine them all.
-Yes. (and then tidy {delete} unused catalogs to avoid confusion, Tidy Catalog backups- checking they go to another drive)

2. Get rid of duplicates—I think he’s talking about actual duplicates, not virtual copies. I’ve read that you have to search for and delete duplicates one by one, unless you buy a plug-in.

-No need to buy but you can donate- Teekesselchen: Home

3. Change the filing system to make simple links rather than extended complicated ones—I believe what he wants here is to simplify the folder hierarchy. I’d move child folders into parent folders wherever possible.

Not essential. Encourage use of Keywords and Collections to 'find' photos.
Combine with step (4 while using Lr to move folders to the large drive.

I’d also recommend he start importing files by date using the year/month/day format.

Yes. Setup an Import Preset that does this.

4) Store everything on a single portable hard drive (5 TB) with a backup on a second portable hard drive
Yes.

 
Joined
Mar 29, 2015
Messages
436
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
Just touching on and adding to the above.
  • I use a YYYYMMDD_HHMMSS file name convention. I also have a -SS-n extension when I've taken rapid action shots. This keeps all files unique regardless of the directory structure.
  • I've seen a lot of talk on the best directory structure to use. Personally, I use a structure based on location because if I need to look for a photo, I'll have an idea of where I was when I took it. However, as I-SEE-LIGHT mentioned, you should look at including keywords for look ups. Also make sure other metadata data such as location is set. By relying on keywords and metadata you can both find photos easier and get organization benefits such as Smart Collections. I would put your friend in charge of updating keywording and metadata ;).
  • I'm with Philburton on where to store the pictures and catalog. I have everything on an internal 2TB drive. I have an automatic nightly backup to an external drive. I also do a separate monthly full backup of my system I keep in a fire resistant safe.
 

msmack

Active Member
Joined
May 19, 2012
Messages
298
Location
Larkspur, CA
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
My Heirarchy is 2019
1-2 San Francisco
1-4 China Town
12-25 Xmas
2020
1-1 New Years Day Party

I use Keywords and Collections. 98% of the time I can find what I am looking for. The other 2% is most likely Operator Error.

I use a Windows 10 Desktop but often help people using a MAC. Not much difference. In Windows File Structure is under Windows Explorer (Drive Letter) and in MAC it is in Finder under Drive Letter.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
12,514
Location
West Sussex, UK
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
  • I'm with Philburton on where to store the pictures and catalog. I have everything on an internal 2TB drive. I have an automatic nightly backup to an external drive. I also do a separate monthly full backup of my system I keep in a fire resistant safe.
For placement of the catalog, the general advice is whenever possible to put it on the fastest drive. For placement of images, it is less important to have the images on the fastest drive (I certainly wouldn't, and don't, store my main library on a more expensive SSD or faster). Apart from importing, i.e. copying the imported files to the library drive, there would likely be little or no noticeable performance difference with the images on any reasonably performing external drive, e.g. USB3 connected, 7200 rpm spinning speed.

It's a pity that the Puget benchmarking tool doesn't appear to allow for separation of catalog and images across different drives, that would be a useful option. Many years ago Ian Lyons did a lot of testing in this area when SSDs were starting to come into prominence, and wrote a fairly detailed article about his findings. His conclusion at that time was that there was some (but not a lot) of benefit from having the catalog on an SSD, but little benefit from having the images on an SSD.
 
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
40
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
Thanks to everyone who's replied so far. Very useful suggestions.

I read Victoria's post about the Teekesselchen plug-in, then downloaded it and experimented with it on my system. I'm sure it saves time over doing the whole thing manually, but it's still not a trivial job.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,328
Location
Fort Myers, FL
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
Everyone is telling you how to do it, I guess it's too late to tell you NOT to do it. o_O

Be sure to spend a lot of thought on how to make sure your friend understands everything going forward. Otherwise you will be the bad guy when it all goes south one day because they did something really silly. Make them participate in all the changes, maybe even do the changes under your direction.
 
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
40
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
Believe me, I REALLY tried to get out of it. I wasn't kidding when I said I'm a reluctant Lr consultant.

I referred my acquaintance to the website that lists all the people with the Lightroom ACE certification, and he contacted some of them, but couldn't find anyone who fit the bill. Frankly, I get asked fairly often to do this kind of thing, and I do it from time to time, but he's asking for more extensive changes than most people I've agreed to work with—AND he's on Windows.

Even if I get all this right, another possible unfortunate outcome, which you point out, is that I may find I have an ONGOING support role. Not keen on that, either. I may have to (try to) make it clear that this is a one-time engagement. We'll see how that goes over.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,328
Location
Fort Myers, FL
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
I may have to (try to) make it clear that this is a one-time engagement. We'll see how that goes over.
Well, we've already determined how effectively you can say "no". :cool2:

I'll stick with my advice -- make your friend sit through every step, even consider having them do the steps. Be more supervisor than worker. Not just because it will be more painful, but because they may absorb more of what is happening.

Of course they may give up photography for fishing. But Fishing can be fun too (Don't give any evidence you are good at fishing during this.)
 

PhilBurton

Lightroom enthusiast (but still learning)
Premium Classic Member
Premium Cloud Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
2,263
Location
California, USA
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
Believe me, I REALLY tried to get out of it. I wasn't kidding when I said I'm a reluctant Lr consultant.

I referred my acquaintance to the website that lists all the people with the Lightroom ACE certification, and he contacted some of them, but couldn't find anyone who fit the bill. Frankly, I get asked fairly often to do this kind of thing, and I do it from time to time, but he's asking for more extensive changes than most people I've agreed to work with—AND he's on Windows.

Even if I get all this right, another possible unfortunate outcome, which you point out, is that I may find I have an ONGOING support role. Not keen on that, either. I may have to (try to) make it clear that this is a one-time engagement. We'll see how that goes over.
Why not refer him to our own CalifDan? Have him look at CalifDan's website and see how much more he knows than you (profess to ) know. It's obvious from his posts that he is very knowledgeable about Lightroom, and he already has experience as a LR consultant. He won't be able to fault you on the recommendation.

Remember that, "No good deed goes unpunished."
 
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
40
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
OK, good idea, but what IS his website? I've looked in several places—this forum, his threads, his About, and I've googled "CalifDan"—all with no luck. Can you send me the link?
 

Jbizzle76

New Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2018
Messages
13
Location
Houston, Texas, USA
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
Here it is, Nicky Zenfolio | Dan Hartford Photo - Fine Art Photography, Camera and Lightroom Classes

I echo the comments about letting your friend drive while you give advice on where to click. You can even do it remotely using TeamViewer which allows you to see his screen from your computer or iPad. Definitely important for him to understand what he was doing "wrong" to get in this position in the first place. Good luck!!
 
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
40
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
Thank you, Jbizzle76. I sent the link to my friend and recommended he get in touch with Dan, who's an actual Lr consultant. I have to believe he'll solve my friend's problems more efficientlly than I could have. I'm hoping this gets me off the hook.
 
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
40
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
Well, my friend doesn't want to use Dan :( so I'm going to his house on Friday to try to do the things he wants done. It promises to be a learning experience for both of us.

Thanks to everyone for the helpful suggestions.
 

PhilBurton

Lightroom enthusiast (but still learning)
Premium Classic Member
Premium Cloud Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
2,263
Location
California, USA
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
Well, my friend doesn't want to use Dan :(so I'm going to his house on Friday to try to do the things he wants done. It promises to be a learning experience for both of us.

Thanks to everyone for the helpful suggestions.
Nicky,

Why does your friend not want to use CalifDan? He is probably more knowledgeable than you are about Lightroom and he has invaluable experience working with new Lightroom users.

There is a truism (at least in the USA) that you never try to teach your spouse how to drive. I would suggest that you really limit your help to your friend. Something may go wrong. There are many, many posts in this forum from relative newcomers to Lightroom that support my point. If your friend somehow deletes his catalog or loses months of edits, or worse yet, deletes the files of his photos, do you want him to hold you responsible?

I suggest that you insist that he first buy and read through Victoria's excellent FAQ book.

Phil Burton
 

Dan Marchant

Active Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2017
Messages
203
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
OP, while you are at it make sure that your friends LR catalog backups are set to go to a separate hard drive from the one his working catalog is on. Also ensure that he has a proper back up regimen that backs up the image files, his presets (develop, import, export etc) as these things are not included in the catalog backup.
 
Joined
Mar 29, 2015
Messages
436
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
... make sure that your friends LR catalog backups are set to go to a separate hard drive from the one his working catalog is on
I only have one drive (C:) and no, partitioning it does not give you more hard drives. I backup the LR catalog to C: in the same directory structure as my pictures. Nightly I have a backup of this structure to an external drive.

So, the goal should be to backup to a drive other than that of production but it can be part of a larger backup.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,328
Location
Fort Myers, FL
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
The goal is to have an off-drive backup of the catalog.

You can do that by having the target of the automatic backup go to another drive, or you can do it by having it go to the same drive then a subsequent backup make a copy on another drive. No net difference really.

What's more crucial is that some people feel backing up the catalog is ALL they need to do, and do not back up their images. The catalog does not contain images, it just points to them, so obviously you need to backup the catalog AND SEPARATELY back up the images.

The other subtle point mentioned above is important also -- there's a lot of ancillary "stuff" we tend to forget about in lightroom - presets, profiles, etc. Those need to be included as well. A good summary is here.
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,328
Location
Fort Myers, FL
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
Incidentally and something I am trying to remind people of more and more in today's ransomware environment -- it is important that your other drive backup be OFFLINE most of the time. Disconnected.

There's a lot of malware out there, which if you are infected, will immediately encrypt every file on every drive connected to the computer. So if your backup is connected at that time, your backup is useless for recovery.

Obviously there's a lot more to good backups - multiple, versioning, testing, etc. But I know a LOT of people who keep their backups mounted all the time, like a USB EHD -- not a good idea.
 
Joined
May 6, 2017
Messages
40
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
Thank you all for your advice. I helped my friend to a degree, but It would take hours of my time and his to fix all the issues he's created up till now. Also, he's at such a basic level that it was hard for him to follow much of what I was recommending. I'm going to go to his house again, though, and do a second session. My proposal to him is that I'll show him how to organize and back up starting from that day, and do it right going forward. Fixing all the problems with his current library of photos—given that he doesn't even work with 95 percent of them anymore—just isn't worth the meager return on the time invested.
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2007
Messages
5,519
Location
London
Lightroom Experience
Power User
In these forums I often advise people to leave the past alone, accept the mess can remain messy, and get things right from now on. The existing problem won't grow, and rather than being stopped in their tracks by the scale of sorting it all out, the user will develop some skills which can also help with the history if there's a specific need or project. So it sounds like you've set a pragmatic way forward!
 

Jimmsp

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2011
Messages
1,030
Location
Green Valley, Arizona, USA
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
In these forums I often advise people to leave the past alone, accept the mess can remain messy, and get things right from now on. The existing problem won't grow, and rather than being stopped in their tracks by the scale of sorting it all out, the user will develop some skills which can also help with the history if there's a specific need or project. So it sounds like you've set a pragmatic way forward!
I offer the same advice when starting a keyword system. Start with the files, and later work backward.For instance keyword 2019 photos now, then in a week or two 2018 photos, etc. And then while you are at it, do a little folder clean up. And the farther back you go in time, just work on "the best" for that year. Save the others for a rainy day .
In your case start the reorganization year by year. Develop one for 2010, then work backwards.
 
Top