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Any tips about how to go from using one big catalog, to using a small handful?

turnstyle

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Hi all,

I have one big Lightroom catalog: family photos, "semi professional" photos, stills for time-lapses, etc.

I think I need to move some of the photos from my big catalog (which is on my local drive) -- to a new catalog that I would archive to a drive on my network.

Just wondering if anybody knows of a smart guide that explains some good practices, both for moving from one catalog to another -- and for archiving those catalogs (and restoring them).

For example, let's say I have 500 images that were for a time-lapse, and I want to archive them out of my main catalog -- what's "step 1"?

Thanks -- I'm reluctant to muck around given how much time I've spent building my main catalog, so hoping to do my homework first.

Thanks kindly, -Scott
 
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The best tip that I could give is to not break your master catalog up into smaller catalogs. Instead spend the time creating collections that represent the different groupings that you describe. If you use keywords, you can create smart collections that will automatically accumulate the images into the groups that you describe.
 
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Hi all,

I think I need to move some of the photos from my big catalog (which is on my local drive) -- to a new catalog that I would archive to a drive on my network.

Scott

One catalogue can record pictures on more than one drive. So what you probably need is to move pictures to a different drive with more space. Do this in Lightroom by dragging folders to the other drive.

John
 
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Scott, in principle I would echo the comments made by Cletus and John.

It is much preferable to maintain your image collection in a single catalog.
John mentioned that your image collection can be spread over as many drives as necessary and that is true.
If I may, however, my suggestion is to put all your images on a single hard drive dedicated to your images, and perhaps your catalog as well.
Ideally, no other data will live on this drive.
Given the affordability of both large internal and external hard drives this ought to be doable.
One big advantage, among many, of having all one's images, and catalog, on a single drive is the ease of backing up.

As for organising imported images in one's catalog this can be easily done, again as Cletus has alluded to, by using metadata, including keywords, to meaningfully group images in collections and Smart collections.
Those 500 time-lapse images can be very easily grouped by assigning them a non-exportable keyword "time-lapse".
If there are other time-lapse series then other criteria such as date shot or location keywords and other appropriate metadata will easily allow one to quickly distinguish those 500 images from any other time-lapse series.
This is just a quick example of the ability of Lightroom to organise one's images.

Are there ever situations where multiple catalogs are required?
Yes, but these are niche scenarios and nothing in your post indicates the necessity for a multiple catalog solution.

Tony Jay
 

Roelof Moorlag

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Ian.B

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I tried similar; then went back to one ;)

better to use keywords/collections and folders to keep stuff separate if necessary
 

Hoggy

Never take life, or anything in it, too seriously.
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I had 3 at first, then merged into one - and then later split it into 2.. My parents died recently, so I did not want to be constantly reminded by seeing them in my 'main' catalog all the time.. So I split out a family/personal catalog. There are only ~22 images that overlap into both, and they are keyworded to note they are shared.

So unless you have a situation such as that, I'd also recommend keeping only one catalog - and at MOST 2. Of course everybody's situation is different, so there may be other reasons to use more than 1 or 2.

How I split it it up, to retain as many shared settings, publish collections, and keywords as possible at the time of split - was to plain 'ol copy the catalog with a different name. And then I opened up the new catalog and removed all the non family/personal (personal, which encompasses those which are horrible pictures, but may bring back memories) - then I made fresh previews. IMPORTANTLY - I just 'removed', NOT 'deleted from drive'. ... It was a fairly long process to be sure, but it was worth it in my case.
 
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Ian.B

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I had 3 at first, then merged into one - and then later split it into 2.. My parents died recently, so I did not want to be constantly reminded by seeing them in my 'main' catalog all the time..So I split out a family/personal catalog. There are only ~22 images that overlap into both, and they are keyworded to note they are shared.

another way may have been to remove those images from LR; when you are ready just import them and match the catalog to the files.

Sorry to hear of your loss and I hope you can move on soon. I had a similar drama when my brother died a few years ago
 

Hoggy

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another way may have been to remove those images from LR; when you are ready just import them and match the catalog to the files.

Sorry to hear of your loss and I hope you can move on soon. I had a similar drama when my brother died a few years ago

Thanks.. And my condolences on your brother too.

I'm not sure if that would've worked out as well (if I'm correctly understanding what you mean) - as I still keep them in the same directory structure intermingled with the main catalog files. It makes backups easier for the time being. But I AM seriously considering to separate them, since they won't be changing or added to as often (I include pictures of my, now, service dog - the most photographed puppers on the planet :) )... IF I can think of the best way to go about it at some point.
 
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