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Catalog Overload?

tofuwithanr

New Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2019
Messages
7
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
6.x
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Classic 9.2
Operating System
Windows 10
Hi! Been a LR user since 2015.
With half a decade worth of files, I am noticing a significant slowing down of LR (especially when backing up).
Is it advisable to say, create a separate catalog for archive purposes and have an active working catalog?
Or would it just cause more confusion in the organization?
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2018
Messages
360
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
Thje LR catalog is a database. Therefore, it's unlikely that the number of photos referenced in it has an impact on the LR perfomance.
However, the size of the catalog file has obviously an impact on the duration of the LR backup.
How many photos are referenced in your catalog?
What's the size of your catalog (the .lrcat file)?
A lot of developpement history records has a big impact on the catalog size. Removing history for older photos (this of course won't remove the developpment settings) would help to reduce the size of the catalog.

BTW, I wouldn't recommand to split the catalog.
 

dbump

New Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
13
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
Fwiw, my catalog dates back to LR1 with a little under 120K images. Currently the catalog file consumes 1.3GB. It does take a while to back up/optimize (haven't timed it--somewhere between 1 and 5 minutes?), but that's the only time I really notice it. For me, there are a lot of advantages to keeping a single catalog, rather than splitting up into multiple catalogs, and from what I've read, there isn't a performance advantage to split catalogs.

Philippe's suggestion of clearing the edit history is good. I try to remember to do that once a year when I update my copyright year and move last year's images off of SSD onto slower magnetic storage. That history is very useful for recent edits, but in my workflow, it's not something I need after a year (or a month, really, but a year is more convenient). Often when I come back to an image after a long time, I want a fresh start, and sometimes the process version is ready to be updated anyway. Deleting the history of many images is not intuitive--here's the best description I could find:
There's a confirm prompt that lists how many photos, and I believe Undo still works for that, until you close Lightroom.
 

tofuwithanr

New Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2019
Messages
7
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
6.x
Thje LR catalog is a database. Therefore, it's unlikely that the number of photos referenced in it has an impact on the LR perfomance.
However, the size of the catalog file has obviously an impact on the duration of the LR backup.
How many photos are referenced in your catalog?
What's the size of your catalog (the .lrcat file)?
A lot of developpement history records has a big impact on the catalog size. Removing history for older photos (this of course won't remove the developpment settings) would help to reduce the size of the catalog.

BTW, I wouldn't recommand to split the catalog.
I have just under 60K photos and the catalog file size is 853MB

Have not thought to clear development history, I just finished a long edit so I will try that next and see if that will lighten up the load.
Thank you!
 

tofuwithanr

New Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2019
Messages
7
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
6.x
Fwiw, my catalog dates back to LR1 with a little under 120K images. Currently the catalog file consumes 1.3GB. It does take a while to back up/optimize (haven't timed it--somewhere between 1 and 5 minutes?), but that's the only time I really notice it. For me, there are a lot of advantages to keeping a single catalog, rather than splitting up into multiple catalogs, and from what I've read, there isn't a performance advantage to split catalogs.

Philippe's suggestion of clearing the edit history is good. I try to remember to do that once a year when I update my copyright year and move last year's images off of SSD onto slower magnetic storage. That history is very useful for recent edits, but in my workflow, it's not something I need after a year (or a month, really, but a year is more convenient). Often when I come back to an image after a long time, I want a fresh start, and sometimes the process version is ready to be updated anyway. Deleting the history of many images is not intuitive--here's the best description I could find:
There's a confirm prompt that lists how many photos, and I believe Undo still works for that, until you close Lightroom.
Thank you very much for the link to the article!
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2012
Messages
361
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Starting with LR 7.0, the develop history in the catalog is compressed (zipped), significantly reducing the catalog size compared to LR 6. So the old suggestions to clear develop history will have much smaller impact now.

Also, the size of the catalog doesn't significantly affect the speed of interactive use of LR. Deleting develop history entirely is unlikely to affect LR's sluggishness.
 
Joined
May 9, 2015
Messages
660
Location
Palo Alto, CA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
I find that dinner time is a great time to run my LR catalog Backups. When I'm told dinner is ready, I stop what I'm doing, hit the close button and let it do the backup. By the time I get back it's all done and I can launch LR again and continue where I left off.

My catalog is 89,000 images and is 2.9gb. I should also point out that I have my catalog on an external hard drive (WD MyPassport, 4tb) which is not optimal for LR performance or Catalog backup speed but the value to me of being able to quickly move my entire photographic world from one computer to another by just moving the drive outweighs the performance hit which for me is not that bad.
 

donrisi

Member
Joined
May 28, 2012
Messages
57
Location
Oklahoma
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
I have over 300,000 images in my catalog, and the lrcat file is 5.22 gigs. Yes, it makes LR run a little slow. Yes, it takes a while to back up.

I can't do anything about how LR runs with a catalog that large, but as far as doing backups is concerned, I do it during meals -- either lunch or dinner. That way I am distracted from the amount of time it takes.
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2014
Messages
9
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Here's a different method to consider, it's my process for avoiding the some of the inevitable slowdown as the main catalog grows. Most of my photos are taken on trips. When I come home the catalog and photos are copied to my desktop and processed there (cull, rate, edit, a bit of keywording and export). This seems to avoid the processing slowdown and makes the catalog backup faster as well. Then, when I think the major work is done, I delete the processing history and import the travel catalog into the main one.
Oh, and if there's a lot of brushing/spotting, I tend to delete the history as I go. I've never experienced the need to go back over the editing history, it's the current settings that matter.
 
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