• 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! New cameras (including the Canon R5/R6), lens profiles and bug fixes, and the ability to disable built-in lens corrections for specific new cameras. Here's the usual list

Clearing up disk space. Tips and guidance is needed

alaios

Active Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2014
Messages
417
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Version
latest, updated frequently
Operating System
Windows 10
So after couple of years of photography, mostly shooting raw files, I am at around 3TB+ and I want to start removing just files from the disks. My goal is to fall below the 2TB- region.


I am thinking to start looking based on collections I have and start removing from there.
But still..
1. Is it possible once I remove files from the physical disk to undo? This should not be possible but still asking if lightroom does some smart memory usage to make such action undoable.
2. Any guides recommendations on how lightroom can support me on deleting really old useless files?
3. Any tips also from the community here?

Thanks a lot
Alex
 
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,294
Location
Fort Myers, FL
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
1) Lightroom attempts on windows to use the recycle bin, which stores a certain (but limited) amount of files that can be restored. If you do restore from there, it goes back into the directory it originated from, but is not put back into lightroom (a sync operation can do that, but you lose the develop and other settings).

I've gone down this route in the last few months without great success, but with some. I found two things helpful, and I think both are useful.

One is to start methodically via a path through all files which will completely cover them all, eventually. By date is the most obvious, but you may have different organization. Just start working, and be prepared to stop and restart later.

But while doing that you will run across things... some similarity of files ... which might accelerate your work. As a simple example I have a lot of sports action shots wherein, if during the game, they gave out awards to prior teams I would shoot each individual. After a year or so those are really useless -- the action shots sometimes get reused (say a player is drafted or signs with a pro team somewhere), but not these kind. And they were all grouped together in each game. So I made a fast pass through in small-image grid mode in library and would find the stretch of 20-30 images for each team each year. I think I did about 5 years, and about 10 teams, and 1000 or so shots disappeared pretty fast.

I also had for years shot birds, and put keywords on them. Put simply no one needs 100 shots of an Ibis. So I could also select by bird, sort by age (because frankly older usually were worse) and aggressively cull down to a few that looked decent.

These little side tangents would occur to me while I was busy working by date forward in time. Something I have yet to really finish. But overall I got rid of about 15,000 shots. Maybe a bit more as during this I was scanning in old family photos as well.

Oh... one third tangent -- I also used to do a lot of PSD's and layers and such thinking I may come back and edit and I believe never once did. And if I did, I'd probably start over. So I also sorted by file type and looked hard at PSDs and TIFF's, especially large ones. You only need a few 500MB TIFF's to save some real space.

But mainly it just takes endurance and perseverance. And Bourbon helps as well. ;)
 

PhilBurton

Lightroom enthusiast (but still learning)
Premium Classic Member
Premium Cloud Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
2,249
Location
California, USA
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
Joined
Nov 30, 2012
Messages
459
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
I am thinking to start looking based on collections I have and start removing from there. ...
1. Is it possible once I remove files from the physical disk to undo? This should not be possible but still asking if lightroom does some smart memory usage to make such action undoable.
2. Any guides recommendations on how lightroom can support me on deleting really old useless files?
Lightroom Classic doesn't offer any ability to undo deleted files beyond what your normal operating system and backup regimen would offer you for any application. But…Lightroom Classic does offer one great tool for efficiently deleting lots of old files, and it is a tool that most applications don’t have: The Reject flag.

With the Reject flag, you mark images for deletion (with a quick keyboard shortcut if you want), but they are not actually deleted until you tell Lightroom Classic to delete all rejects. This can help you in multiple ways:
  • You can flag images for deletion, but delay the actual act of deleting. You will then have time to review, at your leisure, all the images flagged Reject in one list (using a quick filter in Library), and that is the time when you might change your mind about some and un-flag any you decide you’d rather keep. After you’re confident that the images in the Reject list need to disappear forever, then you can tell Lightroom Classic to delete all Rejects.
  • Using the Reject flag is also better than immediate deletion because deleting an image from the catalog irretrievably deletes its edit history and metadata from the catalog. If you were able to use some kind of file undelete from the OS Recycle Bin/Trash, you would still have to re-import the image into Lightroom Classic and reconstruct edits, edit history, metadata, and membership in collections etc. But with the Reject flag, you have a chance to un-flag it before it gets deleted, which means you don’t lose all those things.
  • You said you want to delete by looking through collections, which is OK, but in collections, default delete removes an image from the active collection, but not from the catalog and actual storage. But with the Reject flag, you can freely flag images for deletion in collections and then bulk delete them later from the Folders panel or the All Photographs list.

So the Reject flag is a great way to preview and have a chance to reverse pending deletions. And even if you did have a great way to undelete files trashed at the OS level, proper use of the Reject flag can still save you the labor-intensive task of reversing the effects of permanently deleting images from a Lightroom Classic catalog.
 

kimballistic

Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2020
Messages
31
Location
Mammoth Lakes, CA, USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
One thing that's not clear is if you're just getting around to doing an initial culling of unedited/untouched/unvalued images, or if you're actually considering deleting images you've spent time editing and organizing.

If you're worrying about changing your mind and needing to recover a culled image, perhaps the discussion would better serve you if we talked about what criteria you're using to cull.

Also, Carlos' reply is on-point. Reject flag is your friend.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
16,496
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
I don’t know if you have this situation, but any exported files still on you computer can be deleted without concern as long as you have the original and the catalog contains the critical develop settings to re export


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
342
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
And the obvious tip (just in case you don't already know it): you can move images off to an external hard drive, but keep their information in the Lightroom catalog. So you can save disk space on your primary disk, but still have your less-important images available somewhere else in case you ever need them.
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2010
Messages
1,680
Location
Encinitas, CA USA
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
I almost exclusively use the Reject flag in my workflow to manage my deletions. In addition I have an extensive set of filter presets that are active when browsing the Library that all hide Rejects. This will immediately hide the image when I type "X" this allows me to focus on the remaining images.

-louie
 

alaios

Active Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2014
Messages
417
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Thanks did not know the reject flag tip. I want to remove photos that are just bad never were used never they will be used. My only concern is that these might take even months to do it properly.
Is there a way to use a filter like "Imported to light room but never touched or never even previewed".
That might already an easier way to start
 

PhilBurton

Lightroom enthusiast (but still learning)
Premium Classic Member
Premium Cloud Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
2,249
Location
California, USA
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
And the obvious tip (just in case you don't already know it): you can move images off to an external hard drive, but keep their information in the Lightroom catalog. So you can save disk space on your primary disk, but still have your less-important images available somewhere else in case you ever need them.
Just be sure to use Lightroom to move (or preferably copy) the images. Don't use your OS, either Windows or MacOS, to do the copy. Copy is safer than move, so you can verify that Lightroom recognizes the images in their new location. Then you can have the operating systmem delete the images from their old location.
 

Photocitizen

alanhaynes.com
Joined
Aug 5, 2018
Messages
72
Location
San Diego, California, USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
alaios: You can set the Filter Bar to show only unedited images. It's in the Attribute section. There's a button for showing images that have edits and another one for unedited.

LRC show undedited.png


If you want to show only your really old images, use the Metadata tab in the Library Filter and set one of the columns to "Date". Then you can click on a year to review the photos from that year, or use SHIFT+Click to highlight several years. In the example below, I've selected everything from 1956 through 1970.

LRC Date.png


You can combine them so they are both acitive. Then, you would see only your unedited photos from the years you select. You could also set up a Smart Collection to accomplish the same thing. Good luck.
 
Joined
Nov 30, 2012
Messages
459
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
Is there a way to use a filter like "Imported to light room but never touched or never even previewed".
That might already an easier way to start
Photocitizen showed a great way to use the metadata filters for that. You can save that as a filter preset too, so that you don’t have to remember how to set it up each time.

Another way to do the same thing is to create a Smart Collection based on criterion that a photo has no edits. This will appear in your Collections panel so that you can see the list in one click, or use it as a source for further filtering. Because it is a Smart Collection, the number of images in it will update automatically as you edit images.

Lightroom-Classic-Smart-Collection-Has-Edits-False.jpg
 
Joined
Aug 16, 2008
Messages
1,089
Location
Hong Kong
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
So after couple of years of photography, mostly shooting raw files, I am at around 3TB+ and I want to start removing just files from the disks. My goal is to fall below the 2TB- region.

I am thinking to start looking based on collections I have and start removing from there.
But still..
1. Is it possible once I remove files from the physical disk to undo? This should not be possible but still asking if lightroom does some smart memory usage to make such action undoable.
2. Any guides recommendations on how lightroom can support me on deleting really old useless files?
3. Any tips also from the community here?
Its good that you are having a think about this before diving in and deleting / moving / photo files.

Whilst LR is a great photo management tool I like to have a neat and tidy folder structure so that outside of LR I know where everything is and how to find it.

If you are simply going to revisit old photos and undertake further culling then that should not be much of an organisational issue. However, given that you are trying to get to ~2TB from ~3TB that means that you would need to cull about a third of your photos ! That is a lot.

If you are planning on moving photos off your hard-drive to external drives then I would advise not to cherry-pick individual or small groups of photos to move. Move them in large discrete batches. For example all photos from a particular camera or all photos from a particular year. That way you will avoid getting yourself into an unholy mess. Also, although it sounds obvious, write down exactly what you have done, what you have moved and where you have moved them to. Do this on a text / word file and keep the file together with your photos with a copy to wherever you have moved photos.
 

Photocitizen

alanhaynes.com
Joined
Aug 5, 2018
Messages
72
Location
San Diego, California, USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
If you want to clear out unneeded photos and you're concerned that, sometime later, you might actually need one of those photos, here's an idea: Instead of deleting them, export them as a catalog to an external hard drive and store the drive in a fireproof safe or other protected spot. Then, you can delete them from your master catalog.

It's the best of both worlds: you'll have a cleaner hard drive and not take a chance of losing any valuable photos.
 
Top