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"Find Nearby Missing Photos" doesn't work. Suggestions?

digaaron

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Hi,


I moved some photos to a different folder (LR changed my standard import settings without warning and a batch went to the wrong folder) and now LR can't find them. Not a biggie, I've fixed this issue before by pointing LR to a missing photo. The Find Nearby Missing Photos feature sees the surrounding photos and happy time ensues.


This time, however, it only finds the specific photo I point to. None of the surrounding photos, which are all in the same folder, right next to each other and just waiting to be found. I've tried synchronizing the folders, etc. to no effect.


Anybody have any solutions? If I have to individually find every photo (there are hundreds) I will definitely go postal.


I'm on a Mac 10.8.5 using LR 5.3.


Thanks,


Aaron
 

Selwin

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Hi Aaron, and welcome to the forum!

Synchronising a folder is for when you knowingly added or deleted images outside of Lightroom, it isn't the way to handle lost references. It can even be a very dangerous command, because if you leave the option "Remove missing photos from the catalog" checked, it will also delete images that LR identifies as "missing", even if such an image was simply moved to another folder or renamed, by using other software. In that case, your image will be taken out of the catalog, along with its develop settings and all other changes you made like ratings and keywords.

Instead, next time you have lost references for an entire folder, you can right click on the folder as it will be greyed out and contain a ? mark, and select "find missing folder" from the context menu.

However, now that you've relinked a single photo, LR has already found the folder containing all images. My workaround would be to go to Finder and rename the folder. Now go back to LR and notice that the folder reference is lost again as there will be a ? mark in it and it will be greyed out. Now you can right-click that folder and select "find missing folder" from the context menu, select the renamed folder in the dialog that pops up and everything should be fixed. After you've checked that all photos are "back" and all is well, you can now right click on the folder again (in Lightroom!) and rename it back to what it was.

The interesting aspect of all this is why the references got lost in the first place, as apparently it happened to you before. This is not behaviour as designed. You see, even if the destination folder would be different than last time, LR should not lose track of those image references, your images would simply be in another location than where you expected them to be.

Also, LR doesn't usually "change your standard import settings", it will - by default - import to the same folder over and over again as long as you don't make any changes yourself. If you didn't, there must something else going on. Could you describe how you control your import settings? Did you - for instance - create an import preset​ of your favourite settings?
 
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Victoria Bampton

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Hi Aaron, welcome to the forum!

You didn't rename them at the same time?
 

digaaron

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I wish that would work!

Thanks Selwin. I smiled at the creativity of your solution and was initially excited. Unfortunately, it's not working for me because the folder I would need to rename is my "Pictures" folder which is a Mac system folder that can't be renamed.

I used Photoshop and iView Media Pro for many years for my image processing, which involves working directly with the original image files, so I've never fully adapted to the Lightroom way of managing files. For some reason Lightroom did change my import folder, after many imports to the same sub-folder within the Pictures folder, back to the main Pictures folder (not the sub-folder where my other RAW files are kept, and had been importing without problem for some time). I was frustrated by this, and grabbed the files in the Finder and moved them to the proper sub-folder where they belonged. When I went back to LR it didn't know where they were, naturally, so I clicked the little exclamation point box, directed it to the file in its new location, clicked "find nearby missing photos," and waited for it to fix everything. I've done this before, since I'm still used to working with my original files in Finder (i.e. not managing their location through LR), and it's never had a problem finding the images.

There are 667 missing files, so I'd love to find a solution for this. I could always delete them and re-import, but I've already done my rating, rejecting, etc., so hate to lose that work.

Any more clever solutions?
 

Selwin

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Hi Aaron,

I actually meant for you to rename only the sub folder that contains the missing images. Even if you could rename your Pictures folder, that wouldn't do the trick because your problematic images are deeper down the tree and LR would simply relink to your Pictures folder and still not be able to find those non-linked images.

Just to check:
1. You have established that all 667 images do actually exist on your drive, right?
2. You only need to relink them to the thumbnails in LR, right?
3. You are certain that the file names haven't changed (either by yourself or through defaults in your other software)?

All 3 affirmative?
Well then how many folders are these 667 spread over? If it's one sub folder, simply rename only that folder and follow the other steps. Is it more than one sub folder? Apply the same trick one by one.

Renamed images
Condition #3 above is essential because LR won't find "nearby images" if they had been renamed. In that case my trick won't find them either. Most other software - if renaming - also leaves the original image in tact, so you'll have the original and an edited copy. In this case, you should link to the original and import the edited version. However, the edited version won't have your keywords, picks or labels settings. If you use the "Edit In…" command from within LR these metadata will be preserved in the edited version.

Lightroom is designed to work as the primary workspace for all work you do on any image you imported into its library. Accessing images through Finder/Explorer and edit in other applications just doesn't work in the LR philosophy and leaves you with these problems, that will cost you time. If you could find external editing software that works with Lightroom from the "Edit in…" command you would make life a lot easier on yourself.

I used Photoshop and iView Media Pro for many years for my image processing, which involves working directly with the original image files, so I've never fully adapted to the Lightroom way of managing files.
No, for Photoshop that isn't true. Photoshop (Elements or CSx) is one of the external applications that you should run from within Lightroom using the "Edit In…" command. LR will keep track of all files and al metadata. For each image you send to Photoshop, the original will be preserved and the edited version will be renamed and automatically reimported into LR alongside the original. Just try it and you'll see.
 
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digaaron

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doesn't work

Within the "Pictures" folder I have a folder for the trip I'm on, "Central America", then within that folder I have two others, "Originals" and "ForWeb." I keep the originals in one, and my web-resolution, watermarked images in the other (which I manage for email, web posting, slideshows, etc. with iViewMediaPro, which is much better for that type of thing than LR). When I rename the "Originals" folder, which is where all of the original RAW files are now, and then find it again in the left column of LR as you suggested it still does not find the missing files. When I then click on the exclamation point to direct LR to them, it still says they should be in the "Pictures" folder (which is where LR originally imported them before I moved them manually in Finder to the "Originals" folder), before I direct it to relink to the file in the Originals folder. But it's still not finding the nearby images, and the renaming-the-folder trick doesn't appear to be working for some reason. This is why I tried to rename the "Pictures" folder, since it wasn't working with the "Originals" subfolder.

Do you know why this wouldn't be working? Any other ideas?

I know about the "edit in" command and do it whenever I work in Photoshop now. I was referring to my previous methods for dealing with images before I started using LR. I'm still used to moving my files around in the Finder, like I did when processing images only in Photoshop and managing them with iView (probably because I still use iView as a file management system, which I find much better for my needs—organizing large amounts of images for various projects—than LR), and haven't gotten used to moving them around inside LR yet. Hence this problem, and apparent bug in the LR software.
 

Selwin

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Are the file names in the originals folder still the same as the file names in Lightroom? If so, then I'm clueless because this method always works for me. You may try to rename another folder (which currently has no errors) and use the "find missing folder" command to check its functionality.
Maybe it's because some of your images already have been relinked, I'll go and try to reproduce it and maybe come with another solution.
How many images are there in the originals folder and how many of them still have the ! Mark?

in general, moving folders outside of LR a habit complicates things. As far as moving and renaming is concerned, LR has the same functionality as Finder, so my advice is to use LR. If using Finder is easier for you and you're willing to have the LR relinking hassle, then that may be a good decision on your part. However, when not using LR as designed, calling this a bug may be a bit too early.

Finally, what I don't really understand is did you export the watermark images in "ForWeb" and then reimport those images in LR? If so, did you do this to make further edits?
 

digaaron

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Yep, file names are the same. I tried the renaming trick on another folder and it worked fine. There are about 7,000 images in the folder. 667 are "missing."

From now on, I will use LR to move/rename folders. In the meantime, I wish this was working. I only call it a bug because it's not relinking to the files as it's supposed to.

My watermarked images in my ForWeb folder are simply my low-res versions of the files in LR that I use for email, etc. I don't reimport them into LR because the original files are already there and if I need to make adjustments or output full-res versions I just do that in LR and export new versions (I also keep a "For Print" folder for full-res, adjusted-for-print image files). When I need to organize, view, post, email, do slideshows, etc. with the low-res files I simply do that through my iView Media Pro catalog, which allows drag-and-drop functionality (email, web posting) and much "lighter on its feet" organizational techniques than LR (for creating catalogs for different publications; uploading to FTP; creating multiple collections for slideshows, web galleries, etc.).

Thanks for your help Selwin. If you've got any other tricks, I'd be happy to give them a try. Otherwise I'm just going to have to delete these images from LR, lose my ratings and processing, and reimport them.
 

Selwin

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It's a bug if more users find that something won't work as designed. Your catalog is malfunctioning for some odd reason.

Don't start over just yet. I would always hate to see people lose hundreds of edits because I'm not smart enough to provide a solution. I fully mimicked the "new trick" below on my own system, but as my catalog is not malfunctioning, I can't guarantee it will work on yours.

Objective:
I want to force Lightroom to relink your missing images using the "Find missing folder" command on a folder that only contains the missing images. My finding is that the command doesn't work on my "healthy" catalog if not all images in that folder are missing. So you're going to create a folder in Lightroom containing exactly your 667 missing images and you're going to link that to a physical folder on your hard drive that contains those exact same 667 original RAW files. Here is how:

You can't "create" a folder in LR and move your missing images over there, because LR feels they are missing it won't do anything with those images. So we need to take away the other 6333 images:

1. Create a copy of the folder that holds your 7000 images and remember its location (I know, this will take a while as it involves copying around 150GB of data). If you have solid backups, you may skip this step and work on your originals.
2. Duplicate your catalog and rename it
--> So far all you did is be safe. Whatever I'll mess up (which I absolutely don't believe I will, but better be safe) won't affect any of your work
3. Open the renamed catalog
4. Find the folder containing the 7000 images, right-click on it and select "update folder location" from the context menu. Select the folder copy from step 1 and click OK.
5. From the library menu, select "Find All Missing Photos" and look at the "Missing Photographs" in the Catalog tab (upper left corner). Now be aware that LR initially will find all missing photos in the entire catalog, which may well me more than the 667 we are currently concerned about. Have a look at the count. There should be at least 667 images.
6. While still in the "Missing Photographs" results, select all missing photos. All images should now have a white border.
7. Now click on the folder containing your 7000 images. The missing photos are still selected, but because now we're in a sub folder, all that is left selected are the missing photos in this particular folder.
8. Check the count in the breadcrumb bar (just above the film strip). It should say "7000 photos / 667 selected / …", that is if your count was correct
9. Select "Invert Selection" from the Edit menu
--> now all images that are not missing are selected
10. In LR in the folders panel, right click on the parent folder of your 7000 images folder (one level above it) and select "Create Folder inside "…" "
11. In the dialog that appears, type "Referenced photos" in the Folder field and tick "include selected photos. Then click Create.
12. Be patient while LR will move your 6333 referenced photos to the other drive. This may take a while.
--> now you have a LR folder left containing only your 667 missing photos. Check the count again.
13. Exit Lightroom
14. Create a backup copy of your temporary catalog (go to Finder, right click on the temp catalog and select "Duplicate" from the context menu)
--> If you mess up below, you can go back to a saved state by again renaming the backup to anything and use that catalog to try again.
15. In Finder, navigate to the physical folder on your hard drive and check that the 667 RAW files that we're going to fix the links for are actually there and that the count is right.
16. Rename that folder by adding "-2" or anything you like
17. Open LR again with your temporary catalog and notice that the folder now is greyed out and has a ? mark
18. Right click the folder and select "Find missing folder" from the context menu
19. Watch the magic happen (hopefully)
--> If all 667 images now have been relinked (no more ! marks left, run the "Find All Missing Photos command again), we'll need to make this temporary catalog your new current catalog.
20. Move your 667 relinked images back to the other 6333 in the new folder you created in step 11
21. Rename that folder back to what it used to be in your working catalog
22. Right click the folder and select "Update Folder location" from the context menu, find your original folder (not the copy from step 1) and click Choose
23. Check that everything is still fine. Run "Find All Missing Photos" again to be sure.
--> Now you have a temp catalog that is fixed. You can replace your working catalog or "Export as Catalog" the fixed folder (no previews, no smart previews, no originals) and import it into your current catalog.
 
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digaaron

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figured it out

Selwin: just wanted you to know that, with your expert help, I did solve this problem. Following your strategy, I was able to restore my catalog. It took a little jiggering and improvisation, but I now have a functioning catalog. So thanks!
 

Selwin

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Hi Aaron, thank you for your message and I'm very glad you got it to work. This teaches me to provide less complicated or rather more concise instructions in order to cut client processing times, as nine months seems over the top :D. Just kidding of course...

Kind regards,
 

avifal

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Hi Selwin and Aaron,
It's 2019 and I had the same problem.
I followed Selwin's detailed instructions (with some shortcuts) and it worked perfectly.
Thanks.
Avifal
 

Selwin

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Hey Avifal, it takes a great person to not only use available sources on the web, but also make himself heard to inform and thank the one who spent some time to provide a solution. Five years on and it still works!

Thank you sincerely.
 

avifal

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... and to be retired, also helps ;)
Avifal
 
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