• 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.

Lightroom Backups - How many are Enough?

Donald Feltham

New Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2017
Messages
4
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Operating System:WIN 10
Exact Lightroom Version (Help menu > System Info):7.1 [ 1148620 ]

I have Lightroom set to create a backup every time I exit the program - I noticed while cleaning up folders on my PC that my backup folder has Hundreds of individual backups (by date) going back over the last 3 years and is taking up about 180 GB of disc Space. Dumb question, but do I need to keep ALL of these, and if not, what is the best formula to decide, going forward, what to keel/how many to keep, and for how long? Appreciate insights from the group
 

tspear

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
1,802
Location
Waltham MA
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
depends on how paranoid you are, and what effort you would go through to reconstruct.
I keep the last one of the month for the trailing three months. I also maintain an export of the final versions of the images (as jpeg currently, will switch to TIFF later), and I also have write meta-data back to the image.
This plus the normal backup, and file sync I have going on.

Tim
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
16,825
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
You need one more than the last good backup you will need to recover from stupid user mistakes or when ever you database file gets corrupted beyond recovery. In my case it was 6 months before I realized that I had deleted Keyword assignments for over 2000 images. I was able to recover because I had a backup that old that had the keyword assignments that I needed

I have an old EHD that is well beyond the useful life for critical user data. I just let it fill up. When I gets full or dies, I'll start fresh or simply delete the oldest.
 

PhilBurton

Lightroom enthusiast (but still learning)
Premium Classic Member
Premium Cloud Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
2,290
Location
California, USA
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
depends on how paranoid you are, and what effort you would go through to reconstruct.
I keep the last one of the month for the trailing three months. I also maintain an export of the final versions of the images (as jpeg currently, will switch to TIFF later), and I also have write meta-data back to the image.
This plus the normal backup, and file sync I have going on.

Tim
Backups don't take up much spare, and since I can buy a 6 TB Hitachi drive for under US $200, I keep all my backups for at least six months. I also write out metadata to XMP files, as a "last resort." Paranoid? Or just "prudent" based on past experiences and a vivid imagination.

Phil Burton
 

tspear

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
1,802
Location
Waltham MA
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Backups don't take up much spare, and since I can buy a 6 TB Hitachi drive for under US $200, I keep all my backups for at least six months. I also write out metadata to XMP files, as a "last resort." Paranoid? Or just "prudent" based on past experiences and a vivid imagination.

Phil Burton
:)

Tim
 

Hoggy

Never take life, or anything in it, too seriously.
Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
527
Location
Wisconsin
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
I also write out metadata to XMP files, as a "last resort." Paranoid? Or just "prudent" based on past experiences and a vivid imagination.
You're not alone, in being prudent. :D (Albeit inside DNG files, for me.)
 

PhilBurton

Lightroom enthusiast (but still learning)
Premium Classic Member
Premium Cloud Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
2,290
Location
California, USA
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
You're not alone, in being prudent. :D (Albeit inside DNG files, for me.)
Hoggy,

My limited experience is that DNG is not as widely supported as one might hope it to be with non-Adobe software. I know that using standard NEF (or CR2) RAW files, plus XMP sidecars, there are many applications which can import the images and accompanying sidecars. Of course, these non-Adobe applications cannot understand LR edit instructions, but at least key metadata and keywords would be preserved. Of course, as long as my Lightroom catalog is useable, then that is my source for keywords and metadata.

Phil Burton
 

Jimmsp

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2011
Messages
1,035
Location
Green Valley, Arizona, USA
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
Forgetting the photos for this comment - I have two types of LR backups. On the main drive, I let LR create its backup file every week. I keep 3 or so months worth of the LR created backups.
Then, whenever I use LR, I back up the catalog and all its associated files that day (including the LR created back up) to two external HD's .
This is generally daily, as I either import new photos or I am post processing some of them.
Then, once a week, I repeat this to a 3rd external.
This gives me 3 backups of the LR catalog which are plug and play, as well as 3 backups of the LR created backups.
 

PhilBurton

Lightroom enthusiast (but still learning)
Premium Classic Member
Premium Cloud Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
2,290
Location
California, USA
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
Forgetting the photos for this comment - I have two types of LR backups. On the main drive, I let LR create its backup file every week. I keep 3 or so months worth of the LR created backups.
Then, whenever I use LR, I back up the catalog and all its associated files that day (including the LR created back up) to two external HD's .
This is generally daily, as I either import new photos or I am post processing some of them.
Then, once a week, I repeat this to a 3rd external.
This gives me 3 backups of the LR catalog which are plug and play, as well as 3 backups of the LR created backups.
Ah yes, but don't forget the photos files. If you use a native RAW like NEF or CR2, you need back up once (for each backup type). If you use DNG, every time you process that image, or change the keywords and metadata, you will need to do another backup.

Phil
 

Hoggy

Never take life, or anything in it, too seriously.
Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
527
Location
Wisconsin
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
If you use DNG, every time you process that image, or change the keywords and metadata, you will need to do another backup.
Not necessarily.. I use the 'write metadata to files' only as a backup of last resort. So should I somehow lose all the catalog backups on 2 drives AND on a Google Drive mirror, then I'd likely be in a situation where I'd be super stoked just to have anything at all preserved. :) However, since my image collection is small - and made much smaller by ridding of useless jpg previews in them - I make running complete backups of my image files to BD-RE50 whenever the mood strikes me.

(Also don't forget that some cameras write DNG's natively, like my Pentax's. However, being native raw's, they contain a useless [to me] jpg preview, and don't have the checksum hash.)
 
Last edited:

jgwalter

John G. Walter
Joined
Feb 15, 2013
Messages
69
Location
Washington, DC
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
You need one more than the last good backup you will need to recover from stupid user mistakes or when ever you database file gets corrupted beyond recovery. In my case it was 6 months before I realized that I had deleted Keyword assignments for over 2000 images. I was able to recover because I had a backup that old that had the keyword assignments that I needed

I have an old EHD that is well beyond the useful life for critical user data. I just let it fill up. When I gets full or dies, I'll start fresh or simply delete the oldest.

The scenario you describe happens to me from time to time. But, can you explain to me how you can retrieve keyword data from a six-month-old backup without losing the current work during that period? Is it a 'merge' process of some sort?
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
16,825
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Yes, I inadvertently deleted keywords from ~2000 image files that were selected when I was in Loupe view. Instead of one image (shown) all the selected images had keywords removed.
I searched backup and found one backup catalog file that had the keywords I needed. I was able to narrow down the images to the ~2000 that were affected and used the Export as a Catalog option to create a catalog that was a subset of the backup catalog. I then used the Import from another catalog to merge the Exported catalog with the master catalog thus recovering my keywords on those ~2000 images.

The reason that I had to go back 6 months is that it was several months before I discovered my "stupid user mistake".
 

jgwalter

John G. Walter
Joined
Feb 15, 2013
Messages
69
Location
Washington, DC
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Yes, I inadvertently deleted keywords from ~2000 image files that were selected when I was in Loupe view. Instead of one image (shown) all the selected images had keywords removed.
I searched backup and found one backup catalog file that had the keywords I needed. I was able to narrow down the images to the ~2000 that were affected and used the Export as a Catalog option to create a catalog that was a subset of the backup catalog. I then used the Import from another catalog to merge the Exported catalog with the master catalog thus recovering my keywords on those ~2000 images.

The reason that I had to go back 6 months is that it was several months before I discovered my "stupid user mistake".

That's what I thought. I've used the 'merge' function in the past, but it always scares me, even though it has always worked.

My most recent 'stupid user mistake' (which probably deserves its own thread) was after a recent reinstall of LR following a clean install of Catalina, I discovered that the 'Lightroom Mobile folder' setting was not quite the same (for whatever reason). I reset it but made the mistake of choosing a destination, one level higher than it should have been. The result was LR moving 4000 files out of their various locations into one batch in the root folder.

Besides moving the files, all of the links were deleted, so I was left with 4000 unimported files. Restoring the most recent LR backup restored those links, but moving the files back could only be done by manually copying each folder, one at a time from backup. There were several hundred folders spanning about six years of work.

It seems to have worked as the files relinked with the catalog.

Unfortunately, during the process, I discovered about 25,000 other 'missing' files. :(
 
Top