Merge catalogs to new master

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amazz

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After working with lightroom since v2, I've got to get my photos organized and use lr the way it should be. Originally I was converting the nef's to dng on import and changing the name. That works, but only if you continue to use to same method, something I did not do. After 4 years of exploring lr from different computers and catalogs, things are pretty much a big mess. A mess of my own creation. So, the plan is to create a new master catalog, with just the orliginal files copied to an empty picture folder, by merging all the lrcats I can find and pointing find missing files to just one folder. The photos are personal, and about 20k, not huge, but I did do a fair amount of work in lr and don't want to redo. Have not done anything yet, just installed v4.2 and windows8 on an i3 with 8 gigs of ram.
Any thoughts?
Art
 
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Art, I'm not certain I understand the current "mess". Do you only want to retain originals and eliminate any imported derivatives? How many catalogs?
Do you have one catalog that contains most or more than half of your image inventory? If you do, I would recommend declaring that catalog as Master and import all other catalogs into it. Once you have consolidated all the images into one catalog, you can create a common folder structure under one parent folder and use LR to drag all the image folders under that parent. This will put them all on one HD. You may want to later go to two parent folders on two HDs but that is a step farther down the road.

If you have obsessive/compulsive tendencies (like me) you might want to create a better organized folder structure. But that is a lot of work with no benefit gained in LR. I council you to resist these urges. Once you have the Images consolidated into one catalog, I suggest strongly that you right click on the Folder panel header and choose {Hide}. Now that you have "swept the clutter under the rug", you can start using LR as it is designed.

Here is what I have done with some degree of success:
  • I created a keyword "@ToBeWorked"
  • This Keyword was assigned to every photo in the All Photographs collection.
  • Then methodically, I went through all of my images in groups using a combination of static and smart collections and assigned appropriate keywords to each.
  • Once an image had a complete keyword assignment, I removed the keyword "@ToBeWorked"
John Beardworth has developed Workflow Smart Collections. I use a modified version of this that is simplified somewhat and expanded to include Publish Smart Collections in the Publish Services. My Workflow at its simplest consists of three overarching steps:
  1. Insert the camera card and press the {Import} button
  2. Move the imported images through the Workflow Smart Collections
  3. Press the {Publish} button for each Publish Services that needs updating.
 
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amazz

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I do have a somewhat complete lrcat from v3.6, but the "mess" is self inflicted, I'd work on different collections on different computers (pc and mac), and didn't do a very good of keeping the cats in sync. I do use keywords and smart collections, it's just my overall approach was flawed from the beginning, mainly not understanding the proper way to use lr. Now I'm trying to recover in v4.2. I'll look into John's workflow, but it'sore than keywording, its a bunch of lrcats that from different computers at different times with the same name. Not a good way to work.
Thanks for the suggestions,
Art
 
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I do have a somewhat complete lrcat from v3.6, but the "mess" is self inflicted...
Art
I'm certain that I've worked on worse. Backup catalogs that inadvertently became active, multiple catalogs of the same name Duplicate master images in multiple catalogs. Merging everything into one master catalog is the first step. Nothing gets lost, including edits of the same file in different catalogs, ( These come is a a Virtual Copy). There is a Plugin called Duplicate finder that will ferret out the duplicates and suspected duplicates.
 
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