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Merging Mess!

johnniegaskill_1

New Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Messages
1
Location
Georgia
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
5.x
Lightroom Version
Lightroom5
Operating System
Windows 10
Hello,
This is my first post on this forum. I apologize in advance for its length!

First, a bit of backstory. I want to subscribe to Lightroom Classic. However, several users advised me to merge my various catalogs into a single catalog and clean it up BEFORE subscribing. In trying to do that, I created a horrible mess.

I had multiple catalogs (fewer than 10) on various drives. After creating a new catalog, I merged all the others into it and asked LR to COPY all the pictures in those multiple catalogs to my red Western Digital 4T hard drive. That process took about a week. I thought all was well UNTIL I started drastically culling photos in the newly merged LR5 catalog. When I double-checked to make sure the photos were being deleted off the HD as well as from the catalog, I realized that the merging process had created multiple photos (3-6 copies of each image). However, since LR only imported ONE of those, all the duplicates on the HD were “invisible” in the LR catalog, though I could see them via Explorer. Thus, no matter how many I deleted from the catalog, a glut of photos remained on the red 4T drive.

I realized it would take untold hours to figure out which ones were in the catalog and which ones were duplicates that I'd need to delete in Explorer. So I started a new catalog on a new external HD and began importing (not merging) the photos from the red HD that has all the multiple copies. Now, the deletion process is going as it should. WHEW! But by starting over, I am losing all the LR edits I’d made in previous catalogs. I hate that, but I figure it’s less time consuming than trying to figure out the messed up MERGED catalog.

Any advice?

Now, some questions:
If I proceed with the new catalog, can I go ahead and subscribe to Lightroom Classic now OR should I wait until I’ve totally finished/cleaned up the new catalog?

Whenever I do subscribe, will I be able to use the NEW catalog I'm currently cleaning up OR will I have to create another catalog in Lightroom Classic and import/merge my current NEW catalog into it? (I’m really scared to ever merge again!!!!)

Thanks so very much for your help.
 

Roelof Moorlag

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2013
Messages
1,344
Location
Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
So I started a new catalog on a new external HD and began importing (not merging) the photos from the red HD that has all the multiple copies.
By importing you lose all your edits you made!
Why not start over again, merging the catalogs into a new one but withoud the Copy part?
All images can be moved to the External HD afterwards (if you want them there)

If I proceed with the new catalog, can I go ahead and subscribe to Lightroom Classic now OR should I wait until I’ve totally finished/cleaned up the new catalog?
You can do both, it does not matter

Whenever I do subscribe, will I be able to use the NEW catalog I'm currently cleaning up OR will I have to create another catalog in Lightroom Classic and import/merge my current NEW catalog into it? (I’m really scared to ever merge again!!!!)
When you open you catalog in Lightroom Classic it will upgrade it first into a new catalog, You don't have to do that yourself, it is an automatic proces.
 

Roelof Moorlag

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2013
Messages
1,344
Location
Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
Joined
May 9, 2015
Messages
657
Location
Palo Alto, CA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
I'm sure others will provide answers as well, but if your problem is that you have the same image multiple times in either the same or other folders. One thing you could do is to select all your images in the LR Catalog, and then "Export as Catalog". In the dialog box uncheck "Export selected photos only" and check "Export negative files". This will create a new catalog and will copy all the images known to that LR catalog to folders in the same folder as the new catalog so be sure you place the new catalog on a drive with enough room. The new images folder will be structured and named the same as where they came from.

Once this is done, the new images folder will only have in it images known to that new LR Catalog. The old images folders will still have all the dups and may also have un-imported images. If you're confident that the old folders don't have stray un-imported images you can delete those old folders or just ignore them till later. Now, within the Folders Panel in the new LR catalog, move the new parent images folder to where you want it.
 

johnniegaskill

New Member
Joined
Apr 20, 2020
Messages
1
Thank you, Roelof and Califdan! Your suggestions differ, but I’m sure they’ll work well since there are usually several “work arounds.” I sincerely appreciate your taking time to share your expertise with me! Hopefully, I will be “up and running soon” with ONE catalog in Lightroom Classic.
 
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