• 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 6 questions. All the information you need is in Adobe Lightroom 6 - 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. When you upgrade to subscription, there's also a Lightroom Classic version available.

Single or Multiple Catalogues?

Do You Use Multiple Catalogues?

  • One main catalogue is fine, why bother, seems like un-necessary extra work

    Votes: 11 68.8%
  • I use a few catalogues

    Votes: 4 25.0%
  • I use a proliferation of catalogues for various purposes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I was not aware you could use more than one catalogue or had not considered doing this

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I use two catalogues

    Votes: 1 6.3%

  • Total voters
    16

GingeraMan

Amateur Photographer ~ 4 years experience
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
99
Location
Canberra, Australia
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Hi.... a year in to this wonderful hobby and I have amassed several thousand images, even after significant curation.

So I'm wondering - do others use multiple catalogues to help manage their libraries? E.g. one for personal / home, one for other work or events, one for say outdoors / landscape where one could have masses of images they may wish to keep but are not or may never be useful (e.g. bracketing / burst shots).

Sure I'd have to restart Lightroom to move between catalogues but this would help management. My main catalogue is growing quite large (in volume) now.
 

rob211

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2014
Messages
1,115
Location
Walnut Creek, CA USA
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
I'd say the consensus here is to use one.

It isn't a matter of unnecessary work to have more catalogs; they are created and opened easily. It's that it makes it much more difficult to find stuff. And most importantly, why more than one catalog? There are occasional advantanges: one might be for work that doesn't belong to you, the other for your personal stuff. Many create subset catalogs for use on laptops or when traveling. But absent a reason, it's one catalog.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2012
Messages
2,439
Location
Brisbane, Australia
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
There are a couple of reasons where using multiple catalogs would constitute a valid and practical workflow, but they are few.

There is nothing the OP mentions that demonstrates any need for multiple catalogs.
Furthermore, I would suggest that, in the absence of very specific situations, multiple catalogs are a very bad idea.

All the OP needs to do is to learn to manage his image library well within a single catalog.
There are known instances of individuals successfully managing image libraries of several hundred thousand images with a single catalog!

Tony Jay
 

plasticene

New Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2014
Messages
11
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
One catalogue. I know of pros that use a catalogue per customer, but Julianne Kost, the Lr guru, claims Lr is optimised to handle huge amounts of photos.
 

Roelof Moorlag

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2013
Messages
1,332
Location
Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
I'm working toward a 1 catalog solution but my situation is not quite 'ready' for it. All my native digital files are in one catalog. All my scanned slides and negatives are in another. I did not consider them as originals but as derivatives. For a long time i kept my derivatives in a separat catalog. Nowadays i'm not keeping my derivatives anymore (i can always create new ones whenever i need them) so i'm looking to merge both catalogs but want to bring only the scans over and not the 'old' derivatives from digital origin.

Another catalog is maintained for work of other people and i do not think i'm ever merging this with my own work However i do know how to distinct both in one catalog i'm not very comfortable with the idea.

And i'm using a seprate (temporarily) travel catalog when on trip. The work in there i'm merging to my main catalog when coming home. I'm not keeping the travel catalog's afterwards.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2012
Messages
2,439
Location
Brisbane, Australia
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
I'm working toward a 1 catalog solution but my situation is not quite 'ready' for it. All my native digital files are in one catalog. All my scanned slides and negatives are in another. I did not consider them as originals but as derivatives. For a long time i kept my derivatives in a separat catalog. Nowadays i'm not keeping my derivatives anymore (i can always create new ones whenever i need them) so i'm looking to merge both catalogs but want to bring only the scans over and not the 'old' derivatives from digital origin.

Another catalog is maintained for work of other people and i do not think i'm ever merging this with my own work However i do know how to distinct both in one catalog i'm not very comfortable with the idea.

And i'm using a seprate (temporarily) travel catalog when on trip. The work in there i'm merging to my main catalog when coming home. I'm not keeping the travel catalog's afterwards.
Yes, I think that is a really sensible approach!
Good luck with the job ahead - it will take a bit of time and organisation.

Tony Jay
 

Jimmsp

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2011
Messages
1,023
Location
Green Valley, Arizona, USA
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
I use 3 catalogs.
One for all my personal photos.
The second is for my photo club. I am also their webmaster, and I use this catalog for all the contests, field trips, and "photos of the month" photos submitted by multiple people for inclusion on our web and on a club Flickr site. It will be "passed on" someday.
I use a 3rd one for Lightroom classes I teach. It can be experimented with and played with; with no long lasting effect.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2012
Messages
2,439
Location
Brisbane, Australia
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
I use 3 catalogs.
One for all my personal photos.
The second is for my photo club. I am also their webmaster, and I use this catalog for all the contests, field trips, and "photos of the month" photos submitted by multiple people for inclusion on our web and on a club Flickr site. It will be "passed on" someday.
I use a 3rd one for Lightroom classes I teach. It can be experimented with and played with; with no long lasting effect.
That is a perfectly valid use case you present!
I think that everyone should have a TEST catalog for exactly the reasons you present.
However, we are referring to frontline master catalogs where images of consequence are kept.
The fact you have a master catalog for your personal image library and another one for club business makes perfect sense.
I would start to worry a bit if you told me that you ten catalogs for your personal image library!

Tony Jay
 

GingeraMan

Amateur Photographer ~ 4 years experience
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
99
Location
Canberra, Australia
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Well that's a unanimous view then - single catalogue with few clear exceptions tending toward some branching out (such as a test environment, or work type engagement) - but with most of those exceptions trending back to one catalogue. So, the trick is to become efficient with my tagging and filing. I will spend the time to learn best practice in library management then. Thank you for the feedback!
 

Hoggy

Never take life, or anything in it, too seriously.
Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
527
Location
Wisconsin
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Yep, stick to one if you can - using keywords and whatnot.

The poll should have an option for 2 catalogs though (I had to vote as 'few'). At first I had 3, then 1, then back to 2. I think that 3rd catalog was a merge of the 2, IIRC. For me, 2 makes sense because I don't want the constant painful reminders of close loved ones that died. So I keep a "Family-Personal", and a "Main" catalog. The family-personal one would be for shots that ONLY myself or family would be interested in. I have about 21 that are in both, where my dog inadvertently walked into the shots but turned out despite (or because of) that. I have those specially keyworded as such and keep them in a separate "Shared" directory. I also have the 2 catalogs going into separate dated directories. For the main catalog, I did make a separate dated directory for experimental shots, but I don't use that for organization - it's just to indicate less need for backup. Right now, both catalogs' images (DNG's without embedded previews) fit on a single BD-RE50 for a running tertiary backup. But when they wont, that directory will be the first to leave out of that backup.
So far I haven't found any need at all to also keep a merged catalog of the 2.
 
Last edited:

GingeraMan

Amateur Photographer ~ 4 years experience
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
99
Location
Canberra, Australia
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
The poll should have an option for 2 catalogs though (I had to vote as 'few')
Done....

Thanks... yeah I was thinking the same. I do some work for others, and the rest for myself. And I was wondering if I wanted 'other people's stuff' cluttering up my main catalogue and seeing it all the time. E.g. a friend's event. I may wish to keep the images for a period of time, although as an archive. Perhaps that's something to consider - archive and main. Then again, I may also be able to archive using one catalogue and just 'hide' those images or something. I just don't want to even see those categories and tags in my catalogue though. For now I've just shipped them off to archive directories and removed them from my catalogue.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
16,249
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Thanks... yeah I was thinking the same. I do some work for others, and the rest for myself.
As I stated in my earlier comment, unless there is a valid business rule to keep client data or client/personal data separate, one catalog is all that you need.
 

Hoggy

Never take life, or anything in it, too seriously.
Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
527
Location
Wisconsin
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
As I stated in my earlier comment, unless there is a valid business rule to keep client data or client/personal data separate, one catalog is all that you need.
The reason I couldn't just use collections or smart collections to avoid the photos I STRONGLY didn't want to see, was because of how LR handles the stacking. I pretty much use smart collections exclusively - which aren't able to show stacks.. So I almost always go to the smart collection to get the image(s) I want, then select the "All Photographs" catalog area to be able to see stacks. Not to mention avoiding the annoying LR habit of immediately removing an image from view the very moment the smart collection criteria are no longer met. (I do a lot of bracketing to make sure I get the shot, and also to possibly HDR-merge them.)
If the OP wouldn't have an issue regarding that, then lean towards one catalog.

....................
Also, instead of outright removing them (and possibly losing metadata, depending on settings), you could do an 'export as catalog' to archive the images. I guess it depends on whether or not you think you will EVER want to search between the two.
 
Last edited:

GingeraMan

Amateur Photographer ~ 4 years experience
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
99
Location
Canberra, Australia
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
yeah consensus seems to be one catalogue is fine unless splitting clients or sensitive material or something. Interesting about stacking too. I do a lot of bracketing and it's annoying seeing them all spread out. Would be nice if I could stack them.
 
Joined
May 29, 2013
Messages
170
Location
Kansas, USA
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
6.x
You can stack them. Go to the Photo Menu>Stacking, and you're provided with several options. You can also Right-Click on an image and get to the same menu. Select the bracketed images, Right-Click, select Stacking>Group into Stack.

LR-Stacking.jpg
 
Last edited:

Hoggy

Never take life, or anything in it, too seriously.
Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
527
Location
Wisconsin
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
And on that note.. In those same stacking menus, there is also the 'auto-stacking'. Once you click on 'auto-stack', it'll come up with a dialog that allows you to set the amount of time between stacks. i.e. If you set 3 seconds, it'll will stack each set that is within 3 seconds - it'll also show you how many stacks will be created with the current setting as you move the slider.
 

GingeraMan

Amateur Photographer ~ 4 years experience
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
99
Location
Canberra, Australia
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Wow, the auto-stacking seems like a brilliant idea... It's obviously very likely that any burst shots are more likely than not best stacked - even for sports shots. That will assist greatly as this is one of the reasons my catalogue blows out and becomes unwieldy. Thanks for the tips. I'll look more in to stacking.
 
Top