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Trouble tracking down personal pictures in LR import. Sifting through icons and gfx

ThreePeak

New Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2016
Messages
2
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Full disclosure: I am fairly advanced in many of the adobe CC programs, with Photoshop cc 2015 being by far my comfort zone. For whatever reason, I never spent too much time in lightroom until recently. My problem is this: 1) Trying to track down all my personal pictures. I have about 6 HDD/partitions and 15 years worth of personal pictures spread EVERYWHERE. (yes i know, i'll cane myself later for the sin lol) This is a result of not using a central organization feature and placing imported pictures over the years in individual folders on different drives to avoid having to try and hunt through a giant folder every time I need to look for something. Then, factor in upgrading computers and laptops and migrating HDD content over etc... etc... Now I'm left with about 15 terabytes of data and pictures spread out everywhere (thankfully, at least a healthy chunk actually is in picture folders)

So, simple right? Do an image search or run the lightroom import on everything right? Yeah, not so much. Problem is, I'm already in a bad place with the sheer amount of spread on all the pictures and memories, not to mention quantity. But when I do start said search, I end up pulling EVERY image on the damn HDD's!!! I'm talking icons, album covers, every graphic or image or piece or media that every piece of software has etc.... This turns an already nasty task into a nightmare. I can't seem to find a way to set criteria for Lightroom to import. As in, I can't see anything to stop it from showing everything based on any kind of filter (ex: only images over ___kb's, No *.ico etc...) On top of that, my images can run the gamut in size and I do have some old memories that are very small file sizes, so I don't know what I would set as the cut off without loosing content, even if I could figure out how to do so. I'm not entirely sure how to exclude individual folders from scanning within a directory in lightroom. Right click context does give a checkmark to exclude/include subfolders, but this applies to ALL. If I could somehow setup the best filter ever that excluded all the crap and pulled only the desired pictures and their directories, I'm not certain how I could apply that search parameter to lightroom.

Apologies for the long and whiny first post. This issue has been driving me CRAZY and i'm at my wits end. I'm a father of two and the thought of loosing even a single memory that will never be retrievable and has no backup is terrible to me.

I need veteran advice on how to bring this all back inwards
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2015
Messages
1,358
Location
Dublin, Ireland.
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
I would bite this one in little bits.

How comfortable are you using Lightroom. Given your description of the challenge it will add to the problem if you are trying to understand Lr at the same time as re-organise such a large inventory of assets. If you are only getting started with Lr then create a test catalog and do a number of imports and get familiar with the grid view and all of its features. When importing, make sure you understand if you wish Lr to organise by date or if you want to import into a specific folder. Make sure you understand the difference between Add and Move in the import dialogue.

I would first consider my ideal organisation of folders and files going forward and then gradually move images or folders of images into this organisation.

Lightroom can handle images across multiple drives, but conventional wisdom is that it is best to have a single high level folder, which is not in Pictures,Documents or other Windows default library folder. Then build a structure under that. The simplest is have sub folders for each year and within a year sub folders per topic/trip/event/project. This makes it easy to manage and backup going forward.

Rather than searching for individual files, I would initially look for folders with images. Move these folders to your new folder structure and import to Lightroom. Once you have found most of your folders with images you can start to search for image files. I would start looking for tifs and psd's per drive. If you do a search for a particular file type on a drive, then sort by size or date, or folder. This will help you decide how you might want to organise these.

Finally, I would start searching for jpgs per drive and sort by date, size and folder. Maybe you will recognise that you can ignore jpgs below certain size, because they might be various system objects, such as icons, etc..

I would not try to achieve your goal by doing one massive import of all images by Lr.
 

ThreePeak

New Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2016
Messages
2
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Your thorough reply is much appreciated. I think I'm Comfortable enough in light room due to my exposure and use of the other adobe cc suite products. As far as organization, Im comfortable I have a good idea how to organize said images. The problem really comes down to finding and sorting. When you say search, do you mean using the standard windows search? If I interpreted correctly, you suggest to start by consolidating what I do know as picture folders. Once that is done, how do I go about sorting through the remaining folders looking for pictures but filtering out all the system graphics and icons and other useless junk?
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2015
Messages
1,358
Location
Dublin, Ireland.
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Your thorough reply is much appreciated. I think I'm Comfortable enough in light room due to my exposure and use of the other adobe cc suite products. As far as organization, Im comfortable I have a good idea how to organize said images. The problem really comes down to finding and sorting. When you say search, do you mean using the standard windows search? If I interpreted correctly, you suggest to start by consolidating what I do know as picture folders. Once that is done, how do I go about sorting through the remaining folders looking for pictures but filtering out all the system graphics and icons and other useless junk?

"When you say search, do you mean using the standard windows search?"

Windows Search is an option, but there are a lot of other tools available. My personal favourite is Ultrasearch (Fastest File Search: UltraSearch). There is a very good free version and lots of other options at their site.

" how do I go about sorting through the remaining folders looking for pictures but filtering out all the system graphics and icons and other useless junk? "

I am not aware of any magic bullet to achieve this. The two key bits of information i would use to help me are
1. The size of the files, as icons, etc are usually very small.
2. The folder in which the images reside, as images in system folders and app folders are most likely to be system / app related.
 

rob211

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2014
Messages
1,123
Location
Walnut Creek, CA USA
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
I'd suggest starting with a browser, i.e. Bridge. It shows a wide range of files, and since it doesn't have to import you can rather more quickly ID the photos from the other graphics in a folder. Then use it to move stuff around so that you get folders that can more easily be imported into Lr. You can show stuff in subfolders, and sort and filter by lots of filetypes.
 
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