How to organize Adobe LightRoom files | Abby Grace Photography

For those of you photographers who have yet to stumble upon the awesomeness that is Adobe LightRoom (LR), go purchase this program now! PhotoShop is great for minor tweaks and corrections, but when it comes to editing large batches of images, LR is the way to go.

LR has a way of organizing images called “catalogues”- it’s like an album within iPhoto, with low-res (but high-quality) previews of every image you choose to include in your catalogue. It makes batch editing much easier, due to the fact that you can sync edits on images, as well as copy + paste your corrections from one image to the next.

How to organize Adobe LightRoom files | Abby Grace Photography

Because LR doesn’t remove images from a catalogue until you intentionally remove a group of images, I choose to create a new LR catalogue for every event that I shoot. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. It makes locating a particular photo’s edits much easier if I’m only browsing through one event’s worth of images, rather than every photo I’ve taken over the last year
  2. My LR catalogues run faster without thousands and thousands of images bogging it down
  3. I can keep my catalogues in the same locations as the RAW files

So your LR catalogue will need the RAW files in order to be able to edit the low-res previews (unless you build Smart Previews, which is another topic for another time). And because I work off of 1TB external hard drives, it means that I can’t keep ALL of my photos I’ve ever taken in one location. If I only ever had one master LR catalogue, I’d have to copy that same slow-running file to every new hard drive I acquire. But because I create a new catalogue per event AND store it within the main folder for that event (see below), I only ever have to worry about having that one hard drive with me if there’s an event I need to edit! (see this post for more information on file storage!

How to organize Adobe LightRoom files | Abby Grace Photography
I DO keep a singular “generic” catalogue file for all my random images- I typically name it “RandomLR2015”. It’s where I’ll quickly edit previews from events that I haven’t fully edited yet, or throwbacks from previous work that I want to tweak before reposting to a blog. That LR catalogue is stored on my desktop so that I can access it whenever I need it!

Questions? I’d love to answer them! Post ’em up in the comments section!

Photog Friday: Organizing your LightRoom catalogues

August 21, 2015

  1. Jean says:

    Love the photo! Love that you and your friends share this kind of information with each other!

  2. Doing some Saturday morning file organizing 🙂 Question though…do you delete your new Lightroom Catalogue from Lightroom once you’re doing editing? I still have allllllllll my catalogues / folders from years ago on here!

  3. lily says:

    hi Abby! somehow i missed this post and i’m just starting to create a new one each time!! i have a question, 2 actually:
    – since you create a new catalogue in a new folder for that shoot – if i want to move that folder to an other shoot (say from Engagement to Weddings) – can i just DRAG the ENTIRE folder with the Catalogue + the raws?
    – for the “randoms” do you put a copy of the raw on your desktop as well or you just improved that specific file to the random catalogue?

    Thank you so much in advance!

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