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Author Topic: Import photos from a LR catalog, or drag and drop outside of LR and then sync?  (Read 796 times)

tonysiciliano1

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    • Tony Siciliano Photography

I've agreed to help a friend who is  a LR newbie clean up his mess: he has a new iMac, and he has photos spread out over two or three small external hard drives along with at least two or three different LR catalogs. He has bought a new larger external drive and would like to consolidate all his photos on this drive, and create a new "master"  LR catalog on his boot drive. Then he will back up his photos on a second larger hard drive. Option 1: create a new folder on the new large external hard drive, drag and drop all his photos into that folder, then go into the boot drive, open LR, and sync that folder into LR. Option 2: open LR on the boot drive, then import the photos using "Import from another catalog". Dragging and dropping outside of LR then syncing the folder to a new empty LR catalog seems easier. Any disadvantages of doing it that way?
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digitaldog

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I believe the Import from Catalog does more than just sync photo's. So if that catalog had presets for example, Print Templates as another, that gets imported into the 'new' catalog too.
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Andrew Rodney
Author “Color Management for Photographers"

tonysiciliano1

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Thanks for the reply. I doubt my friend has any presets. Is all the LR info from any changes made to a photo in the Develop module stored in that photo so that if I used option 1 (drag and drop outside of LR, then sync) the new LR catalog could read the info? Or to ask another way, would any Develop module changes be lost?
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digitaldog

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This another reason to use the Import from Catalog. Nothing could/should be 'lost'.
Page 423 from Victoria Bampton's must have Lightroom FAQ:

How does Import from Catalog work?
The Import from Catalog command is used to merge multiple catalogs into a single catalog, or transfer photos between catalogs without losing all the work you’ve done.
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Andrew Rodney
Author “Color Management for Photographers"

FranciscoDisilvestro

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The safest way is import the catalogues as Andrew pointed out but there are few other ways to do it, with more or less additional work, depending also of how "messy" the current files / catalogues are.

One option is to generate the .xmp files off all images (Metadata -> Save Metadata to file in the Library module), then move the photos together with the xmp files to the new location and import to a new catalogue.  Note that this method will keep the edits on the images but you will lose the history and the virtual copies, but will be very flexible in organising your pictures in the new disk regardless of how they were organised before

If you prefer to use the import catalogues function you will still have to move the photos from the previous location to the new, which you should do from withing LR library.

Mark D Segal

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I see this as two separate but related messes. if I may put it that way. Firstly, he has his photos spread all over the place and he wants to consolidate them onto one large hard drive now that he has a new computer. That's a good thing to do regardless of the image editing application he has. It's hard to keep track of where the original master files are when they are spread in numerous drives, some of which could fail at any time. It is also easier to back-up one's photos if they are all stored on one drive that gets backed up, daily if necessary. I back-up my main working drive onto an external bootable drive with Carbon Copy Cloner every night, so I know I have much of my computer in at least two separate accessible, bootable places. When he consolidates all his photos into one drive, he should decide on an appropriate file structure for the photos that makes sense to him, so he knows exactly how to find his master photos regardless of the image editing application. Remember, Lightroom does not store photos. It stores links to the photos. That is what the catalog is - links to photos, along with their metadata. If he has his edits of his raw files in separate XMP sidecars, those sidecars need to be kept with the master photos when he does the hard drive consolidation.

Now, having consolidated everything into one properly organized hard drive, he could create a new catalog in Lightroom by importing into Lightroom everything he wants to be in Lightroom folder by folder in a structure that resembles how his hard drive is set-up, and make a separately named "Collection" for each imported folder before moving onto the next one. This is the "clean start" approach, which will take time. But he'll have a fresh coherent set-up between Lightroom and his hard drive. Some experienced Lightroom users don't care about this coherence because they use keywords etc. to find everything they want regardless of where it is. I think doing both can be useful.

The alternative approach with Lightroom will be to do it all through Lightroom, which will involve a two step operation: (1) merging all his previous catalogs into a new catalog by following Lr's (and Andrew's) instructions for merging catalogs, but (2) as he will have re-organized his hard-drive outside Lightroom, he will then need, from within Lightroom to relink the master files to the new catalog by doing a succession of "find missing photos" following Lr instructions for doing this seek and replace for these links. It allows one to find one photo in a folder and then relink all the photos in the same folder with one instruction.

Finally, contrary to the first approach above, instead of re-organizing his hard drives from outside Lightroom, he can do that reorganization (moving master photos from one drive to another from within Lightroom, which means Lightroom will know where everything is moved without step (2) just above. He would still want to have one merged catalog reflecting that whole reorganization.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....."

jrsforums

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Suggest: Tim Grey’s “Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom”

https://www.greylearning.com/courses/lightroom-mess
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John

digitaldog

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When ever possible, reorganizing should be done in Lightroom. It can handle all the necessary tasks one could do in the Finder for this task and then “knows” and updates the DAM at the same time as one does the reorganization. Move/copy/delete/rename all can and should be done within Lightroom.
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Andrew Rodney
Author “Color Management for Photographers"

Jeremy Roussak

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If you reorganise the photos without using LR, you run the risk of losing all edits made to those photos which are stored in the catalogues. "Import from catalogue" works really well, in my experience. I'd suggest creating a new, empty catalogue and importing the others. That will deal with moving all the photos too. It'll probably be necessary to do some tidying up after that, again using LR to tidy up the folder structure and so on.

Jeremy
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Denis de Gannes

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When making a decision to use xmp data to reconstruct a Catalog file it is important to be aware that not all the data from the LR Catalog can be written to the xmp files. See the attached screen capture.
 
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bassman51

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When I went through this exercise several years ago, my approach was to Import Catalog as much as possible, and then do the tedious work of reorganizing the file structurefrom within LR.  It's a bit slower, but more stable in the long run.  And once you've completed all of the imports, your backup strategy is greatly simplified.
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