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How one can Merge Lightroom Catalogs

How one can Merge Lightroom Catalogs

How to Manage and Merge Lightroom Catalogs for Travel Photographers

In at the moment’s Lightroom tutorial I wish to present you ways merge Lightroom catalogs performance helps me to handle a number of catalogs after I journey.

How one can Merge Lightroom Catalogs

In case you are right here solely to discover ways to merge catalogs in Lightroom, under is the easy reply in 5 simple steps. However, if you wish to understand how I take advantage of the merger performance in my journey pictures, undergo the article.

  • Step 1: Open the catalog you wish to hold as a Grasp after the merger.
  • Step 2: From the highest menu, choose File > Import from One other Catalog… choice.
  • Step 3: Choose the catalog you wish to merge with the open one and click on the Select button.
  • Step 4: From the Import from Catalog menu, choose what recordsdata and folders you wish to merge.
  • Step 5: Click on the Import button.
  • Step 6 (elective): Rebuild previews for merged images by deciding on from the highest menu Library > Previews > Construct 1:1 Previews.

As an early adopter of Lightroom, my enhancing workflow has gone by way of a sequence of evolutions through the years. When Lightroom’s beta model was launched, there have been no tutorials or guides, which left early adopters like me to determine every step of the workflow on our personal.

My first huge mistake in how I used Lightroom was attributable to the truth that I didn’t absolutely perceive the idea of the Lightroom Catalog. After utilizing Adobe Premiere and After Results ceaselessly for years, I assumed that the Lightroom Catalog was the equal to the Venture in different purposes.

This assumption led me to create and handle a number of catalogs in my early Lightroom days. Consequently, I gained firsthand expertise and a better understanding that managing a number of catalogs was hell. Since it’s inconceivable to seek for images throughout separate catalogs, I needed to shut and open catalogs a number of instances. I additionally needed to keep in mind what images I saved in every catalog. Like I mentioned, it was absolute hell.

After I discovered my lesson, I mixed my catalogs collectively by creating one Grasp Journey Catalog. On the identical time, I saved a separate catalog for my household images. The concept was to separate (and hold separate) my journey pictures from private stuff.

However, this didn’t work effectively. The road between skilled and private work is blurry at instances. I typically had images from each classes on the identical reminiscence card. This meant that I needed to import images twice into completely different catalogs.

It didn’t make any sense.

That’s after I realized that one catalog method fits me the very best.

Proper now, I’ve one catalog of about 120,000 images with skilled and private initiatives organized by tags and albums underneath one umbrella – the MASTER Catalog.

However, there’s nonetheless a spot for a number of catalogs in my journey pictures workflow. I take advantage of them after I journey.

How to Merge Lightroom Catalogs - Workflow for Travel Photographers 1

How I Use A number of Lightroom Catalogs

In the present day, I wish to show how I take advantage of a number of catalogs throughout my pictures journeys.

My desktop pc is the middle of my enhancing workflow. That is the place I completely hold my Grasp Single Catalog.

I do know some photographers who convey their grasp catalogs with them after they journey by transferring it from their desktop to their laptop computer; however, this isn’t efficient or environment friendly for my workflow.

Lightroom Workflow On the Street

For each journey, I create a TEMP catalog on my laptop computer. After my journey is over, I delete it and create a brand new one as the subsequent journey approaches.

I create the TEMP catalog on the first onerous drive of my laptop computer and by default Lightroom generates the preview recordsdata subsequent to the catalog.

Merging Lightroom Catalogs -

On the finish of every day of my journey, I import the brand new images from that day to my TEMP Lightroom catalog. For the RAW recordsdata vacation spot, I select considered one of my exterior onerous drives.

To summarize, the results of my import course of is:

  • Lightroom Catalog resides on the laptop computer’s onerous drive
  • Preview recordsdata reside on the laptop computer’s onerous drive
  • RAW images reside on the exterior onerous drive

I take advantage of the next settings through the import course of.

Merging Lightroom Catalogs - Create Smart Previews

I keep away from doing any critical enhancing after I journey. I want concentrating on exploration and capturing. However, what I love to do when I’m on a aircraft for wherever between 6 and 10 hours is to start out organizing and culling new images.

That is when Sensible Previews come into play.

​When Sensible Preview is generated for any given picture, it permits you not solely to view it within the library but in addition edit it within the Develop module when the unique picture isn’t bodily preset in your pc.

As a substitute of getting to attach my exterior drive with all of the RAW images, I can handle the Catalog just by utilizing Sensible Previews.

Subsequent, I take advantage of the REJECT keyboard shortcut (“X”) to mark all of the dangerous photographs, like these out of focus or taken accidentally. After I’m carried out, I delete the pictures immediately since I don’t wish to import them into my Grasp Catalog after I get residence.

Lastly, I take advantage of the FLAG keyboard shortcut (“P”) to mark the images I like and plan to edit sooner or later.

That is all of the Lightroom Basic work I do after I journey.

Lightroom Workflow Again House

When I’m again residence, I join my exterior onerous drive with all the brand new images to my journey laptop computer and replica the momentary journey Catalog file from the laptop computer to the exterior drive.

I then join the exterior onerous drive to my desktop pc. Somewhat than utilizing the command to Import Photographs and Video, I take advantage of the Import from One other Catalog… performance as an alternative.

Merging Lightroom Catalogs - Import Photos and Video

Subsequent, I choose the TEMP catalog, which is positioned on exterior HD and I hit the CHOOSE button.

This opens the Import from Catalog menu, which provides me a number of choices together with the choice to import solely selective recordsdata from the TEMP catalog. In my case, I all the time import all the catalog contents since I by no means hold images from any of my different journeys in my TEMP catalog.

Merging Lightroom Catalogs - Import from Another Catalog...

I specify the folders I wish to import and the vacation spot on my desktop pc for brand spanking new images.

And if you choose Present Preview checkbox, you may import images selectively.​

Merging Lightroom Catalogs - Show Preview

After I hit the import button, Lightroom not solely brings the brand new images to the Grasp Catalog but in addition the metadata, edits, tagging, previews and albums.

While you use Import from One other Catalog performance, Lightroom doesn’t generate model new previews. It solely brings present ones from one other catalog.​ And in case, you have to construct 1:1 previews you have to use command Library > Previews > Construct 1:1 Previews.

As I discussed earlier than, it takes time for Lightroom to generate Full Measurement Previews and Sensible Previews on the identical time. If I import 5,000 to six,000 RAW images in a single setting, it would take hours. Usually, I begin the import course of within the night and go to mattress. By the subsequent morning, every little thing is prepared and I can begin enhancing with out losing any time on group (stacking, tagging) and culling.

See Also

That is when I’m lastly able to delete the TEMP catalog.

How one can Merge Lightroom Catalogs: FAQ

Can I Mix Lightroom Catalogs? 

Completely. Lightroom affords us a fairly superior Import from One other Catalog performance. 

You’ve the choice to import all the catalog or solely particular person folders and even single photographs. 

To entry the Import from Catalog module, choose from the highest menu File > Import From One other Catalog… choice.

The place Ought to I Retailer Lightroom Catalog?

Lightroom isn’t a really quick utility usually, and as your catalog development is getting slower. And to get the very best efficiency out of Lightroom, you have to retailer its catalogs on the quickest drive you will have. 

You may hold your picture library on an exterior drive, and it gained’t have an effect on the efficiency by a lot. However you have to hold the catalog and its cache on the quick drive. 

For instance, I’ve 3 varieties of drives on my pc, exterior, inside spinning drive, and inside SSD drive. And by storing my Lightroom catalog on an SSD drive, I get the very best efficiency by an enormous margin.

The place are Lightroom Catalogs Saved?

It’s a quite common query as a result of Lightroom catalog will be saved wherever in your pc. 

While you create a brand new catalog, you will have the choice to maintain it in your required location. But when you don’t specify it, Lightroom saves the catalog to the default location. The default areas are completely different on Mac and PC. After utilizing Lightroom for some time, it may be difficult to recollect the catalog location. 

How Do I switch my Lightroom Catalog to One other Pc? 

To maneuver the Lightroom catalog to a different pc is a multi-step course of. It’s essential set up the applying, transfer the picture library, catalog, settings, cache, and preview recordsdata. And probably the most essential half is to relink lacking folders to new areas. It isn’t a sophisticated course of, but it surely takes a while. 

Ought to I Transfer Lightroom Catalog to an Exterior Drive? 

I’d not suggest it. As I discussed above, you may transfer your total picture library to an exterior drive with out sacrificing Lightroom efficiency. However you have to hold your catalog and its cache on the quickest inside drive you will have.

Ought to I Use A number of Catalogs in Lightroom? 

It isn’t a straightforward query to reply as a result of each photographer has completely different workflows and necessities. In my case, I went from a number of catalogs to 2 catalogs and at last ended up with one catalog. One catalog setup completely suits my skilled and private initiatives. 

However if you’re an occasion photographer, you would possibly create a separate catalog for every occasion. As a result of after you delivered images to a consumer, you aren’t going to entry them typically.

When you have a really giant catalog of 200K or extra photographs and Lightroom turns into gradual, you may separate a single catalog into two. One is energetic for present initiatives and archive for previous images you don’t entry typically.

In case you are undecided the place to start out, begin with a single catalog setup. And whenever you really feel that you have to broaden to a a number of catalog setup, you are able to do it simply. 

You create a model new empty catalog, and through the use of the Import From One other Catalog performance described on this article, convey needed recordsdata and folders out of your unique catalog.


Although one catalog group fits my pictures the very best, the Import from Catalog performance in Lightroom provides me the flexibleness to make use of a number of catalogs when needed with out jeopardizing the simplicity of my journey pictures workflow.

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