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After Using LR for a while I want to change/improve structure but am not sure how

Discussion in 'Managing your Photos & Video' started by Susan Taylor Brown, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. Susan Taylor Brown

    Susan Taylor Brown Active Member

    Joined:
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    After using Lightroom for a few months I'm no longer intimidated by it (and am more than a little in love with it) but like many newbies, I made some goofs in the beginning and I'd like to fix/change/improve some things.

    Everything is great in the 2012 folder. That was when I got my new camera and installed Lightroom and let it import everything for me into the folder structure it wanted.

    But then I went to get my other photos on the computer and they were all over the place in tons of folders (way too many folders deep with horrible names/structure.) Now that I've been using LR for while I can see how I can do away with all those folders and utilize keywords and collections to find what I need. One of the mistakes I made the first month was moving things around outside of LR so I have some of those missing folders to deal with. But mostly it is the idea that there are so many folders that make no sense and I want to get rid of that.

    What I am thinking about doing is to remove everything from Lightroom EXCEPT for the 2012 folder. Then, outside of LR, move the photos however I plan to move them/dump them into one folder, whatever. Then re-import everything.

    Here are my questions:

    #1 - Does this seem like a good idea in order to gain better control?

    #2 - I know I'll lose any collections those photos might be in but if I keyword them now, will I lose that as well? That's not a deal-breaker for me. I'm just curious. I'd rather redo it all just to get it done correctly. But if keywords would stay I have a lot of dumb collections that I could quickly keyword to make some quick sorting easier next time around. (I know I'll lose any changes made to photos but I haven't started to edit any of the pre-2012 photos so that's not an issue.)

    #3 - In many of the posts I see reference to "create a new top-level folder to put all subfolders in" but I'm not sure where/how to do that so that LR will do what I want. LR created the 2012 folder in a folder called MY PICTURES. Right now I have all my photos that aren't in 2012 in another folder called MY PHOTOS > PHOTOMASTER. I'd like everything to be in one folder just for streamling, backups, etc.

    Okay, this just came to me. Can I just remove everything from the catalog (except for 2012) have Lightroom import from all those folders and then have Lightroom, at the same time, MOVE them and would that get them into the other folder in a date format like 2012? And if that would work, could someone please talk me through how to do it so that I don't end up with all the folders, just photos by date?

    #4 - Another question, not at all related to the ones above and just another curiosity one. I was at someone's house and she was using the same version of LR that I was (she was teaching me some things about develop mode so we were both working on identical photos on our own computers and the little preview window like you see on my screenshot, well hers was on the right side of the screen, above the develop tools and mine is always on the left. Just wondering why.

    Whew! Thanks in advance.

    LR.png
     
  2. Susan Taylor Brown

    Susan Taylor Brown Active Member

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    I just realized I don't want to lose ALL my folders. I want to keep the folder structure for things like ART, INSPIRATION, that sort of thing because it helps when I am saving photos I find online. So I thinking out loud here, thinking that I would let LR import and move all the miscellaneous photos in my PHOTOMASTER folder. Then, after that, is it possible for LR to scan my entire computer and import/catalog (while maintaining sub-folders) everything that isn't already there? That way I could maintain structure where I needed it and do the rest of my cleanup from within LR.
     
  3. Victoria Bampton

    Victoria Bampton Lightroom Queen / Owner Staff Member Administrator Moderator Lightroom Guru

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    Hi Susan

    Ok, stop a minute.

    I wouldn't recommend removing the photos from your catalog, as you'll lose anything you've done to the photos in LR (there are some exceptions, but...). I'm sure we can tidy them up within LR.

    So what's the eventual aim here? Just to have everything in a parent folder for easy backup? Or were you wanting most photos in a dated folder structure?

    You probably don't want to scan your whole computer, as it'll find the little icons included with programs and all sorts of rubbish. Scanning your normal data folders would definitely be an option though.
     
  4. Susan Taylor Brown

    Susan Taylor Brown Active Member

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    Hi Victoria,
    Thanks for talking me through this with good questions.

    What I want, overall, is a cleaned up computer. Due to a bunch of stuff (some dumb reasons and some accidents) I have made a mess of this computer overall. In a panic of losing things (before I had proper backups in place) I had duplicate and triplicate files all over the place in folders, 4 - 5 folders deep sometimes with ridiculous names like 1,2,3, or a,b,c. File names of everything from 20 years of my writing work and my photos and everything in-between had equally useless names.

    Now that the computer system is running well as are double-backups (and I have my head together more about being organized) I've been tackling the mass of folder messes that I had previously just dumped whereever.

    I have no idea why I was able to be so organized when I had a corporate job and such a mess here at home, but now I have a basic & clean file structure in place and have almost finished sorting out all the non-photo files.

    I want my Lightroom to be clean too and the pre-2012 files are the culprits. It's much easier, faster for me to move things around outside of Lightroom which was why I was going to remove everything that wasn't in the 2012 folder.

    Good point on not having it scan the whole computer. Years ago when I tried Picasa that made me crazy.

    So if I remove files from the catalog, I know I'll lose any changes I made to them but I haven't made any changes to files created before 2012 except that I sorted them into top level dumb collections so I could easily give them keywords. I know I will lose the collections but will I also lose the keywords?
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2012
  5. Victoria Bampton

    Victoria Bampton Lightroom Queen / Owner Staff Member Administrator Moderator Lightroom Guru

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    You are getting organized! Well done!

    Yes, you'd lose the keywords if you deleted them from the catalog. It would be possible to write them to xmp in the files, but then you'd still have to recreate your collections again too. It's up to you of course.

    I'm looking at your screenshot, and I have a couple of questions....

    That 2012 folder - is it inside another folder (i.e. Photos, Lightroom, something like that?)

    And where are you wanting all the pre-2012 photos to end up? In their existing folders in a single parent (i.e. Photos, Lightroom, something like that?) Or in a dated folder structure like your 2012 ones?

    I'll tell you what I'm thinking. If it was me, I'd do this: Right-click on 2012 folder to show parent (assuming the parent is Photos, Lightroom, something like that). Then I'd do one of two things. 1. Drag (in LR's Folders panel) the existing folders (i.e. MyPhotoMaster) into that parent folder so it moves them on the hard drive to that single parent folder. 2. Create folders inside the parent (2011, 2010, 2009, etc) perhaps with month folders inside. Then I'd show the contents off all of the folders (except 2012) and set the Metadata Filter bar to only show 2011/12 and drag those photos into the 2011/12 folder, and just repeat for the other dates. I did the same for my own photos some time ago, and it didn't take long at all.

    As I said, it's entirely up to you. If you don't have many collections, then writing to xmp and getting LR to sort the photos into dated folders while importing could work ok. Feel free to ask if anything's not clear.
     
  6. Susan Taylor Brown

    Susan Taylor Brown Active Member

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    Hi Victoria,

    Thanks again. I feel good about getting the computer in shape. I feel bad about the mess I've made of Lightroom. Sigh. I have tons of ???? all over the place and that is part of what is prompting me to delete stuff from the catalog. I'm pretty sure, in most cases, the ?? are legit and I've deleted the photos. But of course, not likely in all cases. Sometimes I got carried away with my file cleanup and moved photos.

    I've attached a screen shot of the the way things are now. The 2012 folder is what Lightroom did. The other is my mess. And honestly, I no longer care if it is by date or what, for the pre-2012 things, I'm just trying to figure out the best way to clean up the mess I've made. All the pre-2012 ones could go in a folder that was just that, pre-2012, and be whatever they are underneath it. I know going forward I'll just be using LR to manage my photos. So if I understand you right, I could grab My Photo Master and drag it (from within LR) into the same folder as the 2012 stuff. Then I could rename that top level as pre-2012 stuff. Then do my cleanup from in there?

    If so, what I am thinking is this series of steps. Please let me know if I am going down a good track.

    1 - From within LR, drag the fold "my photo master" into "my pictures" which is where the 2012 folder is.

    2 - From within LR, rename "my photo master" to "pre-2012"

    3- From within LR, drag photos out all the individual folders into the giant "pre-2012" folder.

    4 - Proceed with cleanup, deleting duplicate and unwanted folders.

    5 - Remove all ??? from catalog (going on the assumption that they have been deleted by me outside of LR which is 99% certainly the case.

    My questions, if I do all of this, are as follows:

    A) What if there is a case of me moving a pre-2012 photo that WAS in the catalog but I moved it outside of LR. If I remove all the ? am I right in assuming that the photo will remain invisible to LR? If so, would it be a good idea, after I do all the cleanup, to have LR scan the new "pre-2012" folder for anything that isn't already in the catalog? Would that work to pick up any missing photos?

    B) If I am using the "pre-2012" folder as a giant bin and dumping all the photos in there, what will LR do if I try to drag in duplicate files?


    View attachment 2214

    Thank you, again.
     
  7. Victoria Bampton

    Victoria Bampton Lightroom Queen / Owner Staff Member Administrator Moderator Lightroom Guru

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    Yep, that sounds good. Just bear in mind that any ??? photos won't have their keywords if you ever reimport those photos. But then yes, synchronize the folder and it'll import them as fresh imports.

    If you try to drag duplicates in (that's to say, photos with the same filename) then LR will just refuse because it already has a photo of that name.
     
  8. Susan Taylor Brown

    Susan Taylor Brown Active Member

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    Thanks, Victoria.
     
  9. Susan Taylor Brown

    Susan Taylor Brown Active Member

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    Well it didn't like me trying to drag that big folder over. It keeps saying it can't do it, unexpected error. I've shut down and rebooted but it's not going to happen. No problem, I'm just going to go slower moving the files a folder at a time.

    Just one question, anything I should know about synchronizing folders?

    Thanks.
     
  10. Victoria Bampton

    Victoria Bampton Lightroom Queen / Owner Staff Member Administrator Moderator Lightroom Guru

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    Synchronizing folders - it's an automated way of doing 2 main things:

    Finding all the missing photos and removing them from the catalog (but beware, as if you've simply moved those files to a new location, it would still remove their data)

    Imports any photos that are in folders that aren't currently in the catalog at their current location (so it won't relink ones that you've moved)
     
  11. Susan Taylor Brown

    Susan Taylor Brown Active Member

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    Whoa! I think you've said this a couple of times in a couple of different ways but now that I am approaching this point, I think I get it.

    If I have a folder in LR called "junk" and I have dragged photos in there from all over LR, and applied keywords in the process but if I think there are additional photos in that folder that LR doesn't know about yet and I ask it to sync the folders, I will lose all the keywords?

    If that's the case then synching may not be the smartest way to go about it.

    What I am doing now, on a bit of a roll, is that when LR says a folder is empty, I go check on the computer side and if there are photos there that LR didn't see, I'm just binning them in a misc folder on my desktop for now. When I've completed this process, I can just have LR import that folder, then move the smaller number photos in that misc folder into the appropriate folders from within LR.
     
  12. Victoria Bampton

    Victoria Bampton Lightroom Queen / Owner Staff Member Administrator Moderator Lightroom Guru

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    Well done Susan! Sorry for disappearing for a bit, some family issues took my attention.

    In that junk folder, when you get the sync dialog up, just make sure you uncheck the 'remove missing photos' checkbox and keep the import new ones. Or just go to import (set to add at existing location) and let it import them that way. Either would be fine.
     

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