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Up and Running with Lightroom 5
Illustration by John Hersey

Deciding where to store your photos


From:

Up and Running with Lightroom 5

with Jan Kabili

Video: Deciding where to store your photos

There's one more thing to think about before importing photos into Lightroom. And that's where you're going to keep your Lightroom catalog and the photos and videos that you're going to bring into your Lightroom catalog. Let's take a look at your options for where to store and backup both your catalog and your photos. As we've seen a Lightroom catalog is a database of information about your photos. It's not a container for your photos. So, there are two separate kinds of items to store. The database files that make up the catalog itself, which are represented by these icons on the computer screen in this diagram. And the photos that the catalog is keeping track of, which I suggested that you gather into one parent folder.
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  1. 5m 24s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      4m 22s
  2. 30m 31s
    1. Understanding catalogs
      4m 21s
    2. Organizing your photos before importing
      3m 10s
    3. Deciding where to store your photos
      4m 28s
    4. Importing photos from a drive
      8m 14s
    5. Importing photos from a camera
      10m 18s
  3. 1h 15m
    1. Library module workspace
      7m 21s
    2. Viewing and sorting photos
      6m 16s
    3. Selecting photos
      7m 9s
    4. Reviewing and rating photos
      8m 41s
    5. Organizing with collections
      6m 27s
    6. Using Smart Collections
      6m 21s
    7. Keywording
      4m 51s
    8. Finding photos by keyword
      5m 40s
    9. Finding photos with the Metadata filter
      4m 53s
    10. Moving files and folders
      7m 16s
    11. Renaming photos
      4m 18s
    12. Working with Smart Previews when traveling
      6m 6s
  4. 54m 18s
    1. Develop module workspace
      6m 14s
    2. Cropping and straightening
      4m 25s
    3. Fixing perspective with Upright
      7m 19s
    4. Setting white balance
      4m 41s
    5. Using the histogram to evaluate tones
      4m 5s
    6. Adjusting tone and color in the Basic panel
      8m 45s
    7. Fine-tuning colors in the HSL panel
      3m 35s
    8. Converting to black and white
      3m 56s
    9. Using virtual copies
      3m 43s
    10. Reducing digital noise
      3m 24s
    11. Sharpening
      4m 11s
  5. 26m 21s
    1. Targeting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      6m 45s
    2. Spotlighting and vignetting with the Radial filter
      6m 0s
    3. Gradual editing with the Graduated filter
      4m 5s
    4. Removing dust spots with Spot Removal circles
      6m 12s
    5. Removing content with Spot Removal brushstrokes
      3m 19s
  6. 30m 40s
    1. Exporting photos
      9m 22s
    2. Setting up a connection to Facebook
      6m 22s
    3. Sharing photos to Facebook
      5m 44s
    4. Printing photos
      9m 12s
  7. 26s
    1. Next steps
      26s

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Up and Running with Lightroom 5
3h 42m Beginner Jun 11, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom has become a popular program for photographers of all experience levels. In this course, photographer and teacher Jan Kabili provides an approachable introduction to all its capabilities. The course begins with a look at how to import photos from a camera and from a hard drive, describing how the Lightroom catalog works along the way.

Then you'll learn key ways to manage your photos in Lightroom, from reviewing photos after a shoot to working with Smart Previews when your photos are offline. This part of the course covers making collections, adding keywords, and much more.

Next, the course introduces the Lightroom Develop module and its features for improving a photo's appearance, including adjusting tone and color, cropping and fixing perspective, converting to black and white, reducing noise, and sharpening. It explores how to make local adjustments with the Adjustment Brush, Radial Filter, Graduated Filter, and Spot Removal tools. The course ends with a look at the most commonly used Lightroom features for sharing photos: exporting, printing, and sharing online.

Topics include:
  • Importing photos
  • Viewing, sorting, and selecting photos
  • Reviewing and rating photos
  • Finding photos with keywords and filters
  • Cropping and straightening photos
  • Fixing perspective with Upright
  • Adjusting color and tone
  • Targeting edits with the Adjustment Brush
  • Sharing photos on Facebook
  • Exporting and printing photos
Subjects:
Photography Raw Processing
Software:
Lightroom
Author:
Jan Kabili

Deciding where to store your photos

There's one more thing to think about before importing photos into Lightroom. And that's where you're going to keep your Lightroom catalog and the photos and videos that you're going to bring into your Lightroom catalog. Let's take a look at your options for where to store and backup both your catalog and your photos. As we've seen a Lightroom catalog is a database of information about your photos. It's not a container for your photos. So, there are two separate kinds of items to store. The database files that make up the catalog itself, which are represented by these icons on the computer screen in this diagram. And the photos that the catalog is keeping track of, which I suggested that you gather into one parent folder.

And that's represented by this Lightroom photos folder over here in this diagram. You have the option to store the catalog and the photos on the same drive or on different drives. So, one option is to keep the catalog and photos both on your computer. This may seem logical, but I actually don't think it's the best option, that's because the space on your computer's main drive is probably limited. If you shoot a lot of photos, particularly large, raw photos, or if you shoot video, or if you just shoot a lot.

Then, your photos and videos and videos will fill up your computer drive faster than you might think. And at that point, you'll have to move the photos to a larger drive anyway. So, why not save yourself the trouble and start with a larger drive for your photos and videos from the get-go. The setup that I prefer in my office is to leave the catalog files on the computer, and put my photos on a large, fast, external drive. Represented in this diagram by this drive, which I call the Working Drive. This is where you'll leave the photos as you work on them in Lightroom.

This setup gives me plenty of room to grow my collection of photos and videos on the working drive. And, my catalog hums right along on the computer. If you plan to follow this suggestion, then start off by putting the parent folder of existing photos and videos on your external working drive initially. Then, import those photos and videos from that working drive into the Lightroom catalog on your computer. And when you shoot more photos, you'll import those from your camera's memory card on to the external working drive, and into your Lightroom catalog at the same time.

All, as I'll show you how to do shortly, a bonus of this set up is that if your main computer is a laptop that you take with you when you travel or work outside the office. This arrangement sets you up for using Smart Previews, a Lightroom 5 feature that allows you to edit lightweight proxies of your photos on the road, which I'll show you how to use later. It's also a good idea to do some advanced planning about where you're going to back up both your photos and your catalog files. By default, every time that you quit Lightroom, you'll see a message giving you the option to backup your catalog. That's important to do, because a database can get corrupted. And your catalog is the database.

Backing up the catalog assures that you'll have a backup of the editing and metadata changes that you've made, which are stored as instructions in the catalog. But remember that backing up the catalog does not backup your photos. That you'll have to do separately. Ideally, to back up your photos, you have a couple of other external drives that are each as large as your working drive. Those are represented here by this back up drive and this drive which I've labeled Archive. The Archive drive is for keeping a pristine copy of your original photos. As we'll see when we talk about importing, Lightroom's import dialog box has a check box for making a duplicate of your photos and videos. To any drive that you specify at the same time that Lightroom is importing your photos and videos.

And that's what I use the archive drive for. I don't normally touch its contents, it's just an insurance policy, the equivalent of strong film negatives safely. In addition, I regularly run third-party backup software to back up my working drive to a third external hard drive, the one that I've labeled Backup. This ensures that I always have a relatively current copy of my working photos, which is important because external hard drives do fail. So, I think you'll find that it pays off, to have given thought to the best storage an backup options for you.

And I recommend you do that before you start importing photos into Lightroom which is what we'll cover next.

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