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In this course, Chris Orwig investigates the Lightroom properties as a digital asset management (DAM) system—specifically, its catalogs, which track the location, metadata, and keyword tags associated with your images. The course shows how to import images into a catalog and keep them current with synchronized folders, maintain good backup practices, and recover and restore a catalog. Chris also provides his recommendations on hard drive options, and explains the process and benefits to raw processing when working with catalogs.
By this point, I imagine that you're convinced that this Lightroom catalog contains, well, valuable information. Therefore, it might be a good idea to take a look at how we can have a workflow which allows us to effectively back up all of this valuable information. Well, let's take a look at how we can do that. First, we're going to navigate to the Lightroom pulldown menu and here we'll select Catalog Settings. This will open up our Catalog Settings dialog. In this dialog, we have the ability to choose how frequently or how often we want to back up our catalog.
Before I talk about that, I do have to point out that you can't back up your catalog while Lightroom is open. You won't find a command anywhere that just allows you to do that while you're working. This has to happen when you exit Lightroom. The reason is, is because when you're working on the catalog, well, it's locked down. Once you exit it, it can then duplicate that or back that up to another location. The default setting here is back up the catalog once a week when exiting Lightroom. And you know what? I don't think this default setting is very good, and here's why.
Typically, in most scenarios, we keep our software and our computers open and on. We don't shut things down that frequently. If you leave your computer on, say, for two weeks -- perhaps it's a laptop and you just don't restart that computer -- well then, this catalog won't be backed up for however many weeks you keep that on. In other words, I think you want to choose a frequency which allows you to back this one up with a little bit more regularity. Here's the option that I choose. Click on this pulldown menu, you can see you have a number of different options.
I don't know why Never is included here. That's not a very good option. But typically, you want something that allows you to do this pretty frequently. The one that I choose is Every time Lightroom exits. By doing this, it helps me think about how every once in a while I want to simply quit, and reopen Lightroom, so that the catalog can be backed up. I should also point out that this process, well, it takes time. This is something that you're going to want to do at the end of the day before you leave your studio or your office so that it can happen kind of behind-the-scenes so to speak. All right! Well, after you've chosen that option, I also want to point out here, it shows you the date that the catalog was created, when it was backed up, when it was optimized, and also the file size of the catalog. Okay.
Well, in order to back up the catalog, what we need to do here is simply quit Lightroom. You can do that by navigating to the Lightroom pulldown menu and selecting Quit. When you do this, it will open up this dialog, and here it tells us that the settings that we chose indicate that we want to back this up every time we exit. Okay, great! Next, we can choose where want to have this file backed up. For now, we'll leave it in that default location. You can see that here, Pictures/ Lightroom and then inside of a folder Backups.
Later we'll talk about some other strategies for how we can back up these catalog perhaps even more effectively. But for now let's just leave this at the default setting. We can also choose to turn on the option to test the integrity and also optimize that catalog after backing up. You almost always want to leave these options on. Why would you want these off? Well, you'd want these off if you didn't have a lot of time. If you wanted to back up your catalog, and you were in a hurry, well, it would run faster if you chose to turn both of those options off.
But again when it comes to backup and making things as secure as possible, you want to have those options on. All right! Well, after having done that, we'll simply click Backup and this will then start to check the integrity for the file, optimize that catalog, and then back up the catalog file. All right! Well, once that's taken place, what I want to do is navigate to my Pictures folder and check out the Backup. Here, you can see I have the catalog file, also the Previews file, and I have my various backups. It's going to name these sequentially.
I could open up the most recent backup file, and you can see that I have this catalog here. This catalog, it's worth its weight in gold, because this contains all of that information that a catalog contains, but you may notice that there's something missing here. This doesn't include the Lightroom Previews file. Now I like to consider that as part of the catalog; well, it technically isn't. It has some really valuable information, all of the previews. If you were to use this new or backup catalog, Lightroom would have to redraw or recreate those previews.
So what I like to do, just my own personal preference, is after I've done this backup, I select the Previews file, you can then go to one of your menus. Here, I'll go to Edit, and I'll choose Copy. You can also use a shortcut as well, and then I'll navigate to the folder where I want to copy this to and navigate to my Edit pulldown menu, and choose Paste Item, and here you can see it's now pasted that Previews file into that folder. And for me, in my own workflow, that just gives me a little bit more security that both of those files have now been successfully backed up.
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