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There are a number of different reasons why you may want to take some or all of your images and export them as a standalone catalog, and typically the reasons why you may want to do this is because you might be working on multiple computers. Perhaps you have a laptop, you have a catalog on that, you need to get those images in that catalog onto the Desktop, or maybe you have a Studio Manager or an assistant. What you want to do is pass off some photos that you've already worked on in Lightroom.
You want to give that person all of those photos with all of your work so they can then finish it off and maybe design a book or create some prints or upload an online Web gallery. So whatever the situation, what I want to look at here is, how we can export all or some of our photographs as a catalog. Now one of the things that you're going to want to do is make a selection. You can make a selection of a folder of images, of a collection, whatever. Here I'm going to select a folder, this folder Beach_Family. Next, I'm going to navigate to my File pull-down menu and here I'm going to choose Export as Catalog.
Now when I do this I can choose a location, in this case the Desktop. I want to save this out as Beach_Family, I'm just going to keep the name exactly the same. Underneath it allows me to determine some export settings. It's says you're going to export a catalog with 23 photos. All of the photos in this folder or if you've chosen a collection in the collection, either one works. Now do I want to export selected photos only? No, all of them. Export the negative files, what that means is the original files if you have RAW files, may be you've created some virtual copies; do you want to export the originals or the RAWs or what? Yes, I want to export the original files, I also want to include any available previews.
So great, it's all I need to do there, and then simply click Export. Now this is going to export a new catalog, and what we can do is we can take a look at this catalog. Let's minimize the Lightroom interface for a second, and what I'm going to do is find this folder, and here it is on my Desktop over here, I'm just going to move it over so we can see that, and then open this folder up. Now when I open this folder up what we'll see is that we now have a new catalog. Inside of this catalog we have Exercise Files and Photos, and People and then there is the Beach_Family.
The nice thing about this is it remembers the file or folder structure, the folder hierarchy. In other words it just takes the files the way you had it, and then exports it as now a standalone catalog. What do I mean by a standalone catalog? What we can do then is we could take this catalog and we could import it, like we looked at in the previous movie and combine that with another catalog if we had one opened or we could just open this one by itself. Let me show you how this works.
So here in Lightroom, I'm going to navigate to a File>Open Catalog, now the catalog that I'm going to navigate to is Beach_Family, and then I'll click Open. What this will do is it will close and then re-launch Lightroom. I'll go ahead and skip my backup this time because I just did that a few minutes ago, and this will then open up Lightroom with this catalog that's been exported from Lightroom. And now if expand Lightroom so we can actually see what we have here and go to our folders, again it just has these photos and you can see they are all in the same spot, and we could work on these images in any way, shape or form.
So as you can see you can make a selection of photographs and you can export them as a standalone catalog, and that catalog will contain all of the information that we've talked about in those previous movies. All of the things that you've done to the files metadata or develop settings or ratings, anything that you've done with those images, it will remember that, and it will be contained in this exported standalone catalog.
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