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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.
Well, now that we know a little bit about exporting as a catalog and working with multiple catalogs, here what I want to do is put together some of these pieces in a simulated workflow. Let's say that we're travelling, and right now we're working on our laptop and on our laptop, we work on all of these images and we get home and what we need to do is we need to export these images and all the work that we've done as a catalog, so that we can then merge that catalog with our main desktop computer catalog.
Well, first, of course, we need to export. So here, we'll go ahead and select the folder; in this case it's titled Mexico. The next step will be to navigate either to the File pulldown menu and choose Export as Catalog or you can use a really handy shortcut. If you press Option or Alt, it will change this Export button to Export Catalog. Let's go ahead and do that. This will open up our dialog. Well, I have an external hard drive connected; it's called my Travel Drive. Now I'm going to go ahead and name this catalog, Mexico, and export it to my external hard drive.
Here I'm going to include all of these photographs, export the negative files and those previews, and simply click Export. All right! This will then export this and create a nice little self-contained catalog. It will contain the images and all the work that I've done on these photographs inside of Lightroom while I was working on my laptop. All right! Well, to simulate closing my laptop, what I want to do here is quit Lightroom. To do that, we'll navigate to our Lightroom pulldown menu and choose Quit Lightroom.
All right. I'll skip my backup this time and this takes me to my desktop. Well, here on my desktop, you can see I have this Travel hard drive. If we open this up, you'll notice that I have my Mexico catalog and also the pictures that I captured, say, while I was on that trip. The great thing about this is that it's self-contained. Well, next what I need to do is I need to go to my main desktop computer. In my main desktop computer, I have my main or my big Lightroom catalog. Here it is.
If we double-click this, we can open it up and see there, my Main Catalog for my desktop computer, or we can open this up a few different ways. You could go to Lightroom and choose File > Open, and choose a catalog, or you could simply double-click this catalog file. Again, remember here that what we're doing is we're simulating that we're now on our desktop computer and this is our main, our big catalog. What we want to do is merge or import that other catalog so that we can then access and work on those travel images.
Well, in order to do that we can either go to the File pulldown menu and choose Import from Another Catalog or you can use that shortcut that we learned previously. Press Option or Alt that will change your Import button to Import Catalog. If you click on that, it then opens up this dialog so that you can then search for that catalog. Well, ours is on an external drive. It's on this Travel Drive on a folder called Mexico. There is the catalog file. I'll select that and simply click Choose.
This will then open up an Import dialog. In this Import dialog, I can choose how I want to handle all of these files. What I might want to do is simply add these new photos to the catalog without moving them if I want these pictures to stay on that external drive. Well, in most scenarios, especially when traveling, that's just not going to work because we travel with small hard drives. So rather than adding these photos without moving them, I want to move these to my main hard drive. In order to do that I'll select the Option.
Copy the photos to a new location and import. Here I could select that new location. Again, you would want to select the location which fit your workflow where you saved your other photographs for your main photo library. What I'm going to do here for the sake of a demo is I'm going to copy these photographs to the default location, which is the Pictures folder. That's actually incorrect; that isn't where I've saved all of my other photographs. But I'm going to leave this here so we can take a look at how we can fix this later in case we make the same mistake.
Of course, in your own workflow you want to choose the correct folder, but here again for demo purposes, I'm going to leave these on the default settings. So once you've chosen that, what you want to do next is simply click on the Import button. What will happen here is that Lightroom will pick up all of the information, the collections, the Develop settings, the Book module work that you've done, anything that you've done with these images, well, it's now included; it's now merged into this main catalog. Here we can see we have these photographs.
Let's open up this folder. You can see that we have these pictures here. We also have our other photographs that you can notice down here. We have our main pictures, which are located inside of our main photo Library. Well, let's say that accidentally what we did is we imported or copied these into the wrong location. Well, you and I already know how to move folders around. If we want to move this folder, well, all we need to do is just simply drag and drop in order to relocate it. Here we click Move; that will then physically change the location of those files.
If we don't need this other location, click on it and hit the Minus (-) icon to remove it. Now we have this photo library and we have all of our photos inside of this library; those travel pictures as well as the other photographs that are part of our entire desktop library. Now the last thing that you want to do here is just a little bit of housekeeping. In order to do that, I'm going to hide Lightroom. You can do that by pressing Command+H. Well, here back to my desktop, we can see that we have our main Lightroom Catalog.
We've merged the Travel catalog with this new catalog. Well, what then do we need to do with what's left on our Travel Drive? In other words, when you merge catalogs together, it doesn't automatically delete the old catalog; rather, it just ingests it, brings it in, and merges it with the other catalog; all of the images, all of the settings, etcetera, etcetera. What then do we need to do with this? Well, in my situation I want to get rid of this. Otherwise, I'm going to have this catalog or these other catalogs that we create while traveling, and this is just going to take up extra file size.
It's also going to be just a little bit messy and cluttered. In other words, what I want to do is some housekeeping here. Because I really don't need this catalog anymore, I'm going to get rid of it. To do that, we simply click on the catalog and we can go ahead and delete that. By doing that it just cleans up our overall workflow. It also helps us really commit to where our images are. In other words, our images are in this new catalog. Now we don't have to worry about that other catalog. We can focus on our one main catalog.
When it comes to working with catalogs in Lightroom, ideally what you want to do is manage this process so that you can keep track of your catalogs and eventually just really focus in on just one main catalog.
There are currently no FAQs about Lightroom 4 Catalogs in Depth.
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