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Two of the most commonly vocalized questions in regards to Lightroom are what is a Lightroom catalog, and why do they matter? And what I want to do here is begin to answer some of those questions, begin to talk about what a catalog is and why it matters. Now I've actually already covered this content in another one of my training titles, yet I think it'll be important for us to cover it again here in order to set a foundation, or to lay the groundwork, for an even deeper conversation, which we'll have in the subsequent movies. All right, well, for starters, what is a Lightroom catalog? Well, a Lightroom catalog is saved in a particular location on your hard drive, and it's made up of a couple of different files.
Here, you can see the lrdata file and also the lrcat. Now inside of these two files is a lot of interesting information. Let's dig into what it actually is and why it's important. Well, for starters, a catalog is how Lightroom tracks the location of files and remembers information about them. It is a database. In other words, it helps us organize a lot of complex information, and here's what it contains: preview information, file Location, metadata, Development module settings, ratings, keywords, and collections.
Now those seven different items are actually worth writing down, so that you can begin to really understand what a catalog is. Now, why have catalogs? Well, catalogs allow you, or provide you with flexibility in managing, identifying, and organizing photos and media files. Let me talk about this perhaps by way of an analogy, because sometimes I find that analogies help out. Let's say, for example, that you own a bike store, and you have a few bikes in stock. Well, if you only have a few bikes, it's not that hard to keep track of them.
In those situations, you could use Bridge, sort of speak, in order to organize and access your inventory. On the other hand, let's say your business is just skyrocketing. I mean, it is through the roof. You have all these bikes, and all these bikes are in a warehouse. Well, in situations like that, what you need is you need a more powerful tool, and this is where Lightroom really comes to the rescue. Now what Lightroom does is it goes into that warehouse, and it takes a look at all the inventory, and it builds what we're going to call a catalog.
You can see a little catalog here which are all the different items that you have in your warehouse. And in a sense it organizes them, so it makes them more accessible. In other words, the catalog contains information about the bikes. It doesn't actually contain the bike. Therefore, if someone comes to your storefront and says, "Hey! Do you have this bike in blue, in this particular size?" you can just flip open this catalog here to find out. You don't have to walk all the way back to the warehouse and dig through a bunch of bikes in order to find what you actually have.
So Lightroom helps us handle larger volumes of content, and that's why it's so powerful, because what it does is it gives us this flexibility, and it also has this built-in memory. In other words, when we are working with Bridge--or say in the previous example where we just have a few bikes--every time you go into the warehouse, you have to rethink what you have, whereas in Lightroom, all of that information is stored and remembered inside of this little catalog here. All right, well let's distill this a little bit further.
A Lightroom catalog, it contains file name and information, metadata, ratings, labels, flags and previews. And why have a catalog? Well, what it does is it gives us flexibility and speed when managing, identifying, organizing, and processing our photographs.
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