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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.
Catalogs are so integral or important to Lightroom that literally you can't operate or run Lightroom without a catalog. Every time you open up Lightroom, it ask you to either choose or create a catalog, and here you can see you I've created a catalog, yet it is doesn't have any images or media files in it. Well, how is that? Well, in the same way that you can have a binder with blank pages or a book with empty pages, you can have a catalog without pictures. And I think these illustrate an important point and that is that the catalog and your photographs and media files, they are two different separate entities.
And here what I want to do is take a look how we can find our catalog file, this empty catalog. Where is it, where is this file or these files saved? Well, there are two different ways that you can access or find your catalog files. The first technique that you can use is to go the Lightroom pulldown menu, and here you can choose Catalog Settings. This will open your Catalog Settings dialog. Near the top, it shows you the Location of your catalog. To open up that folder, go ahead and click Show. This will open up your Finder or Explorer Window.
Here you can see I have my catalog and my Previews files. I also have these two other extra files inside of this folder. Well, why is that? Well, those two files are there because I'm currently using this catalog and those files are locking down the catalog so that it can't be changed behind Lightroom's back so to speak. Well, how else can we find our catalog? Another way that you can do this is that if we close these windows, you can go ahead and go up to your title bar. Right-click on the title bar if you're on Windows or simply click on it if you're on a Mac.
And here, you can see it shows us where this catalog is saved. We can click on one of these folders in order to navigate to that location. Now why is this important? Well, it's important to know where your catalog is because it obviously contains some really valuable information, and by knowing where your catalog is, it can help you have a more intelligent or more well-rounded workflow, which includes managing and working with your catalogs.
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