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I generally prefer to work with a single catalog within Lightroom to manage all of my images. While it's true that some images may fit into a separate category that might lead me to think it's best to separate them, for example, commercial versus personal images. In my experience I find that generally, I prefer to have all of my images accessible at once. Any distinctions I create between images Tends to get a little blurry over time. That said, even if you're working with a single catalogue you might want to create a second catalogue anyway. A test catalogue that allows you to experiment around a little bit without concern for whether or not you're updating the real information I your photos.
At the moment I'm working with a test catalogue that I've been using to experiment with some workflow ideas... But I want to get back to my real catalog, so I can start managing my images in Lightroom 4. Let's take a look at how we can work with multiple catalogs. To begin with we can switch between catalogs, relatively easily. I'll go ahead and go to the File menu, and then choose Open Recent, and you can see that I have a test catalog, and my real catalog both available. Because I've opened them both recently. I'll go ahead and choose the Lightroom four catalog option. Whenever I open a new catalog, Lightroom needs to close and restart. So when I choose this option, Lightroom will close and then restart, opening this new catalog.
As you can see, this particular catalog does not contain any images yet. I'm just getting ready to get started managing my images in Lightroom 4, so I'll be raedy to import images very soon. In the meantime though, let's take a look at how you can create a new catalog. Whether that's to manage different images with a separate catalog, or so that you have a playground for you to practice with various techniques in Lightroom. If we go to the File menu, we can choose New Catalog. We can then specify a location where we'd like to save that catalog. For example, I'll save mine in my Pictures folder, and I'll call this Lightroom Test, catalog 2.
This is my second test catalog for Lightroom. I'll go ahead and click Save, and once again light room will close and then re-launch and then I can configure settings for this specific catalog. But in this case, I want to get back to my real catalog so I'll go back to the File menu and choose Open Recent, and then Lightroom 4 Catalog. And there you have it. As you can see, it's quite easy to work with multiple catalogs within Lightroom. Generally speaking, I prefer to work with a single catalog. But again a test catalog can be a great way to help make sure that you're able to experiment and explore around in Lightroom, without worrying about applying permanent changes to your master photos.
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