Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Introducing catalogs, part of Lightroom 4 Essentials: 01 Organizing and Sharing with the Library Module.
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One of the reasons why Lightroom is such a widely used application is because built within Lightroom is a catalog, a database. And in a sense what this catalog does is it gives us this structure. And if you think about structures for a second, like this structure here, this pier, they allow us to do interesting things, like this pier which runs out over Lake Tahoe in California, it allows people to literally walk on or above water. And in a sense that's what the Lightroom Catalog does.
It allows us to do something that we couldn't have otherwise done. Here's a trick with Lightroom. We can't actually see the structure, and because of this whole idea of catalogs and databases, it can be a little bit vague and even confusing. Now because of this, what I want to do is take some time to try to deconstruct catalogs. What is a Catalog? Because I think if you can have a strong working understanding of catalogs, it can really help you out as you're working in Lightroom.
All right, well for starters, here we are in the Lightroom and let's navigate to the Window pull-down menu and then go to the Screen Mode and choose Normal. This will give us the ability to see what catalog we are working on. You con see that up top. There is my catalog. Command or Ctrl+Click that, you'll see where it saved, in this case in the Pictures folder in a subfolder and there is the catalog file. Now this catalog file it actually does quite a bit, and because of that, what I want to do is jump to a few other slides to begin to deconstruct and demystify what catalogs are all about.
All right, so for starters, what is a Lightroom catalog? We've already talked about this idea that the catalog, it's a particular file saved in a location on your hard drive, typically in your pictures folder. It's actually made up of two separate files, the catalog file itself and then also the preview information for your images and videos. Now these particular files they are key, they are integral to Lightroom. So as we deconstruct what a Lightroom Catalog is, here is an initial definition. It's how Lightroom tracks the location of files and remembers information about them.
In a sense, it is a database. Now if you are like me, that's where database may seem a little bit intimidating or vague or confusing so what's in the database? Well here are few things I think you might want to write down. Inside of the Lightroom Catalog, inside of this database file, here's what it contains, Previews, File Location, Metadata, Develop Module Settings, Ratings, Keywords, and Collections. So why then do we have catalogs? Well in a sense we have catalogs because they give us flexibility in managing, identifying, and organizing photos and media files.
Now if you are like me, you maybe thinking, okay, well that's nice. I kind of get it but not really. This doesn't quite make sense. Well because of that, what I want to do is in the next movie I want to talk about catalogs in a comparative or analogous way. I want to try to make this a little bit more practical and see if we can't understand this even better. So let's continue to talk about catalogs and let's do that in the next movie.
- Customizing the interface
- Importing from a memory card
- Auto-importing from a watched folder
- Considering color management with tethered capture
- Working with catalogs
- Comparing two images in a library
- Working with multiple hard drives
- Stacking photos in groups
- Using smart collections and quick collections
- Using Quick Develop to process images
- Editing the color and tonality of video
- Adding copyright data to photographs
- Exporting, emailing, and publishing photographs