Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Reconnect missing folders, part of Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom Classic CC.
- [Voiceover] When it comes to cleaning up your catalog in Lightroom, one of the most important things is to make sure that Lightroom knows where all of your photos are. In fact, I recommend that you locate missing photos and folders before you start any other cleanup work within your Lightroom catalog. It's perfectly fine to have missing photos if a hard drive is disconnected. So, for example, if I were to disconnect the Photos One hard drive here that contains the images within this Lightroom catalog, that would be perfectly fine. I can still work with my photos in the library module, for example, assigning star ratings and updating keywords, et cetera.
I can work offline, but at some point, I need to have access to my original photographic images, my original captures. And the problem occurs when certain of your photos are missing. In other words, if this hard drive were disconnected, all of the folders and all of the photos that are contained on that hard drive, would appear as missing inside of Lightroom. But when the hard drive is connected, and I still have images that are missing, that represents a problem, and I want to get that resolved right away. You'll notice, for example, that this images is missing.
I see an indication over below the histogram area that the photo is missing. If you look at the film strip, you'll see that the image has an exclamation point, indicating that it is a missing photo, but in fact, on closer inspection, you'll see that all of the images on the film strip have that exclamation point indication. In other words, all of these images are missing, and that's because, from Lightroom's perspective, the entire folder is missing. You can see the question mark icon over-layed on the folder, in this case, and that means that this folder is not where Lightroom expects it to be, or this folder has been renamed.
In this case, the problem is, that I've renamed the folder outside of Lightroom. In other words, I used the operating system to rename the folder and Lightroom can't keep track of that sort of change. I should've renamed the folder right here inside of Lightroom, but fortunately, this is an issue that can be resolved rather easily. I'll go ahead and switch to my hard drive, and sure enough, you can see that the folder structure on the hard drive, by and large, matches what I see inside of Lightroom, because Lightroom is just a reflection of my overall storage structure, the folder structure, the location of images, et cetera.
So, if we take a look, we have a 2011 folder in Lightroom, and that is reflected on my hard drive, but then we find our problem. The 2015 New York City folder is actually named, on the hard drive, 2015 NYC, so I renamed the folder, using the operating system, and Lightroom doesn't know about that change. I'll go ahead and switch back to Lightroom, though, and then I can fix the problem very easily. I can simply point to folder that Lightroom shows is missing, and then right-click on that folder and choose Find Missing Folder.
I can then navigate to the location where the folder is actually stored. In this case, on my Photos One hard drive. I'll go ahead and select the correct folder. In this case, 2015 NYC. In other words, this folder, 2015 NYC, on my hard drive, is the 2015 New York City folder that Lightroom is reflecting here. I just need to reconnect the two. I need to let Lightroom know that the folder it's looking for has a different name. Now, it might have been moved to a different location, it might have been renamed, as is the case here.
The point is that I need to point Lightroom to that missing folder, so that Lightroom can reconnect that folder within the catalog. In this case, I've already found that folder, I've selected it, so I'll simply click the Choose button, and now the folder is reconnected. You can see that I no longer have a question mark over-layed on the folder for 2015 NYC. You can see that the folder name itself has been changed here inside of Lightroom. It was 2015 New York City. Now it reflects that NYC that was shown on the hard drive, itself.
And perhaps, most important of all, you can see that the photos that were contained within that folder are no longer missing. We no longer see an exclamation point for any of the photos within that folder. So a relatively straight-forward process in terms of reconnecting missing folders. Of course, the key is to go through all of the folders that are on you folders list in Lightroom, and make sure that none of them are missing. You want to make sure that none of the folders that are currently being managed in Lightroom have a question mark associated with them.
That, in turn, will help make sure that Lightroom knows where all of your photos are located, so that you can continue cleaning up your overall catalog.
- Defining your real workflow
- Taking inventory
- Backing up all your catalogs
- Locating missing photos and folders
- Consolidating catalogs
- Renaming photos and folders
- Correcting metadata, including keywords and timestamps
- Migrating to a new hard drive
- Being consistent going forward