Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Tim's 3 rules for getting started, part of Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom Classic CC.
- [Voiceover] Before you dive in to cleaning up your Lightroom catalog, I want to share with you three rules that I think are tremendously helpful for avoiding problems in the first place and worth keeping in mind as you're cleaning up your Lightroom catalog. The first rule is stop, and then slow down. When you launch Lightroom for the first time, you'll notice that it tells you to click the Import button to begin, but at this point, you don't even know how Lightroom works and so how are you going to import photos and organize them within the context of Lightroom? So first, stop and slow down.
There will be plenty of time to work with your images in Lightroom, but it's worth taking some time to learn how to use Lightroom first. Second, make sure that you understand how Lightroom actually works. When you're working in Lightroom, you have a Lightroom catalog. That's the file that Lightroom uses to keep track of the information about your photos. But in addition to the catalog that Lightroom uses to manage your photos, there are the photos themselves. In other words, Lightroom is just a reflection of your existing organizational structure and your storage structure.
So inside of Lightroom, for example, you can see the hard drive that's being used to store your photos as well as all of the folders that contain your actual images. So if you've made a mess of your hard drive, that mess is going to be reflected inside of Lightroom. But be sure that you really understand how Lightroom works, what options it has available when it comes to organizing your photos, and what sort of workflow you want to use when managing your images. If you take some time to understand Lightroom before you really start using Lightroom, you'll be much better equipped to have a clean Lightroom catalog that doesn't need a lot of effort to clean up.
And finally, rule number three, everything in Lightroom. Once you're using Lightroom to manage your photos, you want to make sure that you're always using Lightroom for all of your image management work. If you want to rename a photo, rename it in Lightroom. If you want to rename a folder, rename it in Lightroom. Adding keywords, adding star ratings, much of this is obvious, but keep in mind, any task that relates to your photos should start inside of Lightroom once you're using Lightroom to manage your photos.
If you keep those three rules in mind, first, stop and slow down, make sure you understand Lightroom, and use Lightroom for everything, you'll be much better equipped to make the most of Lightroom to organize, optimize, and share your digital photos. And more importantly, you won't have a mess to clean up inside of Lightroom.
- 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