How to Fold Subfolders Into Main Folders?

Community Beginner ,
Jan 29, 2022 Jan 29, 2022

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In the Library module, some photos when imported end up in subfolders.  I want to fold them into the main folder, which is labeled according to date convention (e.g. 2019-12-30).  Perhaps the subfolder photos were actually taken on another date, and that's the problem?  In any case, I want a unified set of shots that can be organized within a single folder.  Is that possible while maintaining folder titles that adhere to the date convention?

 

Thanks....

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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You can drag and drop the folders into the "main folder" in the Library module Folders panel. It's easier to do this during the import (i.e. copy) of your camera picture files using the Destination panel in the Import module.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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When I dragged photos from my Macbook to the main folder of my external hard drive a while ago, then set up a correct date folder for those shots in Finder, established that folder in Lightroom and dragged my photos there, I lost all my edits.  Not good!  Any idea why?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 31, 2022 Jan 31, 2022

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The reason that failed is because this is not how Lightroom's edits and the importing of images works.

 

Perhaps the best way to clarify this, is to explain that the Folders panel that you see inside LrC is not a representation of the folders on your drive. It just isn't. It is how LrC presents all the remembered locations, of a lot of imported images. Taking an analogy, a club has membership records including a postal address for each member. The Folders panel is like someone maintaining a summary from those records, that shows the geographical spread of the members: how many, and which ones, are recorded as living in various cities (say). When someone new joins the club and his postal address is entered, if he is the first person from his city, that's a new entry in the summary. And if he leaves, and no other members live in that city. there will no longer be any instance of that city in the records so it will disappear from the listing.

 

All this has nothing to with the physical existence of the city - if it vanishes in the night or changes its name without informing the club,  the club's records continue to show the same information knowing no different. 

 

And the same is true when a club member moves to live in a different city.

 

  • What you want, is for the club to know about his change of address, and update his membership file accordingly. Everything continuing the same otherwise. In Lightroom Classic terms, this happens either when the move is invoked from inside the Catalog's Folders panel (by dragging and dropping there) - or, when the move is done by other means, but as a separate operation, a "change-of-address" procedure updates the person's membership record suitably - e.g., 'find missing folder' .

 

  • If no 'change of address' procedure happens, his mail will continue to send to the old address (unsuccessfully) because the club records know no different. His existing membership file, that holds all his prior activity, is now unusable so far as contacting him: his 'last known' address does not work. Say he then rings up the club and says, I live at such-and-such address and I ought to be in your club: and the club detects this as a brand new address (not previously known), and concludes this is a brand new member, and opens an empty membership file against that postal address. While the club records still include his full membership file (which is all correct, except for having a non-working postal address).

 

For LrC, the latter analogy is what happens from changing something on disk externally, and then re-importing the image at its new folder location, as if for the first time. IMPORT IS NOT THE ANSWER.

 

How would the club untangle this situation? It knows for which member records, mail keeps getting returned. It can find out (or be told) their correct postal addresses. But - if no duplicated addresses are permitted within the system - it cannot update the member's proper existing file with this postal address, because that brand new empty file (which shows this same postal address) blocks this from happening.

 

So that empty file has to be first removed (in LrC terms: Remove from Catalog but do not delete file from disk), to 'clear the way' so that the correct membership file, can then be updated suitably (Find Missing Folder).

 

This correct membership file will need to be looked for within the overall listing, under the city or whatever where that member formerly lived. Because that is where it continues to record him as living, until that is corrected. Similar for LrC: the "good" image holding all the prior edits, is the one with the exclamation mark on its folder. So you don't want to Remove that one from the Catalog!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 31, 2022 Jan 31, 2022

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"then set up a correct date folder for those shots in Finder, established that folder in Lightroom and dragged my photos there, I lost all my edits. Not good! Any idea why?"

 

To prevent this from happening you need to create all new folders from inside LrC using the Folders panel. Right-click on the folder where you want to add the new subfolder and select 'Create Folder Inside NAME.' Then drag and drop the image files you want into move to that subfolder from inside LrC's Folders panel and NOT using Finder.

 

 

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 31, 2022 Jan 31, 2022

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OK...but I don't want to set up subfolders.  I want to create main folders using the date convention, where they don't exist now.  In the past, when I dragged photos to the external hard drive header in Lightroom, the photos would automatically be assigned to new folders labeled with the date.  That didn't happen the last couple of times.

 

I'd also like to cancel some subfolders and assign the contents to the parent main folder.  Those subfolders bear the same date as the main folder, so I'm not allowed to drag and drop the contents.  Can this be done?

 

Thanks again....

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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Even without moving images out of a subfolder, you can still show them AS IF they are in that folder above, if you click on that folder, and you have got "include subfolders" option active.

 

The way that images go into dated subfolders, depends on how they were imported. To have LrC create dated folders automatically, according to the capture dates of the imported images, filing each photo into the appropriate place, then firstly: choose preferred auto date scheme within the Import settings (after setting the "Organize By" option to file by date) - and secondly, set the chosen destination for this import to be consistently the same.

 

FYI you need to NOT use the separate "into subfolder" option, in this case. That just causes separate date systems to happen, inside each such subfolder. It implements those first, not last, unfortunately.

 

Say you had LrC set to organise photos into "YYYY" / "YYYY-MM-DD" date scheme, and ran that, e.g. a "2022" folder will have been made and photos filed inside. But at your next import, say you keep the same date scheme, if you chooseto have these other photos filed into "2022" - then a second 2022 will get accordingly created inside the first 2022, and a day-dated subfolder inside that. Choose again the exact same destination as you did for the first import - IOW, the parent folder of 2022 - and that won't happen.

 

Let's say that this has happened - you have achieved a folder "C:\whatever\library\2022\2022\2022-01-29". You can now drag the "2022-01-29" etc from the lower 2022, into the higher 2022 (inside LrC Folders panel). Once the lower 2022 is empty, it can be removed. If LrC will not allow you to drag a folder (because of a naming conflict) you should still be able to drag contents. But it would be helpful to see what the current arrangement is, to advise properly.

 

What you cannot do, is tell LrC to automatically reorganise the locations and folders of already imported images, according to a date-based scheme. That can only be done at initial import - subsequently you will need to arrange any moves and renames yourself, and do so from inside LrC unless you are prepared to do a lot of extra work to re-aquaint the Catalog with where everything has now moved to. If you are tempted to shortcircuit all of that by re-importing the affected images, or using Sync Folder - please please resist all such notions, it will not come out well.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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Thanks for this very comprehensive reply.  This is only a minor issue for me at present, affecting relatively few folders (and unrelated to my current re-importing problem).  Will work on this later on.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 02, 2022 Feb 02, 2022

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Sure. As an approach, I recommend the following: 

  • a date based filing scheme that LrC can implement by itself, going forward
  • save this into a named import preset
  • with each future import, recall that preset, thus always re-initialise to known settings
  • such folders as don't correspond with this scheme: change that from inside LrC
  • do all this within a defined folder area that's left entirely to LrC to manage
  • exported files to be treated and stored differently than files that are LR-managed 

 

With properly 'automated' import and backup, and leaving well alone otherwise, your micro-management can fall to zero. Besides importing and output, working virtually in the Catalog, there is only one remaining management task for me: update copyright-metadata preset, once a year!

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LEGEND ,
Jan 31, 2022 Jan 31, 2022

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You were asked in your other thread to show us screen captures of the Folder Panel for one of these photos. Show us. Use the Insert Photos icon to include screen captures in your reply (do not attach files).

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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As mentioned in your other post, "Folders using the date convention are only created on import, not when you drag and drop folders. T...

 

As dj_paige mentions we need to see screen captures of your Folders panel to determine what's wrong. Are you doing ALL of these operations from inside LrC and NONE using Finder?

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LEGEND ,
Feb 01, 2022 Feb 01, 2022

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@Todd Shanerand @Explore my post above was a typo, I meant to say we need to see the History Panel for one of these photos.

 

Since then, in the other thread, th contents of the History panel has been discussed, and the reason the edits have disappeared is obvious ... these are new imports that never had edits. So, @Explore and @Todd Shaner , my request is to keep the entire discussion in one thread. I will not discuss this further in this thread.

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