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Need guidance to create a new catalog- and then import existing catalog photos into

Advocate ,
May 25, 2024 May 25, 2024

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I need to re-create my Lightroom catalog as I suspect the existing catalog is corrupt as it cannot be backed up. I've hired consultants to help but only result now is I've created a new empty catalog and found that indeed it can be backed up. So now for the second step. bringing in the existing library of photos so that it shows up nice and organized as it did in the old catalog. I've tried importing twice now and wind up with a mess both times. Where can I find straightforward help to accomplish this?

 

TIA,

Ken

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , May 27, 2024 May 27, 2024

Did you click in All Photographs? AFAICT this feature exports whatever is currently showing in the Filmstrip / in Grid view.  So if you are clicked to view just a certain folder, then that folder's contents is the maximum you will get. Furthermore, if you've also checked the option "Export selected photos only", you won't necessarily get all of those even - perhaps none - depending on which photos within that folder are currently highlighted (selected).

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Community Expert ,
May 25, 2024 May 25, 2024

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In the new empty catalog - you do know NOT to use "import photos and videos", right?

 

Rather, you want "import from another catalog" - the screenshot is from Windows but I am sure MacOS will have a similar menu.

 

richardplondon_0-1716677031530.png

 

The outcome is that the existing catalog's information about:
what images are imported from what folders, how those are organised virtually (Collections, keywords etc), how edited and with what History - all gets merged in wholesale. 

 

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Advocate ,
May 25, 2024 May 25, 2024

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At this point I am readily admitting that I know nothing. Your comment aligns perfectly with what I'm gathering now... press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) to get this Import Catalog menu and then choose 'Import From Another Catalog and then choose 'Import Catalog.' This gets me a step in the right direction but I realize there are still more choices as you mention. The next thing will be to choose the catalog I am importing from.  So far good? After I choose the catalog to import from then there will be options  which you name. I want to be darn careful I choose all of the right options so this will be successful. I would like this thread to be so complete that others who want to do the same will be able to reference and do the same.

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Advocate ,
May 25, 2024 May 25, 2024

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Here we go with the second part of doing the import, and that would be selecting the options:
I gather that I'll see a window after I select the catalog file with a breakdown of catalog contents, folders with my negative files. You mention Richard, to click into "All Photographs" and to make sure "Export selected photos only" is left un-checked. All file locations will remain the same so un-check "Export negative files" (oddly named as you mention) and I don't see the 'negative files' mentioned yet. Ratings, metadata, and/or edits will be preserved if I choose "do nothing.'

Now, as a last question before I do anything I want to understand at this point I should be able to proceed. I will do nothing until I hear what you have to say about what I've written down here. I don't want to add anything or change anything, just import the old catalog contents into the new. Does all of this look okay to you? If any comments please let me know as I'm ready to try this tonight. Thanks for your help Richard.


 

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Advocate ,
May 25, 2024 May 25, 2024

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Even though I am asking for help and have even paid professionals to help me, none are interested it seems. No one has come up with the help I need to complete this. I followed through with all of the steps mentioned above and ZERO... no files were imported into the new catalog this time. I have no idea what I am doing wrong because I have no idea how to do this. The experts say 'it's easy' but that is all they say. I'll keep trying as I need to create a new uncorrupted catalog with contents from teh old catalog so I can finally have a working catalog that I can back up. If worse comes to worse I can simply start over from scratch and manually import files from my saved, no ratings or metadata or edits will be preserved but being able to make a backup of what I have is critical to a healthy workflow.

 

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Community Expert ,
May 26, 2024 May 26, 2024

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It's perfectly safe to try: the only data you are modifying is the Catalog that you are importing into. Your prior Catalog (that you are importing from) is not altered at all. If you were not happy with the outcome, you could simply erase the new Catalog and make a fresh empty one.  

 

Prompts that can arise with 'Import from Another Catalog' have to do with how you would want any conflicts / comparisons as may arise between image versions that are already there, and incoming image versions for the same photos, to be resolved. Since an empty catalog starts with NO photos whatever, such questions will not even get asked. 

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Advocate ,
May 26, 2024 May 26, 2024

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This is helpful, don't know why I am getting an empty catalog even after importing. I will try again as you say, no harm done. Thank You Richard.

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Advocate ,
May 26, 2024 May 26, 2024

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I have tried repeatedly, it lets me create new catalog, I close the old and open the new and then choos 'import from catalog' then it acts like it is going to try to import and then nothing. No files are imported and I'm left with an empty catalog repeatedly.  I'm following all of the steps and it should work but it doesn't. What could I be doing wrong?

1: Create a brand new catalog.

2: Verify that you can backup this new catalog.

3: Choose 'File - Import from Another Catalog' and select your old catalog.

4: In the dialog that follows, select to import all new photos but do not move them.

5: This will create a copy of your old catalog. Check that you can still make a backup.

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Community Expert ,
May 26, 2024 May 26, 2024

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so - you do see a dialog similar to the one below, and chose the same option?

richardplondon_0-1716746106692.png

 

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Advocate ,
May 26, 2024 May 26, 2024

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Yes, I see exactly what you are showing. strange that there are so many things checked but I just left it all at the default with everything checked and hit 'import' and nothing happens... Zero images are imported so still an emplty catalog.

Screenshot 2024-05-25 at 11.10.14 PM.png

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Community Expert ,
May 26, 2024 May 26, 2024

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That is very strange. I assume you have confirmed zero photos are in fact present. 

 

Perhaps your current catalog is so malformed that it is not importable from? or... something else is not right.

 

A fallback tactic that occurs to me - short of writing out metadata and reimporting photos fresh, which would be a very distant last-resort - is to try "pushing out" an intermediate catalog using Export as Catalog. Then see if that operates OK. If not fully, but it does show your edited images, maybe this intermediate may be bringable (Import from Catalog) into a new, freshly made catalog. Aim being: a known-good database structure which contains only known-valid image entries properly indexed. Hope being: that anything found non-valid should have been excluded along the way.

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Advocate ,
May 26, 2024 May 26, 2024

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Here's my currect screen of the new catalog, and where I am starting. at this point. So, I will try " an intermediate catalog using Export as Catalog. Then see if that operates OK" and doing this with my good operating catalog, not the empty newly created one.

Screenshot 2024-05-26 at 11.13.42 AM.png

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Advocate ,
May 26, 2024 May 26, 2024

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Okay, that worked to export as catalog but it only included 21 photos I assume as the last import was selected, I need to export the whole catalog of images so didn't see an option to check to include all. But, at least this worked... I assume it is not copying any photos but just building a catalog with previews of what is already in place for actual image files. Should I now, and how do I, instruct Lightroom to 'export as catalog' and include ALL of the images in ALL of the folders on all disks?
Screenshot 2024-05-26 at 11.48.21 AM.png

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Community Expert ,
May 26, 2024 May 26, 2024

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Yes it is just building a new Catalog that has got the same sorts of information inside.

 

To export all images, go to "All Photographs" collection and make sure the Library filter is set to None. That defines an overall set of images that will be included. Then in Export as Catalog, un-check "selected images only" to get this entire set (without needing to expand stacks, and highlight all of its individual members).

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Advocate ,
May 26, 2024 May 26, 2024

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I'm gathering then, that the new exported catalog loses the reference to where the images are actually stored on the hard drives? I'm half-way favoring simply backing up the Lightroom files on the hard drive just to have a backup as the catalog works fine and behaves normally. The only problem is that it will not backup from within Lightroom at any location which suggests that the catalog is corrupted somehow. Thanks for Ideas Richard and I appreciate. I'll do some more thinking on this before abandoning what I have that is working except for no normal backups.

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2024 May 27, 2024

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When you Export as Catalog you have two choices for the checkbox "Export negative files".

 

If checked, LrC creates new copies of all relevant image files alongside the newly created catalog, in a new arrangement of local subfolders which mimics the relative folder organisation seen in the starting catalog. Then these (parallel) copies in their new folders, are the ones referenced by the new catalog. So both setups are now fully independent of each other, going forward.

 

If unchecked, which would be my recommendation, the newly created catalog references the exact same images in all the same current locations (and this can include multiple drive volumes) as the starting catalog does. So those files and folders are now held in common by both catalogs. Thus if you were to rename or move or delete or write metadata out to one or another image file from within one catalog, that action will have an impact for the other catalog which is referencing this same image file.

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Advocate ,
May 27, 2024 May 27, 2024

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Okay Richard, and Thank You! I am ready to try this but as a last request before I would do this, where is this checkbox to 'include negatives?' I have never seen it. Do you have a screen shot of where it can be seen. I do not want to miss this as I do not want to check 'Export negative files' absolutely not. A screen shot would show me where this checkbox is and it is mighty important.

 

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2024 May 27, 2024

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richardplondon_0-1716841450558.png

this screenshot is from Windows, 13.2 release 

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Advocate ,
May 27, 2024 May 27, 2024

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Okay, perfect, but now it only exported one folder with 21 images not the entire catalog. Do I need to select the folders? it will only let me select one image at a time so I don't think that is the isslue. Selecting nothing would be best. You would think that expporting catalog would be enough to export the entire catalog and not just individual items. I'll be so glad when this is resolved.

 

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2024 May 27, 2024

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Did you click in All Photographs? AFAICT this feature exports whatever is currently showing in the Filmstrip / in Grid view.  So if you are clicked to view just a certain folder, then that folder's contents is the maximum you will get. Furthermore, if you've also checked the option "Export selected photos only", you won't necessarily get all of those even - perhaps none - depending on which photos within that folder are currently highlighted (selected).

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Advocate ,
May 27, 2024 May 27, 2024

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Tell me if there is some trickery to getting things right. If I show all photos will it then still get the file locations on the two drive right? I do not trust Lightroom with my limited knowledge as I hope you know you are being a huge help here. So close but oh so far as only actually creating a new imitation catalog that I already have is all I want, no excluding photos and no wiping out the locations and information already preserved in the original catalog. I will try this with 'all photos' selected but only because I believe it will not destroy my already existing catalog that works but will not backup. I'll give it a shot... thank you Richard for bearing with me on this.

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Community Expert ,
May 27, 2024 May 27, 2024

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Your current catalog is not going to be changed, by exporting FROM it. The images that are going to be included in the new catalog will all refer to the same storage locations.

 

Imagine you wrote out a list of some people's names and addresses, and then you photocopied that sheet of paper. This duplication process has not changed the original piece of paper; the same actual people still exist in the world unaffected; they are the same people being referred to on one list, as on the other; and their addresses are all still just as correct whichever list you look at.

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Advocate ,
May 27, 2024 May 27, 2024

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Please note, and this is what fixed the problem: Lightroom has its own quirks and I will name one here: The left-hand column instists that you have something highlighted. The dialgo box to export to a new catalog has a box to leave 'unchecked' to 'export only selected images.' Even though you have that choice unselected Lightroom will still continue to make a catalog out of only what you have selected in the list of drives and files and folders. This is why I was winding up with only a few images in the new catalog as I had a latest shoot folder selected thinking Lightroom would care less about that. Bottom line, if you want the whole catalog to be exported then you need to select 'all images' at the top as I show here. Remember, something has to be selected here.
last but not least highlight all images as shown copy.jpg

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Advocate ,
May 27, 2024 May 27, 2024

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Almost unbelievable how much work this has been to get to this point. You certainly know Lightroom Richard and I owe you many thanks for helping get to the resolve. That last point about clicking on ALL PHOTOGRAPHS was key in getting the whole catalog exported. Good News: The new exported catalog is whole and complete copy of the corrupted 'without the corruption.' The new catalog backs up easily as it should and now has my workflow back to humming along again! Amazing help on your part!

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Community Expert ,
May 28, 2024 May 28, 2024

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glad you got it working!

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