I have lots of images via LR which are in date folders (found on RH side of LR), I would like to simplify and shorten the list to one folder with a year on it, then with events. Instead of having to scroll down through heaps of date folders from various years. I tried doing this by creating new folders on my hard drive but the test image is then lost in LR. So not sure how to handle this. I would appreciate any advice.
I would also appreciate the best way to avoid this for future images. I expect there are lots to good information and advice on this but I'm hoping to find this info a little quicker.
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This is akin to asking "how should I file my paper work" etc.
The best advise I can give is get yourself a copy of The DAM Book by Peter Krogh.
It will give you ideas that may or may not feel look a good path, then you can organize based on what specificfally or your needs. For example, in his book, he talks about using his name in file names as he's a stock photographer and sends his images out to various stock houses. Great for him, not for me. Or, the idea of creating a well structured folder organization, that's great for me because I want to be able to find images outside the DAM if necessary. I've heard some 'experts' suggest, put all photo's in one big folder and let the DAM do all the work. I'd never consider that as again, what would happen if I moved to a different DAM or just needed to find images from 'the Finder'. I dismissed that idea ASAP. So what works for one person could be a huge fail for another. Get this book, read it and you'll be able to figure out a plan that works best for you.
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The way to avoid this for the future is to organize you photos in a folder structure you like BEFORE you import them into your Classic catalog. Then use "Add" when importing, not Copy or Move. With this method LrC learns about the location of the images and doesn't change anything.
To fix the current folder structure you need to move images around using Lightroom's Folder panel. When you create a folder, or move a folder into another folder with Lightroom they also move on the drive. Lightroom won't lose the connection to the images when you do this inside of the catalog.
A more simple solution is to use leave the folders the way they are and use Collections to organize them photos.
Do not do more folder organizing, other than folders by date
Use keywords and other metadata to organize, and to search
Keywords and other metadata provide a much more powerful organization and search capabilities. For example: a photo can be in at most one folder, but it can have many keywords. If you want to find photos taken across many different years and are in many different folders, you search for the photos by the keyword, and then all photos with that keyword are found (a search that is nearly impossible if your only organizing is by folder)
No. It works if all your photos are in one catalog.
Use one catalog for all of your photos, that's the usual recommendation, especially for beginners. (Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, but I think you should start with one catalog).