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My photos are kept on my external drive. I have brought them into Lightroom, deleted many and edited those that I want to keep.
So now what? How do I keep my freshly edited pics. Do I just leave them as they are or do I somehow export the edited pictures back to my external drive?
Did you do the editing in LRC or what?
Were/are these images in your catalog? If so, there's nothing you need to do. If you physically moved them over to your computer's hard drive in Finder/Explorer, you've created a bit of a mess for yourself.
Yes, I have been doing the editing in LRC. I didn't physically move the photos to the hard drive. So I think that is all ok.
I imported my photos into Lightroom and then edited them. I think all of that I did correctly, too.
But I just feel there must be more to it.
BTW, I get what you are saying about having a crash. I am in the "haven't had one yet" group. I will definitely do something about that and get a second backup.
This is what I don't understand: I know that Lightroom keeps a record of all my changes. But what would happen if I stopped using Lightroom, for whatever reason? Or Lightroom suddenly didn't exist any more. Would all of my edited photos be lost and I would only have my original non-edited ones (on my external drive)?
When I close Lightroom, I am asked to back up my catalogue. I assume all of the changes to my photos are saved at that point. But that catalogue is just in Lightroom, isn't it? Or should it be on my external drive, too.
Thanks for your great advice.
If you were to stop paying Adobe for LRC, two things would happen: you'd stop getting updates and you could not adjust more images. There is a time-period on this I do not remember, it's not absotluely immiedate though.
The other thing is that you can always continue to search, look at your images and save them out as JPGs. So you'd retain those abilities.
Now, one other thing: when LRC is asking you to save your catalog, this is becuase IF anything happens to your catalog, well, that's not good. So, at a minimum, if your catalog goes belly up (very uncommon but it happens), you can revert back to a previous catalog and you've just lost a bit of work. Please be sure to always open the most recent catalog or you'll be going crazy looking for images or edits that were done before the old one you just opened. I keep catalogs for about 6 months and then toss the older ones.
Thanks very much for all of your patient advice and explanations. I didn't know about different versions of a catalogue being accessible.
So, in summary: I import from my external drive into Lightroom
I back up my catalogue
I don't export my photos back to my external drive
1. What has happened to those original photos in my external drive? Do they remain unedited?
2. The backed up catalogue - it's just in Lightroom, right? Or do you have your catalogue backed up in your external drive (if that is even possible)
Another excellent question!
OK, somewhere on your computer or external drive is a file that has the name of your catalog but has been zipped. So it would in a folder called "Backups" within another folder with the date you saved it and it would be nameed "mycatalog.lrcat.zip."
And all this can be seen (and set) in the Catalog Preferences, adjacent to your LRC's Preferences (I could tell you where that was but I do not know if you're on a Mac or a PC.)
Sorry, just reading this now.
Alright. My catalogue is safe because it is zipped somewhere on my computer. (I have seen that but had completely forgotten.) I have a PC.
But presumably I would only use that zipped file if there was a problem with Lightroom. Because normally, the catalogue is there when I open Lightroom. (Stop me if I am wrong)
Two final questions:
1. After you back up your catalogue, do you save that zipped file each time to your external drive (or wherever)?
2. Originally, I thought I should be exporting the Lightroom edited photos back to my external drive. But now I understand that my original images will always remain unedited. Is that right?
#2 first: yes
#1: it's backed up and the next time you back up it also is saved. Each one is saved until you (a) need it (hopefully never), or (b) deside it's so old that the contents are not worth saving.
And it's not a "problem with lightroom," rather something (again VERY rarely) with the catalog because, as has been stated, THAT has all of the changes of all of the images of your images.
If you want to see the edits outside of Lightroom (emailing, photo site uploads, social media) then you need to "export" your edits to JPG or other files. After you are done sending/uploading the exported JPG files, you can delete the exported JPG files (or not) since you can export them again if needed.
I am ok with emailing, putting them on social media, etc. It's not the jpegs I am confused about.
It's my photos that I brought into Lightroom from my external drive and edited. Do I somehow have to export them back to my external drive so that these edited photos replace the original non-edited photos? That's my question.
Or (maybe this is a better way of asking the question) will my photos in my external drive always stay unedited?
"..photos that I brought into Lightroom..."
Basic understanding!- Your PHOTOS ARE NOT IN LIGHTROOM!
You have (by Importing) only made references and thumbnail previews of your photos in the Lr Catalog library.
"...somehow have to export them back to my external drive..."
You do not have to 'Save' or Export anything! UNLESS you want or need an Edited version for another reason.
All your editing is stored in the Catalog file. The very reason why you must keep regular backups of the Catalog.
Lots of good basic advice in the free Lightroom-Classic eBook from the Lightroom Queen-
Ok. So I finish editing. Then I back up the Catalogue and close Lightroom.
But where is the catalogue being backed up to? I think it is being backed up to/in Lightroom. So what happens if there is some kind of catastrophic Lightroom failure (or, more likely, I just screw things up). How do I ensure that my edited photos are safe.
Definitely look in options and enable the sidecar .xml files. They serve as a copy of edits, stored next to each file. They take up very little space and have saved me around 5 times when the drive the catalog was on either had it accidentally erased (default catalog location in a bizarre hidden AppData directory that's easy to forget when an OS reinstall was needed isn't the best idea) or in one case crashed. I always had the photos themselves backed up with the sidecar files though so even with those issues I've never lost my old edits. Theoretically other software can parse the xml data and apply roughly equivalent adjustments as well (it's human readable text so worst case you can apply similar settings in whatever), although I'm not aware of any that does.
"where is the catalogue being backed up to?"
Wherever you [Choose], and that must be a different physical hard-drive to the location of your Catalog.
Example:. My Catalog exisst on a D:Drive and I Backup the catalog to my C:Drive:
And in the Catalog Settings you can set 'how often' that you are asked to Backup the Catalog when you shut-down:
And do not forget to Backup your camera files using other software (Not Lightroom-Classic)-
OK, I think I understand your question now.
Here's the deal, the LR Classic Catalog has a record of everything you've done to every image in your catalog. There are people with hundreds of thousands of images in their catalog so there's room for lots. The other issue is that LRC doesn't care where the images are located: on your hard drive, on a flash drive on an external drive, as long as it's an actual media storage (as opposed to cloud storage), you're good. The BIG thing is that any movement, deletions, name changes, etc. MUST BE DONE WITHIN LRC. If you do any of those actions there, LRC doesn't know about that so it will cause LRC to "lose" those images. It's simple to relink them but what you don't really want to do is to give yourself extra work.
So, to answer your question: if you were to take an image out of your external drive by the Finder/Explorer, it probably will not have any of the changes you've done. I say probably becuase there is an option to have any of the changes be added to the images (as a sidecar if a tif, psd, or raw image or contained if a jpg or dng format). But you should not be taking images from the Finder/Explorer in the first place.
BTW: I think it's great that you've got your images on an external drive, I do and it's great that you do not have them filling up your computer's hard drive. BUT, do you have that hard drive backed up?
Keep in mind: "There are two kinds of hard drive users. Those who've had a hard drive crash and those who've not had a hard drive crash YET."
Over the years I've had several hard drives crash and yes I've lost stuff. Here's what I now do:
I have a 4 TB drive that holds all of my images and many documents. I have a 2nd 4TB drive that I use to back up my first drive. I manually do this at least once a week or more often if I've done a lot of work.
I have a 3rd 4TB drive I use for Apple's Time Machine.
I also use a cloud service in case the house burns down. Am I paranoid? No, just a realist. In a worst case scenario, I would not lose much, at worse some time.
[Note: the 4TB is entirely based on what I need. Your needs may demand more or less hard drive space. Whatever you think you need, double it. Oh, the backup drives do not need to be SSDs or anything fancy or fast, just reliable. Do not use portable drives as they are not as robust as desktop drives. And be aware that your first backup will take a long time. Also look for backup software that can update your data as opposed to replacing your data. If you're on a Mac I can strongly recommend ChronoSync. If you're on a PC, I'm sure someone can make recommendations.]
In a way, this is somewhat of a conundrum. When is an image really finished? Lightroom processes change and improve, and with those improvements it is always possible to go back and improve what we have done in the past. So I suppose the "safest" thing to do would be to create a library of finished images. They wouldn't necessarily have to be part of a Lightroom catalog, but when you are certain that an image is what you want it to be then you could export a copy to that library that could reside on a separate hard drive, or in a separate folder, or whatever. Then, to ensure that that finished image is safe and will never be lost you would need to devise a backup system to preserve those images in case of a disaster. But then, again, in the future if you decide to revisit one of those "finished" images and make changes, then you have to remember to update the copy in the finished folder or on the finished hard drive. Not really an easy or practical task to manage. At least not one that I'm going to tackle.