Combining catalogs using keywords in Lightroom

New Here ,
Mar 15, 2021 Mar 15, 2021

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Greetings. Thank you in advance for any help, and please forgive me if this is a dumb newbie question.

I wish to combine photos from multiple catalogs into a single catalog using keywords.

For example, I have 2018.lrcat, 2019.lrcat, and 2020.lrcat for my family photos. I wish to create a new catalog called Bill.lrcat that has all the photos of Bill from 2018-2020, but no photos that don't contain Bill.

I know that, within each catalog, I can create a smart folder that has all photos with keyword "Bill", write these out to separate catalogs (2018_Bill, 2019_Bill, and 2020_Bill), and then combine/import those catalogs into a new catalog Bill.lrcat.

Alternative, I could create a new catalog that combines all of 2018, 2019, and 2020, and then remove any photos that don't contain the keyword "Bill", then save that catalog as Bill.lrcat.

But both of those solutions seem like a lot of work, and I can't help but wonder if there isn't an easier/faster way to do it.

Any help?

Thank you!

 

{Moved from Lightroom Cloud to Lightroom Classic Forum by Moderator}

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 16, 2021 Mar 16, 2021

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No - the most efficient way to do this is to sort your catalog on the keyword and export the results into it's own catalog... but why? What is the goal? If you want to share specific images with a particular person you can create a collection just for them and sync it to the cloud, create a link and give sharing privileges to the recipient. They can view, sort, like, comment and if you give them permission, can download the files to do as they wish. Your collection heirarchy can be a collection set called Family with sub categories for each individual member... having multiple catalogs can be difficult to manage unless you are archiving them once you create them.

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New Here ,
Mar 16, 2021 Mar 16, 2021

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Thank you for your reply. You ask "What is the goal?" which is a great question, so I'll step back.

The goal is to use the Web functionality of Lightroom to create online galleries at my photo website. I love the fact that I can create a collection (or smart collection), click Web, tweak a few settings, and then upload the photos to its own directory on my personal photo website. I am creating a series of galleries that way. But, for some of the galleries, I want to include photos that span multiple catalogs, i.e. photos of my dog Ryder from 2019 and from 2020, which currently exist as two different catalogs.

My goal: to create a Web gallery in Lightroom that has photos of Ryder from across multiple catalogs.

The only way I know to do it is to get make a catalog of Ryder_2019 photos, and one of Ryder_2020 photos, then combine those two catalogs into a single catalog, then use Web from there. I am sure this is a dumb way to be doing it!

Thank you again for your time and help.

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Mentor ,
Mar 16, 2021 Mar 16, 2021

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This notion of using separate catalogs puts far more difficulties, than benefits, in your path IMO.

 

Perhaps yesterday you wanted to browse all the photos taken in 2018 (whoever is in them), and today you want to see all the photos of Bill (from whatever year) - and tomorrow you might want to see all your photos that have both Bill and Fred in them, but not Joe, that were taken in 2019. And the following day, some other selection you haven't yet thought of and therefore that you cannot prepare for by distributing photos in separate catalogs.

 

FOr example: all the photos that you have assigned four star rating or above, taken with a certain camera - so, that disregards who is in them or what year.

 

All such subselections are easy to achieve dynamically with LrC's help PROVIDED all of those photos from which you ever might select, are held in one Catalog together. Then you can make a Collection or a Smart Collection or view by folder or whatever, within the context of this Catalog.

 

And whatever groupings those are, all operate in parallel. So the same image can reappear within many different groupings freely, as needed. And any grouping can e.g. be used to export / publish its members to a web gallery, at any time.

 

Analogy: a Catalog is not like the shelf or trolley where selected related books can be put; it is more like the library building which can house any and every conceivable way, to group and classify its books. The only case where one might assign a given book to a different library building, may be when one is (say) the law faculty library, and the other is the medical faculty library etc - in Lightroom terms, perhaps if one wanted to radically separate commercial work photos from personal photos.

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New Here ,
Mar 16, 2021 Mar 16, 2021

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Thank you for your detailed and helpful reply.

Your point is that having one giant catalog with every photo I've ever taken provides maximum flexibility in creating collections. I definitely see that point! I worry that having too large a catalog will create problems, such as very slow access, or too long backing up, or memory problems. Is there a practical upper limit on the # of photos in a catalog? I estimate that I take 10K-20K photos/year. Am I just making up the concern that too large a catalog creates problems?

So perhaps the best way to implement your suggestion is to create one giant catalog from all my yearly catalogs, and use that for now on. That will take some time to set up, but then I'll be able to create any web gallery based on any criteria that I like.

Thank you again.

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Participant ,
Mar 16, 2021 Mar 16, 2021

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Within the limits of Lightroom Classic, I think you've found a reasonably practical solution. Lightroom works with one catalog at a time, so whatever you do with the Web feature is limited to what it can see in a single catalog.

 

An alternative approach would be to export web-ready images (just the jpegs or pngs) from all your catalogs into a single target directory (or directory tree). Then import all those images into a special-purpose LRC catalog that is only used for publishing and managing your web galleries.

 

This could end up being more convenient anyway, since it will isolate your web pages from your "source" catalogs. I find it's helpful to keep "published" versions separated from the "source" catalogs. That way you won't accidentally change your published web galleries just because you later edited or re-arranged images in your source catalogs. It also allows you to manage the storage used by your source catalogs, changing how they are organized in your volumes, or even moving them offline, without compromising your web pages.

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New Here ,
Mar 16, 2021 Mar 16, 2021

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Interesting idea! I'll give it some thought. Thank you for replying.

 

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