I am approaching the completion of my present lightroom project. I have 48,000 images filed in this catalogue. These are in folders by year and then subfolders for the events etc. I need to control the ordering of the images in these folders. However Lightroom says that it cannot do this.What should my work around be? I am planning to export the whole catalogue As there are many developed images and I want them to be in a format where they can be displayed rapidly. I would also like to be able to add annotations or further refefence information about images or groups of images. I suspect that these requirements are a bit steep for Lightroom. Is there a programme that is compatible with lightroom that I can export to? ( I will be storing the images in a Linux based operating system.) Do you think I will encounter difficulties if I try to export the whole catalogue at one time?
And which VERSION NUMBER of the Lightroom 'family' of products are you using?
This is the forum for Lightroom-Classic users.
I apologise for not replying sooner, however I had no notification of your response. I am using lightroom classic.
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Assuming you are using a recent version of Lightroom Classic…
You are free to manually sort the files by drag-and-drop, in addition to the provided sort orders (Filename etc.)…specifically when viewing the contents of a single folder. However, if the Library module is set to view the contents of a folder and all its subfolders, then Lightroom Classic won’t allow manual sorting.
Manual sorting is possible, regardless of folder organization, if you create a Collection (a virtual list, like a playlist), and add images to the collection. For example, you would be able to create a collection, add all 48,000 images to it, and be free to arrange with no sort restrictions, because a collection is abstracted away from the file system.
Exporting is a different matter, because when you export the files to a folder on your desktop, computer file systems generally have no way to store a custom sort order. You can use only the sort orders provided by a window on the desktop, such as File Name, Date Created, etc. To preserve sort order outside Lightroom Classic, many of us use the custom file renaming feature in the Export dialog box to add a number sequence token to the beginning of the exported filenames. That numbers file names based on the sort order that was in effect in the Lightroom Classic view from which you exported. For example, if you manually sorted so that “box.jpg” comes before “airplane.jpg” which is alphabetically earlier, you can configure file naming on export so that they become “001-box.jpg” and “002-airplane.jpg”. That will preserve their manual sort in a desktop folder window set to sort by filename.
As for getting all this over to Linux: If you set the Export dialog box in Lightroom Classic to include all metadata, then the metadata you entered in the IPTC panel (such as keywords, captions, etc.) in the Library module will be embedded in each exported image. IPTC is an industry standard read by many photo applications, so the next IPTC-compatible application to read those images would see your metadata annotations.
I am not very familiar with Linux, but I am aware of two free and open source Linux applications that are kind of like Lightroom Classic: Darktable, and Lightzone. You can try them out and see if they do a good job of reading the annotations written by IPTC-compatible applications such as Lightroom Classic.
Great reply Conrad!! 👍🏿👍🏿
yes he was really helpful'
Conrad thanks for your detailed and very helpful note. I only found your response today because of message from Adobe to rank the replies I had received. I have not yet tried exporting anything from my catalogue and it is a big jump to do the whole thing at once.I am therefore afraid of crashing the system. I have been using numbering in the catalogue to sort the sub folders into the correct order, but have not thought about it with the images which still retain their camera given identities. I see in lightroom that there are faint numbers created by the system on the photos within any file. Maybe that is what the system you describe is doing during exporting? Does it work if there are just the camera derived numbers? Are the folder relationships preserved ?
I will want to preserve the metadata as you showed and I will look into Darktable and Lightzone which might be just what I will need next.
Thanks so much for taking the time to explain all of this.
I see in lightroom that there are faint numbers created by the system on the photos within any file. Maybe that is what the system you describe is doing during exporting?
If you mean the very large bold number in the top left corners, those are not permanently tied to specific files. Those are called “index numbers” and are useful only as a quick reference within a view. In other words, the index numbers will always read “1 2 3 4 5…” across the top, even if you rearrange the images. It’s just a quick way to remember the 4th, 15th, 21st image in a list.
Any time you want to refer to a specific photo or video, the unique identifier is always its filename. That is the key to the next answer…
Does it work if there are just the camera derived numbers? Are the folder relationships preserved ?
When you export a set of files from any application, the problem is that out on your computer desktop, a folder window has a specific set of sort options and they cannot preserve a custom order from a specific application. For example, on my computer I can view a folder sorted by Name, Kind, Date Last Opened… but there is no way for it to know how images were custom-sorted in a particular application.
If you want to preserve a custom sort order from an application, a popular way to do that is add a number to the filename so that the files will be in the order you want when a desktop folder is sorted by Name.
For example, if we have this list of photos:
And we want to arrrange them in this order:
When exported, there is no option in a desktop folder window to maintain that order. But if we rename on export so that there is a number in front of each file as arranged in the application…
…now when a folder window is set to sort by Name, the files sort in the custom order we wanted.
To achieve this in Lightroom Classic, in the Export dialog box:
1. In the File Naming section, choose Edit from the Rename To menu.
2. In the Filename Template Editor dialog box, you’ll see a white box with blue tokens in it. The tokens represent the parts of the filename that can be automatically inserted on export. Choose the tokens you need from the menus below, and click Insert to add them to the white box. In this example we inserted a two-digit Sequence token, a hyphen, and a Filename token. This means “Insert the number of the image in the current sort order, then a hyphen, then the current filename.”
3. When finished, click Done, then continue with the export.