I'm returning to LR after several years away. Personal details irrelevant, so here's the catalog problem/question. I use Windows 10.
I didn't want to use LR anymore. I maintain my own folder structure in Windows Explorer. I use BRIDGE to maintain the folders. However, I opened my folder structure in LRC to just look around a bit in LR. Therefore, LRC had some "knowledge" of my folder structure at THAT point in time.
After that, I returned to Bridge over the next couple weeks and made many changes to the folder structure and moved many images around.
Because of a post I made to this community regarding Camera Raw not working properly (can't zoom or pan images at all, when ARC is opened independently as a stand-alone program outside of LR) I decided to do the RAW work in LRC (hoping I could pan/zoom different areas of an image in LRC).
I had been hoping to do the raw work in ACR and thus, be independent of LR's catalog. My plan was to use Bridge, ACR, and Photoshop only, and not marry the LR catalog.
So, I returned to LRC, and synchronized my master (highest level) folder. I had done considerable changes to folder structure and moving images around in BRIDGE prior to accessing LRC the second time (first time was when I just looked around a bit, as mentioned above).
When I synchronized the folder, it was obvious the LRC catalog was all screwed up. More than 500 images were missing. I displayed them, and knew they weren't missing, just moved, and I had deleted some. The synchronize didn't figure that out.
To solve the problem, I deleted ALL LRC catalogs and related files, and indicated LR should create a new catalog, which it did. But that creates a new question, the subject of this post:
Must I now do all folder manipulation, and movement of images between folders, WITHIN LRC? If I continue to work within Bridge, will the LRC catalog get confused again?
The whole idea of using both Bridge and Lightroom Classic seems like it is a recipe for trouble. Yes, moving photos in Bridge is a reason why Lightroom Classic will lose track of the photos. Pick one software, Lightroom Classic or Bridge, and stick with it. Make your life simple.
If you do choose Lightroom Classic, the whole idea of moving photos from folder to folder for some reason ought to be abandoned. Put them in the folder where they belong, and NEVER move them again (exception: if you have to move the photos to a new hard disk or a new computer, then you move them). Make your life simple. Further, use Lightroom Classic tools, such as keywords and other metadata, to achieve organization. Do not try to achieve organization by moving photos from folder to folder. If you really really really need to move photos from here to there, this can be done, but really, don't do it.
DJ has you pointed in the right direction.
If you move folders outside of LrC, you need to go to the LrC Folders panel and tell LrC where you moved the folder(s) to.
If you move individual photos, you need to tell LrC where you moved the photos to.
"Sync" is NOT the command you are looking for. You need to use "find missing folders" and "find missing photos".
Thanks, folks, for the response and tips.
I decided to use LRC+PS, and can't use BR+ACR+PS anymore. Using other software, even Windows Explorer, on the same folders & image files, while still using LRc catalog, would be asking for trouble. All my changes to my folder structure, and moving files, must be done within LRc. That way, the LRc catalog is always aware of where everthing is and if anything (folders or files) have been moved or deleted.
I'm proceeding slowly, simplifying my folder structure, and doing all work within LRc. I have Windows Explorer open in the background, and check my work after each move of files, and deletion of folder after moving image files out. If one proceeds slowly and carefully, the LR catalog is aware of everything. I don't do massive changes, over multiple hours, at one time. I may work 1/2 hour, or so, then sync my main highest-level folder, then quit LR, and backup the catalog. The sync has been without error, no missing files or questionable folders. Then, I open LR again, and continue another half hour, etc. It won't take long to finish. Then, I can work on the keywords.
Thanks for the responses and tips.
Why is the sync of folders necessary? Why are you moving files from folder to folder?
Fair questions! I've used LRC since around 2006. I've always maintained my image files in a logical Windows Explorer hierarchy. I only have about 2000 "production" style image files, taken with my favorite cameras, as distinguished from "vacation" shots, family shots, etc, taken with smartphones and kept completely away from LrC.
If I had 50,000, or more "production" files, as maybe some professional photographers have, I'm not sure what I would do, but probably the same theory--same strategy. Organizing images the way I want, not the way LR wants, renders individual images easy to look at, find, in any software. I use keywords, too, of course. Ok, that's the background.
When Adobe went subscription, I divorced from all things Adobe. It was then, out of the LR catalogue, that my folder structure proved its worth, as I could use it in any software, and was familiar with how to find anything. Didn't skip a beat, except: problem was, even though I tried what I considered the top 3 competitors to PS, I found them incredibly lacking in even the most simple things required for my work.
So, not too long ago, after wasting a significant amount of money on those products (not naming names), I was extremely happy to pay a mere $10/month to have PS back. At that time, I did not want to use LrC. I wanted to use Bridge, and continue to maintain my images outside of a proprietary database.
If you look (and I see you do)--see the many problems people are having with the LrC catalog, maybe you can see why I didn't want anything to do with the restrictions surrounding the catalog. I don't blame the Lr catalog for most of the problems. That's like blaming your car for breaking down when it's not been properly maintained.
In Bridge, I could do anything I wanted. Bridge is like a super Windows Explorer. For a Windows user, most everything in Bridge is intuitive. I like Bridge a lot.
Since I dumped the other PS wannabes (and their raw file converters) I was forced to use ACR. That was the beginning of trouble. With the new release of ACR, I couldn't zoom into an area of an image to check results of adjustments in ACR, which rendered ACR useless to me. I'm not sure when that problem started with ACR, as I only recently started using it.
Since I couldn't use ACR natively, as a stand-alone app, in desperation, I was forced to try using LrC to get images ready for detail work in PS.
So, there I was again: using the LR catalog. Well, whatever it takes, right?
I immediately had problems--big ones. When I viewed some of my folders in Windows Explorer, I saw the images I expected--the images I knew were in those folders. When I viewed them in LrC, I often saw fewer images. Right away, I knew I had a catalog problem.
In addition, when I synchronized my highest-level master folder under which all subfolders lived, almost 25% of my images were "missing." In addition, some of my folders were disabled (grayed out) with little "?" symbols on them. Again, I knew this was another LrC problem. Actually, it was MY problem.
So--what happened? Well, my new strategy using LrC was to only use it to gain access to ACR through a different LrC "window," and keep all my images OUT of the LrC catalog--only making LrC aware of images that I needed to work on in ACR. All the rest of my work was done in Bridge and PS.
I needed to review many images I had taken over the years, decide which to keep, which folder to put them in, reorganize folders, delete some folders, create new ones, etc, to streamline the whole hierarchy. I needed to cull many images, move many into "non-production" folders, "reject" folders, "possible production" folders, etc.
Well, you get the picture.
So, what's the problem? Like a wife not caring for a philandering husband, the LrC catalog did not like what I was doing outside of the LrC catalog marriage. The LrC catalog wants all organizational work done within LRc, not externally.
All folder additions/deletions/renames--all image deletions/additions/renames/moving around, must be done within LrC. Bye, bye, Bridge. Bye, bye, Windows Explorer.
Using the LrC catalog is like being married. You can't have affairs outside that marriage w/o getting into trouble.
Yes, I could spend days, even weeks, manually straightening the catalog out, finding missing folders/images, etc. I don't have time for that. As an IT specialist in real life (if that was real!) for 35 years (now ret.) I knew what I had to do: I had to access ALL of the LrC database files and delete them. Then, I would tell LrC, upon next opening LrC, to create a new, fresh, unadulturated (nice word in this context, right?) catalog.
This took a bit of time, but not too much, with my 2000 images. All 1:1 previews had to be created, too, as that's what I specify in preferences.
When the database was re-created, I did a synchronize on the highest level folder (maybe not necessary since the catalog was new, but being a paranoid IT specialist, what harm could it do? No missing files, no questionable folders. All good.
Then, I knew I couldn't do anything in Bridge anymore;. I knew I couldn't do anything in Windows Explorer anymore (except look at the images in folders, which was critical to ensure all my actions in LrC behave as expected in the Windows Explorer universe).
I decided to reorganize--simplify my folder structure, which necessitated moving images to higher level folders and "remove-ing" lower level folders. It's a lot of work, and I'm still doing it.
One nit to Adobe: being an IT specialist for many years, I know the value of consistency. Otherwise, confusion and ambiguity. When I "remove" an image in LrC, a message box asks if I actually want to "delete from disk" or just remove from catalog. But when I "remove" a folder, no such message box displays, so it's up to the imagination of the user to divine what is actually happening. I, of course, check in Windows Explorer).
Being a paranoid IT specialist, I don't work for hours and hours at these reorganizational actions without checking how LrC is treating me.
After EVERY move, I check in Windows Explorer, that the result I see in Windows Explorer is exactly what I did in LrC. About every half hour I did a folder synchronize to ensure LrC and I were on the same page. You were right to ask why I was doing this. I probably did not have to synchronize at all after creating the new catalog and being so careful to check my move/changes in Windows Explorer. However, as a paranoic IT specialist, I saw no downside to this final sync check every half hour. If there was any issue at all, I wanted to fix it immediately. I only wanted to do this major overhaul once.
Every sync was perfect. Then, I'd exit LrC, tell it to back up the catalog and optimize, then I'd re-open LrC and continue work. I'm still doing it. Sorry for being such a windbag, but I favor clarity. Aftful Toad signing off.