Hi everyone. Apologies as I'm not very good with lightroom yet, and have been really struggling with this.
I am wanting to move my completed images over to an external hard drive. I followed the guidance and dragged the folders of those images onto my hard drive in lightroom library, and then deleted the files off my computer. However, now the edits of those photos are gone. I presume this is now because I never moved the lightroom catalog, before deleting the files. Does anyone know how to move the lightroom catalog over to the external hard drive in lightroom?
Second question if that's OK? Going forward, it seems the best way to store my edits are to "export as a catalog" to my external hard drive. However, when I do that, I can't see the thumbnails of the original RAW files, only the LrC icon in that exported folder. Thus, I am not able to identify the photos in that folder unless I open up the catalog in Lightroom! I've clicked on the different export options, but nothing seems to work!
I'm so confused about the best way to use an external hard drive so that I can have access to the edited photos easily enough when plugged in. Can anyone help please?
Thanks everyone, Dave
You don't need to put your originals on an internal drive and then "save" your edited photos on an external drive. That's not the way Lightroom Classic works. Your edits are ALWAYS (you can't turn this off) saved in the catalog file, automatically so no "save" action is required by the user. The edits will always be there, for Lightroom Classic to use, unless you specifically remove the photo from the catalog (not recommended except in special situations). There is no need to export the photos that you have finished unless you need them outside of Lightroom Classic (like for e-mail, web, printing, etc.), because Lightroom Classic has saved your edits for you automatically.
There is no need to put photos on the internal drive if later you are going to want them on the external drive. A recommended method is to put the photos directly on the external drive when they come out of the camera. They never have to be on the internal drive. The alternative, which is more work, is to put them on the internal drive, perform some task with them, and then move them to the external drive at some time ... note, the extra step of doing a move. So straight out of the camera, photos can go on the external drive. You specify this in the Import dialog box under Destination.
I'm going to stop here and strongly recommend you watch some introductory videos about Lightroom Classic, or download and read the free beginners e-book at lightroomqueen.com. Lightroom Classic is different than other software you may be familiar with, it requires a different workflow, it requires a different mindset, and it requires an understanding of how Lightroom Classic works; and obviously you are not figuring out the way Lightroom Classic works on your own.
Thanks a mill for this heads up. I definitely need to go and figure out the right workflow for me.
Just with regards to the second question I had, the issue with not being able to see the previews was that I had not downloaded the Windows 10 codec for viewing Sony ARW files. Thankfully that got sorted.
Really appreciate the reply!
Second question if that's OK? Going forward, it seems the best way to store my edits are to "export as a catalog" to my external hard drive.
Not best and not necessary, and in fact the wrong thing to do. The best way to store your edits is to use the edits that are stored automatically in the Lightroom Classic catalog.
However, when I do that, I can't see the thumbnails of the original RAW files, only the LrC icon in that exported folder.
yes, because that is not the way to save your edits.
Thus, I am not able to identify the photos in that folder unless I open up the catalog in Lightroom [Classic]!
That's the point of Lightroom Classic, that's where it is different. When you want to view your edited photos, you don't look in Windows Explorer or Mac Finder, you look in Lightroom Classic. When you want to use your edited photos for some non-Lightroom Classic purpose (such as e-mail, web, printing), then you do an export (although you can also e-mail, print or create web sites directly in Lightroom Classic).
I'm so confused about the best way to use an external hard drive so that I can have access to the edited photos easily enough when plugged in.
You view the edited photos in Lightroom Classic. Regardless of what drive they are on, you view them in Lightroom Classic.
In addition to dj's answer:
File operations (i.e. move a photo to a different folder) should always be carried out from within LrC and NOT with Explorer/Finder (except you do know exactly(!) what you are doing).
This way LrC does not lose track of the file and your work done - edits, metadata - are not gone after the move.
Your first paragraph implies that you did not follow this rule. Otherwise, you would not have to delete files "off your computer" because LrC would have them already moved away.
Another golden rule: NEVER re-import photos.
And a note: The catalog can be on the internal drive, while the photos can be on an internal and/or external and/or network drive. They don't have to be at the same location.
There is one limitation only: The catalog can not be on a network drive, it must be on a drive locally (internal, USB, ..) to the computer.
Thanks for the reply. I had initially moved them in lightroom, but I must've gone wrong then, because the edits are gone. I think this is because my laptop uses a network drive. I now think I know what to do going forward, in that I'll move the catalog to an external hard drive.
Thanks again for the help!
The photos can reside on a network drive, but not the catalog.
Please keep in mind that you need to have access to the photos to be able to work on them. If you place them on a network drive, and you need to be able to work on them while offline to that network, you can use Smart Previews.
Of course, if you are placing everything on an external USB drive, you're good to go anyway.
The Lightroom Queen website is one of the best resources for learning Lightroom. I suggest downloading the below free Lightroom Classic eBook and consider purchasing one of the paid books as you progress. The 'Lightroom' (not-Classic) named books are for the Desktop version of Lightroom, which you are not currently using. Just want to make that naming difference clear!