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Splitting one catalogue into multiples catalogues

Explorer ,
Jun 04, 2019

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Hi everyone,

After my recent post had some great help and I think I may have a solution I thought a new thread may help.

LR Classic very slow to boot (then performs normally)

So I currently don't use catalogues and one have one 'My Lightroom Catalogue' set up.

Within that catalogue are all my photos in folders as per below.

My lightroom photos

>2014

>2015

>2016

>2017

>2018

>2019

In each of these there is up to 30 folders containing thousands of images.

This huge catalogue was causing slow startup within LR.

I want to create a catalogue for each year and move the photos from that year into it, ultimately making the original 'all-in-one' catalogue redundant.

I have read conflicting ways online so would like some help in doing this.

Thanks in advance.

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Splitting one catalogue into multiples catalogues

Explorer ,
Jun 04, 2019

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Hi everyone,

After my recent post had some great help and I think I may have a solution I thought a new thread may help.

LR Classic very slow to boot (then performs normally)

So I currently don't use catalogues and one have one 'My Lightroom Catalogue' set up.

Within that catalogue are all my photos in folders as per below.

My lightroom photos

>2014

>2015

>2016

>2017

>2018

>2019

In each of these there is up to 30 folders containing thousands of images.

This huge catalogue was causing slow startup within LR.

I want to create a catalogue for each year and move the photos from that year into it, ultimately making the original 'all-in-one' catalogue redundant.

I have read conflicting ways online so would like some help in doing this.

Thanks in advance.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 04, 2019

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Danny

What are you calling huge?

I believe many users on this forum adhere to using a single catalog where possible, and use Metadata and Folders to organise your Library.

Also I think the use of Collections might suit your above workflow . . .

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Explorer ,
Jun 04, 2019

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Thanks for your reply.

I have upwards to 80k photos in it. (I'm a wedding photograher so add 2-3k at a time)

As advised in my previous thread I setup a new catalogue, added 100 photos to it. Restarted my machine and they instantly appeared rather than taking 5minutes.

This time delay has not been gradual, a few weeks ago it started taking that long when before it would only be 10 seconds or so. I thought I had maybe hit a magic number which it didnt like.

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Mentor ,
Jun 04, 2019

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simply put, there are two stages to consider.

Stage 1, which photos do you want to house within each separate Catalog - that seems straightforward. Probably, every photo taken within a given calendar year - doing this at a planned later moment, when they are no longer very recent.

The way that is done, is with "Export as Catalog" after selecting all the images in a given year, which your folder panel structure is admirably suited to. This has some options, most importantly that only selected photos should be included.

Also, whether or not copies of the image files ("originals") involved, should be made into the destination location along with your new partial Catalog; if yes, it will be these copy files and folders that the new Catalog's images reference, independent of those referenced currently by the images in your main Catalog. If no, both Catalogs will reference the same files and folders in a shared manner.

As with any Export, the items you've chosen to export (copies of) still remain where they are regardless. Stage 2 addresses this.

You aren't compelled to clear out literally every photo from a given previous year, from your main Catalog - we earn no points for methodological purity, only for practical effectiveness and good results. You may still want to maintain one or more portfolios / brochures to show prospective clients, that include particularly successful or interesting photos across many prior years; for referring back to the processing of a prior similar job and "borrowing" aspects for new work; etc - LR is a good way to achieve this. And those things do require these specific images to sit within the same Catalog.

And that means identifying these "keepers" via ratings or labels, or by adding selected photos to Collections, or whatever. You may have already done this. Copies of every photo from a given "archived" year are now contained in the exported catalog, keeper or not, so you can now be robust in your clearout of the main Catalog, so far as photos taken during that year. But, leaving limited numbers of "keepers" in place as desired.

BUT NOTE if you have not opted to create copies of image source files during Stage 1 - Export as Catalog - during Stage 2 then Remove unwanted images from (main) Catalog only, but without Deleting from Disk.

That's because photos retained within each exported Catalog continue to rely on these same image source files.

If you want to manage the storage of photos from each prior year independently too, that is a separate matter to consider. Export as Catalog is principally about the metadata: it is a database operation primarily. Personally I'd advise keeping the storage unified since this has not been where your performance concerns lie.

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Explorer ,
Jun 04, 2019

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Thankyou Richard,

Whilst time consuming is an option to just to delete my current large Catalogue and then start again, creating a yearly catalogue and copying in each folder again.

Rinse and repeat for every year?

Saves exporting/importing.

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Mentor ,
Jun 04, 2019

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Exporting and importing images is not necessary, and certainly not ideal, in order to reorganise things.

Export as Catalog is a radically different feature. It effectively duplicates an entire Catalog library, except, leaving out whatever images you have NOT selected for inclusion.

That means this new Catalog inherits all the same Collections and Smart collections, keywording setup, Publish setups, flags and labels, custom sort order, stacking, print collections etc that you currently see. Also each image still shows its edit History, Virtual Copies still show, etc.

Even if you have previously saved out LR edits to file, not all this info gets included. A Catalog based operation is the only way to transfer a number of useful or essential matters - which can have no other existence except within a LR Catalog.

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Explorer ,
Jun 04, 2019

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What is actually exported when you export catalogue? No images themselves but all the information that goes with it? such as an .xmp and previews etc?

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Mentor ,
Jun 04, 2019

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An entire new Catalog is created. This is a single database file which contains image and organisational metadata, and small thumbnail bitmaps.

Whatever your current Catalog is providing for the images that it shows, the new Catalog will provide for the images that have been included.

Your larger and 1:1 Preview bitmaps are separately stored than the main Catalog file and I do not believe they are copied over. As / when you work in this other exported Catalog, previews will be generated alongside. For this and several other reasons, it seems like a good idea to not direct this Catalog export to the exact same location where your present main Catalog is, but rather to separate those. Then you can maintain different storage / backup policies with each, as appropriate.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 04, 2019

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dannyc34543779  wrote

After my recent post had some great help and I think I may have a solution I thought a new thread may help.

LR Classic very slow to boot (then performs normally) 

So I currently don't use catalogues and one have one 'My Lightroom Catalogue' set up.

You are using one (1) catalog. This is preferred and allows working on images without having to open multiple catalogs to find them.

dannyc34543779  wrote

I have upwards to 80k photos in it. (I'm a wedding photograher so add 2-3k at a time)

Creating multiple catalogs is the wrong solution.

Many users have over 500,000 photos in one (1) catalog with NO issues! 80K photos is trivial by comparison and not the cause of your slow LR startup issue. Please refer back to your original post on this issue where I have suggested merging your current catalog into a new empty catalog. This often "fixes" issues such as you are experiencing and will allow using a single catalog. There are also numerous other issues that can cause slow LR startup, which we can troubleshoot at your original post.

LR Classic very slow to boot (then performs normally)

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Explorer ,
Jun 04, 2019

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Thankyou Todd Shaner​ I got ahead of myself thinking multiple catalogues would be the fix.

I will try your suggested post later today and report back to my original thread.

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