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where does Lightroom Classic store added photos

Community Beginner ,
Jul 09, 2020

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I am not sure where Lightroom Classic stores photos I have added. I have limited space on my computer's hard drive. My photos are on an external drive. I attached the drive and added several photos to Lightroom Classic.  I then disconnected the external drive, and restarted Lightroom. I was assuming that Lightroom would need access to the external drive, since I did not choose copy or mode when I imported the photos.  But I was able to open and edit the photos, with the external drive not attached.  The reason this matters is that if Lightroom is putting copies of the photos on the computer's hard drive, I am going to run out of storage very soon.  So, does Lightroom Classic put copies of the photos on the comptuer hard drive when I use the Add option?  And if so, can I change this?   Thanks for any help!

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where does Lightroom Classic store added photos

Community Beginner ,
Jul 09, 2020

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I am not sure where Lightroom Classic stores photos I have added. I have limited space on my computer's hard drive. My photos are on an external drive. I attached the drive and added several photos to Lightroom Classic.  I then disconnected the external drive, and restarted Lightroom. I was assuming that Lightroom would need access to the external drive, since I did not choose copy or mode when I imported the photos.  But I was able to open and edit the photos, with the external drive not attached.  The reason this matters is that if Lightroom is putting copies of the photos on the computer's hard drive, I am going to run out of storage very soon.  So, does Lightroom Classic put copies of the photos on the comptuer hard drive when I use the Add option?  And if so, can I change this?   Thanks for any help!

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Advocate ,
Jul 09, 2020

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“Add” means “add to catalog only.” But, if you check the box for File Handling > Build Smart Previews, LrC will make low resolution (2560 pixels long side) DNG copies which will be used as Raw surrogates when the external drive is off-line.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 11, 2020

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Thanks so much for the prompt response.  I think I understand what you are explaining.  I'll be back at the Lightroom computer early next week and will check this out.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 10, 2020

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Elie has you pointed in the right direction.

 

Use the Folders panel on the left side of the Library module to see where your original images are stored.

If LrC is showing a flattened folder structure, right-click and "show parent" a few times as needed to get the true view.

 

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 11, 2020

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Thanks for this additional info.  

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 10, 2020

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To see if you are working with a smart preview only, check underneath the histogram in the right panel. It will say 'Original Photo', 'Original + Smart Preview' or 'Smart Preview'.

-- Johan W. Elzenga, http://www.johanfoto.com

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 11, 2020

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Hadn't spotted this info in the right panel.  Thanks for pointing that out.  That should help me get sorted out.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 10, 2020

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But I was able to open and edit the photos, with the external drive not attached. The reason this matters is that if Lightroom is putting copies of the photos on the computer's hard drive, I am going to run out of storage very soon.

That means that the photos are indeed on your internal local drive and likely stored in your Pictures directory. To find out where they are: right-click on an image and select "Show in Finder". Be sure to move them from within Lightroom so that they are  moved and not copied instead.

 

The best way to avoid this in the future is to create and use an import preset. That way if your external drive isn't connected when you import you will get a message saying the external drive can't be found and Pictures will be selected by default which is fair warning to connect your drive and re-establish the destination before you import.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 11, 2020

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I hadn't gotten around yet to figuring out presets, but it looks like that is something I should spend some time on.  Thanks.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 10, 2020

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In reality, LrC stores your images where you choose to have them stored. In the right-hand panel of the import dialog you have full control to choose the hard drive and the folder and whether or not you want the images placed within a date format structured subfolder. But all of that is entirely up to you. Don't leave everything up to Lightroom. Make your own choices. Otherwise Lightroom could put them anywhere, on the local hard drive is probably going to be the first choice.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 11, 2020

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Very good advice.  I need to spend some time looking at these controls I can set.  Thanks!

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