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Lightroom making copies of photos

Community Beginner ,
Dec 24, 2023 Dec 24, 2023

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I'm on lightroom (CC i think?) and when i Import photos for editing i'm finding out that it's been making copies of photos already on my hard drive and taking up massive amounts of space. Is there anyway to stop lightroom from doing that and just using the photo from the original location? I deleted one of the copy folders and it seems that prevents me from editing what i imported in lightroom

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Community Expert ,
Dec 24, 2023 Dec 24, 2023

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It sounds like you are using the cloud-centric Lightroom Desktop app (there's no longer any app called Lightroom CC). The way that it works when importing images from a local hard driver is that a COPY of whatever files you are importing is placed in the designated location for the Lightroom "originals". That location by default is within the local Lightroom library on the user's system drive, though it is possible to specify an alternative location for the originals if desired (though you can't change the location of the rest of the data in the local library). That local copy of the imported images is used as the source for the subsequent upload to the cloud (where they become the "masters") and the local version will eventually become eligible for deletion (though that may take many days, weeks or months before they are deleted). Note that the original files that you imported into Lightroom are no longer referenced by Lightroom, it is the user's responsibility to manage those.

 

If that system isn't to your liking, you could also consider the Lightroom Classic app instead, which references locally held images only (so your existing hard drive images can simply be "added" to the Lightroom Classic catalog from the existing location, thereby avoiding the initial duplication which Lightroom Desktop enforces).

 

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 24, 2023 Dec 24, 2023

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Thanks for the insight, so is the only way to avoid that is by using lightroom classic? It isn't something I can just turn off?

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Explorer ,
Dec 24, 2023 Dec 24, 2023

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Lightroom Desktop is intended to work with your imported images stored on Adobe's servers, but can optionally keep a copy on your disk. Have a look in your cache preferences in Lightroom (Edit / Preferences - Cache tab) and see whether "Store a copy of all originals" is selected - if it is, unselect it, then clear the cache. See if that resolves your duplicate storage problem.

 

If you want to work on locally-stored images without syncing them to Adobe's server, choose "Local" instead of "Cloud" in the left-hand pane - you will then be working on the original image and not copying it locally, nor syncing it to Adobe. If this is how you prefer to work, then you would probably be happier with Lightroom Classic.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 24, 2023 Dec 24, 2023

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Thanks for that, this is more what i'm looking for. Not trying to sync/upload anything.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 24, 2023 Dec 24, 2023

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quote

I'm on lightroom (CC i think?) and when i Import photos for editing i'm finding out that it's been making copies of photos already on my hard drive and taking up massive amounts of space. Is there anyway to stop lightroom from doing that and just using the photo from the original location? I deleted one of the copy folders and it seems that prevents me from editing what i imported in lightroom

By @just_mahdi___

 

The good news is any duplicated files are only temporarily cached in a holding area waiting for upload. Lightroom in Cloud mode is designed to store all imported originals in Lightroom Photos cloud storage, so that they can be edited from any desktop or mobile device. So as soon as Lightroom is able to upload the copies of all of the originals you imported, it will eventually clear out its local cache and that space will be freed. If later you edit one of the originals stored in the cloud, it will temporarily download and cache that.

 

If you do not want all originals to be uploaded to the cloud, and always want it to work with the originals you already have stored locally, you have two choices:

 

Use Lightroom in Local mode. If Lightroom is fully updated, you should see a Local tab. You can use that to browse and edit your originals where they already are on your local storage. When you select files in the Local tab, they are not copied, and they are not uploaded, they are left where you already keep them. But Local mode does not support all of the features of Cloud mode.

 

or…

 

Use Lightroom Classic instead. Although Lightroom Cloud mode is designed to always upload a copy of every imported original to the cloud, Lightroom Classic is designed to always catalog and edit originals where they exist on local storage. So if you want to edit locally stored originals with a full feature set, Lightroom Classic is what you want to use. You can still connect Lightroom Classic to the Lightroom Photos cloud to edit photos from any device, but in a more limited way than Lightroom can.

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