I hope that this is not too long-winded, but I need to basically restart my lightroom organization from scratch (long story). I have a few questions about organizing my images inside and out of Lightroom. For pre-existing images (pictures that i have already brought on to my laptop that are saved on my D drive), will their organization be changed once I bring them into lightroom and organize them into folders and albums in there? For new images being brought in from an SD card (new to my computer and new to lightroom), is there a way to organize them in Lightroom, but also maintain the organization structure that I had in my D drive (outside of lightroom)? Is there a way to mirror the organization structure in Lightroom to your hard drive outside of lightroom (is this what saving locally does?). What does "storing a copy of all originals at specified location" entail? I feel so lost.
First question for you-
Is that Lightroom (v3.4) or Lightroom-CLASSIC (v9.4)?
This is for Lightroom v3.4.
Lightroom v3.4 stores your photos in Cloud storage! Organization is basically "out of your hands"!
You might be best reading from the Lightroom Queen Blogs at- https://www.lightroomqueen.com/blog/
And download the free Lightroom-CC QuickStart Guide to read
So if I am bringing new images from an SD card and using Lightroom to import them, are those images being saved somewhere before i even touch them? If so, can I tell Lightroom where to put imports?
Yes, they are first copied to your hard drive into a date-based folder structure (you can specify the location in the Preferences>Local Storage tab, or it will default to inside the LR local library on your systerm drive), and they are uploaded to the cloud from that location. Once uploaded, that local copy is eligible for automatic deletion, but not immediately (there are some complex internal rules which determine when the local copies are deleted). Of course, if you've also checked the option to store a copy of all originals locally, they won't be deleted at all (the same set of folders is used for both initial import copies and the local storing of all originals).
Lightroom will store your originals in the cloud. It will not honor your organization - LRClassic will do that for you. LR will show you your images by date and you can organize further using Albums and Folders. You can have LR save a copy locally. Again - I think it does it's own thing here - you give it a folder and it does it's thing with orginals inside, out of your control.
I use Classic and LR together. Best of both worlds. You can organize to hearts content on your hard drive, import everything into LR Classic (just add on import so they stay where they are) and create Collections and Collection Sets for more organization. Sync your collections to LR. The sync to LR is where the magc is. You now have your image safely stored on you computer but you can edit in LR (my preference).