I usually remove folders from my catalog after a few months of their primary use, keeping them as files on my backup external rive. My view has always been that having fewer folders/photos in my catalog improves Lightroom’s overall performance, keeping it always clean and fast.
Recently, I’ve been exploring the idea of keyword management and using smart collections to automatically group photos. This sounds great, but seems only worth the time if one were to keep ALL their photos in Lightroom, never removing folders from the catalog.
I am now wondering about amassing thousands of photos across hundreds of folders over the course of years... with proper keywording and management, this could indeed produce a powerful tool for finding and referencing any photo and/or collection. But does this come at the cost of a slower, bogged-down performance?
In short, is it a general practice of professional photographers to continually “clean out” their catalogs (i.e. remove folders) like I do once jobs are finished and ready to be archived; or is it better to just let the catalog grow to an incredible size over the years in order to make the best use of keywords and collections? Is there a recommended limit to how many photos/folders LR can handle before its performance is affected?
I'm wondering how others are thinking of this issue.
Some points to note:
-Assume each job/folder contains roughly 1,000 edited raw images
-Assume roughly 20-30 jobs/folders added to the catalog each year
-I have a new and very fast PC.
-Disk space is not an issue.
-I am aware of the “optimize catalog” option.
Removing photos is pretty unusual. Lightroom catalogues can contain hundreds of thousands of pictures, and while backing up the lrcat file will take more time, backup happens during dead time and any performance problems are largely unrelated to the number of pictures in the catalogue.
Thanks for your reply.
I have been poking around trying to find more on this issue. In this post [http://digital-photography-school.com/10-tips-to-improve-lightrooms-sp eed-and-performance-without-additional-hardware] the author suggests (tip #8) that having more than 10,000 photos will slow down Lightroom.
Is this outdated advice, or would you simply disagree with it?
Keeping each catalog less than 10,000 images, as the author of the article suggests, would not make keywording and collection management worth the time and effort, in my opinion.
Really, that number is complete and utter nonsense. In LR's early days, various people quoted various suspiciously-round, big-sounding numbers. They were generally photographers with no relevant experience of databases and no evidence for their claims.
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