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how does changing folder structure in LR affect folders on os?

Nov 17, 2012 6:15 PM

i have made changes to folder structure in lightroom 4.  basically condensed folders, merged, deleted, etc.  the only coresponding changes that i can see when i look at folders in My Pictures on my mac is that some of the folders are deleted.  otherwise all the folders look the same as before i made my changes.

don't understand why??

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 17, 2012 7:27 PM   in reply to harveyabc

    All folder operations in Lightroom should effect actual folders on disk too. If that doesn't seem to be the case, I would be very concerned... Look closely in case it's operator error, and if not - consider logging bug, to include annotated screen-shots, and steps to reproduce...

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    Nov 18, 2012 12:24 AM   in reply to harveyabc

    Be aware that Lr will not delete a folder at OS level unless it is empty (i.e. no files of any description). Therefore, even though you can 'remove' an apparently empty folder in Lr it might still exist on your hard disk because it contained files that Lr was unaware of (i.e files not in catalog).

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    Nov 18, 2012 1:45 AM   in reply to harveyabc

    There is a way to organise a clean LR storage setup which involves only those files and folders that are directly relevant to the images in your LR catalog, excluding any other accidental stuff.


    You may not feel the need, but IMO it is better to ring-fence your LR-imported camera and derivative edit files distinct from the general My Pictures stuff (I would regard all JPG output from Lightroom, in the latter class). You can then treat, import and backup these two differently-used groups separately.


    There's less chance of making manual changes through the OS file browser that will accidentally affect LR, too, once you have delineated a hands-off area.


    (Ensure you have enough disk capacity to temporarily double your storage of the image files, or else target a different drive which has the space.).


    Highlight all images (make sure this really is all images - "all photographs", no view filter applied, all stacking expanded) and then Export as Catalog. Set the destination of this to a new, separate folder and check the "export negative files" box. All your current relative folders arrangement and the images within, will get re-created as duplicates inside this other destination, working file-by-file, leaving out anything which is not currently imported or necessary to the images concerned.


    You can go forward with this new clean Catalog referring to these newly copied folders and files, ensuring that any import presets etc are updated to use this new destination folder, and that your backup routine is extended to include all this new stuff.


    Your current Catalog can then be opened back up, and optionally (after a safety backup of both the original image files and the current Catalog) be used to delete out the precise same selective image set that you have just duplicated - leaving in place all LR-irrelevant items.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 19, 2012 1:58 AM   in reply to harveyabc

    I am not clear whether you now see what you want to see from LR, or not?


    IMO it is important to conceive of the Lightroom Folders panel NOT as a file browser (like Finder/Explorer, which simply shows what's there on the disk volume), but instead, as a report summary (which lists out all the various file paths recorded against your imported images ).


    This means that when the two listings start to differ (e.g. because something has since been changed outside LR) the Folders panel is not now mistaken or WRONG - it is still 100% accurate and informative, about what LR's internal records DO currently show for all these images. If this external change is then reversed, the images come back to life successfully; or if it's LR's records which now need to be altered, this is the tool by which to do that.


    This distinction becomes more evident once one looks at how images become offline, and what is seen then. Also at what happens with a folder where no images are imported to LR.


    This Folders panel lists the various file locations, but the presentation of this listing can be chosen to some degree. Separately imported folders may at first display quite separately. Or their relative arrangement can be shown, by telling LR to also display sufficient added folder context,  to reflect the actual nesting within the file system - this is done by right-clicking and selecting "show parent folder" as needed.


    The text of a folder's full path within this physical drive can be shown, or not shown, as a display option.


    The selective nature of LR's Folders display is IMO a strength - an opportunity to see a usefully simplified (but still technically accurate) picture of just part of the overall file system, as our images use that. We then have to take that for what it is - and remember that this, and the OS finder/explorer, serve different  purposes.

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    Nov 19, 2012 8:04 AM   in reply to harveyabc

    If you are ever unsure where a given photo or folder is stored, working from inside LR, you can right-click on it and select "show in finder". If your mouse has only one button... you probably know the rest (grin).


    Sometimes people (it happens all too easily, with the best intentions) double-import the same image file a second time into the Catalog, resulting in two versions - one which shows a ? (saved image location not found ) icon and therefore does not work, but retains all the prior adjustments, and the second one which does work (because it has been re-imported using the new physical location) but which is redundant in workflow terms.


    It is worth first checking to see whether or not this is the case, because there are some extra steps needed to get out of that particular scenario, before you can rationalise back to where you need to be. One way to find out, would be to view your entire Catalog (all photos) with the sort order set to capture date/time. This should bring together all copies or versions that derive from a particular camera exposure, within this particular Catalog, regardless of where their source file (or files) is/are physically stored.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 20, 2012 3:19 PM   in reply to harveyabc

    Answer to your last question: yes it is ok.


    You can't do anything permanently wrong in doing so, as long as you do not delete the other catalogs.


    Should you later suspect that another of these catalogs has more image records, you could open that catalog and export these records as a partial catalog, and then import form this partial catalog into your now-defined-master.

    Afterwards you can reconnect the missing delta files.

    Same as you now do.



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