trying to just save the individual photos that i have stored in any given collection. suppose my hard drive crashes. i have all my LR files backed up to an external drive as well as all my photos. so i reinstall the photos and LR to a new drive. no problem connecting restored photos to LR catalog but don't think the collections will come back. i think i have to create the collections all over again.
that is why i am asking how to save a collection.
If you have a backup of your catalog file, then you are all set ... collections and everything else you have done in LR (but not the photos themselves) are restored from a backup catalog.
The idea of re-importing your photos in the case of a failure (or in any other situation) is one you should avoid from now on. The proper method (to ensure a complete backup) is to back up the catalog file, and then restore the catalog file from the backup.
Dj_paige is absolutely right.
But if you want another layer of security, harveyabc, you could specify one keyword per collection and apply this to all collection members. This keyword will be saved to xmp of the file, so outside LR catalog as well.
In order to not clutter your keyword list I would specify one parent keyword for collection-membership, none to export, as their sole purpose is to organise belts & braces for you.
Actually I do this for folder membership: because I had to restore images with rescue software from a failed drive, leaving me with bogus filenames. Having the keywords inside them helped to restore folder structure, which is essential for continued working with a catalog.
But if you want another layer of security, harveyabc, you could specify one keyword per collection and apply this to all collection members.
In my mind, if you have the ability to do a complete backup via restoring a catalog, you don't need to do the work to get "another layer of security" over and above "complete backup". There is no higher level of security than complete backup.
But its up to you what amount of work you put into your security.
You wrote: "trying to just save the individual photos that I have stored in any given collection."
Please understand, that the photos in a collection don't exist as image files per se, except for the initial image files that existed before you created the collection. When Lr creates a collection it's not that copies of existing image files are put in the collection. A Lr collection is nothing else than a "tag" in the Lr catalog that these images belong to one (or several) collection(s). So in a nutshell, a collection exists only as a set of data in the catalog. That's why the previous posters have said that besides the catalog there's nothing to save, except backup the catalog. Or, double-up the collection with keywords as Cornelia has rightly suggested - but the keywords are also in the catalog.
But, naturally you could create new image files from the images in a collection by exporting these images. But the exported new image files would not be saved as or in a collection, they would just be a bunch of images somewhere on your hard drive. So, there's nothing to do, except backup your catalog.
first - i have not had a hard drive crash. i have had a motherboard die. fortunately for me one of my techie friends copied all the info from the drive to another drive and i was good to go.
so you folks are saying that as long as i backup my catalog files each time i exit LR (assuming i have made edits) to an ext drive, i am ok.
I would strongly recommend that you have at least two backups of your catalog(s), pictures and presets (by default stored in /Users/YourName/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom on the Mac, although it can be stored with the catalog) with one copy kept off-line and with all cables disconnected (when you are not backing up) and preferably stored at a different location. Taking a backup off-line and disconnecting it removes the possibility of the backup being damaged by electrical surges (eg lightning) or accidental deletion. Storing it at a different location allows for aciidents like fire or flooding.
Ideally the 'backups' should be archives not straight backups as this will allow you to revert to an earlier version, including dealing with accidental deletions.
I personnally use a system that automatically backs up my files to a local DroboPro (a RAID type system with redundancy for dual disc failure) every night or manually if I have done any significant work. After any significant work I archive the files to removable hard discs which are only connected during the archive operation. I have two sets of these archives and swap them about once a week (or after major work) with one set beeing stored at a different location several miles away. All the backups and archives are made with software that checks that the copy matches the original after it is copied to the other discs.
PS I actually use a similar system for all my active discs except that I also have three bootable copies of my system disc (in addition to the two archives and a copy on the Drobo) and most of my non-photographic files are primarily stored on the Drobo with two archives. This backup/archive system came about as a result of bad experiences of losing data and also the time it takes to create a configured system disc and applications when having to start from a blank hard disc and a set of application DVDs containing out-of-date versions of all the main applications.
Message was edited by: Nigel to include alternative location of presets.
In Lr-speak "catalog" means the Lr data base where Lr stores everything you do in Lr. This is a file that is separate from your photos.
In Lr go >Edit >Catalog Settings >General tab; it tells you the location and the file name of the "catalog". It is a good idea to remember - maybe even write it down - hey there's a novel idea - the name and location of the "catalog". Just further down in the same tab you'll see the window for the backup of the "catalog". In this window select <Every time Lr exits> and click OK. Next time you close Lr the backup dialog will appear that lets you select a location for the backup. Do NOT select the same location as where your "working" catalog is but an external hard drive is a good choice. Memorize where the backup location is, you'll need it one day.
You ask "how do i distinguish backup up catalog files and not previews".
In Mac Finder / Win Explorer navigate to the location where your (working) catalog is located. The "catalog" is the file with the ending < .lrcat>. Next to it sits the preview file folder; it has the ending < .lrdata>.
Lr creates previews from your photos that are displayed in Loupe View (Library Module) or in the Develop Module. It creates these previws so that a large image can be displayed fast. The previews are stored in the previews folder < .lrdata>. You don't have to backup the previews because Lr will generate new previews when a preview is missing.
Go >Edit >Catalog Settings >File Handling tab. There you can select the size of your previews, determine their quality, and determine how long Lr should keep the 1:1 previews.