19 Replies Latest reply on Apr 13, 2012 4:51 AM by Robin820

    How large is LR's database?


      I have 128g of photos and 142g of digital scrapbook files and would like to move them into LR 4. Will that effect the speed that the databse processes in? Can LR4 handle that many files ... and more to come?

        • 1. Re: How large is LR's database?
          dj_paige Legend

          The gigabytes of your photo collection doesn't really influence the size or the speed of the database. The number of photos will have some influence on the size of the database, but unless you get to really huge numbers of photos, it shouldn't affect the speed of Lightroom. On relatively decent computers, people report catalogs of more than 200,000 (yes, that's two hundred thousand) images working properly and without noticeable slowdowns.

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          • 2. Re: How large is LR's database?
            Robin820 Newcomer

            Organizing by database is what makes LR different from PSE Organizer? I have been using Organizer for my photos and ACDSee for my digital files because Organizer bogged down (sooooo badly) when all of the files were included. I shouldn't have this problem with LR?


            Thanks for your time!!

            • 3. Re: How large is LR's database?
              dj_paige Legend

              Both PSE and Lightroom use databases. Obviously, the two use different programming code, and so could react differently to the same number of photos. While I can't guarantee that Lightroom is faster, I suspect it will be faster (although the new LR 4 has been slow for many users, and Adobe is working on it). The only way to know for sure is to try the 30-day free trial.


              You still haven't mentioned how many photos and scrapbook files you have.

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              • 4. Re: How large is LR's database?
                Robin820 Newcomer

                I have 46,000+ images and 58,000+ digital scrapbooking files. Reorganizing all of them is a not something I'm looking forward to but will do if it allows me to reduce the steps in my workflow by using one program. I've already purchased LR4 - couldn't pass up the price drop - but both Organizer 10 and ACDSee are still functioning well today.

                • 5. Re: How large is LR's database?
                  CSS Simon Pioneer

                  I've not noticed any slowing down as my catalog has grown to 56,000 photos.  Searching functions are near-instant. 


                  In terms of size, my Lightroom catalog is just under 1Gbyte - not especially large considering the photos themselves take up 370Gbyte.  However, Lightroom also creates preview files which take up (in my case) another 24G.  It seems to create not only one preview per photo, but one folder per preview within the preview folder, which dramatically slows down operations like file copy and backup.  You want to make sure Lightroom previews are excluded from any backup!

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                  • 6. Re: How large is LR's database?



                    I too am wondering how many pictures I can have in a catalog.  I am at about 30,000 with LR 4 and it is working fine so far.  I know the main purpose of LR is not to be a picture organizer, but it does such a wonderful job for me.  By using keywords, I can find any picture I want within 2 seconds or less.  I hope LR will continue to be a fast performer as a picture organizer.  I would hate to have to switch to another program.  I have tired Bridge and it is SLOW when it comes to sreaching a picture by keyword(s).

                    • 7. Re: How large is LR's database?
                      dj_paige Legend

                      I too am wondering how many pictures I can have in a catalog.  I am at about 30,000 with LR 4 and it is working fine so far.

                      This was already answered in the first response in this thread.


                      I know the main purpose of LR is not to be a picture organizer

                      I disagree! Organizing your photos is one of the main advantages of Lightroom!

                      • 8. Re: How large is LR's database?
                        Robin820 Newcomer

                        My combined catalog would be over 104,000 files so I still don't really have an answer to the original question. I'm hoping there is someone out there working with over 100,000 files who can let me know how the database is working for them. And, as cool as LR's editing tools are, my main focus right now is finding an organizing process for both my photos and digital scrapbooking files. If/once everything is in LR, then those editing tool would be my "first line". Right now, PSE is working great.


                        Thanks, everyone, for your help!!

                        • 9. Re: How large is LR's database?
                          RikkFlohr Rockstar

                          157,000 images here. Works just fine. Speed is good.

                          • 10. Re: How large is LR's database?
                            Robin820 Newcomer

                            THANK YOU!!!! You've "made my day"!!

                            • 11. Re: How large is LR's database?
                              john beardsworth Rockstar

                              I frequently work with one that's nearly 400,000 and know of larger catalogues too.

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                              • 12. Re: How large is LR's database?
                                Robin820 Newcomer

                                Thank you!!! I will forge ahead with the reorganizing with confidence. Thank you for your input!!!

                                • 13. Re: How large is LR's database?
                                  Robin820 Newcomer

                                  Oh, and by the way, I've always felt a bit"obsessive" about my photography and having over 40,000 images (digital, that is ). Rikk and John, you've just made me realize that I've got a lot of catching up to do Thanks for that, as well!!

                                  • 14. Re: How large is LR's database?

                                    Just want to make a comment on the scrapbooking files. if you are planning on tagging and using keywords I hope you know that LR does not read .png files. Since all elements in digital scrapbook kits are .png you will have to convert those to .tiff to be able to tag them.


                                    Just a fyi.

                                    • 15. Re: How large is LR's database?
                                      Robin820 Newcomer

                                      I had read that and knew I would have to include it in my re-tagging process ... thanks for the reminder. Another related question, when tagging scrapbook files, should I just use keywords or set up collections for each sub-header? Ex: I will have "paper", "embellishment" (with many headers under that topic), "Templates" etc. I read somewhere that it would be easier to just keyword tag everythig and then search by keywords. And would I do the same with people/locations?

                                      • 16. Re: How large is LR's database?
                                        john beardsworth Rockstar

                                        Keywords are the way to go. They're easier to apply and are searchable. Think of collections as containers or groupings, keywords as being descriptive..


                                        With locations, I would add them to keywords and to the 4 standard IPTC location fields - Country / State / City / Location because these can be used in the Library Filter Panel.

                                        • 17. Re: How large is LR's database?
                                          Tinkbelle Newcomer

                                          Did you have a look at the system Kayla Lamoreaux uses and teaches in her classroom? She has a free tutorial up on her website that explains step by step the process and the way to go with keywords. It's important that you first fill out her chart about how and what insprires you to scrap. If you know that you can start building on that and make a list of keywords. Some people are use just one digital scrapbook kit other use elements from different designers. Some are inspired by a photo others like me are inspired by journaling and I will look for photos to go with it. Once you have insight in your workflow you can start with organizing. As Kayla stretches it's important that the system fits you and not the other way around. If you have to bend over backwards to find something you'll get discouraged and it will not be a helpful system.

                                          Have a look at her website and tutorial with videos and all. At the moment she has a disclaimer up, don't let that discourage you, because it is a freely available tutorial people who were not so computer savvy started to email hr for help and some did not get the conversion .png/tiff and problems arose. If you're confident enough to be able to pull off the conversion you should go ahead and use the system. She even has a list that you can download with keywords and designers already typed up,. Saves you hours of work, you can just inport it in LR.


                                          She uses Bridge to make the conversion, I don't I have been a Graphic Converter user for 15 years and use that brilliant piece of software to do all my batch conversions.

                                          Here is the tutorial link: http://digiscrap101.com/2011/02/before-you-do-anything-backup.html


                                          I just started using her system as well and did my homework, as in preparing the files and folders for cataloging. So far I'm happy with how things are going. She uses 1 library for her photos and digital scrapbooking files. I don't, I use 2 libraries, 1 for my photos and 1 for my digital scrap art. I hate clutter, it makes me antsy ;-) so seeing my photos and my art in one library did not go down well with me. But if you don't mind than it's totally up to you how you use that.

                                          Also I have my libraries and art and photos on my iOmega EHD. I have 2 of them linked together. One for back up and one for work, This way I can access my files with my laptop or with my iMac.

                                          • 18. Re: How large is LR's database?
                                            Robin820 Newcomer

                                            Oddly enough, it is an upcoming class by Kayla that prompted my progression to Lightroom. She used to use ACDsee but has since changed to LR. Thank you for all of the info in your post. I had bookmarked her free tutorial but hadn't really looked into yet. Guess that is what I'll be doing this weekend I may have to use Bridge to do the conversions - I have CS2 but haven't used it in ages so there will be another learning curve.


                                            I am stuck on whether to use one catalog or two. At the present time, the only files loaded into LR are my digital scrap files. Photos are still in PSE Organizer and may stay there until I figure LR out. At least the tags I'm creating in Organizer will load into LR so nothing is lost. Have you run into problems utilizing both catalogs for one project? I would like them separate - having photos in Organizer and scrap files in ACDSee has worked very well in that regard as they all use the same editor (PSE). But they need to (happily) meet in the middle somehow ....?


                                            Thanks for your response!!! The inforamtion was VERY helpful!!



                                            • 19. Re: How large is LR's database?
                                              Robin820 Newcomer

                                              Thanks John! That will simplify my process!!