Is it the entire folder that contains your Lightroom catalog, including subfolder ending with Previews.LRDATA, that is 5GB?
Or is it the .LRCAT file itself that is 5GB?
There are two files that are created of significance the Lightroom catalog file which is the database file with an extension of .LRCAT(.lrcat) and the Previews file with an extension of .PREVIEWS.LRDATA (.previews.lrdata). My info is as follows
Number of photos in my Catalog 27,497, the Catalog file is 408 MB and the Previews file is 28GB. The previews file can grow very large particularly if you create a lot of 1:1 previews. My actual folder that contains my original photo files is 296GB (This folder also contains some rendered files jpegs, tiffs which are not in the catalog..
What you are seeing is not unusual.
I looked again and it is the previews file. I did not realize that it would be that large without doing any editing. DdeGannes, thank you for your help. I was getting a little concerned because I have only started using Lightroom (or any cataloging software) so I am unfamiliar with how it handles files. It is definitely taking some getting used to.
Previews are essentially multiple resolutions of JPGs of each image you’ve just imported so how small should they be? You just imported 4000 images.
The good news is that you can delete the entire XXXX Previews.LRDATA folder whenever you want and LR will regenerate the previews as you visit each folder, again, which if you don’t actually plan on working with all those older folders anytime soon, you might do that, now, and just recompute the previews for your current working folders and leave the rest with minimal previews.
Thanks for the suggestion about deleting the Previews. LRDATA folder and have Lightroom recompute for previews of the photographs I am currently working on. Do you use Standard or Minimal previews? I would prefer to use Standard on the project I am currently working on.
Minimal means a thumbnail-sized preview, so anything larger than that would be recomputed at the time you first view the photo. If you feel you'll be scrolling through all 4000 photos in Library Grid view at some point then compute Minimal previews.
I'd compute standard monitor-sized previews the first time you import a new folder of photos so you can do your tagging and flagging and rating and rejecting using the Fit or Fill zoom levels without waiting too long. If you find yourself needing to zoom in to check focus on many of the images then maybe computer 1:1 previews for the newly imported folder, otherwise zooming into 1:1 will require a preview to be computed rather than looked up from the previews folder.
Once you go to Develop the previews aren't used except as a placeholder until the on-the-fly rendering has occurred as you zoom in or out or flip to the next image in Develop.
You'll figure out what you want to do after working on a few folders of images, the tradeoff between getting started on any of the photos in the folder vs waiting longer as you move to each one for the first time.