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If the photos are already in the catalog, then there is no benefit to re-importing, plus there is significant disadvantage (you would have to edit the re-imported photos). So, please, as advice for the future, do not consider re-importing a solution.
The solution to your problem is to find the photos in your catalog. Please perform all of these steps, and you will find your photos.
- Go to the Library Module (not the Import screen)
- Select Photo->Stacking->Expand All Stacks
- Turn off all filters (Ctrl-L once or twice)
- Click on All Photographs in the Catalog Panel on the left
- Search for any one of your photos by file name in the Filter Bar (use backslash to turn it on if it doesn't appear)
In the future, to use Lightroom and prevent this problem, you need to use some method of organizing the photos ... I recommend using keywords and other metadata, but some people use folders ... and then use that method of organizing to make finding your photos easy.
Re-importing or synchronizing a folder is rarely the way to get yourself out of trouble and usually a great way to create a bigger mess.
First diagnose the problem. Focus on a few individual images and find where they are in the catalogue. For example, copy the name of one of these files and then go to the All Photographs view in the Catalog panel. Display the Library Filter (Ctrl or Cmd F) and hit None, then hit Text and search for the file by selecting filename and pasting into the search box. When it displays, right click and choose Go To Folder in Library. This might, for example, indicate that the folder itself is missing - it has a question mark on it - so you'd right click and Find Missing Folder. So one step at a time, diagnose the problem, and don't re-import to get yourself out of trouble.
Thanks for your reply DJ. But what if I don't know the file name? In the end I exported the photos to new file names in a different app so that I was able to re-import to LR, which I guess is a workaround. I guess this probably isn't the best house-keeping practice!
How can you not know the file name? You were going to re-import and you don't know the file name? This is not making sense
But now you have two copies of the photo in your Library Module, with different names, and when you edit or add metadata to one of the photos, the other version doesn't know about it and remains unchanged. As both John and I said, this is not a good approach.
You definitely need to spend some effort organizing your photos within Lightroom so this won't happen again.
Almost as confused as DJ, can only assume the OP renamed the files on import. I do too (slightly) but leave the original file name as part of the file name. Leaving this aside you do have the capture date and time of these photos (embedded in the files you want to re-import) so could find them like in the catalog this if not from the file name?
But yes, totally agree with DJ, you need to spend some effort in using LR (and metadata preferably) to organise your photos...it will save you loads of time in the long run.
OK, so I've got ten pictures that I want to import, but LR won't let me because it says it's already got them somewhere. Yes, I know the file names. So you're saying for EACH ONE I have to do a search for the file name? That's a lot of work. Why can't it just re-import them and call them file1234(b) or something?
Still, we're all agreed on me having to make more effort at least ; )
If you find one, you will most likely find the others (in the same folder, or nearby in chronological order)
. So you're saying for EACH ONE I have to do a search for the file name?
No, not really, that's not what we are saying at all. In a perfect world, you would NEVER search for a photo by file name and you would never do so because you can't find the photo. When you import a photo the first time, you need to use some of Lightroom's many many many many organizational tools so that the files are found easily. I particularly recommend adding keywords to your photos and optionally other metadata, which makes them very easy to find in the future. If this is a photo of a mountain, then you add the keyword "mountain" to the photo, and then at some later date, it's easy to find! But if you choose to use folders or collections or some other piece of metadata, that's fine too, as long as you have a system that allows you to find your photos. At present, you have no such system.