9 Replies Latest reply on Oct 24, 2014 3:22 PM by flysaplane

    exporting an entire catalog of pictures

    flysaplane Level 1

      I recently got a new computer. I have successfully put the photos from my laptop onto my new desktop however I am noticing that somehow over the years I have accumulated multiple copies of the same files. In one case I have found that I have 5 copies of the same picture, times thousand of photos this is really a big issue I need to fix. My idea on how to fix this is to export the whole catalog and then delete the old catalog. My question is if I go to Folders, and to the top folder where all the photos are currently, and click EXPORT THIS FOLDER AS A CATALOG  will that export the picture files as well? And if it exports the pictures will it keep the folders together?  If I do this export and then locate the head file will that automatically find all the pictures?


      If this will not work do you have any suggestions on how to solve this problem?


      I need help, I have a serious problem that is taking up so much space on my hard drive. Thanks for all your help!

        • 1. Re: exporting an entire catalog of pictures
          dj_paige Level 9

          I must say I don't understand your idea, and the words "delete the old catalog" frighten me, as in my opinion, and without a better understanding of what you are doing, I think this is madness.


          Exporting each folder as a catalog? I also don't see what possible benefit that provides. I do see that it is a lot of work.


          Sadly, I don't have any good ideas for eliminating duplicates, other than tedious manual effort. I simply don't see how anything you have written addresses this problem.

          • 2. Re: exporting an entire catalog of pictures
            flysaplane Level 1

            My thought is to basically duplicate the Lightroom catalog. The whole thing, at the very top parent folder. Once that is finished, point Lightroom to the new exported files. The export I. theory will export only the files Lightroom files it sees and not all the duplicates.


            This is all theory, which is why I posted to look for help.


            Brandon Garrett

            [private information removed by host]

            • 3. Re: exporting an entire catalog of pictures
              dj_paige Level 9

              Are the duplicates not in Lightroom?

              • 4. Re: exporting an entire catalog of pictures
                flysaplane Level 1

                No, just in the folders Lightroom sees


                Brandon Garrett

                [private information removed by host]

                • 5. Re: exporting an entire catalog of pictures
                  dj_paige Level 9

                  Here is what I recommend. Before you start, you must PROMISE that you have made backups of your catalog file and backups of ALL of your photos, just in case ... If you don't make the backups and something goes wrong, well, you were warned and I accept no blame.


                  Explanation: right now, you say you have some duplicates, which have not been imported into Lightroom, and then there are the files that have been imported into Lightroom. We are going to use Lightroom to move only those files that have been imported to a different location, thereby leaving behind the duplicates in their current folders. Then the duplicates can easily be deleted.



                  1. Decide where you want to move the "good" photos to. It can be a different folder on the same disk, or a new folder on a different disk. Create this folder, using your operating system. Put a "dummy" photo into this folder (again using Lightroom) and then import it into Lightroom. (Dummy photo: take a picture of the bottle of ketchup in your refrigerator ...)
                  2. Using Lightroom, drag the top level folder in your Folder Panel to this new folder. This is done 100% in Lightroom, not in your operating system. This will take a while to finish. This moves all of the photos in Lightroom to the new location. Confirm, by looking in Lightroom to see that there are no question mark icons on your folders, and also confirm that the actual photos are in subfolders of this new folder by using your operating system. Do not proceed to step 3 without these confirmations.
                  3. Go to the original folder, using your operating system, and delete the folders there, which now contain only the unwanted duplicates.


                  What can go wrong? There is a rare, but nasty bug, in Lightroom in which the photos are actually deleted during the move. There is also a rare bug in which the last photo in a folder isn't moved (but its not deleted). Thus, you need to make backups of all of your photos, and your catalog file, before you start. As I said, do not follow this method without first making backups. Let me repeat that in capital letters. DO NOT FOLLOW THIS METHOD WITHOUT FIRST MAKING BACKUPS.

                  • 7. Re: exporting an entire catalog of pictures
                    Shawn T. Moore Level 1

                    Here is a great LR plug-in for finding duplicates.






                    • 9. Re: exporting an entire catalog of pictures
                      flysaplane Level 1

                      So I really do appreciate all the help. The problem wasn't duplicate photos in light room is was duplicate files in the folders on the OS. I did a property scan of the folder and I had 230 GB of photos, when I exported the entire catalog I only had 113 GB. Don't ask me how it got that far out of hand because I don't have a good answer.


                      I believe I have come to a solution. I went to the upper top most folder, for me I only have 1 and selected EXPORT AS A NEW CATALOG,  once that was done I updated the folder location. It has appeared to work, I can't find any "?" in the catalog. I am going to hold on to this original  folder for a few days until I can go through everything in detail but I believed it work. Only the photos showing in light room would have been copied, which is what I was going for.


                      Shawn, that looks like a great plugin BTW