15 Replies Latest reply on Nov 4, 2014 12:34 PM by dj_paige

    Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog

    mcable1981

      I'm an amateur photographer who mainly takes pictures of family and friends. Our PC just crashed about 4 weeks ago, so we purchased a Mac and updated Lightroom off the backup on our external hard drive as well as the old PCs internal hard drive. I have had Lightroom 4 for almost 2 years and have exported photos into various folders on both drives (external and old PC internal) in order to not lose them, print them, or simply categorize them elsewhere. For some reason, Lightroom has shown several hundred random photos as "missing or lost" THREE times since we switched to the Mac and this last time instead of erasing Lightroom completely and reloading it, I spent 4 hours hunting and gathering from a TON of various files. I realize I missed the part about exporting correctly to avoid this, but now that I have this huge mess, I have a few questions.

       

      1. How/why does Lightroom randomly pick certain previously exported files to lose while not losing others in the exact same import in the exact same folder? How or can I program it to not do that so that I don't end up with 400+ "missing or lost" photos for the 4th time in a month?

      2. How do I properly export? Obviously putting it on a desktop and/or a hard drive makes it difficult for Lightroom to find later, hence the program loses the files and I pull my hair out finding them.

      3. Can I back up my catalog every time I import new photos in order to go back if Lightroom shows a vast majority of my photos as "missing or lost" again?

       

      Thank you, in advance, for all of your help. I'm so lost, just when I thought I had it figured out.

       

      Molly

        • 1. Re: Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog
          dj_paige Level 9
          1. Lightroom doesn't "lose" the files, this happens because the user has done something wrong. You cannot move, rename or delete these photos (or the folders that contain them) outside of Lightroom. If you stop managing your photos outside of Lightroom and do all photo management inside of Lightroom, the problem goes away. Better yet, develop a workflow that does not require you to move photos from here to there. To fix the existing problem with missing photos, use these instructions: Adobe Lightroom - Find moved or missing files and folders
          2. I would not use the export strategy you defined. I would export photos only when you need them outside of Lightroom (for example: web, print, e-mail) and once the exported photos are no longer needed outside of Lightroom, you delete the exported photos. The original is always managed inside of Lightroom, so you can find it whenever you need it, and you can reproduce the export if needed.
          3. See my reply to #1, making backups is a good thing to do, in fact I'd say it is mandatory, but it is not the way to solve the missing photo issue, in fact it will not solve the missing photo issue.
          • 2. Re: Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog
            mcable1981 Level 1

            THANK YOU!

            I will go home and promptly erase all of my other photo files that I've exported to. Does that include my Lightrooom backup I did on my external hard drive before my PC crashed? And my Lightroom file on my old PC internal drive?

             

            If I do this, these photos will still be available in Lightroom, correct? I won't lose the file due to some other user error/I couldn't have moved all of the photo's information and by deleting it outside of Lightroom, lose it forever? Can I still take (RAW, unedited) photos off my SD cards to save them elsewhere without confusing Lightroom since I never moved them out of Lightroom? If I import from an email or saved file, should I then delete those files, too?

             

            I always do the scheduled back ups when requested but my understanding is that doesn't save all of the photo information. Am I wrong (again)? Is there a way to save the whole catalog so that if my computer crashes totally, I get all of my photos back?

            • 3. Re: Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog
              dj_paige Level 9

              I will go home and promptly erase all of my other photo files that I've exported to. Does that include my Lightrooom backup I did on my external hard drive before my PC crashed? And my Lightroom file on my old PC internal drive?

              Erasing photos and Lightroom backups aren't in any way connected. So nothing I said involves erasing backups. By the way, backups of what?

               

              If I do this, these photos will still be available in Lightroom, correct?

              The pronoun "this" ... I'm not sure what it refers to, as you were talking about erasing exports and backups and the like.

               

              If I were you, I'd erase the exported photos (as long as you have the original still in Lightroom), and not jump into erasing anything else.

               

              I won't lose the file due to some other user error/I couldn't have moved all of the photo's information and by deleting it outside of Lightroom, lose it forever?

              Let's take a step back. You lose a photo forever if you delete it from your computer and you don't have backups. You MAY lose your editing and metadata if you delete it from Lightroom. Please, other than the exports, don't delete anything at this time.

               

              Can I still take (RAW, unedited) photos off my SD cards to save them elsewhere without confusing Lightroom since I never moved them out of Lightroom? If I import from an email or saved file, should I then delete those files, too?

              Nothing we are talking about refers to photos on your SD cards. I am not going to comment on deleting these without a LOT more information, and so at this time, as I said, don't delete ANYTHING except your exports. Let's go one step at a time.

               

              I always do the scheduled back ups when requested but my understanding is that doesn't save all of the photo information. Am I wrong (again)? Is there a way to save the whole catalog so that if my computer crashes totally, I get all of my photos back?

              Lightroom makes backups of your catalog file. THe photos must be backed up by some other application, there are 12 bazillion applications that can do that. I recommend using an application that makes backups of your photos automatically on a regular basis.

               

              If your computer hard disk crashes and you have backups of your photos and catalog file ON A DIFFERENT PHYSICAL DISK, then you have everything you need to restore Lightroom to working order.

              • 4. Re: Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog
                JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                I suggest you slow down a whole lot, and do some learning:

                Getting Started with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 | Adobe TV

                Lightroom 5 - Free Quick Start Guide PDF eBook | The Lightroom Queen

                Those videos will give you a good foundation of how Lightroom works. There are other resources as well, but you need to get some basic understanding of Lightroom under your belt.

                • 5. Re: Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog
                  mcable1981 Level 1

                  *Erasing photos and Lightroom backups aren't in any way connected. So nothing I said involves erasing backups. By the way, backups of what?*

                  -I backed up my Lightroom catalog on my external hard drive before the PC it was on crashed. But I also recovered the internal hard drive and have some of the photos saved there in various photo folders that I was using to print, email and categorize. The reason I ask about erasing the backup on the hard drive, is that's where Lightroom sent me to recover the majority of my lost photos. Won't that continue if it's still there?

                   

                   

                  If I were you, I'd erase the exported photos (as long as you have the original still in Lightroom), and not jump into erasing anything else

                  -Again, we're talking files that I've exported to print or email? All of these photos are in now active in Lightroom. But I'm worried that if I erase where they become "lost or missing," I'll lose them forever. I still have every photo on an SD card but obviously not edited.

                   

                  *Let's take a step back. You lose a photo forever if you delete it from your computer and you don't have backups. You MAY lose your editing and metadata if you delete it from Lightroom. Please, other than the exports, don't delete anything at this time.
                  -So I won't delete my backup on my external hard drive that I made before my PC crashed? Can I update it with a new file of my most recent catalog?

                  *Nothing we are talking about refers to photos on your SD cards. I am not going to comment on deleting these without a LOT more information, and so at this time, as I said, don't delete ANYTHING except your exports. Let's go one step at a time

                  -I wasn't talking about erasing anything from my SD cards. I'm asking that if I were to upload photos directly from my SD card onto anywhere OTHER than Lightroom, is Lightroom going to go finding these files or is that not a problem if I don't export out of Lightroom?

                   

                  *Lightroom makes backups of your catalog file. THe photos must be backed up by some other application, there are 12 bazillion applications that can do that. I recommend using an application that makes backups of your photos automatically on a regular basis.

                  If your computer hard disk crashes and you have backups of your photos and catalog file ON A DIFFERENT PHYSICAL DISK, then you have everything you need to restore Lightroom to working order.*

                  -Does that include my external hard drive? I'm asking because I'm already having the issue of Lightroom telling me my "lost or missing" files are on the external hard drive. Yes, some of my pictures are in photo files that I should've erased after emailing/printing, but many of them were never exported, just saved as a catalog update on my external hard drive. That's why I asked if now I should erase that backup - if I don't, won't I continue to have the same problem?

                   

                  *I suggest you slow down a whole lot, and do some learning:*

                  I used this program for over 18 months this way and NEVER had a missing photo (even though they were exported to other folders, external hard drive, etc). Trying to track the pictures only surfaced as a problem once I had to recover them from a crashed PC. I skipped over what I thought were "boring" parts and got right to the editing, never thinking that if I backed up my catalog, it would bite me like this. I have a Lightroom 4 book so I'll be sure to delve deeper.

                   

                  THANK YOU for your patience. My husband's ran out about a week ago.

                  • 6. Re: Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog
                    dj_paige Level 9

                    I backed up my Lightroom catalog on my external hard drive before the PC it was on crashed. But I also recovered the internal hard drive and have some of the photos saved there in various photo folders that I was using to print, email and categorize. The reason I ask about erasing the backup on the hard drive, is that's where Lightroom sent me to recover the majority of my lost photos. Won't that continue if it's still there?

                    You sure like mixing topics up, don't you? Photo backups and catalog backups and exported photos for "print, e-mail and categorize"?


                    Could we stick to a single topic? I realize there are a lot of goals you'd like to achieve, but as far as I'm concerned, there is a strong need to go one at a time. And so I'm going to stick to your exported photos for now.

                    Again, we're talking files that I've exported to print or email? All of these photos are in now active in Lightroom. But I'm worried that if I erase where they become "lost or missing," I'll lose them forever. I still have every photo on an SD card but obviously not edited.

                    I am talking about photos that are now on your hard disk that were created because you issued the Lightroom command File->Export

                     

                    If these exported photos are now "active" in Lightroom, you must have imported the exports into Lightroom. I don't normally do that, nor do I recommend that. But if that's what you mean, you are really referring to your exported photos that have been imported into Lightroom, and you are NOT talking about your original photos, you can delete the exports (but not the originals) from Lightroom, and click on the box that says "Delete from Disk". They're gone. (And if you mean something else by "active", please explain)

                     

                    Do not delete the original photos. And if you're not sure which is which, then don't delete anything until you can convince yourself which one is the export and which one is the original.

                    • 7. Re: Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog
                      mcable1981 Level 1
                      Could we stick to a single topic?

                      I'm sorry if I'm testing your patience. I obviously have a lot to learn.

                      I am talking about photos that are now on your hard disk that were created because you issued the Lightroom command File->Export

                      I understand now what files to erase. My understanding is that would NOT include my catalog back up on my external hard drive.

                       

                      If by

                      importing the exports

                      you mean recovering my backed up catalog on my external hard drive, then I guess I did but they retained all of the edit information (sharpening, brushes,keywords, etc) That would mean, to me, that my Originals are back in Lightroom after being recovered from my external hard drive back up. I'm afraid that if I don't erase the back up on my hard drive, it's going to constantly be taking me back there to recover "missing or lost" photos. I'm not sure where else to back up my catalog if I can't use the external hard drive.

                       

                      Thanks, again.

                      • 8. Re: Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog
                        JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        The irony of this whole discussion is that Lightroom was originally designed and marketed as a tool for professional photographers. And it seems that many of the people who are migrating to Lightroom now consider it to be just one step above Picasa, jumping in with both feet and starting to run without having any understanding of what Lightroom is all about and how it functions. You clearly don't have a good understanding of what Lightroom does. And until you take the time to do some studying, I don't believe you will ever understand what is going on. In my link below I have given you a couple of good resources to study. Stop for a little bit and do some reading.

                        • 9. Re: Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog
                          dj_paige Level 9


                          Nothing I have said involves catalogs or backups of catalogs. I have been talking about exported PHOTOs only.

                           

                          Deleting the exports does not cause any catalog problems ... unless you imported the exports back into Lightroom ... and I don't see a clear answer as to whether or not you did that. But it will not cause your originals to be missing. Are you in a position to provide a clear answer about importing the exports, or not?

                           

                          I'm afraid that if I don't erase the back up on my hard drive, it's going to constantly be taking me back there to recover "missing or lost" photos. I'm not sure where else to back up my catalog if I can't use the external hard drive.

                          I really don't know what this means. "It's going to constantly be taking me ... " No, it isn't. I don't know what "it" refers to, but whatever "it" is, Lightroom doesn't do anything by itself. You, the user, initiate all action in Lightroom. But again, you are talking about backups and I am not going to talk about that for now.

                          • 10. Re: Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog
                            mcable1981 Level 1

                            Thanks, again, for the resources. I'm sorry I muddying the professional waters with my amateurism. They'll sell this stuff to anybody, won't they!

                            • 11. Re: Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog
                              JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                              I'm not saying you shouldn't use Lightroom. But since it is a professional-level program you would benefit greatly from learning how to use it. In doing so, it can greatly enhance your capabilities. As I stated previously, you clearly don't understand how Lightroom works. It's a great program even for amateurs and nonprofessional photographers. But that's true only if they are willing to take the time to learn how to use it properly.

                              • 12. Re: Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog
                                mcable1981 Level 1
                                Are you in a position to provide a clear answer about importing the exports, or not?

                                Here's the order of how things came and went from light room. I don't believe I am importing exports.

                                lightroom on PC-> back up of catalog made to external hard drive -> back up transferred to lightroom on Mac -> "missing or lost" photos recovered from external hard drive

                                • 13. Re: Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog
                                  dj_paige Level 9

                                  Here's the order of how things came and went from light room. I don't believe I am importing exports.

                                  But you said the exports were "active" in Lightroom. What do you mean by that?

                                   

                                   

                                  lightroom on PC-> back up of catalog made to external hard drive -> back up transferred to lightroom on Mac -> "missing or lost" photos recovered from external hard drive

                                  I am not discussing backups until we have concluded the exported photos issue.

                                  • 14. Re: Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog
                                    mcable1981 Level 1

                                    Active as in still contains all of the presets and modifications I had applied. They aren't showing as "missing or lost" anymore.

                                    • 15. Re: Avoid lost or missing photos/proper exporting/backing up catalog
                                      dj_paige Level 9


                                      Is this "active" photo in Lightroom the original that you are referring to (and not the exported photo)? Or are you unable to tell?