7 Replies Latest reply on Mar 29, 2015 11:25 PM by T.F.Lemieux

    Lightroom catalogue management


      I have noticed a lot of people use Dropbox or similar services to sync Lightroom catalogues between their computers. I have been doing the same thing but have been noticing the size of the catalogue is growing and will soon reach a point where I will run out of room in my sync folder. I'm sure others have seen this as well so I am looking for suggestions for how to manage the size of a lightroom catalogue.  Those of you with large photo libraries feel free to share your tips here. The only thing I can think of is to break my photos down into categories and use separate catalogues for each one. But that seems like it would only be a temporary solution. Not to mention complicated when it came to sorting and also them looking them up again.

        • 1. Re: Lightroom catalogue management
          john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          I agree it makes little sense to fragment control of your pictures into multiple catalogues. But the catalogue itself, the lrcat file, will not be big and shouldn't use much Dropbox space. So what could be causing the problem are the associated previews and maybe a smart preview folders. Maybe switch your 1:1 previews so they discard after 30 days - this is in Catalog Settings > File Handling. Or trash all the previews and let LR build them again as it needs them - the easiest way is just to delete the previews folders.


          I assume you don't have your raw files on Dropbox too. They would obviously use up a lot of space.

          • 2. Re: Lightroom catalogue management
            JoeKostoss Adobe Community Professional

            Just a thought; if you are backing up your catalog to a folder in drop box, each time you backup, a new catalog file is created.  You only need to save the latest 1 or 2 backup catalogs.  You can safely delete the older backup catalogs.  Is it possible that this is what is causing your backup (folder) to get so large?


            I also agree, it makes no sense to try to fragment your catalog.

            • 3. Re: Lightroom catalogue management
              T.F.Lemieux Level 1

              John, I just checked my settings and found that it was already set to 30 days. (surprise to me as I thought you had solved my problem)  And no my raw files are not in my sync folder as they would never fit. 


              Joe I do try to keep only two or three (at the very most) backup files at all times. Sometimes I forget but when the space warning pops up I quickly go in a delete them.


              And something I failed to mention was the size of my Lightroom catalogue folder is now approaching 15 GB.I am using Microsoft One Drive to sync it and I believe I have a 15 GB limit.

              • 4. Re: Lightroom catalogue management
                dj_paige Level 10

                How big is the catalog file after you perform the command File->Optimize Catalog?

                • 5. Re: Lightroom catalogue management
                  NicHamilton Level 3

                  Have you looked at the files and folders within the Catalog folder?


                  My LR Catalog file with ca50,000 images is about 1 Gig but also in the Catalog Folder is the Smart Previews Folder which is 50Gig and the Standard Previews Folder which is 2.3Gig.  So the space eater in my case is the Smart Previews....may well be the same in your's too.  Might be worth checking....I'm pretty sure the Smart Previews stay there forever unless you dlete them unlike the Standard Previews which will be disappearing after 30 days.  If the Smart Previews are the issue then you might want to consider whether you really need them (they can always be rebuilt).

                  • 6. Re: Lightroom catalogue management
                    john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    it's best  To distinguish between the catalogue (lrcat extension) and its previews folders. Any smart previews folder? Maybe just delete the regular previews folder.

                    • 7. Re: Lightroom catalogue management
                      T.F.Lemieux Level 1

                      Ok so after reading these latest suggestions I deleted the previews folder. (making a backup copy in another folder first just in case) This seems to have solved the problem. I think I had a lot of previews since I have been going through all of my photos and tagging them more thoroughly. My catalog is now about 1/3 the size is was before. Thank all for your help!