- If you move image files in the Finder (Mac OS) or Explorer (Windows), the link between the files and the Lightroom catalog breaks. When a catalog can't find a photo, Lightroom displays a Photo Is Missing icon in image cells in the Grid view and the Filmstrip.
- The Photo Is Missing icon is an exclamation point () in Lightroom and a question mark () in earlier versions of Lightroom. In the Develop module, Lightroom indicates that the photo could not be found, or is offline or missing.
- All you need to do is to locate the folders within Lightroom to their new location.
Check the below link for more information:
I am copying folders from my main hard drive, and my main Lightroom catalogue, to an external drive which uses a different Lightroom catalogue. How can I move the folders so that they retain all the processing/rating information from the main Lightroom catalogue?
If you are doing a COPY (which I recommend) and not a MOVE (which I do not recommend) then the instructions are here (scroll down to the section entitled "Updating Folder Location"): Adobe Lightroom - Find moved or missing files and folders. This will keep the information in the original catalog (why would you want this information in a different catalog anyway).
By the way, make your life simpler, use one catalog for all of your photos. Not only is this easier, but it has many many benefits compared to using multiple catalogs.
Thanks for your reply, but not sure I am getting the answer I am looking for.
I have photos on a harddrive in catalogue "A". I am copying photos to an external hard drive that is managed by catalogue "B". I want the editing/etc I have done in Catalogue "A" to be reflected in catalogue "B" when I make the move. Clearly, any future editing done in Catalogue "B" cannot be reflected in Catalogue "A" but I would like the original work from "A" to go to "B".
I use multiple catalogues because it was suggested that large catalogues are slower, so I create a new one every year for my general production, and create new catalogues for special projects.
Large catalogs are not slower. The idea that large catalogs are slower is a myth. Using a single catalog has many advantages and very few disadvantages, the primary advantage is that you can search or organize across all of your photos, something that is impossible with multiple catalogs. Another advantage is that you don't have to perform the type of moving of photos to another catalog that you are now attempting.
Nevertheless to answer your question:
Make sure you have recent/current backups of both catalogs. Then, in catalog "A", select the desired photos, select File->Export as Catalog, make sure "Include Negatives" is checked. Then move everything that this operation creates to the external hard drive, and then open catalog "B" and select File->Import from Another Catalog. Once that is complete and you are 100% sure everything in Catalog "B" is present and working properly, you can delete the photos from Catalog "A" and from your hard disk that Catalog "A" is referencing.
Many thanks. Will look to consolidate my catalogues in the future, but right now am stuck with this workflow that serves my purposes.