If you ae working with multiple catalogs, then you can delete older ones together with it's associated preview and Smart-preview folders.
However, this will not free a lot of disk space. To really free up disk space, you'll need to move the image files itself.
Make sure to also check on the Backup folder because this is filling up and LR does not remove older ones.
Why don't you start a brand new catalog? After restarting you can delete the old one.
What is taking up space on your hard drive is not the LR catalog or catalogs you have. Those are just Database files and relatively small in size compared to the actual image files.
The thing that IS taking up space it the actual image files, whether they are referenced in the LR database file (The Catalog File) or not.
Since you have backups of those image files you can Delete them from the internal drive of your computer. You can do that In LR or outside of LR with the File Manager program for your OS. If done outside of LR you will them have to Remove them from the LR catalog.
Just deleting LR catalog files, if you have more than one, will not free up a lot of hard drive space. LR does not store images inside the catalog file. It is just a Database file that References, Creates a Record in the database of, where the actual file is located on your hard drives.
In the future, don't put new photos on the internal drive. Put them on an external or network drive.
Hi thanks for all of the responses. I am learning that a lot of people seem to use LR as an organizing system, most of these responses talk about catalogs and how to organize them, which is not useful to me. I use LR as an editing tool, my only goal is to import a few thousand photos at a time, edit them, then export and deliver them, then I want to do the same thing every day without filling up my computer storage and memory. I have 30 GB left on a 2 TB machine. Is there a quick or easy way to simply free up space? LR appears to be hoarding over half a million images against my will. Where can navigate or click to remove these? The most frustrating thing is that there is not a clear way to just select something and delete it, I keep hearing how that won't free up very much space....which is my main goal right now. I do not need a an event from two years ago in a catalog or on my machine, I have it delivered to the client and backed up to the cloud and on a hard drive, I can access it in 2 minutes if I need to. Thanks very much, I appreciate all your help- sorry for not adapting to the catalog system, it is not useful to me, I am only interested in using LR for the editing capabilities. Sincerely, Scott
Is there a quick or easy way to simply free up space?
This was explained by McLion in reply #1 ("To really free up disk space, you'll need to move the image files itself.") and also by Just Shoot Me in reply #4 ("Since you have backups of those image files you can Delete them from the internal drive of your computer. You can do that In LR or outside of LR with the File Manager program for your OS. If done outside of LR you will them have to Remove them from the LR catalog.")
I use LR as an editing tool, my only goal is to import a few thousand photos at a time, edit them, then export and deliver them, then I want to do the same thing every day without filling up my computer storage and memory.
As I said in reply #5, if you don't want to fill up your internal HD, don't put the images on the internal HD in the future. Put them on an external HD or network drive.
Hi thanks very much for the reply.
Answer #1 says to free up space, I should move the file itself, but not how to do it. That is my question. It also tells me to check on the backup folder, but not how to do that. If there is a way to delete a backup folder, my question would be how to do that.
In your answer you correctly identified the fact that I don't want to fill up my hard drive and should put images on an external drive, but not how to do it. If there is a quick or easy way to do that, I would like to learn about it. I have a brand new 4TB external drive sitting here and my main goal would be to find where any of these catalogs, collections, previews, images etc exist and just drag them out of LR, off my computer onto the external in case I ever need them, then delete them from my computer and get back to work. LR seems determined to force me into saving and organizing old work I was done with long ago, but no way to find or delete it. Is it naive to ask if there is an easy way to do that? Would adobe consider a version of LR for people who simply want to edit photos with it? Is there a reason it is so difficult to delete photos from Lightroom? It would be like a pocket calculator saving and organizing all the information I have ever put into it, until it is choking on it, and assuming I want it all organized, when I just want to use it as a tool to do some math problems as they arise.
sorry for not getting what seems to be very obvious and intuitive to the rest of you. When I make time to sit in front of my computer I only want to power out an edit and get to the next one, not spend lots of time housekeeping and organizing. And I do appreciate very much all of you taking the time to help. It seems like a simpler version of LR would appeal to a huge market. Bring a job in, edit it, deliver it, back it up somewhere and delete it, repeat as necessary. Am I crazy to want that level of simplicity? I would gladly pay someone to come in here and talk me through it maybe I should do that.
Thanks very much again for your help. Maybe I should explain I am 51 years old, and had to make the traumatic switch from analog/chemical photography in 2001-2002 to digital after 25 years in a darkroom. I have always learned digital tools as I need them, and this is my project for today.
Thank all of you very much - Scott
In your answer you correctly identified the fact that I don't want to fill up my hard drive and should put images on an external drive, but not how to do it. If there is a quick or easy way to do that, I would like to learn about it.
When you import photos into Lightroom, you can select the COPY Option and then instruct Lightroom to place the files on an external HD. You do this in the Destination section (it's on the right) of the Import dialog box.
Copy the photos from the camera card to the external HD (using your operating system) and then import the photos using the ADD option.
LR seems determined to force me into saving and organizing old work I was done with long ago, but no way to find or delete it. Is it naive to ask if there is an easy way to do that?
In Lightroom, you can select a photo, or a folder of photos, or many photos, or many folders, and then press the delete key. You will get an option that allows you to choose to remove the files from Lightroom, or remove the files from Lightroom and from the hard disk.
Please understand that your edits are stored in Lightroom so doing this will causes you to LOSE the edits.
Another option is to move the photos to a different disk, either within Lightroom, or using your operating system. This gets them off your internal HD and retains the edits. McLion has given a link to do this in Lightroom; a better approach (and safer in my opinion), is given in the section entitled Part 2 — Updating Folder Location of this document: Adobe Lightroom - Find moved or missing files and folders
Would adobe consider a version of LR for people who simply want to edit photos with it?
I'm 101% convinced the answer is NO. If you really want to only edit the photos, you can use the Adobe software called Bridge.
Thanks, I felt like I was getting close to a way to delete, with the instructions to select a folder and then press the delete key. However, the delete key does not respond or provide a menu of removal options like you described. Logic would dictate it would just say "are you sure you want to delete this folder?" and I would click YES!!!! (and PLEASE! if there was a please key) At this point I have removed everything I can from my computer memory and I have about 100GB free, the rest of my memory is taken up by images locked in lightroom. I hope the 100gb will be enough for it to think and at least to get through a huge edit. I have started a new catalog on a new external 4TB hard drive and I will have to see if that fills up my 100gb when I import about 4K raw files I need to edit which look to be about 200GB.
Is there a trick to getting lightroom to obey the delete key? I can see the folders, I can open them and I can select them but I can't delete them. I am trying to understand how this is not a problem for every lightroom user at some point. I am aware I am shooting and edting an unusally large amount of photos, but I don't understand why it is any of lightrooms business where my photos are or what I want to do with them. I see all the question marked folders of photos from over a year ago, they are all delivered, I have been paid for the job, the photos are backed up on external hard drives and online right where I want them. And I don't want them on my computer any more. I would be the first in line to buy a full manual version of this great software that allowed me to use it just for editing and not for a mandatory, huge and unnecessary organizing and cataloging project of years of my work, I already have it. Lightroom appears to assume I need constant access to everything I have ever done, and wants to archive it using my computers storage space. I work on Mac and PC all day every day, but I definitely prefer to be in charge and tell the computer and software what I want to do instead of the other way around. I found it interesting in the kelby video where the instructor talked about "breaking the rules" in lightroom. Why would I want any program I buy and use to have rules? It seems like I should at least have the option to turn them off- there should be a "disable organizing?" button. yes please.
Anyway, thanks all of you for your help, I think I am getting close to a solution, my frustration is just having to spend time figuring this out when I really need to just bear down on a 12 hour edit. I have a few friends who are good at this stuff like you guys, I might just hire one of them to come help me out.
thank you very much all of you for your time and I will let you know how I get this figured out. Sincerely, Scott
The simple answer is use the File Manager for your OS. Finder for Mac and Windows/File Explorer for Windows, to Delete the images that are on your internal drives. Search your drives for the RAW file extension for the make of camera you are using and Select All, Hit the Delete key or Right Click and select Delete or Move to Trash. Then empty the Recycle bin or the Trash can.
Images are not LOCKED in LR. LR is just a Database program. Whether or not you have imported images into LR has nothing to do with Deleting them using the File Manager program that comes with all operating systems.
Sorry, my bad.
To delete a folder, in Lightroom you can right-click on the folder and select Remove...
You would then have to also delete the same folder using your operating system.
I have seen Jared Platt on CreativeLIve recommend-
1. Select a FOLDER and images in the Master LR catalog that is a 'JOB' or 'Project' to be archived.
2. Export as a Catalog INCLUDING "Negatives"- saving the exported 'Job' catalog to an external drive that will be an archive. (or then copy to a DVD. One DVD for each job?)
3. Remove the selected folder in the Master LR catalog. (LR protects folders from deletion should they contain non-image files)
4. Copy any relevant non-image files (word documents, copyright release forms, etc) from internal to the external archive.
5. Delete the selected folder from the internal Hard-drive using Explorer/Finder.
This method will archive all images with a corresponding catalog that can be accessed at any time in the future should the need arise, and remove them from the Master Catalog and computer hard-drive memory.
The Master catalog has the advantage that all the Preferences and Presets are always available for your workflow and is used to Import then 'Export as Catalog' each job as you wish to 'remove' it from the Master.
If you only ever do 'jobs' that will be archived, your internal drive and master catalog need only contain the 'current' job being developed!