Lightroom is not a file browser.
The Folders panel will only show folders that contains files you have imported, and if the folder does show in the Folders panel, it will only include files that you have imported.
If you want to automatically import exported files, you have to check Add to this catalog in the Export dialog.
The problem is that looking in LR, the EXPORTED folder is empty, even though I used LR to export the images into the folder. Surely LR doesn't expect me to Import the Exported images back into the sub-folder, does it? Or am I missing something obvious?
That's the mistake. If you look in the folder using your operating system, you will see the photos. Lightroom isn't a file browser, so it doesn't know where your exports are. In fact, the whole point of exporting photos is for use OUTSIDE of Lightroom, that's why Lightroom doesn't keep track of exports.
In the Export dialog window do you have the option to "Add to This Catalog" checked. If you check that option no matter what folder you chose to export to those images will be added to the catalog. Without that check they won't even if it is the same folder as the originals.
My philosophy is not to check that box at all, I don't want the exported photos in my catalog. I realize some people do that, but I think it is unnecessary. For one thing, now you have to be sure you are working with the original or with the export, because they look identical. For another thing, the philosophy I use is that exports are only kept as long as there is a specific need (such as e-mail or web or print), and then once that need has been satisfied, I delete the exports -- this takes up less space on my disk, and I don't have to worry about finding the proper exported file. If I ever need that photo again, I can export it again knowing that I an re-create the exported photo exactly whenever I need it.
See? I knew I was missing something obvious!
Thanks, all, for your answers.I don't have that many pictures that it would be a problem, and I like having consistency between what I see from the OS and what I see in LR.
I will admit that it took a bit for me to not move things around in the OS. LR seems unnecessarily complicated for simple file maintenance, and I don't really use much of the advanced file sorting and rating capabilities. Mostly just use it to tweak out a dozen or so of the ~100 shots I might take at an event. (It's hard being an event photog while I'm running front-of-house sound at the same time... Yay for multitasking!
Again, thanks very much for y'alls input.