Hi, my first time posting here - hoping for some help because this problem just won't go away! I have been importing previous years FROM my external hard drive into Lightroom (files still stored on that hard drive). Then I try to organize the images using LR. They look pretty and organized when I look through LR but when I look onto the external drive using Finder on my Mac it's a mess. The new folders that I've put the images in the LR catalogue are there but so are the old folders they were organized into. It seems like the images might be in two places.
Are you importing using the ADD option or the COPY option or the MOVE option? It makes a difference.
It is important to point out that Lightroom is not a file browser, and it does not have to mirror your operating system view of the hard disk.
Also, Lightroom will not get rid of folders on your hard disk when it copies or moves photos at import from one location to another.
When I look on my hard drive I see BOTH file structures listed. It's really confusing. I don't know if I can delete on whole set of images or not. I don't really know if it's copying the images and I have two files on my drive - I thought LR didn't do that. I could really use some help as I want to consolidate and import everything into LR. New images from my SD cards I'm not having trouble with - it's the ones that were already housed on my hard drive that are confusing.
Yes, as I said, Lightroom leaves your old folders intact. It's copying the images if you selected COPY at Import. It's not copying the images if you selected MOVE (or ADD) at import.
Since you said you have BOTH file structures, in Lightroom right-click on a photo that might appear in both folders. Select Show in Finder (Mac) or Show in Explorer (Windows) and then Lightroom will show you the folder that Lightroom thinks the photo is stored in. The corresponding folder in the other file structure probably (but not definitely) is not needed by Lightroom. If you normally import the entire set of photos in a folder into Lightroom, then the other file structure definitely is not needed by Lightroom.
But if I were you, I'd make backups of everything, both file structures temporarily, before you start deleting anything. If Lightroom still has no problems after you delete things, then you can also delete the backups of the unwanted stuff.
Riiiiiiiggghhht. I've been "Copy as DNG". I didn't even realize I was doing that. So the "old" file structure is, of course, still there. Thank you very much. I've been so frustrated at the crazy amount of clutter on the hard drive and extra folders. I'll switch to importing with the Move option. I starting shooting in RAW this year but everything before that was JPG so it doesn't make any sense to switch to DNG anyway, does it?
Thank you so much for the response, I'm very grateful!
There are some people who advise converting your JPGs to DNG. I am extremely skeptical that there is really a benefit. But Google is your friend, read up on it and come to your own opinion.