18 Replies Latest reply on Sep 22, 2017 9:27 AM by elissaphoto3

    How to split one large catalog into parts?

    tymbe Level 1

      Looking for the best way reorganize images by splitting one large Lightroom catalog with 40k images into several, smaller catalogs.

        • 1. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
          JoeKostoss Adobe Community Professional

          Why?  This is not necessary and not advisable.  You can organize in several other ways that don't involve several catalogs, such as collections or keywords or even searching using metadata filters in grid view.  40k images is not a lot for Lightroom to handle in one catalog.  Splitting images into several catalogs will only cause more work and frustration for you in finding images in the future.  What criteria are you considering to organize images?

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
            dj_paige Level 9

            Agreeing with @JoeKostoss, this is pointless. You won't solve any problems, and you will create problems.

            • 3. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
              tymbe Level 1
              >>this is pointless. You won't solve any problems, and you will create problems.

              Hmmm... thought it was a pretty simple question and did not expect my workflow to be challenged.

               

              Surely all LR users don't have ALL of their images in one huge LR catalog. We have a number of LR catalogs (doesn't everybody?) each of which represents a particular segment of our overall work. Some have 100k+ images. But aerial photography images for example have no place in our commercial real estate catalog, not do we want to combine product photography with wedding or portrait photography. Then there's personal travel & family images, etc. etc. Actually some jobs are so specific that we create a catalog for that one single instance.

               

              Yes theoretically one could have ALL in a single catalog, but why deal with juggling meta data filters, collections, keywords etc. if that was the case? But hey, if the single catalog approach works for others and their workflow then that's fine with me!

               

              But getting back my original questions, let's say for example that you have 40k images taken over the course of one year in a catalog which is specifically used for aerial images. Somewhere along the way family photos were imported into the same catalog on a number of days throughout that year. I would want to break this single catalog into two. As cute as my cat is I wouldn't want to be working with a client at their site and have his cat face pop up on the screen.

              • 4. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
                dj_paige Level 9

                We have a number of LR catalogs (doesn't everybody?)

                No. This is false.

                 

                I don't. Many people in this forum don't. One user in this forum has over 600,000 images in his only catalog, and he has tolde many people that you should use one catalog.

                 

                But aerial photography images for example have no place in our commercial real estate catalog, not do we want to combine product photography with wedding or portrait photography. Then there's personal travel & family images, etc. etc. Actually some jobs are so specific that we create a catalog for that one single instance.

                 

                Yes, these are valid reasons for using a separate catalog. These were not stated in your original post, thus the advice to keep one catalog ... which in the absence of valid reasons is the best advice.

                 

                So to answer your original question, using your operating system you could copy your original catalog as many times as needed. Then open each copy, remove undesired photos (but don't delete from the hard disk), close the catalog, repeat as many times as needed until now you have catalogs to your liking.

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
                  tymbe Level 1
                  One user in this forum has over 600,000 images in his only catalog, and he has tolde many people that you should use one catalog.

                   

                  Ok, that's fine. But of course I don't think it would be doing anyone any favor not to recognize that there are a number of valid reasons for maintaining separate catalogs. IOW, not a blanket "never" but rather, "it depends".

                   

                  Yes, these are valid reasons for using a separate catalog.

                   

                  I guess I just figured it would be understood I had a valid reason.

                   

                  So to answer your original question, using your operating system you could copy your original catalog as many times as needed. Then open each copy, remove undesired photos (but don't delete from the hard disk), close the catalog, repeat as many times as needed until now you have catalogs to your liking.

                   

                  Excellent. Since posting I found the same advice in another discussion and I think this will be the best way to break up a catalog. Thanks much for your assistance!

                  • 6. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
                    dj_paige Level 9

                    tymbe  wrote

                     

                    One user in this forum has over 600,000 images in his only catalog, and he has tolde many people that you should use one catalog.

                     

                    Ok, that's fine. But of course I don't think it would be doing anyone any favor not to recognize that there are a number of valid reasons for maintaining separate catalogs. IOW, not a blanket "never" but rather, "it depends".

                    I'll stick with my approach. The advice is to keep one catalog, unless the user presents a valid reason. Far too often, the user has invalid reasons, and splitting up his catalog would be the wrong thing to do, and it would be making a major mistake for me to say "it depends". It would also violate my conscience to say "it depends" in the absence of a valid reason, because you could then be interpreted as saying go right ahead and do the wrong thing.

                    • 7. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
                      tymbe Level 1
                      I'll stick with my approach. The advice is to keep one catalog, unless the user presents a valid reason. Far too often, the user has invalid reasons, and splitting up his catalog would be the wrong thing to do, and it would be making a major mistake for me to say "it depends". It would also violate my conscience to say "it depends" in the absence of a valid reason, because you could then be interpreted as saying go right ahead and do the wrong thing.

                      Understood. And I'll stick to my approach where if asked how to split a catalog rather than saying that's a bad idea I'd ask what was the reason for wanting to do that? Keeping all in one catalog may in the end be the thing to do, but it seems to be a better way to teach one IMO rather than a blanket "don't do it".

                       

                      I do understand your point as I've worked with a lot of people with only a rudimentary understanding of how LR works ("Database? What's a database?") and perhaps more often than not there are ways to keep all in one DB and learn how to utilize the many tools & options LR offers to organize images.

                       

                      The best example I have of not understanding how LR works happened a few years ago when the son of a partner of mine at the time, just starting to use LR, imported hundreds of aerial images into the catalog. He then, reasoning that since they're now "in" LR-- deleted the source images. Lesson learned the hard way for sure.

                      • 8. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
                        JoeKostoss Adobe Community Professional

                        tymbe  wrote

                         

                        ...And I'll stick to my approach where if asked how to split a catalog rather than saying that's a bad idea I'd ask what was the reason for wanting to do that?

                        I believe that is what I did in my post #1.  "Why?"  and "What criteria are you considering to organize images?"

                        • 9. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
                          KR Seals Level 2

                          I understand your situation. I have a great many images in my catalog, commercial, photojournalism, aerial, etc.  If I were in the situation you describe, desiring to separate those areas of your work, I would do it with one catalog and top level folders like this:

                           

                          Drive X:\ All Photos (makes backup much easier)

                          \commercial

                               \2016

                                    2016-12-22-Company ABC Annual Banquet and Awards

                          \weddings

                               \as above

                          \aerials

                          \real estate

                          \misc

                           

                          These folders can be placed on multiple volumes/drives. Lightroom handles that fine.

                           

                          Such a folder structure all in one LR catalog will give you the segregation of categories you need. Ultimately, I think you will tire of opening and closing multiple catalogs in your daily search for images and importing new jobs.

                           

                          As recommended in the ASMP standards for image organization, one should be able to have full access to the file system in the OS outside of the photo/DAM software. I like to go directly to the folder (in the OS) where I know my exported jpgs are located so I can find them for emailing, social media and web site use.

                          • 10. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
                            tymbe Level 1

                            I believe that is what I did in my post #1.  "Why?"  and "What criteria are you considering to organize images?"

                             

                            Right-- yes you did. My initial response was to the suggestion by dj_paige that:

                             

                            ...this is pointless. You won't solve any problems, and you will create problems.

                             

                             

                             

                             

                             

                            • 11. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
                              tymbe Level 1

                              I understand your situation. I have a great many images in my catalog, commercial, photojournalism, aerial, etc.  If I were in the situation you describe, desiring to separate those areas of your work, I would do it with one catalog and top level folders like this:

                               

                              Drive X:\ All Photos (makes backup much easier)

                              Definitely agree here.

                              \commercial

                                   \2016

                                        2016-12-22-Company ABC Annual Banquet and Awards

                              \weddings

                                   \as above

                              \aerials

                              \real estate

                              \misc

                              Afraid we have to part ways here.

                              Were I to organize my images that way I'd have one huge catalog with many hundreds of categories and keywords. Even with the full range of LR's organizational tools that's just way too messy for the way I work.

                               

                              I have multiple HDs on my primary editing computer and each primary catalog has it's own HD with the images contained in that catalog. All the backups are done on a HD level (using GoodSync software) not in LR which makes it very easy to keep everything up to date. I also have a number of hot-swappable HDs which contain other lesser used catalogs & images. In some cases we even have a dedicated catalog & images on an external SSD for just one specific project which we can send to a client or partner for their own use.

                               

                              I do understand what you're saying about maintaining the ability to bring up any file from one place but that's just not much of an issue in our case. Were I to be working on aerial photos and then had a need to access a particular product shot for example, easy enough to just close the current catalog and open the one with the image. And given we'd need to do that rarely, not really a problem.

                               

                              I hate to say it but the ASMP is just a bit DAM misguided in this case IMO.

                              • 12. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
                                dj_paige Level 9

                                I still think its pointless. You have an organization now, you want to get the exact same organization in a different "container" (catalog), so you are going to do work, introducing the possibility of errors, to get the same organization, with the drawback that once complete you will possibly import into the wrong catalog and with the additional drawback of having to open a different catalog at times.

                                • 13. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
                                  tymbe Level 1
                                  I still think its pointless.

                                  I know you do. You've made that abundantly clear. However at this point I have no interest in your opinion of my workflow. There is no doubt in my mind that the way I'm organizing my images is absolutely the best approach for MY workflow. I'd wager that there are many others who have similar needs and also maintain multiple catalogs. If you think they're all doing it wrong, what can I say.

                                   

                                  And no, I will not import images into the wrong catalog. Haven't done that since LR1 working with tens of thousands of images over the years so doubt I'll start doing it now.

                                  with the additional drawback of having to open a different catalog at times.

                                  No idea why this is considered a drawback. Takes seconds and opening a different file is something I do with virtually every other application I use dozens of times a day.

                                   

                                  I just wanted some input as to breaking up one large catalog that over time contains images that I no longer want in that catalog. Period. You provided a good, workable solution and I thank you for that.

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                  • 14. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
                                    KR Seals Level 2

                                    "I hate to say it but the ASMP is just a bit DAM misguided in this case IMO"

                                     

                                    My only reference to the ASMP guidance was that you should be able to fully access your Photo library outside your DAM app such as LR. From your description on your setup, you apparently agree :-))

                                    • 15. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
                                      tymbe Level 1
                                      My only reference to the ASMP guidance was that you should be able to fully access your Photo library outside your DAM app such as LR.

                                      I guess I'm not sure just what they're saying here. People can always access their images outside of LR-- without any of the adjustments done in LR being available of course. Perhaps I'm missing something?

                                       

                                      • 16. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
                                        KR Seals Level 2

                                        "People can always access their images outside of LR-- without any of the adjustments done in LR being available of course. Perhaps I'm missing something?"

                                         

                                        Not necessarily... File organization and management is like a sub religion, right next to Mac vs PC devotees. Over the years in this and other forums, a number of LR users suggest dumping all photos into a common "My Pictures" folder and using keywords to find their stuff. Or, just using the default year/month/day LR file importing/organizing file structure. To me, that is in no way usable outside LR.

                                        • 17. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
                                          tymbe Level 1
                                          ...dumping all photos into a common "My Pictures" folder and using keywords to find their stuff. Or, just using the default year/month/day LR file importing/organizing file structure. To me, that is in no way usable outside LR.

                                           

                                          I have to agree. Long before LR-- and computers-- photographers had all manner of ways to store their images. I still have some old 3 ring binders with contact sheets in fact. So with digital being able to store all your images under one folder in this electronic box, by date/time/event for example would seem like a dramatic improvement. At the same time it's hard to imagine a scenario where one could not benefit greatly from a more DAM-centric approach. But hey-- everyone has their own approach.

                                           

                                           

                                           

                                           

                                           

                                          • 18. Re: How to split one large catalog into parts?
                                            elissaphoto3 Level 1

                                            Hi DJ,

                                             

                                            I would love to keep all of my 200,000 photos in one catalog, but it loads PAINFULLY slow when I try to edit images.  When I split out to a smaller catalog (e.g. create one catalog per year) I am not having the speed issues.  So I am wondering if there is a workaround to the slow load time in the large catalog, or if I should just continue to create catalogs by year?

                                             

                                            Also, if I create one catalog per year, I am going to have to start with one massive dump of photos into a catalog from my Apple Photos, which currently houses all 200,000 of my photos.  Then I am going to need to keep creating duplicate catalogs of the huge one, one year at a time, and then delete 180,000 images from each "yearly" catalog (all of the photos not in the current year).  I do see how this is exhausting and a total nightmare.  But I feel like I have no choice when an edit in the large catalog literally takes 2 minutes to save!

                                             

                                            Thanks for your help!

                                            Elissa