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1. First of all, images are not "in" the catalog. They are in folders on your computer. The catalog is a database that simply keeps track of where the images are located as well as the work you have performed on those images. Switching catalogs is simply a process of switching databases. So you can switch back and forth confidently without losing any of the work you have done in either database.
2. Choose the catalog that you want to be the main catalog. In Windows go to the File menu, on Mac I believe it's the Lightroom menu and choose the option to import from another catalog and choose the other catalog you have been using. There will be options you can choose, but you can combine the two catalogs and have everything together in one single catalog.
You can put your images on external hard drives without any problem. What do you mean by "pull them up whenever I need them"? Do you intend to not have the external hard drives connected all the time? If that is the case you might want to consider exploring smart previews. It's in the help system.
You mention Lightroom CC. I assume you are referring to the new cloud-based Lightroom. You need to be aware that it is NOT compatible with Lightroom 4. Lightroom CC is only compatible with catalogs created by Lightroom Classic CC. I hope you understand that.
[Moved to LR Classic forum - Mod.]
Why did this post get moved to the LR Classic CC forum, when it says Lightroom CC????
To the original poster ... exactly what software are you using? Go to Help->System Info and tell us what it says in the first two lines inside the inner box? Here's what mine says:
Here is the info
Lightroom version: CC 2015.6.1
License: Creative Cloud
Operating system: Mac OS 10
Thanks for the info. You might want to update your Lightroom to Lightroom Classic CC (which is now version 7.3), it's free for you since you are a subscriber.
You shouldn't have to switch between catalogs to access older photos, they can all be in one catalog. The steps to combine two catalogs are:
- Open the current catalog
- Select File->Import From Another Catalog
- In the dialog box that appears, select the older catalog, and the click on OK
- Repeat if you have more catalogs to combine
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A catalog file is just a Database file that has References, Records, of the images you have imported and also stores any edits you have made to your images.
As stated above no images or ever "IN" LR. Your images are stored in folders someplace on one of the hard drives that are connected to your system or could be stored on a networked drive your computer has access to over your Local Area Network (LAN).
Also you are running an older version of LR and you should update to LR Classic CC V7.3.
That is if you have a valid subscription to the Photographers Plan.
I have a problem with Catalogs and folders. I'm a new user and somehow did something that now shows my specific folders are missing from the list yet all the photographs are there but co-mingled. Looks like it is now trying to read from my online (cloud) photos. How do I get back to where I was. Won't let me import again.
... and somehow did something that now shows my specific folders are missing from the list yet all the photographs are there but co-mingled. Looks like it is now trying to read from my online (cloud) photos.
Explain this further. Provide details. Lots and lots of details. Show us a screen capture(s) of what you see.
Better yet, since this is unrelated to the prior parts of this old thread, start a brand new thread and provide the details and screen capture(s).