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Since you already have your pictures on a drive, you need to decide if you want to keep them organized as they are or let LR reorganize them by date.
If you keep them where they are then you do an "add" import.
To let Lightroom copy the files to a new date-based folder tree you do a "copy" import.
The catalog does NOT contain any of your image files. Your pictures exist on the hard drive(s) just like your documents and spreadsheet files. You will need a separate backup system to handle the image files.
LR does create backups of the catalog, but it poorly puts the backups on the same drive as the master catalog. You will want to change this so that the backups are on a separate drive.
Since your images are on an external drive, you will need the drive to be attached to the computer or you will need to use "smart previews" which do take up space on the same drive as the catalog.
The way I would do this is to organize the files on the main drive in the way you finally want them.
Then do an "add" import to get the file references into the catalog.
A second external drive is used as a backup for the main drive and maybe the catalog. As a Windows user, I use XCOPY and ROBOCOPY commands in a shell script (*.cmd file) to backup the new and changed files.
1 person found this helpful
Hello community, I am brand new at lightroom but find myself bugging at the first step... how to import and organize my files while assuring proper backup.
I run lightroom from my internal 500gb ssd, and my pictures are stored on an external 2TB hdd. I've started importing files from that hard drive and copying them through lightroom on a second external hard drive where I can reorganize them a bit better (getting rid of duplicates, boring iphone pictures and so on...). I then plan on using a third drive as a clone of this ''lightroom'' drive.
1) From my understanding, such a setup creates a physical copy of my original files and these will be the only ones affected by any edits in lightroom or photoshop?
2) Editing will require the external hard drive to be connected? What about the lightroom ''catalog'' ( is it saved on that drive as well? Would it be more efficient to have that saved on the internal ssd?)
3) When I go into my lightroom library drive and edit files directly there (organizing/creating folder, deleting pictures), does it affect lightroom and its catalog, or should I only do this through lightroom?
Probably a lot of basic questions, but I've struggled with my previous backup methods and want to nail this as I am starting from scratch and move on to editing (and maybe backing up my original files, and backing up some more on the cloud arghhh)
Any help or guideline appreciated or if you could just share the way you have it work for you.
1) Yes using the "Copy" option during import will do as it says, Make a COPY of the images that you are importing into LR from where they are originally stored to the drive and folder you have selected in the Destination section of the import dialog window.
LR is a None Destructive Editing program. It does NOT change the original image file. The Edits you do in LR are stored in the Catalog file and only DISPLAYED over the top of the original image when viewed inside LR.
Photoshop is a Destructive Editor. It does make changes to the original file.
The BackUp feature inside of LR, default is to backup once a week, only Backs Up the LR Catalog. It does Not backup your images files.
That is something you need to do either manually, make a second copy of them on some other drive than where they are originally stored, or with some type of backup, cloning, software.
2) NO NOT AT ALL. If during the import process you select to COPY the images from the external drive to one of your Internal drives then LR only knows about the image files on the Internal drive. It does not import any of the files located on the external drive.
LR is a DATABASE program. There are No files Inside of LR. LR makes a Reference of where the images are stored, Copied to or Moved to and or Added if the Add option is selected, into the LR Database file, IE the Catalog file.
3) If you move, rename a image file, rename a folder or basically do anything that changes how LR has Referenced that image file into the LR database then LR will lose track of it and you will need to Reconnect it inside LR.
It is best to do all of that inside LR. The only exception is if you are moving large numbers of images from one drive to another it is best then to do it with the OS File Manager program and then reconnect them inside LR.
Best method is to do all your initial organizing of folder structures where you want to store your images and then import them into LR.
But this is only for your satisfaction. Inside of LR there are many ways to organize your images by using keywords, collection, ratings and labels and the filter bar.
You need to review some of the free online tutorials to have a better understanding of how LR works, what type of program it is, and how best to work with LR.
Any more questions?
Thank you so much for the clarifications. I was worried to skip a step in understanding how LR works which would undermine the whole workflow/backup process.
One more question regarding that smart preview option: how big are the files? For the sake of argument lets say I have 500gb of raw files in my external hard drive referenced to LR, will I need 500gb of free space on my internal hard drive to run LR without the files on the external drive? Is it an option that you can turn on and off as you please? Will smart previews work with photoshop?
Any more questions?
You have made this reply to my post. I don't have any questions and never did, at least not in this discussion.
Was your post supposed to be directed to the OP?
To the OP (Original Poster).
Please use the Reply button at the bottom right of every post to reply to the person that may the post. Otherwise replying to yourself or your original post make following the discussion difficult.