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Numpty Lightroom Questions

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 kevin stephens 11 Apr 2021

I expect there are some Lightroom experts on UKC who can provide enlightenment more effectively than the usual tutorials and photo websites etc?  I suspect some of my questions are too numpty for them to help. 

I have Lightroom 6.0 on my laptop (and the original installation CD which I bought new)

I've used LR chaotically and ineffectively up until now and not used it for organising  my pictures.  I've used file manager instead of LR to move pictures around which are scattered in various folders on my laptop and also back up drives because of limited space on my hard drive.  I have RAW photos, full size jpegs, reduced size jpegs for web, tiffs from my film scanner, and also go pro videos (does LR handle videos now?)

I'm now keen to make amends, sort out my photos and start using LR properly from now on; and I could do with some guidance.

I'm thinking of getting a dedicated external drive, maybe an NAS and suitable back up drive (or maybe cloud storage)

Can (should) I use LR as a file manager to gather my scattered files and store them all in the external drive?  I'm guessing that this way LR should keep track of my files and know where they are?  eg loading files from my SD card to my laptop, then moving them to external drive when I get home. Do I need to "import" each file individually  in order to do this, or is there a way of handling whole folders in one go?

As part of this exercise I'm assuming I can use LR to delete the unwanted files to save space, or do I need to use file manager for this

I understand that I can add key word tags to files so that I can search for subjects, no matter where I store them so long as the catalogue keeps track of where they are?

Does the latest subscription version of LR offer many improvements over LR 6.0?  if so what are the main benefits?

I have Capture One on my ipad which I find to be an intuitive self contained RAW processor and editor when I am away on trips when I'd rather not take my laptop, especially as it enable wireless transfer of files from my Pentax and Olympus cameras using their appropriate apps.  I understand that the subscription version of LR (but not LR 6.0?) can also work on an ipad, is this a fully functional programme, or simplified version, or just a web access that I need internet access for?

I'll probably have more questions later, but any help on the above would be very helpful, thanks! 

 Myfyr Tomos 11 Apr 2021
In reply to kevin stephens:

I've used LR chaotically and ineffectively up until now and not used it for organising  my pictures.  I've used file manager instead of LR to move pictures around which are scattered in various folders on my laptop and also back up drives because of limited space on my hard drive.  I have RAW photos, full size jpegs, reduced size jpegs for web, tiffs from my film scanner, and also go pro videos (does LR handle videos now?)

I know your pain. 🤦‍♂️ I'm in exactly the same boat and to add to my problem, I hate computers. I await the responses from more tech savvy UKCers with bated breath.

 SouthernSteve 11 Apr 2021
In reply to kevin stephens:

I don't find Lightroom that intuitive as a file manager either, but it is great for processing raw images and is quite fast. However, I now use Photomechanic Plus for organising my photos and leave Lightroom for processing. 

Nothing compares to Apple's Aperture for the whole job which despite being a bit rough around the edges and VERY old remains the best combined product I have used. After this was stopped unexpectedly I will never again move the pictures into a proprietary system so the use of the OS file system is best for me. 

I realise I have not really helped, so sorry about that.

 JDal 11 Apr 2021
In reply to SouthernSteve:

Lightroom uses the host system file system, with a proprietary catalogue holding changes/keywords and suchlike on. You can write keywords to files (either on the original file if it allows, or XML sidecars).

To OP, LR won't solve your file disorganisation problems on its own, I recommend get an external drive and use the file system to store everything by month/year then you can use keywording for other categorisations. A major pain to set up, but then you'll be in control and you can backup effectively.

That's what suits me, I know other experienced photographers use other file structures.

 SouthernSteve 12 Apr 2021
In reply to JDal:

> Lightroom uses the host system file system ...

Yes and that is its strength, Aperture and iPhoto and more recently Photo placed the pictures in its own system and moving 45000 images from Aperture at the end of its life was very painful.  I still find it easier to find pictures for teaching outside of Lightroom than in it, which was not the case with the aforementioned products, but retrospective tagging is never as complete as that done at the time.

 Frank R. 12 Apr 2021
In reply to kevin stephens:

Get your collection organised first on the file system, like JDal suggested. Iit's a nice incentive to copy it all to a backup drive first.

Since moving photos around in Finder or Explorer is no fun at all, get some good photo browser that lets you show, tag and copy / move the photos as you are sorting out the mess.

You can get a 30-day trial of Photomechanic (which is the very best one), it's IMHO fastest for working with a scattered mess, as you can just open all into one virtual contact sheet, sort by date, caption by event and copy / move files to date-named folders automatically based on the day they were captured, while still adding a custom description to the destination folder name, keyword and rate multiple photos easily et cetera.

I store my collection by year, month and date plus event. You might prefer something else, but I find such structure the easiest, when you later index it all with LR. A folder named "2011-01-01-WinterClimbingWhatever" keeps some information even when you access it outside LR and makes for easy to navigate backups.

Though being pro oriented, Photomechanic might get some getting used to, some free photo browser might suffice if you have less photos.

It might be faster and easier to reindex or reimport into LR after you sort out the mess than working with LR file management, it wasn't its strongest point (could be different now, don't know).

Just get a big enough drive, copy everything there and sort it out on it.

Post edited at 09:18

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