I use Lightroom 3 for about 99% of my editing…basically all the time. I use it not only for editing, but for organizing my photos too. They are all kept in their designated folders, filed by year, month, then date &/or event name; i.e. Honeymoon). Now if you don’t have Lightroom, the best part about it is, whatever you do in Lightroom for organization, it does the exact same thing on your hard drive. If you make any folder in Lightroom it magically appears the same way on your hard drive. This is where it gets tricky though, the trick is if you are going to move any of your photos or folders, YOU MUST DO IT in Lightroom and not on your hard drive. Lightroom is particular about where your RAW files go…it happened to me one afternoon.
*This part is the most important for those who use this software, it’s critical that you find other ways to backup your photographs…either an online storage or external hard drive, or both! As of right now, I’m not following my own advice…the external hard drive that I have isn’t compatible with a MAC, so we must buy another one. But you don’t want to wake up one day and find your hard drive has kicked the bed. Or what happened to me, your Lightroom Catalog as gone missing!!! In the Library Module you’ll find your Catalog (where all your photographs live) and then you’ll see all your folders nicely organized however you want them. And then there are collections (which is a whole other post…) but it’s just another way to organize your photos. So backing Lightroom is also critical! This is super easy, just go into Lightroom, Catalog settings and choose which backup option is right for you, I chose everyday I exit out.
I’m not sure how it happened, but one minute I was working in Lightroom, editing pictures (my first ever paying client mind you…) and then shut down and when I went to open LR again, my ENTIRE CATALOG WAS GONE!!! GONE!!! And hubby was away, I was recovering from an ear infection and not feeling well…so I was a mess. I had no idea what I did or what I could have done and I could not find my backup anywhere…I was devastated! But luckily our wonderful friend Nate, who I emailed, subject reading, “I need your geekiness” for help. After not much luck and lots of searching the internet, I was faced to make a new catalog and kind of start over in LR…Luckily all my photos were still on my hard drive, I didn’t lose anything, I just lost the ability to go back and edit/re-edit any photos that I had perviously uploaded into LR.
But thinking all was lost, I received an email with a website from Nate about lost files in LR. Knowing it couldn’t hurt to try, I found one method that WORKED!!! I now have my old catalog back! I am one HAPPY CAMPER!
This is the portion of the article that worked for me; Helen Bradley writes:
A Folder is Missing Some Files
If you have a folder which you think should have more images in it than are currently showing in Lightroom this could well be the case. The Lightroom folder structure mimics the disk folder structure but only those images you import into Lightroom will actually be in Lightroom. It is also possible to remove images from Lightroom but in such a way as they remain on disk. To check to see if there are additional images in a folder that aren’t showing in Lightroom, right click the folder in Lightroom and choose Synchronize Folder. Make sure that the Show Import Dialog before Importing option is enabled and select Synchronize. This shows the import dialog and those images that are in the folder but not in Lightroom so you can synchronize the contents of the folder with Lightroom. You don’t want this to happen to you…