Setting Up Lightroom Libraries From Scratch: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

Setting Up Lightroom Libraries From Scratch: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace


In this episode I’ll show you how to set up a
Lightroom catalog from scratch. AdoramaTV presents Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace. Hi everybody, welcome to this week’s episode of Exploring Photography, right here on AdoramaTV. I’m Mark Wallace. Well, I got a question recently from a person on Facebook that said ‘Hey, I am brand new to Lightroom. I’ve been
using it just a little bit for the last couple of months and I’m starting over.
I’m going to set everything up from scratch on a brand new computer. Can you walk me through the settings?’ Well, absolutely. In fact I get this question a
lot and I think the key to this entire thing is to think of Lightroom and your
photos as a system. Actually think of it as a library, and anybody that grew up
and went to elementary school in the seventies can remember how exciting the
library was. “Hi there, young fellow. How’s the library business?” “All swell, Mr. Williams. See ya!” “So long.” “What keeps you and Steve, all the rest of your staff so… so keyed up about the library?” “But what can be more exciting?” Well, what could possibly be more
exciting? Well its true. Once you get to know the library and how it works it’s
pretty great but at first that might not be the case. “Have you ever watched the
way others use the library? There’s quite a difference in the way they go about it. Some seem lost in the library. Now, the first thing, Jean, is to really get to
know this card catalog .” Yeah, the first thing you need to know is how to use the card catalog. Every remembers the card catalog right? “The card catalog helps pupils
locate books by author, title and subject.” So what does all this have to do with
setting up Lightroom? Lightroom is a catalog just like the card catalog and
understanding this and that the whole thing is like a library is the key to
getting everything setup and working properly. “With this beginning and with
practice you can master the organization of your library.” Wait, wait no, that’s not the end but I think
that’s the end of those vintage clips. The point is to approach your Lightroom
set up like a library system. Istead of books, you have photos. Instead of a card catalog, you have a Lightroom catalog and just like card catalogs in a bunch of books, your
Lightroom catalog is in a bunch of photos. And you import photos into Lightroom. What you’re actually doing is you’re importing information about those photos
and storing the photos somewhere else. And that has a really big impact on where you store things on your hard drives. Well, you can store all of your files or
Lightroom catalogs and your photos all on one hard drive but that’s not a good
idea for a lot of reasons. One: You use your computer’s internal hard drive for
everything. If that crashes and you don’t have a backup, well you’re really out of
luck and sometimes if you have a small hard drive like a laptop while your
folders are going to fill up really quickly and you’re not going to have any space left. And so it’s a good idea to use an external hard drive if not more than one hard drive for backup
purposes. So let me walk you through how I’ve set up my laptop and you can adjust
this according to your needs so on my laptop’s internal hard drive, I’ve created a
folder in My Documents folder called ‘Lightroom Catalogs’. Now, I used that folder for storing all of my Lightroom catalogs Now at first you might only have one catalog, but as your photography grows you might want to have a catalog, maybe, for family
portraits, one for a wedding of Client A and Client B and Client C. You might want to have a sports catalog, so you’re not mixing all your photos together or we can throw them all into
one big catalog. It’s up to you but I suggest that you create a folder for at
least one if not more catalogs . Now the second thing I recommend you do is use an external hard drive for your photos themselves and so on this external hard
drive I’ve created a photos folder and inside of that folder I will create
several sub folders for each of my photoshoots. Now, we’re going to do all that sub folder
creation in Lightroom. But the point is to have an external hard drive with a photos
folder that you can throw all of your pictures into. Now, remember your catalog is referencing those external photos and so
you can take those photos and plug them into different computers and it is very
portable. Now, what happens if that external hard drive crashes? Well you
need a backup and that’s what this third hard drive is for. That is to create a
backup of your external hard drive ,your photos specifically, and that happens
automatically when you import photos into Lightroom. There’s little box
we can check to make sure that it creates a second copy so if something
happens to that external hard drive, you’re going to be just fine. Now, this last external
hard drive here is to back up my internal hard drive. So I’ve got a backup for my Lightroom catalog and all my stuff on my computer and I have a backup for my
external photos drive so no matter what happens I’ve got a backup somewhere. So
how does this all transpire when we take our little media card or memory card out
of our camera and plug it into Lightroom. So, what happens is the photos go into
Lightroom, where all the meta data is stored. But the actual photo is stored on
the external hard drive that you’ve designated and then a secondary copy
goes to this backup drive and then when you make a backup of your internal hard
drive using Time Machine or whatever backup software you have, that is backed up on this last hard drive. So Lightroom catalog goes on your internal hard drive,
your photos go on an external hard drive, a backup of your photos, a backup of
your computer. Alright, now let’s put all this into
practice. Now what I’ve done here is I’ve opened three windows to show you three
physical hard drives. Now, in the upper left-hand corner of my computer here, you
can see that this is my macintosh harddrive, my internal hard drive here and in
My Documents folder I have my Lightroom catalogs folder. Inside that Lightroom
catalogs folder I have another folder called Travel Photos. That’s where I’m storing my travel photos catalog. And if I open it, you can see it right there Travel Photos-2.lrca. That stands for Lightroom catalog. So that’s where my catalog is stored. I’ve got two other files here, one is called Smart previews, the other one is
just called previews. I’ll explain those a little bit later. This catalog is referencing my other
external hard drives. That’s over here on the right hand side. This is my photo hard drive. That’s my Lacie, orange hard drive that I showed you earlier. If I open this photos folder, I’ll just double click that and put this into ListView you’ll see that have a bunch of
subfolders here. I have Argentina and Australia and backpack and Bahamas and Bolivia and so, when you import from your memory card from your camera when you go through
Lightroom, Lightroom has the ability to create simple there’s an external hard
drive and call them different things you can organize things my name and date and
all kinds of things so we’ll get to that in just a bit. The important thing is to have a folder
called photos or whatever you want to call it. I call it photos on an external hard drive. Now my third folder down here, you can see this third window, this is my backup
drive. This is a 2TB, I just call it my 2TB orange drive. Right now it’s got
some videos and I’m going to create a folder on this. So I’m going to create a new folder and I’m going to call it back up and that will keep a backup of my photos and I’ll show you
how that works when we zip over to Lightroom so what I’ll do first here is, I’m just going to open up my travel photos catalog and then what we’re going to do is open and create a new catalog from scratch. But I just want to show you something here. In Lightroom, notice that on the left hand side of my library modules so we’re going to library modules here under folders. Notice that I have this photo HD, my photo hard
drive and its named exactly like it was in my finder or Windows Explorer if you have that
and when you dial this open or you scroll this open here, you can see that we have
all those folders exactly like they were on your hard drive, so Australia, Backpack
Bahamas, Bolivia etcetera. That’s all there. Now I know that photos are always
going to be in photos so I can actually right click on that and i can say Hide
This Parent so photos doesn’t show up anymore, it just shows me the folder
names inside of that and it just makes it a little bit cleaner. OK, let’s set
everything up. So the first thing I’m going to do here is go up to File, New
Catalog. We’re going to start a new catalog from scratch. New catalog and it’s going to say where do I want to store that? So I’m going to store this in my Lightroom catalogs folder, so
right there, Documents, Lightroom Catalogs and this is going to create a folder
with the new catalogs so you don’t have to create a folder first. Lightroom is going
to do that for you . And so if you create a folder and then create a catalog, you’re going to have a folder and then a folder inside that so don’t do that. So I’m going to save this
as Adorama Catalog. So we have something really cool and when I say create it’s going to create the entire framework for me. It’s going to close my old catalog, open a new one. It’s totally empty. Let’s zip over the hard drive and see what happens. Peek behind the curtain here so when we do that, notice that now we have this Adorama catalog and when I open that I have my Adorama catalog.lrcat (Lightroom Catalog) and then I have these
previews and I have this journal and lock. What that is doing is it’s locking
your catalog so if you’re on a shared, you know like on a network or something and somebody else
tries to open your catalog, it won’t allow them. That’s what those are. They can go away when you close your catalog, so the other thing is where are those smart previews?
We’ll get to that in a second. The next thing we want to do is import some pictures, so I’ve got some really not so good pictures I just
shot around really quickly I’m going to put my memory card into my computer and
once I do that I’m going to click Import and my pictures show up here these are
some I just shot around very quickly. Now, the important thing is to know how to
get these into our catalog and how to get them stored on the external hard
drive so on the right hand side over here it’s going to ask me what I want to
do. Actually, on the top it’s going to say do you want to copy or move or add by default?
You want to copy these from your memory card to a hard drive, so that’s by default, it’s going to say Copy. And on the right hand side here, there’s a little checkbox, and it
says build smart previews. I recommend that you turn that on I did an entire video on smart previews, so I’m not going to cover that here, we’ve included a link to
that video in the description of this file. So turn that on if that makes
sense to you. You can watch that video to see if it does. Now, the second thing down here it
says make a second copy too. That’s where that backup will happen and so I’m going
to check that as well and then what I’m going to do is I’m going to choose the
folder and I’m going to go to this 2TB orange drive back up. And then
I’m going to choose that so now that my file comes from my memory card it’s going to
go to both hard drives, one, my photos hard drive and the other, the backup hard
drive and that way I have a backup immediately and don’t have to worry about if my hard drive crashes, it’s all built in. Now the next thing I can do here is rename the file. I
don’t want to do that. I don’t want to apply anything during import but it’s saying where do I want to store these? What’s the destination. So what I’m going to do here
is, first of all, I’m going to go to my photos hard drive. My photo hard drive and I’m
going to go into photos and I’m going to put this in a subfolder. I’m going to
call it a AdoramaTV and you’ll notice that now this shows up under photos, there’s a little gray thing saying it’s going to create a folder for you and then you can
either organize that into one folder in other words everything’s gonna drop
right into that sub folder or you can tell it to make it by date and
it will look at the date of the pictures that you took and it’ll create different
subdirectories by date so it’s up to you. It doesn’t matter however you want to do it.
Once you have that set, if it’s something that you do a lot you might want to come
down here and there’s this import preset and you might want to say save current
settings as a new preset, and I’ve done this for most of the countries that I
visit so I don’t have to enter in the location data and all that stuff every time, so I have a preset
for a bunch of different places. So if you shoot something, a different
location or something a lot, and you find yourself typing this in over and over, you can save a preset and save yourself a lot of time. Now, once that’s all done we’re going to say import. That’s going to
bring everything into Lightroom, all the metadata, all the photos are going to be copied to the second hard drive. A copy is going to be made to the third hard drive, everything’s going to be updated and the
smart previews are going to be created. That will take just a little bit of time
but if we go over here now to our finder let’s look and see what’s happening on
your hard drive. In the Adorama catalog, notice we have previews here and then we
actually have smart previews. Those were built on our first import so once you do
that you’re always going to have the smart previews and then we have our catalog in
our backup folder here we have imported on August 20th 2015 and we can see a
backup of all of those files, so each time you import it’s going to create a
little back up and then over here on my photos hard drive you can see that it’s created
a new sub folder called AdoramaTV so everything is neat and tidy and works
just fine. So those are the basics for creating a Lightroom catalog from
scratch. There’s a lot more that we can talk about but it would take us an hour or
two or three or four to go through all the different nuances and settings and
things like that and so what we’ve done is we’ve talked about a lot of those
things in the past on Adoramatv, so again I’ve linked you to those. The important thing is remember it’s a library system. Lightroom is a catalog
for referencing external files. You should create those files on an external
hard drive and have a backup. Keep your Lightroom catalog on your internal hard
drive that way you can disconnect your external hard drive and still keep
working and updating and then connect later and update those files and then
make sure you keep a backup copy of your Lightroom catalog on your normal hard
drive backup. Well, there you have it. That’s all you have to do to set up a
very basic Lightroom system. Once you do that it’s going to grow with you over
the years. You have room to create new Lightroom catalogs. You have room to
create lots of different sub folders, an organizational structure on your photos hard drive and you can do all kinds of things that we’ll
get to in future episodes, right here on Exploring Photography. Well, thank you so much for joining me this
week. Don’t forget to subscribe to AdoramaTV so you don’t miss a single episode. We’ve got tons of content from a lot of
different people and you don’t want to miss any of that so click the subscribe button. It’s absolutely free and don’t forget to
check out the Adorama Learning Center. There are tons of articles and videos
and tutorials on things like smart previews in Lightroom and setting up external hard drives all that kind of stuff so check that out. Thanks again for
joining me and I will see you again next week. Do you want great-looking prints at low-cost? Be sure to visit our easy to use online printing service. Adorama Pix has professionals who treat your images with the utmost care that you can count on. For a quick turnaround on photos, cards or albums use adoramapix.com

25 thoughts on “Setting Up Lightroom Libraries From Scratch: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace”

  1. Very informative video. Thanks Mark. I have a question though. If you export an image into a directory in which you have your images stored and which has been backed up on import will that extra image get backed up by Lightroom?

  2. Great video, thanks Mark. What do you do when you fill up a HD? Lightroom doesn't like you moving source media, so do you just put that drive in a drawer, or do you have an archiving tip? Thanks, james.

  3. Great video Mark! Could you please in a future video explain how to make smaller catalogs from a huge unorganized catalog.

  4. Very informative! What do you do if you want to use multiple computers? I have a laptop I use when traveling and a desktop and would like to edit on both. Do you store the lr catalog on the portable hard drive?

  5. Great Video mark!! i currently have all my photos on my imac. If i buy a hard drive, how can i move my photos from my imac hard drive to the external hard drive? Thanks in advance

  6. Thank you for that video! I think with that and the one you did on smart previews I have an idea of where to start with fixing my organization issues. Here is a big question for you about using the dual externals for your pics and immediate backups…Once you have reviewed your pics and decided you have a few that are no good, maybe missed focus, how would you go about deleting that photo from the backup? Normally I would flag it as delete then after reviewing everything making some edits, if I'm happy to dump the worthless images I Ctrl-Backspace and they are gone, does that mean I would need to go and search each of those files and remove from the backup as well?

  7. Mark, another very helpful video. One thing I found was that even using a USB 3.0 external hard drive, it slowed Lightroom down. I went with a solid state external hard drive. A little pricier drive, but so much faster accessing Lightroom images.

  8. Felt like you were about to say "fucked" there for a moment when you were explaining the cons of storing all the images on one drive 😀

  9. Awesome video Mark. Long time follower of your work but I found this one particularly useful…. Hopefully you will finish your tour of Australia and head west! 🙂

  10. Thanks, still some questions on cleaning up a previous mess onto a newly "washed" laptop but the intro was fantastic as I finally got the basic concept of Lightroom as a library/catalog. That will make the rest easier to master details. One note, I set up Dropbox to automatically backup my photos folder as I am still using my laptop to store my photos, so that is my third photos backup-it can work well for that purpose (but of course you need a paid plan with DB to get enough space)

  11. You are an amazing teacher. I guess I'm new to
    LR in that I learned on a friends copy of LR-5 to make Time Lapse
    Video's. I just now purchased a LR-6 stand alone version and have not
    ever used the "collections" or "publish services" before.

    So, I took a nap after hitting Export for my 1st Time Lapse today and when I woke, I found the finished video in "My Video's" on my computer hard drive. 🙂 Yay ! But, I'd like to use the "publish services" for my Flickr account and maybe even my Facebook account. Also, I'd like to use the "Connections" folders for a location in LR to find my finished work instead of having to exit LR and search my pictures or my video's.

    1.) Is it possible to stash time lapse video's into "connections"?
    2.) Is my video still in LR now and if so, could you help me find it?
    3.) Can I use "publish services" for time lapse video's I've made in LR-6?

    Thank you for your generous consideration,
    Steph_Louisiana

  12. Hey can u help me im trying to use lightroom as a referance library but on how to setup the smart categories and everything else

  13. I have it (LR 6)and it is a waste of money for me….I use Mac apple photos and aperture with RAW Power (13.00 dollars) and does an excellent job, and it costs nothing more !……….I find that LR has many moves to get to a place you want to be…….You just can not drag and drop to a file without going through a series of moves…… subscriptions cost you money……You can keep LR …

  14. Hi Mark, great videos. How can I back up photos that I did not back up at import? Will I have to make a back up copy myself? thanks

  15. FFS is there anybody posting a video on the very simple question: "how do I set up a new catalogue in Lightroom". I don't want a history lesson, I don't need or want a bit of background information, I don't need a contextual diversion to an analogy about filing fucking cabinets.

  16. I need to know what I have done or not done to create the problem I'm having. In LR Library the Folders do not display all the folders on my hard drive and the Collections I have created have gone away. I had to have the hard drive on my computer replaced, but my pictures are on my hard drive so nothing was done to them. The only other thing
    that has happened with my computer is I moved a couple of weeks ago. I have no idea why I've lost these things and I need help!

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