The First Thing You Should Do to Set Up Lightroom

Lightroom is a very flexible program. The great thing about this is that you can decide where you want to store your images on your computer. In fact, Lightroom doesn't store your images at all.

Lightroom stores just about everything having to do with your images, but not the photos themselves, in its catalogue file. One of the other things that it keeps track of is where your images are on your computer. What happens though is if you move an image, Lightroom no longer knows where that picture is and so it breaks. In order to avoid this, it's important that you develop a system when it come to sorting your images.

My system is very simple, and I'll walk you through all the pieces. The first step is to decide where you want all of your images to reside. The pictures folder on your computer is great, but I have an entire partition on my hard drive dedicated to storing images. Then, inside this location make a folder named with the name of that Lightroom catalogue and then add: "and containing photos". For example it might be something like: "Lightroom 5 catalogue and containing photos" or "Graceson's catalogue and photos". Then inside that folder you just created, make a new folder with the name of the catalogue. To use the same examples: "Lightroom 5 catalogue" or "Graceson's catalogue". Then create another folder next to that one (inside the folder with the "and photos" part on it called) "original photos". So now your folder structure will be something like this:

 

Lightroom 5 Catalogue and Containing Photos

>Lightroom 5 Catalogue

>Original Photos

 

Now that you have your folders set up its time to put everything away. Go ahead and find your Lightroom catalogue and move it into its folder. Make sure that you also get the other folders that go with that catalogue. These are things like previews, presets, smart previews, and other folders like that. Next, find your folders of images and put them into the "original photos" folder. So now your structure will be something like this:

 

Lightroom 5 Catalogue and Containing Photos

>Lightroom 5 Catalogue

>Lightroom 5.lrcat

>Lightroom 5 Previews.lrdata

>(+ other related folders and files)

>Original Photos

>(+ all of your image folders, and image files)

 

This sort of structure makes it really easy to see what images belong to what catalogue (if you have multiple catalogues that is, which I don't recommend). It also prevents you from moving a folder by mistake and breaking Lightroom's link to those photos. Make sure though that you remember to keep putting new photos inside the "original photos" folder to maintain order. If you don't have Lightroom yet I suggest that you give it a try because it is my favorite program for photography. You can download a trial version here if you would like (FYI this is an affiliate link).

- Graceson Aufderheide

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This blog discusses Graceson's interests and ideas, including: Lightroom and Photoshop tips, photography discussions, jewelry crafting, new projects, gear reviews, and more.

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Image of GracesonMy name is Graceson Aufderheide, but you have probably figured that out already. I am currently a senior in high school who photographs, teaches, and makes jewelry. I have always been creating, that is what I do.
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