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2.3 Organize Your Existing Collection

Even though Lightroom's "move" tool is only available on import, there are ways to organize images that are already in a catalog. This lesson will show you how to move images between drives and folders.

2.3 Organize Your Existing Collection

In the last lesson, I showed you had organized and sort your images on the import stage. I definitely recommend starting with a blank slate when you're getting organized, but sometimes that just isn't an option. This lesson is for getting your folders set up and organized when you already have a mature light room catalog. So, first things first. It's not recommended that you move images around outside of Lightroom. If you move images around by dragging and dropping them on your hard drive, Lightroom will get confused about where the images are stored. You'll have to relink them and that can get messy. So let's look at how to move files around within Lightroom. Remember that one of my key ideas is that we organize images into folders based on the capture date. So what we need to do is round up our images that we captured on the same day and group them into a folder. To find images with the same capture date, we're going to filter based on that capture day. Let's make sure we're working in the library module and go to the view Show filter bar option. Let's go ahead and click on the metadata heading if we haven't already. And what we want to do is filter to a single day of capture. So let's go ahead and filter to a single day of shooting. If I scroll down to 2015, for example, I can then drill down on the month and then choose the day of capture to gather all images that were captured on a certain day. So I hope that you can see where I'm going with this. I'm going to take all of these images and move them to their own new folder based on their capture day. We're looking at all images that were captured on that certain day. They're currently in an organized folder structure, as you can see here on the left, in the Folders panel. Let's create a date folder for this date. I'll come over on the Folders panel, control click on the Tuts+ Library folder and choose Create Folder inside. Now I'm going to go ahead and name it according to our suggested naming structure which is the year and then the month and then the date and then a description, which I've done here. Let's go ahead and unclick include selected photos because I haven't selected them all, I only have one image currently selected. Now when I click Create, all that I have to do is select all of these images and then click and drag them onto that folder that we just created. Those images are actually being moved around on the hard drive. They're being sorted into the suggested naming structure. This is a bit manual, I can admit, but when you have a mature collection and can't start over by re-importing, this is definitely the best way to go. I could then go to another date from the metadata drop down, grab all these images, and then move them into their own folder as well. This is the best way to organize images in your catalog so that no links are broken or images go missing. Just repeat for each date. One more thing, let's look at how to move images to an external hard drive as I've suggested. This might be really useful to you as well as you migrate your images to an external set up. Let's say that all our images are stored on an internal drive as they are for me. We wanna migrate them to an external drive. The problem here on the left side is that only my Mac's hard drive's showing, and not the external hard drive I have currently plugged in. That's because there's currently no images on it that are linked to my Lightroom catalog. So how do we get that external drive to show up? It's actually really easy. All we have to do is press the plus button and choose Add Folder. Now I'm going to browse to that external hard drive and create a new folder, which I'll call Photo Library. Once I click create, I can then click choose and you'll see here that that HFS drive has been added and the photo library folder we created is now set up. All I have to do now is click and drag a folder up into that photo library section, and it's actually being copied to that external hard drive as I speak. Let's go ahead and browse inside of it and you'll see that the folder I just dragged and dropped is now available there as well. We could also move images directly from the center area to that external drive as we're setting up our name folders. One last thing just to clarify. I also believe in setting up your folder for each year that we have photos. So I'm gonna go ahead and control click on Photo Library and click Create Folder inside Photo Library and call this 2015. Now I can actually just drag and drop that one folder of images into that 2015, and it'll be placed inside of it. Let's repeat with one more example so that I can show you what I mean. Let's go back to all photographs, turn back on the metadata filtering by clicking the Metadata up here. Now let's move all of those images from April 21st, 2015. I'll go ahead and create another folder inside of this 2015 folder. I'll call that 2015-04-21, Nature walk and once I press create, that new folder will be available inside of it. Now all I have to do is press Command A and select all images and drag and drop them onto that new folder we just created. They're being sorted into our organized structure and also be moved to the external hard drive in the process as well. So over time, this is what you can do. You can just pick out images from your old set up and migrate them to your external hard drive. The best part of doing this inside of Lightroom is that the links will never break. I really wish that Lightroom's move option at the import stage was also available for mature catalogs so that we could automate this process. While I'd recommend starting from scratch when getting fully organized, this lesson is also a great look at how to organize after the fact. Both skills are really important for staying organized. Remember that you can always drag and drop images from inside a Lightroom using this folder's panel to where you need them to be on your hard drive.

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