Lightroom Classic: How to export image when original has been deleted?

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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I have imported some images into my Lightroom. I had edited them and tried to export them onto my desktop. It says I'm unable to, due to the original file either missing or deleted. As it has been edited and imported onto my Lightroom account, is there anyway I'm able to export it without having the original picture?
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Posted 2 years ago

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Photo of Rick Spaulding

Rick Spaulding, Champion

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LIghtroom needs to see the original image in order to export it. Right now what you see is a small preview file. Perhaps the steps in this post can help you find the original:


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Do you have the original images? In other words, is LR simply unable to find them on your computer or have they actually been deleted? There is a "Show in Finder" dropdown option on mac where you can direct LR to where the file is - if you can find it yourself. Assume there is a similar option on PC. Often I will consolidate files into new master folders that are different from when I originally imported. LR only knows the original locations. This is, by the way, a strong argument for never deleting files from a camera card. Cards are cheap, when I fill one up, I record lock it and move on to a new one.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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In a worst case scenario, if you deleted the originals thinking they were "IN" Lightroom (they never are, in Lightroom Classic), they're no longer in the trash and you can't get them back using file recovery software, then this is the only leftover recovery option: