Lightroom Classic: Catalog Management - moving from one drive to another with ease

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  • Updated 7 months ago
  • (Edited)
So let's say I have my photos in two different external hard drives (drives X and Y) and the photos are arranged to date specific folders. I decide to move all photos to one of the external drive X and want to maintain date specific arrangement.

Both drives X and Y have folders "2017" with various date specific folders. In Lightroom I cannot move the whole 2017 by dragging because Lightroom notes that X includes 2017 folder already. I should then move date specific folders from Y's 2017 folder to X's 2017 folder. At the end if there is same date specific folders within the 2017 folder I should move just photos. This is time consuming...

Any trick to make this automatically? 
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Tuomo Leino

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Posted 7 months ago

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Reinard Schmitz

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If you move the photos outside of LR you will loose development infos. So rename all the folders on one drive, e.g. 2017-1, and move them in LR to the other drive. I am eager to read about a better solution.
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Christian Fürst

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I think you will have to rename one folder, and make sure to back up the new catalogue
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Reinard Schmitz

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Rename inside of LR.
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Tuomo Leino

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Renaming in one drive does not really solve the problem I think. Let's say I have the following set up on drives:

X:/2017/2017-01-01
X:/2017/2017-01-02

and 

Y:/2017/2017-01-02
Y:/2017/2017-01-03

Now I want to merge these as simple as I can so that in the end X would have all three date specific folders as:

X:/2017/2017-01-01
X:/2017/2017-01-02 (including photos from both the "old" X:/2017/2017-01-02 and Y:/2017/2017-01-02)
X:/2017/2017-01-03

Say if I rename in Y to let's say "2017-2" I would end up with:

X:/2017/2017-01-01
X:/2017/2017-01-02
X:/2017-2/2017-01-02
X:/2017-2/2017-01-03

Once again in this scenario I have to manually merge the same date folders...

For me this is also an important question considering workflow with the new LRCC. I tend to upload pictures when I travel to my iPad in LRCC. The LRCC then uploads them to cloud and they become listed in the "From Lightroom Mobile" (or whatever the name was...) category in the catalog of Classic CC. I've understand that in preferences I can select new destination for these LRCC uploads so that these cloud pictures upload to specific folder in my computer. I can even choose to have classic CC to put them to day specific folders. But once again how on can I simply "merge" day specific folders from two locations to one location?..

They should make the import > move command work the way that you could be able to move within the catalog!
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Reinard Schmitz

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If you are on macOS you can follow my workflow:

1. I import my photos from different devices/cameras to separate folders on the internal disk
2. I rename them device specific to see later where they came from
3. I (reverse)/tag them 
4. I collect them automatically in day folders like 2018-01-04, 2018-01-03, 2018-01-02 (is done by the Hazel App)
5. These folders I move to the folder 2018-01 (created by hand the first time I need it) in the archive folder 2018 (created the 1st time by hand before) of LR. The Finder will ask me if I want to merge with an existing folder of the same day name or to overwrite it
6. I sync the 2018-01 folder in LR

It should work for you too and keeps the archive safe and consistent for centuries... :-)
(Edited)
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Roelof Moorlag

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And selecting all date specific folders within the 2017 folder with SHIFT?
It must be possible to move them all simultaneously
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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The easiest way to do this is as follows:
1: Select all the photos in the '2017' parent folder of drive Y and choose 'Save as Catalog'.
2: Delete the '2017' folder of drive Y from your Lightroom catalog (don't delete the images from disk, of course).
3: Use 'Import from Another Catalog' and select the catalog with the 2017 images you just saved. Lightroom will ask you what to do with the images. Copy them to drive X during import. It's always a bit tricky which folder you need to select as destination. I believe it's the parent folder of '2017' on drive X. Maybe try it with a handful of images first.
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Tuomo Leino

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This sort of works. BUT. When I import to X it makes a new subfolder destination folder. Using the example from above I end up with:

 X:/2017/2017-01-01
X:/2017/2017-01-02
X:/Y/2017/2017-01-02
X:/Y/2017/2017-01-03

They are copied to right place but the date specific tree isn't really merging. And you have to manually then go and destroy the "originals" so that you don't have same pictures on two different places.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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That's strange. It shouldn't add a 'Y' subfolder. Maybe that's because you don't have a parent folder of the 2017 folder. Use the method all the way to the bottom then. That will definitely work.
(Edited)
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Tuomo Leino

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Yes it makes the "Y" subfolder. Then you have to once again manually merge folders from this subfolder to main folder if you truly want to merge day specific tree. Need to see for the solution below...
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Reinard Schmitz

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I think this will not work if you already have identical folder names on Y and X. Will they really merge (supposed you import an identical folder structure) this way?
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Yes, they should merge because you are importing images, not folders. But like I said: try it with a few images to make sure (and backup your catalog first).
(Edited)
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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If it doesn't work, then you can adapt it a little. Instead of exporting the images as catalog, choose 'Metadata - Save Metadata to Files'. That will save your edits and keywords to XMP. Now delete the 2017 folder of the Y drive from the catalog. Then import the images (to the X drive) as if they were brand new images. Because they have an XMP file, they will import with all metadata and edits.