LightRoom not respecting folder hierarchy

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  • Updated 3 years ago
  • (Edited)
Recently bought a new iMac (5k) and instead of installing the DMG I have a license for, I decided to try the LR that comes with my CC subscription. The version number shows up as: 5.7.1

After copying over my library from the old MBP and opening lightroom everything looked okay until I started adding new photos. I have all my photos in the following folder in LR:

Macintosh HD/Photos/2015

They're physically located at:

Macintosh HD/Users/Marc/Pictures/Photos/2015

Instead of showing new imports in the "Macintosh HD/Photos/2015/" LR shows the newly imported directories in "Macintosh HD/". When I try and move them in LR to the correct location I get the message "A folder named "name_of_photo_folder" already exists at this location". This is a mild annoyance but hasn't caused any huge issues until now.

I'm not sure if this is a separate problem or related, but today I tried to edit a PS CC 2014, I made the edits, clicked "save" and went back to LR looking for the photo. It's not there. It's not stacked or anything it's just not there. I used finder to look for it and the TIFF is on the hard drive by it's not in LR. When I try and import the TIFF into LR, the file is greyed out and LR won't let me import it (even if I uncheck "Don't Import Suspected Duplicates").

What is going on?
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Marc Matsumoto

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Posted 3 years ago

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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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As far as the first thing you're asking about, Right click on the Photos foldername and choose Add Parent Folder. You can do this more than once if you want to see all your folders up to the root, but it just makes things wider in the folder panel.

Your second issue may be that the saved photo is there but it's at the very end of the filmstrip because things are sorted by date, rather than filename. You can change the sort in Library.
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Marc Matsumoto

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Hi Steve, thanks for the quick response. When I try and select "Show parent folder" after right clicking I get an error message "An internal error has occurred Database "/Users/Marc/Pictures/Lightroom/Lightroom 5 Catalog.lrcat": columns rootFolder, pathFromRoot are not unique
Statement: UPDATE AgLibraryFolder SET rootFolder = ? WHERE id_local = ?;"

As for the second issue, I only have 5 photos in that folder, so it's definitely not a sorting issue.
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Marc Matsumoto

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Just to clarify, under folders both the parent "Photos" folder and the child folders already appear in LR, but LR is putting the child folders at the same level of the hierarchy as the parent. When I try and move the child folder into the parent folder, it says A folder named "child-folder" already exists at this location.
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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You cannot "move" a child folder under the parent folder in LR if the child folder is already in the parent folder on disk, which seems to be the error you're getting.

Besides trying to show the parent folder of an orphaned child folder--which you say gives an error, you could also try to hide the Photos folder, which would promote all the children to be peers of the other folders that are already orphaned children, then do a Show Parent Folder of one of the children and see if they all coalesce under the single parent folder.

If worse comes to worse, you can create a new root folder, perhaps a peer of the Photos folder or perhaps entirely outside of your Users area, but at least outside of the Photos folder, then move all of the Photos children under it using LR drag-and-drop operations, and restart LR and move them all back.

To get that new folder to show up in the LR folders panel you might need to put one new photo in it and import that photo into LR so there's something in LR under that folder.

The underlying issue may be one of casing (upper/lower-case) of the folders or device name, where the database thinks the paths are different when the file-system thinks they're the same or maybe vice-versa. LR is supposed to only be used on a case-insensitive file-system, like they all are on Windows, but that there is a choice about on a Mac.
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Marc Matsumoto

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Hi Steve, thanks again for your quick response. When I tried your first suggestion it gives the error message "An internal error has occurred. Database "/Users/Marc/Pictures/Lightroom/Lightroom 5 Catalog.lrcat": columns rootFolder, pathFromRoot are not unique
Statement: UPDATE AgLibraryFolder SET rootFolder = ?,pathFromRoot = ? WHERE id_local = ?;"

Your second suggestion seemed to work at first. I moved all the photo filters to a temp folder and then back again, and it got rid of all the folders showing up in the root directory, but then when I import a new folder containing photos within the "Photos" folder it dumps the photos in the root folder.

Also the TIFF file edited in Photoshop is still missing (i.e. it does not show up in LR, and cannot be added but can be found in the file system)
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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Try the "second suggestion" again, but remove the Photos folder from LR (not by promoting all the children, but by right-clicking and removing it from LR, when all the children are in the temporary location. Make sure there are no photos under the Photos folder, by turning on view photos in subfolders and making sure the count is zero, before removing the folder from LR.
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Marc Matsumoto

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Hi Steve, problem fixed! For anyone else that may run into the problem in the future I actually had to go one step further. After removing the "Photos" folder from LR, I found that the folder still existed in the file system because of a few orphaned photos (including the missing TIFF that I couldn't get to show up in LR), after moving those folders and deleting the "Photos" folder from the hard drive, I then recreated a new "Photos" folder, added an image to get LR to see the new folder, and then moved all the photo folders from the temp folder to the "Photos" folder. Lastly I went and reimported the orphaned images and now everything seems to be working as expected. Thanks so much for your help, you truly are a champ!
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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Did you re-import, erasing all your previous settings, or did you merely right-click and Locate Missing Folder and Find Nearby Photos--which is what you should have done to keep all your edits and virtual copies and collections.
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Marc Matsumoto

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I didn't need to. I moved the photo folders to a temp location in LR, before removing the folder in LR and then deleting it from the hard drive. Then created a new photos folder, and moved the photos back in LR. All the settings are preserved.
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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Your use of the word "reimport" suggested an Import operation. If you just used drag-and-drop within LR, then great.
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Marc Matsumoto

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Ahh right, I did have to reimport the orphaned images (i.e. the ones that weren't showing up in LR) using the import operation.
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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Ok, so by orphans you mean the few individual photos that were in the Photos folder that weren't able to be imported previously.

When I used the term, earlier, I was talking about all the folders that didn't show underneath Photos in LR--orphaned from being listed under the Photos folder.
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jw stephenson

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A related problem I have recently noticed is with exporting to Photoshop CC with automatic import back into Lightroom. If I "edit in Photoshop..." an image from say the LR folder "Photos\JWS\2015\MayRetreat\" folder and then save in Photoshop, the PSD is physically placed in the exact same folder on the hard drive, but in Lightroom it shows up in my catalog tree as "MayRetreat\" all by itself. The only way to get it aligned with the physical tree structure is to "remove from catalog" in the incorrect folder, remove that folder, then Sync the correct catalog folder from the LR tree. Or is this a setting somewhere that I need to make either in Photoshop or Lightroom?