Lightroom Classic: Problem finding recently imported photos

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I am using Lightroom CC 7.3.1 with Mac 10.13.6 High Sierra. I have imported, processed, and put into existing collections a group of photos. Now when I open Lightroom that import is not the "last import", last import is the one before that. The new photos are missing. It is as if I never imported them. In fact, I have done it twice and the same thing happens. I keep Lightroom on a secondary hard drive, but I have never seen this issue before. What am I missing?
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Richard Newman

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Posted 4 months ago

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Jamie Coats

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I have the same issue and when I try re-import it tells me it’s already imported, go figure....
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Dan Hartford Photo

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Could be several things.  

One thing that comes to mind is that perhaps you have inadvertently opened an older catalog.  Perhaps a backup of the catalog taken before the import in question or a copy you made for some purpose.  Check to be sure you are working in the catalog you think you are.

Second thing that comes to mind is that rather than looking in collections for the "missing" images look for them in "All Photographs".  Sort by "added Order" and see if they show up at the bottom of the gird or end of the film strip.

If neither of those work, use Windows File Explorer or Mac Finder to see if the physical image files exist in the folder you think they should be in (where you copied or moved them to during import or if using the "add" import option where they were imported from.   If they are indeed there, when you try to import them again do you get any "duplicates" sort of indication (greyed out cells in import dialog), warnings  or messages?

Dan
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Richard Newman

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Hi Dan,

I've looked and yes I have a number of catalogs. Not sure why, I only need one. Does a new one somehow get created with software updates or something?  If I am happy with the catalog I am in, is it ok to delete any other catalogs?  I did sort all photos by "added order", and there are two anomalies:  there are a number of photos that show up as duplicates, as though they were imported multiple times; and there are a lot of blank images in the latter part of the group. I'm guessing that new imports having blank images upon import are ones that were already imported? My feeling would be that if I delete all the duplicates, I might accidentally delete the one that I want to exist in the catalog I am using.  Right?  But, I would imagine I can delete blank images?  Frankly, I'm now happy with what's in the currently used catalog. And I don't think anything's missing.  If you could get back to me about my questions, I'd surely appreciate it. Thanks! Sorry my Lightroom is such a mess.
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Dan Hartford Photo

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Hi Richard,

When LR does a full version update (eg from LR5 to LR6, it does indeed create a new catalog.  What it actually does is create a copy of the catalog you had been using and then updates the format of that copy to be compatible with the new software version.  The first exception to this was LR7 to LR8 which did not require a change in the catalog structure.  It creates the new catalog in the same folder as the existing catalog and appends a number (e.g. "-2") to the end of the catalog name.  It should be noted that this process also happens if you try to open an older catalog with a newer version of LR.  So, let's say you have the most recent version of LR installed (8.x) and then tell it to open a catalog that was from LR 6.x.  By doing so, LR will create a new copy of the LR 6.x catalog and updated it for version LR8.  In the process it will give you a notice that it is about to do this.  You may have seen such a notice and didn't pay much attention to it.

If you are happy with the current catalog (presumably a version 8.x catalog), there is no need to keep the older ones.  However, if there is any question whether the current catalog has all the images from some collection of older catalogs, it may be prudent to keep those older ones around for awhile but there is no reason you can't move them into some other folder to get them out of the way.   

Once you are sure you are in the correct catalog in LR, I suggest changing the preferences to "Always open this catalog" rather than the default setting of "Open most recent catalog".   The reason I do this is many times I've seen clients accidentally or on purpose open an older catalog and forget that they did.  Then for several weeks or months they are updating an out of date catalog rather than what had been the most current one.

If you are seeing duplicate images, there are several possibilities that are common:

1) You imported them multiple times
2) All but one are VC's (Virtual Copies)

In case one, it is most likely that all but one of the duplicates are marked as "missing"  (exclamation point in upper right side of image in grid).  This can happen, say, if you import the images then outside of LR move them someplace else the import them again.  However it is possible that you actually do have duplicate images in different folders.  In this case, after assuring they are indeed duplicates, decide which one you want and delete the other.  If you need to see which folder each one is in, right click on it select "Go to Folder in Library" or look in the metadata panel on the "folder" line (hover mouse over folder name to see full path).

VC images have a dog ear (folded corner) on the thumbnail's.  VC's are not duplicates, just two thumbnails for the same image where each one can have different changed or edits made to it.  Feel free to delete a VC but be sure the "are you sure" warning says you're deleting the VC and not the actual image.

If you see blank thumbnails it means that there is no saved preview of the image.  This can happen if you go back to look at images you haven't looked at in a long time but in this case is a short lived phenomenon.  After a few seconds the thumbnail will fill in if LR can actually find the image file where it thinks it should be.  If something outside of LR caused the image file be renamed, moved, or a parent folder got moved or renamed then it won't be able to create the preview and the grid will show a blank image.  Use the "Find all missing photos" item in the Library menu to see all the images that LR can no longer find after which you can find them on your own and tell LR where they are using the "Locate Missing Image" function.  If one or more "missing" images (blank thumbnail or not) is a duplicate of a non missing image, it's OK to remove the missing one.  Just be sure you are removing the missing one and not the real one.

Lot of info.  Hope it's clear.  

Dan


 

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Richard Newman

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Dan,

I Lightroom Preferences I do not see an option to "always open this catalog".  It lists the default to "open most recent" but the other pulldowns are just the numerous catalogs that exist.  Am I looking in the wrong place in Preferences?

Richard
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Dan Hartford Photo

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Sorry, I wasn't clear.  In the pull down you mention, select the specific catalog that is your "real" one.  Then that catalog will always be the on LR opens if you click the LR icon or drag images to it.  If you leave that selection with its default value (open most recent catalog) then you are at risk in the case where for some reason you opened some other catalog for some reason (say,  to check something) and then forgot about it and the next day just opened LR.  I've seen clients who had inadvertently been using a catalog in their backup folder for several months thinking it was their current catalog without realizing it and causing all sorts of mayhem that we had to untangle.

Dan
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Richard Newman

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OK, got it.  I know which is the best one for me, and I am going to ditch the rest.  I am using version 7.3.1 by the way.  My entire LR is stored not on my MacBook Pro but on a separate drive, which is backed up daily by Carbon Copy Cloner to a second drive.  Nothing bad about that, right?

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Dan Hartford Photo

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Nothing bad about that.  I would recommend that LR not be open when your daily drive backup takes place.  I would also suggest that in addition to your CC backup of the drive you also utilize the LR backup upon exiting LR (no one has ever regretted having too many backups).
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Richard Newman

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I learned the 11th commandment when I had an external HD failure in Europe, which was not backed up, and it cost me 1000.00 to get my images back (this was before LR).  I did not know about LR backup - where is that? And where does it go?

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Dan Hartford Photo

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Just to make sure you understand, the backup that LR can perform when you exit LR ONLY backs up the catalog.  Not your images, not your preferences, not your presets, Not your previews, etc.  So, it's good for having extra protection on the catalog file itself but not to the exclusion of your full disk backup.
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Richard Newman

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How do I do that format backup? BTW here is a photo of how many catalogs there are - not sure why it's upside down and won't rotate . . . the checked one is the one I have open and am happy with.

(Edited)
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Richard Newman

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Dan, I just reopened Lightroom, it shows being in the exactly same titled Catalog, but a collection set I entitled Death Valley today is not there now - the photo thumbnails you can see in the above copy shot are not there - I worked to create four collections and placed them in that collection set and now they are not there. This is driving me insane.
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Dan Hartford Photo

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You may have created the collection set while using a different catalog.  Is that possible?  Also as the catalog with the check mark seems to be a Time Machine managed copy that could be messing with you (not a Mac person so not all that familiar with Time Machine).
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Richard Newman

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I think we need someone like Victoria to help sort this out.
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Dan Hartford Photo

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There are several sources of such info, including one the the Lightroom Queen here https://www.lightroomqueen.com/lightroom-classic-file-locations/ (I don't know if you have to be a member to see it).  BTW "The Lightroom Queen" is Victoria who frequents this forum.  

I also have one here:  https://www.danhartfordphoto.com/blog/2019/1/LR011-LR-classic-files-to-backup-and-restore that I updated just last week.

In your upside down list, I see a bunch of catalogs labeled as Lightroom 5 (which I suspect most of them are not).  Starting at the bottom of your upside down list; The one with the check mark looks like it is from Time Machine (you must be on a Mac) which may be problematic.  Numbers 3, 4 and the last one (top) are in backup folders.  I presume during your troubles you must have opened them with LR at some point which is why they are on this list. 

If you are quite sure that the one with the check mark is the correct - or at least the best - of the bunch do this  (BTW I'm not a MAC Person so if I got something wrong here relating to Time Machine, I hope a Mac literate person will offer a correction).  

1) Close LR

2) go to Time machine and find this catalog (the one with the check mark)

3) Restore or copy (not sure of the correct terminology relating to Time Machine) the file who's name ends in ".lrcat" to your external drive.  I like having each catalog in its own folder along with the other files and folders LR automatically puts along side of it.  Then in turn those catalog folders are in a folder called "LR Catalogs"  

4) if there are other folders and files also in time machine ("Volumes/WD Time Machine 1/Lightroom 5 catalog") other than other catalogs you can copy those as well.  These would be various preview folders and perhaps a "helper" folder.  And in the off chance you are "saving presets with the catalog" a "settings" Folder.  All these can be copied to the same folder as where you copy the catalog file (the catalog file is the file listed in your screen shot).  

         <some path on your external drive>
                 LIGHTROOM PHOTO
                         LR Catalogs
                                 Lightroom 7 Catalog
                                            <the catalog file ending in .lrcat>
                                            <folders ending in .lrdata>
                                            Settings (if you have LR save your presets with the catalog)
                                            <Other files and Folders that LR manages, if any>
                         Master Images (or name of your choosing)
                                            <folders for your images>


5) if you want to be a bit more accurate, replace the "5" in  "Lightroom 5 Catalog" with "7" in all these files and folders (i.e. lrcat file, all the lrdata folders, etc.)  this is not needed but is more accurate.  Just make sure you replace just the 5 in the name leaving anything else as is.

6) double click on the newly moved and possibly renamed ".lrcat' file name to force LR to open that specific catalog.

7) go to the preferences dialog and tell it to always open this specific catalog (rather than one you selected a few messages ago which is the one from time machine).

Dan

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Richard Newman

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I am kind of scared to try all this without some Mac oriented input, as I really don't understand all you are saying very well, in your steps. I could try, but might I make things worse? I wish someone could get into my computer and on my Lightroom.  I mean I have these photos in folders on my desktop, not the original RAW files but the ones I originally processed into JPEGS. After importing them as JPEGs into Lightroom today to start over, I did a little processing here and there and exported them again, even published them in Facebook. Now they don't show in Lightroom, not in All Photos, the current catalog, nowhere. This is exactly the same thing that brought about the very beginning of this chain.
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Richard Newman

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Dan, I'm going to start by disabling the copying of what's on my Lightroom hard drive into the Time Machine hard drive. The daily Carbon Clone copy into another hard drive will be maintained, and Time Machine will still copy what's on  my internal hard drive but unrelated to Lightroom.  Using Time Machine would appear to be a third backup that I can do without if it solves my problem.  I'm going to reimport the JPEGs (that came from Lightroom out of RAW files) into Lightroom and set up new collections all over again; that will be the third time I've done that.  I don't want to be forced into using "Photos" from Apple, which I do not like at all, or have to look for another storage system for photos, though I might if I keep having issues.  Will then restart the computer and see if the newly set collections and collection set for Death Valley stay with me.  I will also consider the other steps you suggest.  Thanks for your help and I will advise the outcome.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Hey guys, sorry I've been out for a couple of days.

Even though Dan not a Mac guy, his instructions make sense. It does sound like you've opened and been working on a few different catalogs over the last few weeks.

If I was working on it, I would start by looking through each of those catalogs listed in your screenshot to determine which bits are missing. For example, the one in the TM drive has the latest photos but it's missing X collection. X collection is in the one stored in the 2018-10-12 backup folder but is missing from the others. I've edited a bunch of photos in the catalog stored in the 2018-12-18 folder that don't show up in the right place.

Once you know what's where, we can get everything back in one place.
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Richard Newman

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I'm now happy with the catalog I need to have. How do I delete the other catalogs?
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Dan Hartford Photo

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Make sure you know which is your correct catalog (full file path and file name ending in ".lrcat".  Then, go to Finder and search your system (all drives) for any file ending in ".lrcat".  Ignore the one's in time machine and back up folders as those should remain but delete all the others EXCEPT FOR THE REAL ONE.