Lightroom Classic: Reorganizing files

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I'm familiar with both Moving files and Importing files but what I'm looking for is a hybrid of the two. My default "Import" takes new files and drops them into folders by date. Unfortunately I currently have edited photos in the catalog that are in folders by subject and I'd like to reorganize so that everything is in folders by date - but I don't want to lose my edits. If I try to use the "Import" function to do this it tells me that the files are already in the catalog and won't proceed. Moving them file by file would work but would end up being a career by itself. Is there practical way to do this?

Unless I'm the first one to ever want to do a wholesale reorganization of his file system structure (is that possible?), this sounds like a good feature to have, especially since it's already a feature for files not in the catalog.
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James Murchison

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Posted 3 months ago

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Tony Roberts

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In Library, highlight folder and right click. Click on rename. Type in new name and click ok. Don't be tempted to rename outside of Lightroom, e.g. in Finder. Lightroom will NOT recognize the renaming if you do this and you'll get the dreaded !

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James Murchison

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I understand that problem but that will only rename the folder but will not organize the photos into new folders by date.  I have many old folders each containing shots taken over a long period of time.  I'd much rather have those organized in the file system by date and let the Lightroom catalog take care of organizing by keyword.

Thanks for the thought but I don't think that trick is practical for thousands of photos.  The Import and file by date function that is built in to Lightroom will do the job except that they won't let it move files already in the catalog even though that's the perfect place to do it.
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Geoff Walker, Champion

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I’m not sure which question you are responding to Tony???

James, I believe the easiest way is to use the All Photographs collection (or what you find works for you then use ‘Sort by Capture Time’ then you can select all under a date and drag to the appropriate destination folder...
hope that is useful
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Laura Shoe, Champion

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James, I'm with you on an option within Library to reorganize by date automatically, but in the absence of that: you can save your edits to XMP, remove them from Lightroom, and reimport, organizing by date. You will lose pick/reject flags, virtual copies, step by step edit history and presence in collections. Here's an article that explains in more detail how to "start over" in Lightroom to accomplish this. While the article contemplates removing all photos and reimporting, you can do this with a subset.
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James Murchison

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That sounds worthy of a try, thank you.  I'll create a test catalog first.
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James Murchison

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Just finished testing your technique out and it worked, thank you.  Todd Shanner's addition about adding keywords for the "pick/reject" flags is clever too.  I just wish this was just designed into the product - it just seems like a natural.  Good work-around though.
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Laura Shoe, Champion

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You're welcome, James - good to hear. Good addition to the technique by Todd as well.
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Marco Klompalberts

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Assuming your folders by subject don't contain the year in their name, I would create a smart collection with the rule "Folder (source>folder) — doesn't contain — 201".
Then sort by capture time, like Geoff sugests, and move the files to (newly created) folders that contain the right dates.
The moved files should disappear from the smart collection so you will have an indication of your progress.
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James Murchison

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Thanks, that would work for a few photos but would become a little tedious for thousands.  I'm going to give Laura Shoe's suggestion above a try.  I'm sure like many people I've started out with what seemed to be a reasonable organization method but now that I have seen the Light(room), I know there's a better way.  If only they had provided an easy way to do it . . .
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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"You will lose pick/reject flags, virtual copies, step by step edit history and presence in collections. "

You can recover your pick/reject flags and collections by saving a unique keyword identifier to those specific files BEFORE the file reorganization.

Select 'All Photographs' in the Library module Catalog pane and use the Filter bar to select all Picks and then keyword them (SavePick). Do the same for Rejects (SaveRejects). For Collections you'll need to select each one separately, select all files, and then keyword with the collection name (SaveCOLLECTIONNAME). Once the reorganization is completed use the Filter Bar to select the unique Save Keywords and restore the status and collections.

For virtual copies you have the option to Export them next to the original using the filter bar 'Kind' selector. Just some suggestions that may be helpful.

 
(Edited)
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Laura Shoe, Champion

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I don't remember if my article indicates this, James, but after reorganizing into date folders, I recommend right-clicking on each one in the Folders panel and renaming it to include a description of the shoot - that way the Folders panel becomes actually useful for accessing your photos.
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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IMPORTANT–Guys, I think I found a bug in LR Classic 8.1 on my Windows 10 system. With 'Include Develop settings tn metadata inside JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and PSD files' checked and using 'Save Metadata to File' the Basic panel Tone settings aren't being updated properly when the file is reimported. The settings are different and Highlights and Shadows are always 0 rehgardless of the actual settings. Following this with a Photo> 'Read Metadata from File' command the correct Develop data appears to be restored. This shouldn't be necessary because LR reads the file metadata during the Import process and applies any Develop settings in the file. A similar issue occurs when exporting a non-raw file to DNG format. The settings are incorrect and a 'Read Metadata from File' command is required to restore the actual Develop setings.
Please see if you can confirm this behavior and I'll create a Problem Report.
(Edited)
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Laura Shoe, Champion

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Hi Todd, with my first attempt I can't replicate this. Have you verified that you don't have a Develop preset applied in the Import dialog?
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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Thanks Laura. I was using 'Synchronize Folder.' I just tried Import and it opened in the 'Copy mode with an 'Auto' Develop Settings preset. Not sure why this would affect Synchronize Folders in the Library module. Regardless, I switched it to None and selected 'Add' and the JPEG was imported with the correct settings. After doing that 'Synchronize Folders' is working as expected when removing and reimporting a non-raw file (JPEG, TIFF, etc.). Gotta be a bug of some sort, but it's gone now!


Next I tried Export of another JPEG file with Develop settings saved to DNG file format. The exported DNG did not appear in the Library module AND the right-click 'Synchronize Settings' was gone and the Import button & menu selections were grayed out and unusable. I had to close and restart LR, which then allowed using Synchronize Settings to import it. So the file was created, but LR when into this grayed-out mode preventing it from importing. Once imported the DNG Develop settings were correct so that bug didn't resurface. The Export Location settings are all correct and 'Add to this Catalog' is checked. The Export process also works fine without any issues using other files formats, just not with a non-raw original (JPEG, TIFF, etc.) to DNG.

Please see if you can duplicate this JPEG with settings Exported to DNG file format issue. Thank you!




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Laura Shoe, Champion

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Have you tried resetting preferences, Tom? You have enough quirky things going on to warrant it - I have been surprised many times at how this resolves odd behavior.

You know this but for others, to reset preferences, close LR, hold down Alt-Shift and launch it again. This will reset all preferences back to their defaults, so you'll have to go into Preferences and change them back to your preferred settings afterwards. (It can be handy to first take screenshots of the preferences tabs before resetting so that you know what to set them back to.)
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Todd Shaner, Champion

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Since this issue isn't relevant I've created a separate Problem Report. Please add any comments concerning the Export issue at the below link. Thank you.

https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/jpeg-file-export-to-dng-disables-import-modul...