Lightroom: How do I save the adjustment and the original file separately to an external drive?

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 7 years ago
  • (Edited)
how do i save the adjustment and the original file separately to an external drive. I have on the drive a bunch of originals that I have edited on my hd, is there a way to export the adjustments so if I delete the files of my hd that i have the original and adjustment backed up for further editing later?
please help me out, the only way I have figured isto export an image but then it gets flattened in as jpg and I cant revert to the original, drives me crazy!! i have looked for hours for the solution and cant find it..... please help, anyone??
Photo of Sigurdur Ragnar

Sigurdur Ragnar

  • 54 Posts
  • 17 Reply Likes

Posted 7 years ago

  • 1
Photo of jdv

jdv, Champion

  • 728 Posts
  • 56 Reply Likes
Remember that your originals are not touched by Lightroom, so all you have to go on for adjusted images are renditions. Renditions are created via an export gesture of some sort. That is, your adjustments do not exist as photos in any way (other than a preview, which is a transient version supplied for convenience while editing images) until they are exported.

Any adjustments to originals are stored as a collection of parameters in the database, which are applied by the rendering engine upon export.

There are techniques for storying originals away from the catalogue, but if you want to make a rendition, you have to have the originals connected to the catalogue.

You cannot devolve a rendition into a "original." This would never be possible in any application, and is not really a meaningful way to look at a rendition.
Photo of Sigurdur Ragnar

Sigurdur Ragnar

  • 54 Posts
  • 17 Reply Likes
thanks for your answer,
i do understand that LR does not change the original.
so the question is how I can move the original and the rendering file together to the external drive?
I want to be able to go back and make continuous changes to the the rendering.
I dont want to have the rendering file on the hd and the original on the external drive, would be nice to have them both on the external drive. is that possible?
I dont want the rendering to be applied during an export of the file then I would not be able to adjust the photo late and would have the export on the external and then have an original with out any adjustments.
Photo of Steve Sprengel

Steve Sprengel, Champion

  • 2668 Posts
  • 343 Reply Likes
My internal hard-drive only holds about one-year of photos, but I've been shooting for several years, so every few months I clear off the older folders of images and like you, I want to copy the adjustments so if I ever need to get back to where I was, I can.

I do four things, usually with one month of images at a time:

1) I select all the files I want to archive to the external dive and use Write Metadata To Files which saves the settings into the original JPG or as an XMP sidecar file if the image is a RAW file, which usually it is. Now I have the settings inside or beside every image so if I lose my catalog I can still re-import and open them and see where I left off. These metadata settings do not include the history of how I got there, just the final result.

2) Then, with all the photos still selected, I use File / Export Catalog to create a small catalog with all the photos settings of the set I am moving, naming the catalog to include the month and year of the photos contained in it.

3) After I have saved all the metadata to files and exported a catalog of the metadata and history, I shut down Lightroom, then find the photos on my hard-drive using Windows Explorer, and just move them over to my external drive using the same folder structure, there.

4) After I am sure I have moved everything, then I go back into LR, and verify the folders I moved have a question mark next to them, now, and just remove those folders from Lightroom, one-by-one.

A variation of this process is that when exporting the catalog, you can use Include Digital Negatives which will copy all the photos across that are included in the small catalog and then with exactly those photos still selected, right-click and Remove the photos and delete them from the disk--this takes care of steps 2 thru 4 if EVERY photo is imported into LR. I don't use this variation because there are always a few photos that I've exported into subfolders of my originals that I choose not to import and if I only exported the digital negatives, then those extra files wouldn't get copied. This is why I use Explorer so I get all the files.

I should also say that I organize my photos on my internal hard-drive by a folder named yyyy-mm_monthname and then inside that monthly folder, I have subfolders named yyyy-mm-dd_photoshootname so it is relatively easy to select all of the photos for a month, if I turn on Show Photos in Subfolders (or whatever the exact wording is) and highlight the monthly folder, and go down to the thumbnails and do a Select All. This should be all the photos in all the subfolders under the monthly folder I have selected.
Photo of Rob Cole

Rob Cole

  • 4831 Posts
  • 386 Reply Likes
Be aware that Lightroom *will* change originals in case of DNG and RGB, and will *not* save virtual copy settings anywhere but in the catalog.

To get your settings and metadata in sidecars for all file types and virtual copies (which you can backup to an external drive or wherever you like), I recommend using