Lightroom Classic: Search is not working

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  • Updated 3 months ago
  • (Edited)
Searching Lightroom library does not reveal images containing the search terms in the images' meta. For example, an image with the title "Appleseed, John" does not reveal when searching for images with the title "Appleseed", "Apple","Ap", ect. 

LR 8.1; OS X 14.2


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Michael Verzella

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  • my life waste away

Posted 9 months ago

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Yves Crausaz

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Choose another search criteria, look at the screenshot ...



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Michael Verzella

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Thank you, but no dice.  
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Roelof Moorlag

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Did You select 'All Photograps' ?
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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If Roelof's suggestion to select All Photographs doesn't help, please post a full-resolution screenshot of your entire LR window. That will usually give clues as to what's going on.
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Michael Verzella

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Here is that image. Thanks for any insights.



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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Strange. A couple more troubleshooting steps: 

1. Does "Jason" return the photo?

2. Does this occur with other photos or just the photo shown in the screenshot?
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Michael Verzella

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John, thank you, and I apologize that I lost sight of this thread. 

- 'Jason' does not return the photo. His set does not show by using any of his logged keywords.
- It does occur with other photos, but not all photos. Most of my library can still be recalled with search.

I have not determined what may be special about these photos which do not appear in a search vs those that do.

We have since seen a new version of Lightroom, and I have moved to a new computer. The search problem persists on this catalog
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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As an experiment, try creating a new test catalog. In that catalog, do File > Import From Another Catalog and select your original catalog.  Chose the option File Handling: Add New Photos To Catalog Without Moving.  Then select just the folders containing at least some of the problem photos.

In that new test catalog, can you successfully search for "Jason"?

Importing catalogs like this sometimes appears to rebuild the search indexing. If this test works, you could then try importing your entire original catalog into the new catalog.  This testing won't harm your original catalog.
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Michael Verzella

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John, I got around to trying your suggestion.

In a new catalog, importing a sample of the problem images, they do indeed present in search results!

However I am unable to import / rebuild my master catalog using a new catalog; the import fails after 9k of 30k images. I wonder if this is just a limit of Lightroom's large catalog capabilities?

The issue must be in the catalog itself and not with the image files: the problem images do return in a Finder or Bridge search for their meta. 

I think my lightroom future may involve building new catalogs for each new year, rather than keeping one library of all years; as I must be able to search all images reliably. 

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John R. Ellis, Champion

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It does appear the issue is with your particular catalog.  Search is broken in that catalog, and importing from it doesn't work.  A couple of things to try:

- Do File > Optimize Catalog. It usually doesn't fix catalog corruption, but it's easy to try.

- Try File > Export As Catalog instead of import. 

- Reset LR's preferences: https://www.lightroomqueen.com/articles-page/how-do-i-reset-lightrooms-preferences/. Less likely to help but easy to try (the article shows how to restore your old preferences if it doesn't help.)

I don't think your issue is caused by the number of photos. 30K is actually a smaller-sized catalog. Many report having 100 - 400K photos in a catalog comfortably, and a few report having 1M photos.  I have 30K in my catalog and have no issues. I strongly recommend against having multiple catalogs, since it will make searching across all your photos difficult (and management in general difficult). 

If the above workarounds don't help, I think the only way to get those photos searchable is to import them into a new catalog.  You can preserve all your edits and per-photo metadata (whatever is shown in the right column of Library) by first doing Metadata > Save Metadata To File in the old catalog, but you'll lose stacks, collections, color labels, books, published collections, and probably other things I can't remember off the top of my head.  Very painful.
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Michael Verzella

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Thanks again for the suggestions, John.

Although optimizing and exporting the catalog anew did not itself solve the problem, it could have enabled one of my first troubleshooting steps to work this time around: I removed some problem photos, re-imported them in to the original, optimized catalog, and now they are searchable! 

Not a silver bullet to solve the meta search problem in the catalog as a whole -- but perhaps it's the best we can hope for. As far as I can identify and locate those problem images (using Bridge, or Finder) I should be able to fix their Lightroom search with a re-import.

I found that the whole session containing our sample images suffered the same search problem. Now i can recall those hundreds of images using the person's name. I will be interested to discover going forward if this issue crops up for whole folders of shoots rather than random images.






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John R. Ellis, Champion

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That sound's encouraging.