Aug 162012

As you may know at this point, having the understanding and skills to be able to manage your photos and folders in Lightroom is absolutely critical — the absence of these skills and the consequences that result lead many users to consider giving up on Lightroom. I recommend watching this video instead!

In this video I show you how to reveal your folder structure in the Folders panel, move, rename and delete folders; rearrange, move and delete photos; prevent and resolve those frustrating question marks that occur when you do this work outside of Lightroom; and what can go wrong as you attempt these tasks. Finally, I show you how you can have Lightroom check your hard drive for photos you haven’t yet imported.  This video is recorded with Lightroom 4, but is applicable to Lightroom 2, 3, 5, CC and 6 as well. Admittedly, the video is longer than I would like (26 min), so feel free to watch part of it, and come back for the rest.

Update: This video was recorded with Lightroom 4. Note that where I refer to “question marks on photos”, the Lightroom 5 and CC/6 symbol has changed to an exclamation mark.

This video is just one in a series of 55 from my Lightroom 4: The Fundamentals & Beyond Workshop on Video series – do check it out! Update: here’s the 6/CC version.

For higher quality, once you hit the play button, click on the sprocket wheel in the bottom right and choose 720. (The video series for sale is of much higher quality.)

Related post: Importing Photos and Videos into Lightroom


  20 Responses to “Must-See Lightroom Video Tutorial: Organize and Manage Your Photos and Folders”

  1. Sounds like I should have this tutorial. Just waiting for funds at the moment !

  2. In looking at my backup workflow, I noticed that I have the catalog on the wrong drive (internal). How do I move the existing backup to another drive (external) or do I just ignore it and reestablish the backup onto the other drive.

  3. When you found the picture of “Jim Levitt” and imported it into “Pictures” why didn’t the photo also go into “photos go here”? Pictures had 323 photos and Photos go here had 322. When you imported it from the lower right “import” key shouldn’t it have gone into the year the photo was taken?

    • Hi Avery, in the Import dialog I chose to Add the photo to the Lightroom catalog without copying it or moving it, so it stayed where it previously was on my hard drive — which happened to be somewhere else in Pictures, not in Photos Go Here.

  4. This is the simpleness and understanding video tutorial to reorganize my folders and files.Laura, you have taken the fear from me doing such.Thank so very much….Roger A.

  5. Laura, I have some pictures with ? sign but I can not find them any where. I try all the methods I know plus the one you showed, I even search file by file in my pictures files and I can’t find them. Any advice.

    Thanks for the videos they are excellent, 250 in the scale of 10.

  6. Laura,

    I’ve done the tutorial last night and reorganized my folders. Now my parent folder shows 0 pictures yet the subfolders have pictures in them…I cant figure out why.

  7. Another very informative and well-produced video Ms. Laura.

  8. This can’t be as hard as I’m making it. I’m trying to copy images from one folder to another. I ended up moving the images but not as a copy. Can you help?

    • skoville, Lightroom doesn’t allow you to copy files. This is because there’s no need to have multiple copies. If you are trying to pull together photos for a particular project, use a collection instead. This is a “virtual grouping” – the photos stay in their folders and there is no duplication, but you can focus on that group.

      • Hello Laura, thank you for replying. I think I just need to get used to rating, keywords, and like you said, collections. I have a bunch of landscape images, some have animals in them. So instead of trying to have a separate folder for the “landscape with animals”, using keywords would be a good way to go. I haven’t found out about collections, yet.
        Thanks again for the tutorials.

  9. What would the folder structure look like if I imported from iphoto? On my mac, all of the file information is hidden under the iphoto or photo icon.
    Thank you,
    Susan Welch

  10. Thank you for your informative tutorial on organising files. I imported photos in Lightroom 5 and have been using the process you describe. However two of my years are showing empty (0) including sub folders. But the photos are in my LR masters folder in Finder. When I tried to import them, I get a message saying LR has already imported them. How can I make them visible in LR?

    • Sounds like you have another copy of these files, Mati, and these other copies are already in Lightroom (in different folders.) Note down a few of the file names of the ones grayed out in the Import dialog and in Lightroom, search for these file names.

      If you want to import all the duplicates, in the Import dialog, top right, uncheck “Don’t import duplicate files”.

  11. Hi, I’ve just imported many images after watching your excellent tutorial. I see a small black tag on the bottom right of the image.

    What does this tag mean? Many thanks, Pat, Australia.

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