Seeing Your Folders in Lightroom

When you import a folder of images, the folder will show in the Folders panel, but you may not see the parent folder that it lives in.  For example, when I imported my first 2009 shoot folder, Lightroom did not show me that it lives inside my 2009 folder, which lives inside my Pictures folder.  That’s exactly where it still was, it was just that Lightroom by default considered this unnecessary information to display.  To show this hierarchical folder structure, I simply right-clicked (ctl-click on a Mac) on the shoot folder and selected Add Parent Folder.  This revealed the 2009 folder.  Then I right-clicked on the 2009 folder, and selected Add Parent Folder again, and this revealed the Pictures folder. […more]


About Your Images and the Lightroom Catalog: The Library Analogy

A lot of people have a hard time understanding where their images are in the Lightroom environment, what the catalog is, and how it all fits together.  This is completely understandable, as the terminology is confusing. Think of a public library — you have stacks and stacks of books everywhere — the main floor, 2nd floor, 3rd, …., in the basement, and even offsite.   And you have the centrally-located card catalog (or web catalog), which helps you find and make sense of those books.  The catalog has an entry for each book, with its location in the stacks, what the book is about, copyright and publication  information, a picture of the front cover, etc, etc.    When you want to work […more]


Working on Two or More Computers with One Lightroom Catalog

If you regularly work on two or more computers and carrying an external hard drive is not a problem, then consider putting your images and your Lightroom catalog on the external drive, so that you can move easily between the two. If your catalog is currently on your internal hard drive, you will need to move it to the external drive: In LR, go to Edit (Lightroom on a Mac) > Catalog Settings, and on the General Tab note the location of your catalog. In Finder or Windows Explorer/My Computer, move this catalog folder to your external drive. Now all you have to do is to tell LR to launch this catalog when it starts: With your external drive plugged […more]


Why Do I Have Question Marks on My Folders and Images in Lightroom?

When you import images into the Lightroom Catalog, Lightroom keeps track of where those images live — in what folder, on what hard drive.  This shows in the Folders panel in the Library Module. Imagine moving the car while your family or friends are  inside the convenience store.  (I confess to having done this once !)  When they walk out, you can imagine that they will be confused, since they weren’t around to see it happen.  It is the same with Lightroom:  if you  move your files and folders while Lightroom isn’t looking, it loses track of them and gets confused. It communicates this problem to you by displaying question marks on your folders, and question marks (Lightroom 4 or […more]


Virtual Copies in Lightroom

I wrote a post recently about making snapshots while you work  so that you can explore different versions of your image — for example, a black and white and a color version —  with the goal of having just one version in the end. If you want to end up with two or more versions — to export to share with others, or to use in the output modules, you can do so with virtual copies.  Simply right click on your image and select “Create Virtual Copy”.   You’ll see in Library Grid view or in your filmstrip that you now have two copies, and that the second one has a bent page corner symbol, indicating that it is a virtual […more]


Using the Painter Tool to Add Keywords

There are many ways to add keywords to images in Lightroom, but one of my favorites is to spray them on with the Painter tool.  It is quick, and even fun. In the Library module, click on the paint tool in the toolbar below the grid: In the Painter options bar that appears, choose Keywords from the drop down to the right of Paint:, and type the keyword or keywords (with commas separating them) in the text box.  I will apply the keywords father and Joe Smith. Now simply click on image thumbnails in the grid that you want the keywords to be applied to. If you hover over an image that you have already applied the same keywords to, […more]

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