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Rearranging photos

Posted on 2012-09-21
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Last Modified: 2012-09-26
I'm currently in the process of rearranging my photos. I have approximately 50,000 photos distributed among 4 different computers.

On two of theese computers I have worked with Lightroom and made adjustments to  quite a few of the photos.

My old way of importing photos was to put all photos from one import into a folder with the date of import, sometimes resulting in folders with up to 1000 photos taken during an entire month. My new way of importing is to put the photos in folders named after capturedate.

Now I would like to merge my two lightroom catalogs. Both have a lot of adjustments that I would like to keep, and when I'm done I would like all the photos to be in folders named after capturedate (which mean that about 15,000 of them need to be moved to a new location)

Help would be greatly appreciated!
Cheers from Norway
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Question by:arildj78
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Expert Comment

by:Paul Sauvé
ID: 38422022
Are you planning to put all these photos an the same disk or the same computer?

If so, create a new file structure (directories and sub-directories) on the target drive and move the photos.

For the photos in Lightroom, it is quite possible you could do some of this directly from Lightroom: Creating and managing catalogs.
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Author Comment

by:arildj78
ID: 38422069
Yes, the plan is to put everything on one disk. The problem is to keep the develop settings when I move the files.

If I choose to import an entire catalog (File -> Import from Another Catalog...) into the other one, I keep the develop settings, but the files are not reorganized in new folders.

If I choose to import the image files (via File -> Import Photos and Video...) then I can have them reorganized but I loose all develop settings.

I would like to import, keep develop settings AND reorganize.
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Expert Comment

by:Paul Sauvé
ID: 38422168
I think you may be able to create a backup copy of each catalogue, then import the catalogs to a new location! Here is a link to a video LR3 - Merging Individual Lightroom Catalogs into a “Master” Catalog

Once you have a single master catalogue, is it not possible to re-arrange the images into new locations?
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Author Comment

by:arildj78
ID: 38422225
I can use this method to achieve one of my goals - combining catalogs - however the other goal - reorganize the image files in new folders - is not done using this method.

If I were to go with this method (importing a catalog into another), is there at way to move all the files into new folders (prior to combining the catalogs). The move is to reorganize the files in folders depending on capture date. This is 15,000 files so it has to be done by some software function...
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Expert Comment

by:Paul Sauvé
ID: 38422231
Have you tried this: Creating and managing folders? You can surely sort the images and place them in the appropriate folders.
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Author Comment

by:arildj78
ID: 38422260
I don't have any problems with creating and managing folders in general. The problem is that I have 15,000 images to move around. Finding the capturedate on each image, creating a new folder and moving the file for each of theese images will take forever to accomplish by hand so I need some function to do this automatically.
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Expert Comment

by:Paul Sauvé
ID: 38422575
I found this post by Victoria Bampton in Lightroom Forums: Can you create folder hierarchy only down to "month" level.
There isn't a fully automated way, but I have one that's not bad. You can use the Metadata filters...
Mayby that will help...
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Accepted Solution

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arildj78 earned 0 total points
ID: 38423462
I still haven't found any solution that satifies both rearranging and keeping develop-settings. However I'm currently exploring a possible workaround.

The plan is to Save Metadata to Files by selecting all images in my catalog (Ctrl+a). Then I'll right-click a photo and select Metadata->Save Metadata to Files.

When this operation is complete I'll open up my new Master Catalog file and import the photos (not the catalog). This will allow me to use the Import dialog box and the Destination settings to move the files around.

Hopefully this will keep all my data and rearrange the files. I don't think any virtual copies will survive this threatment nor will any collections. Luckily, I haven't used any of theese functions so it will not affect me.

Does anyone have a complete list of what will be included, and what will be lost using this method?
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Assisted Solution

by:Paul Sauvé
Paul Sauvé earned 1500 total points
ID: 38423511
May I suggest that you FIRST do the operation on a small number of photos (perhaps 5 or 10) to see the results from your procedure.
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Author Comment

by:arildj78
ID: 38423555
:) That is a very good suggestion! In fact I have already done so, and it looks promising.
Hopefully I will not get any surprises when I go full-scale.
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Expert Comment

by:Paul Sauvé
ID: 38423850
Well - what I would do is execute the procedure on smallish lots of photos (200-300 photos) at one time. If the PC crahes, you only have to restart one lot!

Don't erase anything until all the photos are transferred and you make a backup of the new Lightroom structure.
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Author Comment

by:arildj78
ID: 38424160
I would like to give the expert 500 points because he helped me work this out. However, I would like to highlight the procedure that I used (my comment) so that other users searching for a solution to this can find it quickly.
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Author Closing Comment

by:arildj78
ID: 38435960
The expert did not provide me with a working solution. However he walked me through the processes of figuring this out while giving me useful hints and links on the way.
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