merging catalogues in Lightroom

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Matthew Stevens 3 years ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 23 total)
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  • #14109

    Frazer Family
    Participant

    Does anyone know if it is possible to merge two catalogues in Lightroom? I had to make a separate catalogue on a different computer for an event, but when I came to add those pictures to my catalogue at home, I could not get them to merge. Here is what I did in this order: First, I copied all the RAW photos over from one computer to another and put them in the correct folders. Then I opened Lightroom and told it to sync. I had made a backup of the LR catalogue on a USB stick so I then told LR to import from another catalogue, namely the one I had on my USB. It allowed me to import some of the editted photos, but not all of them and then edits were only on the “previous import,” not on the photos in my folders. What did I do wrong?

    I finally gave up, imported all the photos into LR the normal way and redid all my edits… 🙁

    #14159

    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    Aye, you should have asked before you re-did all your edits! 🙂

    Here’s a link to a tutorial: http://www.lightroompresets.com/blogs/pretty-presets-blog/12083285-merging-lightroom-catalogs

    I have not had any experience personally with merging catalogs, but I have my own ideas about how I would do it… The link above should be the “recommended” way to do it however, so you’d better do it according to the rules.

    #14160

    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    For future reference though…

    You should always tell Lightroom to save your edits with each picture you edit. In your case, if your catalog had somehow gotten corrupted or lost, all your edits would have been completely lost! 🙁

    To remedy this situation, you need to tell Lightroom to “Automatically write changes into XMP”, which will save all your edits into a little .xmp file alongside every picture that you edit. That way, whenever you back up your pictures, you’ll back up your edits too, and if you lose your catalog, you won’t lose all your edits.

    Edit > Catalog Settings… (or you can do the key combination: Ctrl + Alt + ,)
    Catalog Settings

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    #14206

    Frazer Family
    Participant

    Yup, I should have asked before trying! 🙂 It would have saved me some time and frustration. I’ll know for next time. Thanks a lot!

    So that’s what .xmp files are! 🙂 Corel AfterShot Pro creates them automatically, and I got a little annoyed with all these extra files showing up… 🙂 Won’t that take a lot more room to back up, though? What if I backup my catalogue in two different places? It would be more efficient on harddrive space.

    #14210

    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    No, don’t worry, .xmp files are extremely tiny, only 1-2 KB apiece, compared to 15-20 MB (15,000-20,000 KB) for a RAW file, the .xmp files don’t take enough space to even worry about. Your catalog is a much larger file, although if you compress it with 7zip, it brings it down to just a few MB. It’s still a good idea to back up your catalog, but in my opinion, it’s a good idea to do the .xmp thing too.

    .xmp files are basically just metadata files, and as such, they are used (and read) by all sorts of software. It’s basically a non-destructive way to add info about the file. If the software overwrote the original file to write it’s info in the EXIF every time, there would be a much larger chance of your file getting corrupted during all the read/write cycles.

    #14213

    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    Brilliant @buddingphotographer! Thanks for answering this question. I’m glad LR has that option.

    #14244

    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    You’re welcome, glad I could be of assistance! 🙂

    #14454

    Matthew Stevens
    Participant

    Just FYI the metadata that gets written to the XMP files do not include the full history of edits that were made on the photo.I was always under the impression that XMP was sort of a backup of all my edits, flags, etc. that would stay with the image no matter where it went, but it turns out this is not the case. It is true that your edits get stored – whatever the most recent state of the image is in Lightroom, including snapshots. – but the edit history does not get recorded. Neither do your flags, ratings, or collections info.

    I still write changes to XMP, but now I know I can’t rely on that as an alternative to a full backup (or multiple copies of a full backup!) of my actual catalog.

    #14455

    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    the metadata that gets written to the XMP files do not include the full history of edits that were made on the photo

    Very true, I didn’t think to mention that aspect of it… Thanks for bringing that to my attention!

    However, I’d still far rather have all my edits without history, than to lose my edits all together! 🙂 I don’t do much with flags/ratings etc, so I didn’t know about that issue. It’s good to know though, so that you’re prepared!

    BTW I do highly recommend that you zip/compress your Lightroom Catalog after backup. The catalog backup by itself can be quite large, but it is highly compressible. For example, my current catalog backup is 127 MB, but by compressing into .zip format, I brought down to a mere 9 MB, which is only 7.087% of the original! If you back up frequently, that can add up to some huge savings in the long run!

    #14457

    Matthew Stevens
    Participant

    LR 6/CC zips them up by default now, which definitely helps with storage space! I also have it set up so the backups save to my backup drive(s), rather than to the default location (never understood why you would ever want your backups to end up in the same place as your original catalog)

    #14458

    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    Very handy! I guess I did hear about that feature, but since I have Lightroom 5, it doesn’t help me any. 🙁

    #14479

    Frazer Family
    Participant

    Another quick question… Are the .xmp files made retroactively, too? Or will they only be created on all photos editted after altering that setting?

    #14485

    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    If you check the box to write changes to XMP, it will eventually do it for all files you have edited, not just ones edited since you checked the box.

    If you want it to do the writing right now, make sure you’re in the Library, then click on the “Metadata” menu at the top of the screen. Almost all the way down at the bottom, there is an option that says, “Save Metadata to File”. I presume that will do so for all photos that are selected at the time that you run that option.

    #14490

    Frazer Family
    Participant

    Thanks a lot buddingphotographer! This will save me a lot of trouble in the future, I’m sure.

    #14491

    Ezra Morley
    Moderator

    You’re welcome @frazer-family!

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