Laura Shoe's Lightroom (and Occasionally Photoshop) Blog for Digital Photographers

Lightroom Has Put My Pictures in Some Wierd Place

In Uncategorized on December 3, 2009 at 11:57 pm

I hear this all the time — new users import their photos successfully, see the images in Lightroom and  see the name of their imported folder in the Folders panel, but from the Folders panel they cannot figure out  “where Lightroom has put that folder”.  The folder certainly doesn’t seem to be where they told Lightroom to put it during the import process.

This issue is very basic for those who know what’s going on, but for those that don’t, I know that it is driving you crazy.  Your folders seem to be a total mess, with no hierarchy.

Here’s the scoop:  Lightroom has in fact put your folder exactly where you told it to — it is just not telling you where that is.     By default Lightroom lists your imported folder, but not the folder that that folder lives in.  (For example, my imported folders are for each shoot, and they live in year folders, which live  in my Pictures folder.)   To see this folder hierarchy, right-click (ctl-click on a one-button mouse and then go buy a two-button mouse!), and choose Add Parent Folder.  In my case, this would reveal my year folder (2009).  Then right-click on this folder and choose parent folder again to reveal the next higher-level folder.  Do this as many times as you need to to see where in fact your images live on your hard drive.

  1. I can find my photo files but I’m confused about how LR puts them in the folders. First I have imported all of my photographs into a folder within My Pictures. I have started to add them into LR and rename them. I notice LR saves them back to the same folder but with the new naming scheme. Is this rifgt

    • Hi Jeff, if you choose “Copy (or Move) and Add Images to Catalog”, Lightroom puts the images in whatever folder you specify in the Copy To and Organize sections below this. If you choose “Add to Catalog without Moving”, the images stay where they were.

  2. Thank you for referring me from the Adobe help RSS. I’m sure it is “basic” but .. My HD is set up as EBL Photos/date/custom/custom/custom and is exactly the way i had it in iPhoto before going through the agony of getting correct copies of the originals to my hard drive in one location so I could again get them organized. In the past I have abandoned LR several times on this one issue. I have no difficulty in the other modules, .. in fact, love them and easy to move to PSE * roundtrip if needed. But, as I am putting together a number of separate “Collections” for different purposes.

    I thought when I imported the into LR the Pictures/LR EBL Photos.lrcat would reflect the same hierarchy so I could then just load the Catalog each day, do my thing sorting into Collection Sets for the various projects and not have to bother with the Folders segment at all except when importing from a shoot.

    What is it that I am not able to get that everyone else seems to vey easily? Hmmm .. please be nice 😉 Apology to all for length but I have fought this for several years without success. Laura has the answer I’m sure.

    • Hi Ed, it is hard to nail in a written forum how your thinking about LR differs from how it actually works (though I must say that many struggle with the Library module and catalog, so you are not alone, for sure, and I will certainly be kind.) In fact you are correct … if you wish, “I could then just load the Catalog each day, do my thing sorting into Collection Sets for the various projects and not have to bother with the Folders segment at all except when importing from a shoot.” When you launch LR, you are in fact loading your catalog. LR for your convenience shows you in the Folders panel your images based on where they live on your hard drive, in the folder structure you organized the images into. I use the Folders panel a lot — because my folders are photos/year/shoot description, so when I want to work on a particular shoot, I click on the appropriate folder to bring up those images in the grid. If you prefer to click on All Photographs in the Catalog panel and find your photos there, it is ok too, but this would presumably take longer.

      I’m not certain that this will help, because I may be off the mark, but try reading this post:

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