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Thread: Lightroom Moving Files after importing

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    Ausphotography Regular wideangle's Avatar
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    Lightroom Moving Files after importing

    What happens if you move a folder or individual image files around on a computer once they have been imported by Lightroom? From what I understand Lighroom creates links to the files on your devices, so what happens after you have imported them into Lightroom and later you go into a device and change where the files/folders are kept? Does Lightroom still find the file and metadata that was originally linked to the file before you moved it (such as keywords)
    Last edited by wideangle; 20-02-2011 at 11:45am.
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    If you move a file without using Lightroom, then Lightroom wont know where to find it. It will still show a thumbnail of the file but if you try to go to the develop panel then it will say something like the file is missing and I think from memory you get an option to find the file so Lightroom can link to it again.

    There is an option under the library menu to find missing photos as well.

    If you're using Lightroom I find it good practice to never move any files manually, always let Lightroom do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cascade View Post
    If you move a file without using Lightroom, then Lightroom wont know where to find it. It will still show a thumbnail of the file but if you try to go to the develop panel then it will say something like the file is missing and I think from memory you get an option to find the file so Lightroom can link to it again.

    There is an option under the library menu to find missing photos as well.

    If you're using Lightroom I find it good practice to never move any files manually, always let Lightroom do it.

    Alright, thanks for your help. I suppose it's just a different workflow, but isn't it a little disturbing that you have to use the program in order to change the file structure of where your photos are in order for LR to recognise where the files and metadata are?

    So am I correct in saying that if you rename/change folders/files of your stuff within Lightroom then it will maintain the links no matter what, and if you change files the traditional way (changing files structure out of Lightroom) then you will have to search for them again? How easy is it to find "lost" images if you have moved files around out of Lightroom? If they have been moved in this fashion is the keyword metadata still intact?
    Last edited by wideangle; 20-02-2011 at 12:12pm.

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    Many editing programs work in the same manner.
    If you want to move image files linked too in your preferred editor(if you have many editing/viewing programs) it's always best to move them in the preferred software.

    eg,. my first point of call for any of my images is ViewNX, so I always move files or folders using ViewNX. If a link os broken in LR3 or CaptureNX or FSViewer, I may or may not make the time to re link to the file/folder in those other programs. That decision is alwasy based on how many times I'll use that other software to open the relevant images.
    Windows(if you use this, instead of MAC/Linux) basically doesn't care. It creates links to the files in the registry, but these are generally unimportant, and any broken links to files no longer where they originally were, can be easily cleaned out with a registry cleaning utility, as the need arises.
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    You do not need to use lr to move the files, although you can easily enough

    If you do move your photos then it's simple just to delink your light room directory location to where you now have the photos
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    You do not need to use lr to move the files, although you can easily enough

    If you do move your photos then it's simple just to delink your light room directory location to where you now have the photos
    BUT if you you do move the files outside of lightroom is the metadata conserved?? Imagine come the time someone changes computers or hard drives and then having to manually type in thousands of keywords all over again.
    When images are "de-linked" in LR do the images still contain the metadata when it is "relinked" again?
    Last edited by wideangle; 20-02-2011 at 4:18pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wideangle View Post
    in LR do the images still contain the metadata when it is "relinked" again?
    Yes they do.
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    the metadata is stored in the catalog lr database

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    the metadata is stored in the catalog lr database
    OK, that makes sense, so you are saying as long as the LR database is retained, then no matter where the files have been moved around to on a computer or onto another drive etc, with the LR database file, LR will be able to find all this data regardless. Does this include all sections of metadata including the keywords?
    Last edited by wideangle; 20-02-2011 at 4:41pm.

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    indeed, cool eh ? - also explains why you should backup your catalog's every so often

    what a great program

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    indeed, cool eh ? - also explains why you should backup your catalog's every so often

    what a great program
    yes indeed, it seems to good to be true! So that 1 (catalogue) file stores the information of an infinite number of photos, even if they have file names that are numbers or anything? This seems to easy

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    As a side - Does LR not overwrite any original files (be they RAW/TIFF/JPG ETC) when you "export" images to a folder? IE - All original files remain in their original locations, unaltered, and a copy of the originals is made?
    Last edited by wideangle; 04-03-2011 at 9:49pm.

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    Umm, no, I think it definately overwrites, at les it does jpeg

    Why not try it ? That's how I learnt

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    Umm, no, I think it definately overwrites, at les it does jpeg

    Why not try it ? That's how I learnt
    Yeah from what I have found out, I don't think that it does, it just exports a copy of the files to another location, the original files stay the same.

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    Ah I thought you meant overwriting files in the export directory not the original.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    Ah I thought you meant overwriting files in the export directory not the original.
    Nah, I meant the original image files not overwriting ones that you have already exported.

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    This isn' really a lightroom specific issue. Move a Word doc manually, then go to Word and try and open it from the recent files list. Any software that maintains a 'track' of files, will not be able to locate the file, if moved manually, and the user will need to point the software to the new file location
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