Lightroom Video – Using External Drives

I saw a great question on my Facebook page the other day (btw… here’s my Google+ and Twitter pages too) and it’s one that I get asked quite a bit whenever I’m out teaching Lightroom. The question was basically this: let’s say you store all of your photos on an external drive (like I do). Eventually that drive gets full and you buy a larger drive. How do you get your photos to that new drive and make it so Lightroom can see them. Luckily it’s really simple and it works the same with just about any version of Lightroom. Check out the video below to see how.

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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9 Comments

  1. If your replacing the drive with a lager one, just give it the same drive letter of the old one that’s even easier. you can just copy the old drive’s content to the new one that’s larger, after your done go and change the drive letter to that letter the old drive was. of course you have to disconnect the old drive so you can. and after that your in biz. you even have the smaller drive you can format and give another drive letter to and use for something else. Kick it up a notch and have the LR catalog for the photos on that drive only also on that drive and you can take your drive to another computer that has LR on it and access you catalog for that drive,

    In my case I have 2 drives One for business photos which has its own catalog and that catalog is on that drive. The second drive is for personal photos and its set up the same as the other, with its own catalog on it. I just load the catalog I want to work in when I launch LR.

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  2. Thanks for the tip but why a 6′ video when you could provide a text I can read in 30″

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  3. Hey Matt,
    Thanks for sharing this; reminds me too that I need to sort out some space on my drives.

    Cheers,
    Glyn

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  4. Matt — hehe! Two days before I saw this video I was struggling to get this figured out! When I finally did, this popped in my reader! What timing! :) But now I really got it all figured out!

    I about filled my laptop hd and had to move most of my music/photos to my ehd. I wanted to keep just the 2011 images on my laptop, but move all of the previous years/gigs worth off my laptop all together. I noticed though that the lightroom catalog folders were several gigs of data as well, so I also moved them to my ehd. Took a bit to figure out how to reconnect them — but my question is… does it make good sense to have both the catalog folder and the images together on the same drive? Or does it make LR3 work harder to have the images and the catalogs on separate drives? Hope that makes sense! Thanks for your help!

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    • @Michelle,

      I personally don’t see a slow down, But it all depends on how fast your usb is or if you use fire wire. The only advantages to having them together is that you can connect the same EHD to another computer that has LR and add, manage your photos and when you go back to other computer all that will show up in catalog. Be sure to save XMP as side car file ( those are your adjustments info for each file ) .
      I also make a back up of my catalogs once a month and store the back up on a different drive just in case of a crash or failure of HD. BUt lets also see what Matt has to say too :)

      Ron

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  5. This makes total sense. Thank’s matt. PS if you store all your photos on one drive…do you back them up to another drive? If so, what would be the best program do automatically back them up without thinking about it?
    Cheers,
    Lucas.

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  6. Matt thanks for this video. A huge help!!!

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