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How Many Lightroom Catalogs Should You Have?

Before I get to that (and I do straight away in the video below), I want to thank all folks who came out to my “Ultimate Photography Crash Course” full-day seminar, whether you were there in person with me in Orlando or if you watched it live online as it was happening. It was my largest attended one-day seminar since probably 2018, and I’m very grateful to all you lovely folks out there who were a part of it. I was thrilled to be teaching in front of a live audience again, and the day was very special for me, so thank you all very much.

Now, onto answering the question, how Lightroom catalogs should you have? Just one, or is it better to use multiple catalogs?

Well, wonder no more. LOL!!! 🙂

Football is back, and I’m super psyched! #GoBucs, but what I really can’t wait for (and it’ll be here very soon) is Alabama Football (#Rolltide!).

Have a great weekend, everybody!


P.S. Heads up: The BILD Expo Photography and Video Conference up in New York City at the Javits Center next month (produced by the folks at B&H Photo) is shaping up to be a HUGE event. Over 90,000 sq. feet of exhibits from all the big-name camera companies and leading vendors, plus a big education track (I’m doing one of the keynote sessions). Details and tickets at this link.



  1. Dave 18 September, 2023 at 10:27 Reply

    While I do use a single catalog for majority of my photos, I do have 2 additional catalogs that I maintain. 1 catalog is for images that I shot for my day job; I just didn’t want those commingled with my personal work. Catalog #3 is images shot by others, but edited by me (Help Portrait work); I want to reduce the possibility that I accidentally post to SM an image I processed, but did not take.

  2. Charlie 21 August, 2023 at 17:06 Reply

    My main catalog is up to 85K pictures, and things are slowing down drastically. I have a couple of separate smaller catalogs that are for subjects that are easily separated (US pictures in the main, Europe in a secondary, etc.) which works for me. Also, the larger catalog takes forever to back up as it is.

  3. Petr Klapper 18 August, 2023 at 08:47 Reply

    After all those years with LR it’s two for me – one current (year, 6 months, etc) for quick work and backups, and one archival for all old photos. Every now and then I import current into archive one and start fresh.

    • Scott Kelby 18 August, 2023 at 16:37 Reply

      Hi, Al. I’m not a smart alec when I ask this, but what does that gain you? Why not just create a Collection Set called “Other pictures on my Computer” and add that to your main catalog? Seriously not being jerky here – just food for thought.

      • Al 19 August, 2023 at 01:55 Reply

        In my own catalog I have a lot of smart collections for management and error detection, it’s easier to manage this way.

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