Lightroom Tips

It’s Lightroom Optimize-Your-Catalog Day

Well, it’s the end of the year and this is a great time to optimize your Lightroom catalog. I know a lot of you organize Lightroom by year, so you’ll be starting out with a brand new catalog tomorrow for 2014. But for me personally, just because 1 day goes by, doesn’t mean I don’t want the photos I may take next week to be right next to the photos I took last month. One day on the calendar doesn’t change anything for me. So, since I’m not a yearly organizer, I make sure I optimize my catalog every once in a while to keep it zipping along.

While there’s no “official” rule on how often you should do it, I’d say if you use Lightroom regularly (like a few times a week), then optimizing once a month should do it. Remember that at it’s core, Lightroom’s catalog is like a database file (“snore”). And databases consistently need to be optimized and things moved around once in a while, to help them perform better. So that’s pretty much the same deal here.

To optimize, go to File > Optimize Catalog. Depending on how many photos you have in the catalog it could take a few minutes or more so go ahead and optimize and then grab a drink (hey, it’s New Years Eve right?!) 😉


That’s all for 2013 folks! I want to wish everyone out there a very happy and safe new year. See you in 2014!

PS: Make sure you stop by on Thursday. I have an announcement for something pretty cool that I’ll be doing here on the blog for the month of January.

See ya!



  1. Peter 26 September, 2017 at 17:48 Reply

    I am in big trouble, I performed a catalog backup and optimization last night, hadn’t been done in a very long time.
    Before this my top folder picture count was 25000.
    When I started Lightroom this morning the count had dropped by 600.
    Did I lose them? How do I get them back?
    They are not in the trash can. Oh, I’m on an i-Mac.
    Any help would be greatly apreciatted.

  2. Chris 3 December, 2014 at 11:06 Reply

    Likewise, I use LR all the time and have it set to backup and optimize on shutdown. I can choose not to do it then because it asks of I want to every time I shut down. It can take a while since I use one catalog, so if I need to move on to something else, I’ll just wait to backup/optimize when I shit down for the night.

  3. Elja Trum 1 January, 2014 at 17:50 Reply

    An extra tip could be to turn on automatic backups in Lightroom. Set this to once a month and every month not only the catalog will be backed up, it will also optimize your catalog. 🙂

  4. Anthony Tassarotti 31 December, 2013 at 07:43 Reply

    Another thing you should remember to do today or tomorrow – update the year in your copyright meta data settings.

  5. John Havord 31 December, 2013 at 06:49 Reply

    Have Lightroom set up, to back up catalog, on closing the program. It also optimises the catalog aftering backing up.

    Any advantage in manually optimising catalog?

  6. RON COMSTOCK 31 December, 2013 at 02:20 Reply

    As I understand it, LR is a “photo management” software.
    I agree with Matt,
    For those who want to keep some sort of date filing method …
    Try creating a parent folder for the year (example named: 2014)
    and actually copy your card to a folder named “whatever shoot” to it.
    ( I never let LR copy from card, the date thing is unclear and I would never know what I shot on “20130527” )
    By making a “parent folder” for the year, you can reduce clutter by collapsing past year parent folders in library view.
    To organize past years shoots to a parent folder for that year, create a new folder while in library module, then select all the shoots for that year and drag them to that “now parent” folder and lightroom will move them while keeping the link and still managing them.

    one catalog is much faster to work and deal with, no need to stop relaunch LR just to go to other photos in another catalog.

    I must admit, I do have 2 catalogs,
    one for biz
    and one for personal

    work is work and play is play thats why

    • Mike 31 December, 2013 at 12:10 Reply

      Why not let LR copy from card? You can rename the files as you copy and import and give them all a much better name (based on a template you design).

      • RON COMSTOCK 31 December, 2013 at 13:08 Reply

        That is too much additional work and somewhat useless. LR might manage the photos, but LR is primarily to process and adjust photos.

        I import, adjust, export..
        since I created the parent folder and folder for the shoot inside, I also know where they are in finder/explorer.
        Those Raws,jpegs and anything else for that shoot are all in that folder.
        LR doesn’t manage my exported photos.

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