Lightroom Tips

Relaunch and Optimize Your Catalog Today

I hope you had a great weekend. I just wanted to say a quick thanks for all of the great comments on Friday’s video post. I’ll definitely be mixing some of the Before/After videos here on the site. I’ve also decided to create (and already started working on) a “Lightroom/Photoshop Before and After” class and DVD for Kelby Training. I’ll keep you updated on the progress.

Anyway, on to the topic of today’s post. I was poking through the Catalog settings menu in Lightroom and realized I hadn’t optimized my catalog in a while. Adobe recommends optimizing when your catalog grows in size. What size you ask? No one really knows but I use 10,000 as a good number. It’s not big in terms of how big catalogs can grow, but it’s still a substantial number of photos. I usually optimize after I’ve imported a lot of photos (thousands) and also deleted a lot of photos. Lately, I’ve been doing some catalog maintenance (importing older photos and deleting a lot too) so I figured it was a good time to try it again. I can’t say that Lightroom was completely sluggish before I did it but I remember thinking to myself a few times that things should be happening a little faster. After I optimized it did seem like things moved a little zippier (I love that word!) then usual.

So give it a try when you have a few minutes today. For all of you number-crunching techie folks out there, I’ve not found statistics on exactly what percentage of optimization or zippiness (there’s that word again) you’ll get from it but it can’t hurt to try it out. Remember that at it’s core, Lightroom’s catalog is like a database file (let the snoring begin). 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 your Catalog Settings dialog (Lightroom menu on a Mac and Edit menu on a PC). Go under the General tab and click the Relaunch and Optimize button at the bottom. Mine took about 5 minutes for a catalog with around 20,000 images in it so go grab yourself a cup of coffee (or coke zero) when you do it.