Lightroom Videos

Video Tip – Moving Existing Folders

Last week I posted a video about importing and the folder structure that I use. Lots of other ideas spawned off of it and this video is one of them (but there’s more to come). So let’s say you have a folder structure and import system that really works for you now. But you’ve also got lots of photos from the past when you didn’t use the folder structure you do now. What do you do with them? Do you have to delete and reimport? Nope. There’s a much easier way and we’ll take a look at it in this video.

Click here to watch the video. (12Mb)

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27 comments

  1. Malcolm Daly 11 November, 2019 at 15:29 Reply

    Help! I just moved my photos folder (48,345 images) to a new larger hard disk. I used the method you recommend in the video, from within the library module. When I woke up (It took a lot of time) my new hard drive had crashed. The moved photos now appeared under the Folders tab but were faded out and not accessible.

    The hard disk is dead and not recoverable. Fine…I ordered a a new hard drive (WD My Book 4TB) and prepared to move them again.

    But the images on the original drive had disappeared! Unlike moving a folder from disk to disk in Apple’s Finder, LR moves the folder without leaving the contents of the folder on the original drive!

    8 years of images gone.

    • Rob Sylvan 12 November, 2019 at 12:00 Reply

      I’m so sorry to hear about the drive failure. You do have a backup copy of your photos though, right? This is where you would restore from the backup of the photos (because drives do die at unexpected and inconvenient times). If you restore the photos to the same exact folder structure as they were before the drive failure, and name the new drive the same as the volume that died, then Lightroom Classic should see the files as if nothing happened. Mirroring the photo drive to another drive makes this process very simple because all you do is swap drives (and rename the volume of the backup drive).

  2. Lorin Duckman 4 March, 2009 at 15:42 Reply

    Thanks for the tutorial. Can you expand a little and discuss moving a catalog. I have my catalog on my C drive and my pictures on my D. Is this a good idea? If not, how do I move the file? Which file should I move? Should I make a new folder in my pictures file on D drive first?

  3. Darrin 26 May, 2008 at 23:58 Reply

    Matt, what if there are some folders that I have not added to Lightroom, but they are in my main Photos folder; will those ones be moved if I move the folder from within Lightroom? Also, if not, is there a way to quickly have Lightroom add folders from a main folder without importing duplicate folders?

    Thanks

  4. Gil 24 March, 2008 at 12:25 Reply

    Hello Matt! Greetings from Nicaragua! Thanks so much for your hard work, I love your website, podcasts, books, everything

    I’ve looked around to find a solution to my problem, but haven’t found anything. Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough. I’m sure I’m not the only one with this question: What is the best or most efficient way to move and/or copy photos I’ve already developed between catalogs?

    Thanks!
    Gil

  5. Evelyn L. 22 March, 2008 at 11:54 Reply

    Hello Matt! Your presentation of moving folders in lightroom was so very helpful! In a couple of hours time I had FINALLY organized almost 4,000 photos into one place on my computer in one main folder with numerous subfolders. Now finding photos is simple and quick. Thank you!

    After everything was organized I realized that a few pictures were in the wrong folders, probably a result of previous attempts to click and drag and dropping them in the wrong place by accident. I can’t seem to figure out how to move individual photos from one folder to another within Lightroom. Is there a way to do this?

    Thanks!

    Evelyn

  6. Øyvind 18 March, 2008 at 13:47 Reply

    Hi.
    I love these videos, but there is one problem I have that I have’nt found the solution for yet. I’m now running out of disc space and therefore want to move my entire picture collection to a new hard drive. How do I do this without having to import all the pictures again?

    Thanks!

    Øyvind

  7. Edgar Walther 17 March, 2008 at 12:18 Reply

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the video’s regarding the folder structure (and for all the other video’s – I really appreciate it!).

    After moving folder 2007-02-17 into your top level folder Photos, the next step would very likely be to rename that folder to Jim Photoshoot (or whatever the boy’s name is). How do you do that from Lightroom? That is something I am struggeling with and it would complete the folder structure story.

    Thanks!

    Edgar

  8. Keith Childs 16 March, 2008 at 14:34 Reply

    Matt- ignore my earlier question on file renaming. Of course it’s dead easy. Library- Rename Photos. Seek and ye shall find…

  9. Fred 15 March, 2008 at 08:48 Reply

    Hi Matt

    I really enjoy your videos on Lightroom.
    Maybe I have missed it, but it seems that there is still missing a rather important feature when it comes to folders.
    You get a new computer.
    And the photos resides on another drive (say now it is G. and not F.)
    And maybe you change the folder structure for your pictures.

    How do you do that ?

    Frede Hansen

  10. Linda 15 March, 2008 at 01:12 Reply

    Hi Matt, So I am a little confused, my importing to my pictures/photos is working like a charm, I picked “Stock” as my folder for this part of my import however my link in lightroom now shows Stock at C:Documents and SettingsHP_OwnerMy DocumentsMy PicturesPhotos how do I make the change without messing everything up to just read Photos like in your demo. Thank you, Linda

  11. Jim Hayes 14 March, 2008 at 14:28 Reply

    Matt,
    Thanks for taking the time to do your many different PS and Lightroom tutorials.
    Folders: unfortunately when I began using Lightroom I did not set up a Master Folder, but just subject folders. Now if I want to move a folder or especially add a folder it is impossible unless I do it under an existing folder. I hope they correct this problem in future updates.
    Jim H.

  12. Keith Childs 13 March, 2008 at 17:07 Reply

    Matt,
    First of all wanted to say what a great site you have. Presets are brilliant and your videos clearly explain things. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise. I have a question and you probably have an easy answer. my folders were a mess and in moving them to a smarter structure I find quite a few files with the same filename (e.g. pic00001.jpg) which means you can’t move to folder if a different photo with the same filename already exists- which of course makes sense.What is the smartest way to rename files in LR so that the integrity of the catalog is maintained?
    Keith

  13. Jeff 13 March, 2008 at 13:04 Reply

    Matt:

    How about some iPhoto integration tips… I’m not about to do any editing or actual organizing in iPhoto, but the slideshows are easier in iPhoto, in my opinion. Is there a quick and easy way to get my edited photos out of Lightroom and into iPhoto without exporting them to a new folder as JPEGs, and keeping my edits? Just referencing the RAW file into iPhoto doesn’t carry any of my edits over.

  14. WILLIAM CHINN 12 March, 2008 at 20:48 Reply

    Matt, can you tell your techies that the Photoshop Killer Tips videos are not making it to iTunes again!!!! Last episode was 3/5/2008.

  15. Barbara 12 March, 2008 at 18:39 Reply

    Hi Matt,
    I really appreciate all the tools and tips you provide for Lightroom; I check in regularly. I know your really busy but if you have a moment would you send me a note please?

  16. Dave P 12 March, 2008 at 16:51 Reply

    Matt,

    Is there a way to move folders within lightroom from two different catelogs? I accidently downloaded and developed pics in the 2007 catelog and really want them in 2008. I can’t seem to open 2 copies of lightroom to drag across from 2007 to 2008.

    Dave

  17. Allister 12 March, 2008 at 14:42 Reply

    Hi,

    I’ve discovered that the DNG files that come natively off my Pentax K10D are uncompressed. How can I compress my existing DNG files that already have Lightroom processing information, without losing anything in Lightroom?

    Thanks,
    Allister.

  18. Patrick De Smet 12 March, 2008 at 13:18 Reply

    Hello Matt,

    I just saw your latest video on folders in LR, and I couldn’t help but notice that you had one or two folders there called “Brugge” / “Bruges”… Guess what… I live there… 🙂
    If ever you happen to visit this place again, do let me know in advance. I happen to know some very interesting spots for photo-shooting.

    Best wishes from Flanders!
    Patrick DS

  19. Lauren Ames 12 March, 2008 at 13:02 Reply

    Matt,

    Thanks so much for the video on folder movement. This has been my bane for some time and now it’s not. Your videos are GREATLY appreciated as are your other training aids, including the new LAYERS book.

    I am very appreciative of all you do for the Lightroom/Photoshop community.

  20. Eric 12 March, 2008 at 10:45 Reply

    Hello Matt:

    Great blog that I read everyday.
    Just finished your layers book, it was EXCELLENT.

    Question: Suppose you have a folder with 300 pictures. You have 30 favorites that you may want to print or develop further. I would like to leave the 30 files on the computer AND just the previews of the other 270 images. How can I do this? If I move the entire folder off line then I keep previews of all, but can’t print 30? If I deleted the 270 pictures from LR, then no previews? Only way I was able to do it, was to manually delete 270 pictures from Finder? Problem was very time consuming and hard to tell which are the 30 picks. There should be an option when you delete and remove a photo from the computer from LR as to whether you want to keep the preview or not. Then it would take 5 seconds after you have rated your photos. Please advise if you can think of an easy way to accomplish this. I was thinking of moving the picks to another folder, but then when I want to locate from backup in the future it will mess things up. Thanks. My goal is to free up hard drive space on my MBP. My understanding is that the previews take very little space? Is that correct? Eric

  21. Eric 12 March, 2008 at 10:45 Reply

    Hello Matt:

    Great blog that I read everyday.
    Just finished your layers book, it was EXCELLENT.

    Question: Suppose you have a folder with 300 pictures. You have 30 favorites that you may want to print or develop further. I would like to leave the 30 files on the computer AND just the previews of the other 270 images. How can I do this? If I move the entire folder off line then I keep previews of all, but can’t print 30? If I deleted the 270 pictures from LR, then no previews? Only way I was able to do it, was to manually delete 270 pictures from Finder? Problem was very time consuming and hard to tell which are the 30 picks. There should be an option when you delete and remove a photo from the computer from LR as to whether you want to keep the preview or not. Then it would take 5 seconds after you have rated your photos. Please advise if you can think of an easy way to accomplish this. I was thinking of moving the picks to another folder, but then when I want to locate from backup in the future it will mess things up. Thanks. My goal is to free up hard drive space on my MBP. My understanding is that the previews take very little space? Is that correct? Eric

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