Orange County Photographer Creating a Lightroom Catalog for Each Session
Lightroom is the gold standard many photographers. The recommended method of using only one Lightroom catalog to store pictures across clients has a couple of key disadvantages. The first is the size...
Lightroom is the gold standard many photographers. The recommended method of using only one Lightroom catalog to store pictures across clients has a couple of key disadvantages.
The first is the size of the catalog. It can become enormous. Currently the catalog on my computer is over 45 gigs. While we live in the age of hard drives measured in terabytes, that is a still a significant amount of space to devote to only one file. I suspect that the large file eats up more RAM as well. My experience has been as the file becomes large, the computer running lightroom continues to slow until it ultimately grinds to a halt.
Another disadvantage is that as the file and number of associated pictures grow, a multitude of hard drives becomes necessary. In a perfect world Lightroom can handle this situation. We do not live in a perfect world. Hard drives fail. Backups need to be made. Every time the relative positions of the picture and database change Lightroom needs to be re-pointed to the correct file. This can be time consuming.
In order to simplify and mitigate the disadvantages associated with the normal storage process, a photographer should create a new catalog for each photo session and store the catalog in the folder that contains the sessions. This will keep the file small. The small file will use less RAM, helping keep the system running smoothly.
In addition, this method makes it easy to make sure that the catalog stays with the pictures when backups are made and pictures are transferred. The related catalog will always be on the same drive as the images.
The only real disadvantage to this method is that attributes are spread out throughout multiple catalogs. This removes, for example, the ability to search across all pictures with your “best work” tags. This disadvantage can be mitigated by collecting these of shots in folders. While this disadvantage is real, in the balance, most photographers will save more time using the portable method.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The Author is a Laguna Beach Wedding Photographer who services all of Orange County. He has created a website that evaluates, from a photographer’s perspective, wedding and portraits sites in and around Orange County.