Solving Organizational Challenges in Lightroom 5

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Photographer and educator Tim Grey was invited to the B&H SuperStore’s Event Space to talk to customers about the file management challenges related to using the Adobe Lightroom software. In this 97-minute discussion, Grey shows us how to overcome common difficulties that many of us have when moving images, folders, and external drives around with our precious photos, by outlining common issues and presenting solutions. Grey says that many issues with Lightroom management come early on, when users prematurely jump into Lightroom head-first without a solid organizational plan. He also discusses the huge pitfalls that can occur if you place your images into Lightroom and then perform file management externally to the Lightroom software.

Starting with a clear explanation of the Lightroom catalog system, Grey discusses the why and when of backing up your Lightroom catalog before moving into analyzing specific challenges. He discusses setting up the metadata tab inside Lightroom to customize your Lightroom experience and he shows the audience how to save RAW image sidecar backup .XMP files to preserve metadata outside of the Lightroom files, before explaining the advantages and disadvantages of that option.

Grey gets into the details of what metadata is shared between editing and file-management programs like Adobe Bridge. Some metadata is Lightroom specific—not used by other programs. It is beneficial to be aware of what is attached to the files when they are viewed outside of Lightroom by other photo-editing software. Also, the way programs see the metadata information may be very different. For instance, Adobe Bridge and Adobe Lightroom see assigned image color labels completely differently. Also, “pick flags” in Lightroom are not recognized by Bridge and other software, but star ratings are.

Did you forget to change the time stamp on your camera when you traveled to Europe last year? Grey shows us how to manipulate the metadata to show the correct time you took a photograph. [My solution: I set my camera to GMT and never change it.]

What is the number one cause of missing photos in Lightroom? Grey tells us it's “The Photographer.” He then shows us how to locate missing files and folders and recover them back to the Lightroom catalog. Grey also discusses file and folder renaming before diving into the sometimes-controversial topic of Lightroom folder structure as he gives a few moments of discussion to both the location and date-driven Lightroom folder setups.

After discussing backup and synchronization options, Grey finishes his lecture with pointers and tips for photographers using multiple Lightroom catalogs and multiple hard drives.

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Organizing Lightroom