Post-Production Pro Tips: One Lightroom Catalog or Many?

One Lightroom Catalog or Many?

When you open Lightroom to look through your images, what you’re opening is called a “catalog.” A Lightroom catalog is a database of images and image data. This shouldn’t be confused with “collections” and “folders” which are additional ways of organizing images within a catalog.

When Lightroom is first installed, it opens an empty, default catalog. Many people never even create another catalog, instead adding more and more images to the default one. But it is possible to make as many catalogs as you like in order to separate groups of images from each other.

Whether you use one giant catalog or create a new catalog for each shoot is entirely up to you and the way you work.

A Lightroom catalog can hold hundreds of thousands of images, so there’s no technical need to create different catalogs. Keeping everything in one catalog allows you to easily search through all your photos at once. You might think a giant catalog would get confusing, but collections and folders are there to keep things orderly.

Alternatively, having a catalog for each event you shoot – or each type of photography you shoot or however else you want to split it up – makes more sense for some. One example would be to create a new catalog for each event. After completing work on that event, you may want to archive the job and get it off your hard drive. Because it’s in a self-contained catalog, you can easily archive that event’s images and catalog without affecting any other event files.

Again, it’s up to you, so play around and figure out what works best for your workflow.

Quick-Tip: Lightroom is very powerful but not always intuitive. Luckily, there is a lot of information about it online. A quick Google search will usually point you towards someone who’s already figured out what you’re trying. Quick-Tip: Post supports versions 3 and 4 of Lightroom. When submitting a job, you’ll have the option of specifying which version we should use for your images.

Check out more Post-Production Tips from the pros at Post