How To Reconnect Missing Images in Lightroom

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How To Reconnect Missing Images in Lightroom

Have you ever seen question mark icons appear on your image thumbnails or in your folders list in Lightroom?


If so, it’s a sign that Lightroom has lost track of images on your hard drive. You see, Lightroom doesn’t actually store the image files within the Lightroom catalog – it simply links to them.

When you rename or move files or folders within Lightroom, then there are no problems – Lightroom is aware of the changes and can update its links accordingly. If you move a file or rename a folder outside of Lightroom, however, that’s where the question mark icons come into play. Lightroom is still looking for the file in the old location or with the old name. It doesn’t know you changed it.

So, the best thing to do is to only rename and move files and folders within Lightroom. If you mess up and find some question marks staring you in the face, here’s how to fix it:

Option 1: Right-click the missing folder and choose “Find Missing Folder.” Navigate to and select the folder that was moved or renamed. Lightroom will restore the connection.

Option 2: Click the question mark on an image thumnail, then choose “Locate.” Navigate to and select the file that was moved or renamed. Lightroom will restore the connection.

Note that if you renamed multiple images outside of Lightroom, you’ll need to reconnect each image individually, as Lightroom simply can’t know what matches to what

Quick-Tip: Something similar happens whenever we return a Lightroom catalog after a post-production job. When you open our catalog, it doesn’t know where your files are and displays the question marks. We have a quick how-to on linking them up (hint: it’s pretty much the same as above). Quick-Tip: If you’re struggling to keep up with shooting, editing, delivering, and everything else, let POST help. Send us out-of-camera files and receive back corrected images.
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  1. […] Quick-Tip: In case you do end up with missing images in Lightroom, here’s a tip on reconnecting them. […]