Storing images & Lightroom catalogues

Lightroom Classic has two main areas you can use: which is the organization and editing. 

It’s very important that you organize your images and workflow immediately at the beginning of your food photography journey. After some time, you will accumulate thousands of images and if you don’t organize your workflow at the beginning, you will end up with messy folders, which can be very frustrating. 

So in this lesson, we will talk about how to organize your work, how to store your images, and how to organize your lightroom catalogue so that you can work quickly and be very effective.


Storing images on an external hard disk

It’s recommended to keep your images on an external hard disk. Ideally, you will back up this hard disk on another external hard disk or on a cloud. 

Now, what workflow you create for yourself, it’s up to you. I will give you a few suggestions here you can get inspired from, then please, create a system that works for you and you feel comfortable with. 

I like the way of organizing my hard disk according to areas (Clients, Members’ Club, Images) and then years. At the beginning of the year, I create a new folder – “2021” – where I create new folders divided into photoshoots. If you want, you can create sub-folders for months, if you create lots of content.

If you create recipes, I recommend naming folders based on the recipe you shoot (and up to you, date when you shoot it).

Then, within this folder, you want to have 1 folder for RAW files, 1 folder for edited images. Then, it’s up to you if you want to organize it more. You can add some folders with final images for social media – where you keep exported jpegs of different crops & sizes… 

This is up to what you need. I advise you to keep it simple, these folders have to make your life easier.

Lightroom Catalogues

A Lightroom catalog is a database that tracks the location of your photos and information about them. Lightroom doesn’t store the raw files. 

When you import images to Lightroom, Lightroom creates a connection with the folder where the raw files are stored and makes the images available for organization & editing process.

So, the catalogue is storing the data that are connected to the organization of images in Lightroom (such as rejecting, rating), keywording or editing of the images. Lightroom never makes any changes to the original file, but all the changes you make are saved in the Lightroom catalogue. This means you can import the same raw image again in multiple catalogues.

Lightroom gives you possibility to open only one catalogue at a time. How many catalogues you want to keep, it’s up to you. 

If you are only blogging – creating recipes, it’s better to have one catalogue where you import all your images. You can also create a new catalogue for each year.

If you do a mix of client work and personal work or blogging – you can create two catalogues. One for your client work, the other for your recipes and personal projects.

In my case, I have 3 catalogues for each year:

  •  The one is for images I do for all my activities within Healthy Goodies by Lucia – the Instagram, free challenges, Members’ Club courses/masterclasses or personal projects, 
  • the second is for my Client work, 
  • and the third one is for the images from my students, for image critique sessions, or private feedback. 

It helps me not to mix all different images in one catalogue, and keep it simple and organized.

Let’s see together how you can create a new Lightroom Catalogue:

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