A nice feature of the new Lightroom catalogs is that you can have multiple catalogs. I have been playing around lately with exporting and saving catalogs for individual photo shoots which I then archive along with the raw images. It seems natural to save the Lightroom catalog along with the raw images so that if I ever need to work on those images again I have everything as it was the last time I worked on the images and all I have to do is select that catalog when I open Lightroom.
To set up Lightroom so that you can select the catalog you want to work with, go to the preferences panel and choose Lightroom > Preferences, then under the Default Catalog settings in the General panel choose “Prompt me when starting Lightroom” as in the screenshot below.
Now, when you open Lightroom it will come up with the dialog box (as below) asking which catalog you would like to open. You can also create a new catalog if you are importing a new set of images and want to keep everything separate.
When I am on the road with my laptop I normally create a new catalog for the images I am working on. This way I don’t have to export a set of images when I get back into the office (to load the catalog onto my G5) because they are already in their own catalog. All I have to do to transfer those images to my imaging tower back in the office is copy and paste the Lightroom catalog and images - then select the new catalog when opening Lightroom.
As we saw with the last Lightroom post on using Lightroom as a Digital Asset Management (DAM) tool, the number of images you can efficiently run with in Lightroom depends on many factors. Hence if you have a slower machine it might make sense to have multiple catalogs, I you have a speed demon computer then multiple catalogs may not be something you ever worry about. Either way it is great to have the versatility of the catalog structure. Kudos to Adobe for working out the catalog structure so nicely.
That’s it for this session. See you next week….
Adios, Michael Clark