How to Manage and Organize Photos in Adobe Lightroom CC

How To 6 min
Watch Adobe expert Julieanne Kost demonstrate how to use Adobe Lightroom to manage and organize photos.

Adobe's Lightroom application creates a catalog file on your computer that lets you see your photos in the way you choose. The catalog file is the backbone of the Lightroom's organization. It protects the original file, enhances security and saves storage space.

This excellent file management helps you stay organized and allows you to easily access your photos. This is especially important for electronic files in a shared environment. You can filter the contents by file type, date or specific photo information in the metadata. Remember, all strategic, operational, tactical and joint-interest imagery must be forwarded to DIMOC through DVIDS for lifecycle management as a shared DoD resource. When moving images, it's important to move them within Lightroom so the links and paths stay intact. Follow along with the steps below.

  1. Open/Start Lightroom.
  2. Open the parent folder you want to organize.
  3. Locate the images you want to add to the parent folder.
  4. Select all the images.
  5. Click the plus icon '+' on the Folders panel.
  6. Select one of the menu options to create a folder:
    •  Add Folder, to create a folder anywhere; or
    • Add Subfolderto create a folder within an existing folder.
  7. Name the folder.
  8. Check the box option for Include selected photos.
  9. Choose Create.

Within the folder panel you can now see the newly created folder.

  1. Within Lightroom, locate the folder within the Folders panel.
  2. Right click, or control click if on a Mac, on the folder and select Show in Finder.

The operating system's finder window opens for the folder. The folders are actually saved to the operating system through Lightroom. So when files and folders are moved within Lightroom, they are also moved within the operating system.

By default Lightroom is set up to show you the images in the parent folder and any subfolders within the parent. This flattened view is different than most operating systems, because images within any subfolders are not displayed.

To turn this feature off and limit the number of images you view at once:

  1. Locate the parent folder within the Folders panel.
  2. Click the plus icon '+' on the Folders panel.
  3. Uncheck Show Photos in Subfolders.

Note that you may notice that the total image count for parent folders will drop to zero. That is because those folders do not have any "loose" photos. If you use the disclosure triangle, you can see the subfolders and counts inside.

To move images from one existing folder to another within Lightroom:

  1. Select each image to move by clicking inside the image's thumbnail.
  2. Drag and drop the image(s) into the folder you want to move them to within the Folders panel.
  3. A warning window may display stating that you are moving the files within the hard drive, but this is good. Click Move.

The images are now moved within both Lightroom and the operating system.

By showing a parent folder, you can get a total image count for an entire folder with multiple subfolders. To do this:

  1. Make sure the Show Photos in Subfolders feature is checked.
  2. Right click, or control click if on a Mac, on the folder.
  3. Choose Show Parent Folder.

The Folders panel will update to show that folder's parent folder on the hard drive and the total images within it.

If you ever want to hide the parent folder then:

  1. Select the parent folder.
  2. Right click, or control click if on a Mac, on the folder.
  3. Choose Hide This Parent.

The Folders panel will update to hide that parent folder and the subfolders will still remain in the Lightroom catalog.

To add a new folder outside of existing folders:

  1. Click the plus icon '+' on the Folders panel.
  2. Choose Add Folder.
  3. Navigate to where you'd like the folder to live. This can be on your internal hard drive or an external hard drive.
  4. Click New Folder.
  5. Enter a name for the folder.
  6. Click Create.
  7. Click Choose.

Now you can see the drive location and newly created folder within the Folders panel.

You can drag and drop folders from your internal hard drive to your external hard drive following the steps described above in 4. Move Images within Folders.

Adobe product screen shots reprinted with permission from Adobe Inc.

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