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How to Organize an Adobe Lightroom Classic Catalog for Your Blog – the Set Up

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I recently decided to start using Adobe Creative Cloud for my blog.

Although this suite is made up of many tools, I was primarily interested in trying:

I won't go into details about Premiere Rush here – since this post is about setting up an Adobe Lightroom Classic catalog – but I will do a future post about it.

Why Adobe Lightroom Classic?

When it came to blog photos – I knew that my existing workflow was broken and something had to change.

I was spending a ridiculous amount of time editing photos and creating Pinterest images.

There was never enough time left over for photo organization.

It was crazy! Blog photos littered my computer desktop, Google Drive, and Apple Photos.

I needed a one stop solution so I could bring the steps of photo editing and organization together under one roof, so to speak.

Adobe has two products that I thought might do the trick:

I really wanted to like Lightroom CC because this is Adobe's attempt at a cloud solution – but it is not quite as robust as I need it to be.

So, I decided to bite the bullet and learn how to use Adobe Lightroom Classic for my blog photos.

This post and the series that will follow documents what I learn about the program as I work through it.

I am a beginner but hopefully what I learn will help you too.

How Your Lightroom Classic Catalog Handles Photos

I am going to start here because this is the weird thing that I had a real problem with – conceptually.

From what I can gather – correct me if I am wrong – your Lightroom Catalog does not actually store your photos.

This “catalog” stores a set of instructions that Lightroom Classic will use to locate your photos and it also stores any edits that you make in Lightroom to those photos.

So, when you import a photo into Lightroom Classic, it never actually moves the photo into a photo database like Apple Photos does.

Instead, it establishes a connection between Lightroom Classic and the place on your computer where you have that photo stored.

This means that the photos that you import into a single Lightroom Classic catalog can actually be stored in any number of locations on your computer – your desktop, pictures folder, downloads folder – anywhere at all.

The problem with this, is that if you ever move that photo on your computer then that connection will break inside Lightroom Classic and the program will not be able to find your photo.

The solution is to create a single location on your hard drive (internal or external) to store all of the photos that you decide to import into Lightroom Classic.

This location could be a simple folder that you name “Lightroom Photos”.

You can have folders inside this folder for different years or events.

Very important: For whatever reason, you cannot store the photos that you import into Lightroom Classic on a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive.

I found this Adobe Help article about this topic to be very useful.

You May Not Want to Import ALL Your Photos In Lightroom

The second issue that I had trouble wrapping my head around was that I didn't necessarily need to import all my blog photos into Adobe Lightroom Classic CC.

Although I have been using a lot more of my own photography on my blog – I still use stock photos, mostly from Haute Stock.

The stock photos are already beautiful when I get them, so mostly I need to crop to different sizes and add a text overlay – which I can't do in Lightroom (again, as far as I can tell).

And then there are all the photos for my older blog posts. I have already processed these and just need to keep them in an archive – so they don't need to be added to Lightroom either.

Location and Available Disk Space

At this point I am thinking that I need two separate locations for my blog photos.

One for photos that I DO NOT plan to import into Lightroom and another for my Lightroom Photos.

As I mentioned before, your Adobe Lightroom Classic catalog and photos cannot be stored on a cloud drive.

This is challenging if you use two computers – like a laptop and a desktop.

Also, you need to consider your available hard drive space, especially if you take lots of photos.

And let's not forget about the importance of creating a back up for photos that are not stored in the cloud somewhere.

My Initial Plan

Up until now I have been storing my blog photos in Google Drive. (actually I tried a lot of different services but Google Drive is what I settled on).

Use Google Drive to Store Photos that Are NOT In Lightroom

I plan to continue storing the photos that I DO NOT import into Lightroom Classic here.

In Google Drive I have a single folder called Blog Photos and inside that folder are folders for each year.

Inside my year folders are folders for each blog post using the following naming convention:

yyyy-mm-dd-name-of-post

I can easily access this folder on the web or using the very awesome Google File Stream (available for G Suite users) which means that it doesn't use my local hard disk space.

Use An External Hard Drive to Store My Lightroom Photos and Catalog

I purchased a 1TB Samsung Portable SSD T5 external hard drive for the blog photos that I plan to edit in Lightroom.

This drive will hold my Lightroom Catalog folder as well as a second folder named “Lightroom Photos”.

Since it is portable, I can switch it between computers, and I won't use up hard drive space on my machine(s).

I do have WD network drive that I can use as a backup – I just need to remember to do it.

Next Steps

Now that I have a plan in place, my next steps are to organize the blog photos on my computers.

I strayed away from my process in the past few months so I have some catching up to do.

In the future I will talk about importing into Lightroom, processing, presets, and exporting.

I hope this article gave you some ideas about organizing your own Adobe Lightroom Classic catalog and photos.

If you have any questions or ideas on how to do this differently – I would love to hear them! Please leave a comment below.

I am just figuring this out as I go – so any advice, thoughts, and improvements are always welcome.

Happy Blogging!

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