Get started with Adobe Lightroom Catelogues

Peter Fenech

Use Lightroom to quickly and easily store, organise and find your images

Adobe Lightroom is a fantastic tool for archiving and post-processing your images. With its advanced features, it is possible for many images to be handled exclusively in Lightroom, without ever moving over to Photoshop – you can import, organise, backup, edit and print your photos all in one place. To really get the best out of the application, you need to commit to a reliable workflow and it all begins with Catalogues.  Lightroom archives your images in these directories, which you create to store related images – either all files taken by a certain camera or in a particular location, for example. Learn how to quickly set up your first Catalogue.

Create a Catalogue

Get started with Adobe Lightroom Catelogues










Create a new directory for your images and select its destination on your hard drive. This file doesn’t contain your images, simply catalogue information.

Import your images

Get started with Adobe Lightroom Catelogues










Click Import to begin building your catalogue. Choose a source folder, such as an external hard drive or your memory card. Tip: keep all photos for the catalogue in a single folder so Lightroom doesn’t ‘lose’ them.

Copy, Move or Add

Get started with Adobe Lightroom Catelogues










Lightroom can copy or move your images to a new folder on your hard drive or you can simply add the images to the catalogue, leaving them in their source folder.

Duplicate and add keywords

Get started with Adobe Lightroom Catelogues










If copying from a card, select a destination and for safety tell Lightroom to make a second copy to another drive by ticking the box. Add keywords to be applied on import to aid searching the catalogue.

Create Collections

Get started with Adobe Lightroom Catelogues










Further organise your images by grouping your images in Collections. Select your images, go Library > New Collection, name your collection and click Create. Collection Sets can group similar collections for convenience.

Back up your catalogue

Get started with Adobe Lightroom Catelogues










Often overlooked is the need to backup your catalogue, containing all edits you make. Go Edit > Catalogue Settings and choose to have Lightroom backup whenever you close the program. Select an external destination for the backup.


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    • Click and Learn Photography

      This is a must read for any photographer! I learned the hard way by ignoring the cataloguing aspect until my entire photography folder was a complete mess. Still trying to sort it out now!