How did I get on sorting my 2008 collections in Lightroom? A further update on my post – how to organise your photos in Lightroom

It went OK.

What went well?

I got rid of just short of 800 images.

I found some stuff that I had almost forgotten about but really liked.

I edited some old images which was great.

The blog post called “How to organise your photos in Lightroom” was the beginning of the process.

But I never really finished off the job. I have not really go on top of my Lightroom Catalogue.

I got side-tracked when I found something new to edit.

What did I not do?

  • Keyword.
  • Rate.
  • Delete as much as I wanted to.

So quite a lot still to do really. The problem is as tasks go this is quite boring.

This is what I am going to do.

Schedule the work. Assign myself the following tasks.


I cull by using the flags Pick or Reject. The keyboard shortcuts are P for pick and X for reject. Once rejected the images are deleted.


My rating system is as follows

  • 0 stars – unrated - to sort
  • 1 star – no edit required
  • 2 stars – to edit
  • 3 stars – edited - mobile
  • 4 stars – edited
  • 5 stars – edited best.



I am going to plan this into my work and see how it goes. Starting (again with those 2501 images in my Lightroom Catalogue).

I have assigned 1 day per task, this week. This is of course as well as everything else I must do but I really do need to get on with this.

And to manage the more significance ongoing problem I am going to start doing this every time I have imported new images. And I just did this and guess what - in 10 minutes it was done, and I had got that days pictures down from 200 to 30 to edit!

Yes, I am going to do this every time.

And that is it. I use picks to sort things when I am working on them, but they get removed.

So, this is the start of my brave new disciplined world of managing my Lightroom Catalogue.

I have scheduled an update on my photography blog for 4 weeks time, in late March. I find that this helps me to as it puts pressure on me. A bit like having a deadline for a report to your boss. Or in my case me and the world-wide web!

Rick McEvoy Photography

Lost in Lightroom!

Monday 20th February 2017

Backup of my photographic data - my final solution now in place and working nicely

Today I am going to talk about backing up my profesional photography data.

Nothing else. Sorry no nice new portfolio image today.

I wanted to update you all on my final data management solution. Why now? 

Because it is finally sorted to the point that I am happy with my solution, and also happy to write about it now that it is all set up and in place. 

This is how I manage my data. 

I have one Lightroom catalogue which has all my images in one place. The Lightroom catalogue is on my laptop.  My laptop has a 1TB drive. This drive is now only half full.

The actual image files are on a separate Western Digital 4 TB external hard drive. 

I have another external hard drive which has a copy of the Lightroom Catalogue and also a copy of the actual image files, which is stored in another location. 

I also have cloud backup in place for all files on my laptop and external drive using Backblaze. This took a while to do the first upload but was incredibly easy to do. I am paying $5 per month for unlimited storage. 

Fantastic. Thank you Backblaze.

So that is the nuts and bolts of it. All my data is in three separate locations. 

Thats fine for today. But what about tomorrow/ next week/ next year? 

That is sorted too. 

It has taken me a long time to get to this happy secure state. One reason it took so long is that I wanted a setup that would work going forward, and which was also expandable.

And I also need to be able to use my laptop out of my office, and have access to all my images. 

So lots to consider. 

And then the inevitable happened. 

My laptop hard drive was nearly full and my laptop was falling over.

Just because it says 1TB on the box don't expect to get anything near 1TB on the hard drive. Nowhere near.

And when you do get near to being full the hard drive just slows down to a virtual halt. Combine that with the recent performance problems with Lightroom and you may experience significant problems. 

And of course this all happened when I had the most commercial shoots at the same time ever!! 

The quick, short term solution was to split my catalogues to get over the original problem, moving a big part of my collection onto an external hard drive.  I was never happy having my data in two catalogues. And this solution did not last long. It was the sticking plaster on the broken leg solution! The laptop hard drive soon filled up again.

So serious issues to contend with, and quickly. 

Which is why a lot of thinking has gone into the set up described above.

The benefits of this arrangement are as follows. 

  • I can access all the images in my catalogue from anywhere as I have built Smart Previews in Lightroom. 
  • I can expand my backup copy by buying a larger external hard drive. 
  • Every month I will take another backup copy, rotating my 1TB hard drives. 
  • The external drive which has my actual image files is 4 TB. Plenty of spare capacity. 
  • My cloud backup is incremental and unlimited, and pretty much looks after itself.
  • if everything goes wrong in my office, and I lose the other offsite hard drive copy, I can get a full data recovery from Backblaze. 

So from all I have learnt from my extensive research including guidance from leading photographic industry experts, everything is now in place.

Significantly, this did not cost a lot to do either. You just need to think about what you want and how you are going to work in the future. if you are relying on a single hard drive as I was I can assure you that you will at some point run out of space, so act now before you have a problem.


Missing files in lightroom - why it is vital you have a sound backup strategy

Boring post alert!

Boring post but with a serious message to be fair. One that will hopefully give you something to think about, in particular how you look after your data. Serious digital photography requires serious digital data management.

So what happened?

Yesterday morning I was working, editing a recent architectural photography shoot. So this is actual paying work for a client. Not me playing around in Lightroom editing some landscape photography from years ago. Real work.

I was moving the images I needed to edit into a separate folder. This is how I work. I import the images into Lightroom, then add them to a client folder. I then auto-stack by time, then select the images to edit.

The chosen images are marked as picks in Lightroom – little white flags. I then create a new folder and put the files in there. I don’t bother with collections at this stage as they do not pick up the complete stack. This works for me even if others might say differently.

I had the files in the folder, but when I tried to move them Lightroom told me that some of the files were missing.


I can see them on my screen. So where were they? What had I done?

Well the answer is I don’t know, and I couldn’t find them even though I could see them.

Not good news. Especially the way my commercial architectural photography workflow is set up, including how I shoot the images with the intention of processing in a certain way.

I shoot with specific techniques knowing what I am going to do in Lightroom and Photoshop. 

So what to do? 

This is why having a sound backup strategy is so essential. We invest all that time and money on gear, and time on taking the images, so shouldn't we also invest time and money in protecting our images? 

Thankfully I do have a sound backup strategy. The first line of defence is a separate copy of the files which I imported into Lightroom, which are on a separate external hard drive.

This is going to sound more complicated than it is, and it took me a while to work it out, but this is what I do.

I import the images into Lightroom. The Lightroom catalogue is on my laptop hard drive. The actual images I import are physically saved to a separate external hard drive (refer to Februarys posts for more on this tale of woe). I build Smart Previews in Lightroom CC, within the Lightroom catalogue on my laptop hard drive.

And I make a duplicate of the imported files on a separate hard drive.

I also back up my catalogue onto a separate hard drive.

So basically, cutting a long story short, I have everything in two separate places.

There is a bit of housekeeping that goes along with this arrangement, but it works for me.

I hope this makes sense?

So when the files were missing fixing this was easy.

All I did was reimport the images from the duplicate import folder. Everything was there and imported fine and I was quickly able to get back to work.

What I have yet to work out is what actually went wrong! 

I have not had this problem before. I have recently moved all my files onto an external hard drive but this should work fine.

I have to say that these days Lightroom can be more unpredictable than it was, before the Creative Cloud. 

And strangely when I reimported the full set of images (rather than pick the 10 missing ones out of 200) it did not pick up the fact that some of the files were already there (even with the do not import duplicates selected). 

Strange and something I will have to check out once I am over this huge amount of architectural photography work I am currently working through

So, to reinforce the key point of this post.


And make sure that it works for you now and going forwards. You have a lot to lose – don’t forget that!

Thanks for reading this post and please come back tomorrow for a nice picture and no waffle from me at