Lightroom Classic CC catalog functions as a database to track and manage your photos. You can store your Lightroom Classic catalog on an external hard drive if you have less space on your internal drive, use more than one laptop, or need access to the catalog while traveling.
Learning how to move the Lightroom catalog to an external hard drive the right way will help you store your catalog safely and use it wherever you want.
As a photographer, efficient and handy photo management is vital. Lightroom Classic catalog does a pretty good job at helping you with management by storing the information regarding all your photos.
However; as you might often need to tidy up space on your internal storage or require the catalog for use on other devices, moving the catalog to an external hard drive is your best bet.
The first thing you need to do to move your catalog to an external drive is to find where it is stored on your computer.
At this point, you can click on Backup before quitting if you haven’t backed up in a while. If you already have a backup, click on Skip and quit Lightroom.
Note: We highly recommend regularly backing up your catalog in the Catalog Settings if you don’t want to miss your work. You can set a regular backup option in Lightroom to save time doing this.
Note that it may take a long time to copy your catalog if it has a large number of files. If you want to move your photos to the drive as well, do it at this point.
Your catalog and previews folders are now safely transferred onto the external drive.
You may need to delete the old catalog that was stored on your internal drive if you want to empty its contents. As your catalog is now safely copied to the external drive and synced with Lightroom, you can delete the old catalog from the destination folder.
The function of the Lightroom catalog is to form a database of information regarding your photos. It is created when you first launch Lightroom Classic and use it to edit your photos. The catalog records the critical information such as location, flagging, metadata, and editing on each photo besides storing keywords added to them.
Remember that catalog is not a collection of your photos. The catalog is meant to save the changes you make on the image and won’t affect the original image as Lightroom is a non-destructive software. Therefore, backing up your catalog won’t mean your photos are also backed up. Make sure you move the photos to the external drive separately.
You should use an external hard drive to store your Lightroom catalog if:
A high-efficiency external drive is the best to store your Lightroom catalog for optimum performance. of Lightroom. Look for some of the top-recommended external hard drives so that your photo editing process on Lightroom is seamless and optimized.
Yes, you can use more than one catalog. It is understood that for some users, their professional process requires them to create more than one. However; we highly recommend using a single catalog as Adobe designed Lightroom’s catalog to handle a large number of images.
Also, it might be confusing to search for different photos if you are using more than one catalog. On the other hand, organizing everything in a single catalog will make your work a lot easier and quicker.
If Lightroom doesn’t recognize the catalog on your external hard drive after launching, it means that you need to navigate the catalog. Just click on the Edit tab (Windows) or Lightroom tab (Mac) and click on Preferences. Choose the General tab, and look for the option of default catalog settings. Change the default catalog to the one on your external hard drive, and you are done.
Having your catalog on an external drive makes your photo management process easier. Just make sure to use a good quality hard drive so that Lightroom’s performance isn’t harmed. We hope that our step-by-step guide on moving Lightroom's catalog safely onto your hard drive will be helpful for you.