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Mastering Lightroom in 7 days – Day 01 – Catalog

As everyone who frequents this blog must have noticed how much I like Adobe Lightroom, it was the first program I used to develop my photos, so I decided to put a series of articles that will help you to Mastering Adobe Lightroom in 7 days.

And it’s not just because it was the first DAM I used, but because it’s an efficient solution in all stages of my work. And I know that for many people it can be scary, a lot of screens, tabs and options can leave you paralized in front of the screen.

With this in mind I will write this blog post where I will try to pass as much knowledge about Lightroom in a few posts, without overwhelming you with things that will not make a difference in your life, don’t worry you will learn them by yourself with time.

Of course, I would like it to be just one post, but for sure you would be bored reading it all at once. So if you have a little patience jump on, because you are about to master Adobe Lightroom in 7 days.

Dominando o Adobe Lightroom em 7 dias [ Dia 01 - Catálogo ]

Mastering Adobe Lightroom in 7 days [Day 01 – Catalog]

The Lightroom Catalog

As soon as you install Lightroom, it will create a catalog (or ask you to find an existing one.)

This may seem confusing, after all it is not one of those 90’s catalogs for buying trinkets and perfumes that still exist today.

The Lightroom catalog is the place where Lightroom will store links to your photos, previews of your photos and all the information in development of the photo.  It is just a collection of information about your photos, which can be changed at any time, it’s a beautiful database.

Dominando o Adobe Lightroom em 7 dias [ Dia 01 - Catálogo ]

But Rix, where are my photos kept?

Your photos are NOT stored in the catalog. Your photos are stored on your hard drive, in the folder where you place them. Any editing on your photos is not done directly on them, but on the information in the database / catalog.

This way we have a non-destructive editing, your photos are quiet there in the folder where you put them. Your catalog can be stored anywhere on your computer or even on an external drive, just like your main pictures folder.

If you store it on an external drive, that drive will need to be connected when you want to use Lightroom. But if you build a high quality preview in Lightroom on can get away with basic edits without having to have your external hard drive hooked to your station.

How many catalogs can I have on Lightroom?

You can have as many catalogs as you want, without any problem. I’ve been using Lightroom since version 4, today it’s at 9.4, and I’ve been using the same catalog for years.

I just update Lightroom and choose my catalog and he already knows where all my photos are and what edits I’ve already made. If you intend to use only Lightroom to organize, tag, edit and export your photos, I advise you to use only one catalog, maybe two.

The Lightroom catalog usually works very well even if you import a large number of photos into it. For the more workaholic, people with tens of thousands of photos, I recommend having more than one catalog, because Lightroom will work much faster and be more reliable this way.

If you want you can also have a catalog for each project you are working on.

To do this, just go to File> New catalog.

Dominando o Adobe Lightroom em 7 dias [ Dia 01 - Catálogo ]

Lightroom catalogs do not discriminate whether you use MAC or Windows, so if you migrate from a system you can use the catalog you used on the previous system. Of course, for everything to work perfectly you also need to move the photos to the new computer.

Dominando o Adobe Lightroom em 7 dias [ Dia 01 - Catálogo ]

Secrets of the Lightroom Catalog

Optimize Lightroom catalog

To keep your catalog running smoothly, you need to optimize it from time to time .

It’s easy to do. Just go to File> Optimize Catalog. To keep Lightroom flying, do it every quarter and you are good to go.

Dominando o Adobe Lightroom em 7 dias [ Dia 01 - Catálogo ]

Backing up your catalog

Lightroom offers options for backing up your catalog. I suggest that you backup your catalog regularly.

And to make sure, make this backup in a different drive from the one where your catalog is stored.

It is interesting that your backups are always on a large drive, as the backup file can be large, very large depending on the size of your catalog.

Dominando o Adobe Lightroom em 7 dias [ Dia 01 - Catálogo ]

You can configure how often your backup will be, I usually leave the means to be done all week. To find your backups, see the backup reminder screen that appears when you close Lightroom.

Listed, there will be the location where your backups are stored. Follow that directory and delete any previous backups.

Last two tips

Make sure that you have the “Automatically save changes to XMP” box checked in the catalog settings. This ensures that any changes made to your photos are automatically saved.

To check this, go to Edit> Catalog settings. Choose the “Metadata” tab and you’ll find the checkbox about halfway down.

One thing that will improve the performance of Lightroom, which is something that many users complain about, is adjusting the cache size. To make this easy, just go to the catalog preferences and adjust the cache size of Camera Raw, I use a very large adjustment since my HDD has space. This ensures that Lightroom has enough space to work.

Dominando o Adobe Lightroom em 7 dias [ Dia 01 - Catálogo ]

For the first day this is enough.

Be sure to see the other posts, links below, and in 7 days you will be completely dominating Lightroom.

Leave your questions and comments below! Or on Twitter!

And if you started with this post be sure to see the others:

Mastering Lightroom in 7 days

Mastering Lightroom in 7 days – Day 01 – Catalog

Mastering Lightroom in 7 days – Day 02 – Import

Mastering Lightroom in 7 days – Day 03 – Library module

Mastering Lightroom in 7 days – Day 04 – Development module

Mastering Lightroom in 7 days – Day 05 – Editing your photos

Mastering Lightroom in 7 days – Day 06 – Presets and Colors

Mastering Lightroom in 7 days – Day 07 Export or Print

Written by Rix Mascarenhas

Rix Mascarenhas is a photographer, videographer, and drone pilot at

Art lover, always involved with crafts, design, painting etc... As a photographer, I enjoy taking pictures and creating stories that have meaning and help people to thrive. My work is guided by the stories behind each scene that really represent the moment.


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