Hello everyone. Today is number 2 of 10 Things All New Lightroom Users Should Know. I’m so excited you are here!
As promised, from last weeks first installment, I’m answering one of the most often asked questions from new Lightroom users.
Let’s get started…
And the Number 1 Question is…
How many Catalogs should I have?
Short answer… as many as you want!
But do you need more than one?
Let’s find out why or why not…
In this post, you’ll receive some insights to consider. Keep in mind, as you work with Lightroom more, your initial choice may change in the future. Which is o.k.
Catalogs are your gateway to organizing your digital assets. The number of Catalogs you have is personal.
What’s the Answer?
How many Catalogs you have depends on your workflow. Don’t worry though, if you don’t have a specific workflow at this time. In that case, I’d recommend keeping it simple for now and use just one Catalog.
As your digital library grows and/or your business grows, you may need to create more than one Catalog. One reason you may wish to have more than one is to create a Catalog for each type of photography.
For example, I have a different Catalog for Portrait sessions and another for Wedding events. I break it down even further, by creating a Catalog for each year. For my workflow, I prefer to concentrate on the current year sessions and don’t really need prior years in my Catalog.
This keeps the number of images, in my Lightroom Catalog, at a reasonable size. During a particular wedding season, I could have 40-60,000 photos. Multiply that by the last 12 years, and I’d have more images than Lightroom could handle.
There is a limit to how many images you can have in a Catalog. I’d say, your okay with around 150-200,000 images. Maybe less. Part of the limitation is due to your own computer specs.
If you have the minimum amount of RAM and a slow processor, then Lightroom will get bogged down. On the other hand, if you’ve maxed out your RAM and have the latest and greatest computer, then Lightroom will be able to handle more photos.
The downside to having more than one Catalog is when you want to filter or search for specific photos.
Since you can only have one Catalog open at a time, your searches are limited to that Catalog. In my case, if I want to find photos in previous years, I need to open that particular year to find the images I need.
Although, I do have a Master Catalog that includes all previous years. It’s just a tad slower to use vs. an individual Catalog.
If you’re starting out with Lightroom, I’d recommend keeping it simple and sticking with oneCatalog. And it will make things easier as you begin to learn more about Lightroom. As you approach 100,000 or more images, you may want to consider creating another Catalog.
If you do and then decide you should have stuck with one, that’s o.k. Multiple Catalogs can be merged into 1!
So, if your tempted to have more than one Catalog from the get-go, that’s o.k. too. As you can see, there is no right or wrong answer.
Then again, if you’re brand new to Lightroom, it may be best to keep things simple for now.