Maintaining Folder Structure

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Today’s Question: I currently use Camera Raw for editing (same options as Lightroom), but I would like to use Lightroom, IF I can find a way not to give up my current file organization in my folders.  Is this possible?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes! With Adobe Lightroom Classic CC you can import (and maintain) your existing folder structure, and continue using the same folder strategy moving forward. With the new cloud-based Lightroom CC, however, your photos are organized with a date-based folder structure.

More Detail: One of the most common areas of confusion related to Lightroom Classic CC relates to your existing storage structure and strategy. When you import existing photos into Lightroom, you can simply add those images to the catalog without moving or copying them to a different location. Your existing folder structure for those photos would therefore be reflected in the Folders list on the left panel in Lightroom’s Library module.

When you import new captures from a media card or camera, you can specify the folder structure you want to use. In other words, you can continue using the same approach you’ve already been using for your folder structure.

The only thing to keep in mind in this context is that once you start using Lightroom, it is important to initiate all tasks within Lightroom. So if you wanted to rename or move folders (or photos), that should be done within Lightroom, not from the operating system. The changes you make to your folder structure within Lightroom will be reflected in your operating system as well.

As noted above, the new Lightroom CC (which focuses on cloud-based synchronization of all of your photos) does not maintain your existing folder structure. Instead, it uses a date-based folder system. Therefore, for photographers who want to manage their own folder structure locally, Lightroom Classic CC (rather than the new Lightroom CC) would be the better choice.