Managing Stills and Videos

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Today’s Question: For a few years now I’ve kept separate video and photo catalogs. However, I’ve discovered I like having the stills and videos in the same location. Is there any downside, besides storage space, to merging the two catalogs, keeping both stills and videos in the same catalog?

Tim’s Quick Answer: From my perspective it is generally advantageous to have all of your captures, whether still or video, managed in a single Lightroom catalog. To me the only other consideration would be whether certain captures don’t belong in Lightroom at all. But if you want to manage captures with Lightroom, my feeling is that all of those captures should be in a single Lightroom catalog.

More Detail: With very few exceptions, I recommend having all of your photo (and video) captures managed within a single Lightroom catalog. Put simply, if you want to manage any photos or videos in Lightroom, you should employ a single catalog for that purpose.

There are situations where you might not want to manage some captures within your Lightroom catalog. For example, the videos I capture for the express purpose of creating video training content for GreyLearning (https://www.greylearning.com) really don’t provide any advantage by being in my Lightroom catalog. I don’t need to manage those captures in the same way I need to manage my “normal” photos and videos.

As a result, for videos that are only intended to be produced into GreyLearning content, I will manage the content outside of my Lightroom catalog. But for any captures that I want to manage within Lightroom, I want to have in a single catalog.

By having all captures in a single catalog (rather than multiple catalogs) you can more easily locate specific content. You can always filter by media type (still versus video for example) or other criteria. But you don’t need to figure out which catalog to open in order to find specific captures.

For a typical photographer, in my mind there aren’t any reasons to employ more than one catalog. With very early versions of Lightroom it was problematic to manage a large number of captures in a single catalog. That is no longer the case, and performance is virtually identical with one large catalog versus multiple smaller catalogs. Furthermore, to me the advantages of using a single catalog far outweigh any potential disadvantages.