Today’s Question: Can multiple Lightroom Classic catalogs be merged into one?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you absolutely can merge multiple Lightroom Classic catalogs into a single “master” catalog, primarily through the use of the “Import from Another Catalog” command.
More Detail: Many photographers have created more than one Lightroom Classic catalog, for a wide variety of reasons. In general I recommend working with a single “master” catalog in Lightroom that manages your entire library of photos.
If you have already created multiple catalogs you can most certainly merge those catalogs into one. The key is the “Import from Another Catalog” command.
Of course, first you’ll want to be as organized as possible. That means taking an inventory of the catalogs you already have. You’ll also want to make sure all of those catalogs are as “clean” as possible, ideally with no missing folders or photos.
You can then identify one of your catalogs to be the “master” catalog. After opening that catalog you can go to the menu in Lightroom Classic and choose File > Import from Another Catalog. This command enables you to identify an additional catalog that you would like to merge with the master catalog. In effect you are importing the photos and the metadata updates for those photos from a separate catalog into your master catalog.
Once you have gone through this process for all of the “extra” catalogs, you will have a single master catalog that contains all of your photos. At that point you can move all of the “extra” catalogs to a separate location to preserve as temporary backup copies that can eventually be deleted altogether.
Note that I will publish an article with extensive details on the process involved for merging multiple catalogs into a single master catalog, in the upcoming (and overdue) issue of Pixology magazine. Stay tuned for more details!