Photos without Folders


Today’s Question: I have my pictures organized in one Pictures folder with many, many subfolders. I believe I may have many pictures that are not in a subfolder, just in the main Pictures folder. How can I do a sort or otherwise find pictures (in Lightroom) that are in the main folder but not in any subfolder? I want to move them into appropriate subfolders.

Tim’s Quick Answer: The key here is to browse the top-level folder, and to turn off the option to view photos that are contained in sub-folders of the current folder. By doing so, you will be able to see only the images that are in that top-level folder, not in any sub-folders.

More Detail: The first step is to navigate to the top-level folder that you want to check for photos. In many cases, however, this folder may be hidden by Lightroom, because only the actual folders being managed by Lightroom are displayed on the list of folders. So, if the parent “Pictures” folder can’t be seen on the list of folders on the left panel in the Library module, you’ll need to enable the display of that parent folder.

To display the parent folder for the subfolders being displayed in the Folders list on the left panel, start by right-clicking on one of the folders that is contained within the parent folder you want to gain access to. Then choose “Show Parent Folder” from the popup menu. Later you can hide this folder again by right-clicking on the parent folder and choosing “Hide This Parent” from the popup menu.

With the parent folder displayed you can now click on that folder in the Folders list on the left panel to view images within the folder. However, you’ll also want to make sure you aren’t seeing images contained within subfolders of the currently selected folder. To view or change that option, click on the Library menu on the menu bar and look at the “Show Photos in Subfolders” item.

If there is a checkmark next to “Show Photos in Subfolder” that indicates that you are currently viewing not only images in the currently selected folder but also in any subfolders within that folder. In this case you want this option turned off, so you don’t want there to be a checkmark next to “Show Photos in Subfolders”. You can toggle the setting by simply choosing “Show Photos in Subfolders” from the Library menu.

Once you’ve navigated to the top-level folder you want to review, and have turned off the “Show Photos in Subfolders” setting, you’ll see only photos contained within the top-level folder. You can then drag-and-drop them to other folder locations using the list of Folders on the left panel.