Today’s Question: Every time I move a file in Lightroom I get a warning that this move cannot be undone, and nor any changes made previously. What are the ramifications of this? Sounds ominous and I hesitate each time. Would I be better off moving each photo with its sidecar using Finder [in the operating system] and re-importing to the other folder?
Tim’s Quick Answer: The warning message about moving photos within Lightroom is a bit ominous sounding, but it should be thought of only as a reminder and not as an ominous warning. My biggest hesitation about moving photos relates to the (perhaps slightly irrational) fear that something will go wrong during that process. But as long as I have a good backup of my existing photos, I’m perfectly comfortable using the option to move images directly within Lightroom.
More Detail: Of course, it is reasonable that you should hesitate when Lightroom indicates that you’re not unable to simply undo the move operation. After all, you can certainly make a mess of things in your Lightroom catalog if you move photos to the wrong location by mistake. However, it is worth keeping in mind that if you do move photos to the wrong location, while you can’t simply undo that step, you can move the photos again to the correct location.
Note, also, that you do have the option to disable this warning about moving your photos. To disable the warning, simply turn on the “Don’t show again” checkbox in the confirmation dialog when you initiate a move operation.
However, I strongly recommend that you do not disable the warning about moving photos. While the warning sounds much more ominous than I consider necessary, the dialog is a good reminder to stop and make sure you’ve dragged the correct images to the correct folder. If you have any doubts at all, click the Cancel button and start over with the move operation.
While the confirmation dialog may sound scary, in my mind it isn’t nearly as scary as the prospect of moving photos outside of Lightroom and then trying to reconnect the missing photos in your Lightroom catalog that will result. So, make sure you have a good backup, and move photos within Lightroom anytime you need to do so.