Moving Photos in Lightroom


Today’s Question: I have my photos stored on my computer’s hard drive, My computer is giving me nasty warning signs that I am running out of space. I need to move the photos from the computer to an external hard drive, and I need to do it from within Lightroom, as you impressed upon us. You told us to create a new folder for the external hard drive and drag the photos into it, but I’m having difficulty setting that up. The external hard drive is not showing up in Lightroom. Could you review the process for me? I would appreciate your help with this.

Tim’s Quick Answer: The “trick” here is to create a new folder on the new hard drive from within Lightroom. Doing so will cause that new folder (and thus the new hard drive) to appear in the Folders list in the Library module in Lightroom, even though Lightroom is not yet managing any photos on that new hard drive.

More Detail: To create the new folder, first make sure the new hard drive is connected to your computer and otherwise ready for you to copy photos too. Then, in the Library module in Lightroom, click the “plus” symbol to the right of the Folders list on the left panel. From the popup menu that appears choose “Add Folder”.

In the dialog that appears, navigate to the new hard drive, and click the “New Folder” button. Type a name for that folder (such as “PHOTOS”), and press Enter/Return on the keyboard to create the actual folder. Then click the “Choose” button to confirm the new folder and close the dialog.

At this point the new folder (and thus the new hard drive) will appear on the list under Folders on the left panel in the Library module. You can then drag-and-drop folders from the original location to the new location. You can even select multiple folders from the list by clicking the first folder you want to select and then holding the Shift key while clicking the last folder you want to select.

I should hasten to add that it is important to make sure you have a good backup copy of all of your photos before performing this task, just in case anything goes wrong in the process.

More details about this process (and more tasks for cleaning up your Lightroom catalog) can be found in my video training course “Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom”, which is available in the GreyLearning video training library (