Today’s Question: If I accidentally moved some photos on the hard drive outside of Lightroom Classic, if I just move them back will Lightroom find them again?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, if you accidentally move photos outside of Lightroom Classic so they appear missing within the catalog, as long as the photos are put back in the same folder and those photos retain the same filenames, Lightroom Classic will no longer show those photos as missing.
More Detail: Lightroom Classic manages photos through the use of a catalog, which keeps track of the filename and folder location of each photo. If you make changes to the filenames or folder structure for your photos, those photos will show as missing within Lightroom Classic.
In Lightroom Classic when a photo is missing it simply means that the photo can’t be found in the expected folder location with the expected filename. This could be a simple matter of an external hard drive being disconnected from the computer, for example. Of course, if you move (or rename) photos or folders outside of Lightroom Classic, that will cause confusion within the catalog with photos appearing as missing.
In this situation, you can indeed simply move the photos back to where Lightroom Classic is expecting them. As soon as the photos are back in the correct folder with the correct filenames, the photos will no longer appear as missing within the Lightroom Classic catalog.
It is also possible to simply reconnect missing folders or photos within Lightroom Classic. But if you know you’ve moved photos outside of Lightroom Classic, you can just move them back to where they belong, and make sure to remember that when you want to move or rename photos or folders that should always be done from within Lightroom Classic.