Copying Photos with Lightroom Classic


Today’s Question: You have talked about moving files from one drive to another within Lightroom Classic. However, let’s say I installed a new drive and want to copy the files to the new one, but want to keep them on the old one as well. How do you do that in Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: In this case I would use the “Export as Catalog” command to streamline the process of copying photos while still maintaining a link to those photos in the new location.

More Detail: The “Export as Catalog” command in Lightroom Classic enables you to export copies of your photos while creating a new catalog for those photos at the same time. In this case the creation of a new catalog probably isn’t necessary, but it does help ensure that the photos are referenced in the correct location without losing any of the information about your photos.

To get started, open Lightroom Classic and make sure the new drive you want to copy the photos to is connected and available. Then select the “All Photographs” collection in the Catalog section of the left panel in the Library module. From the menu choose Edit > Select None to make sure that no photos are selected. This will ensure you don’t accidentally export only part of the photos.

You can then choose File > Export as Catalog from the menu. Navigate to the location where you want to copy the photos, and specify a name for the overall library of photos, such as “My Photos”. Click the Export button and Lightroom Classic will export copies of all photos with the same folder structure as they were contained in on the source drive, with a new catalog created within that folder as well.

You can then launch the catalog from the new location by double-clicking on the file with the “.lrcat” filename extension. If you prefer you can also move the folder containing the catalog that was created as part of this export process to a different location, such as to your internal hard drive.