Today’s Question: Would syncing the parent folder (such as Pictures) within Lightroom Classic identify any photos that have not been imported and add them to the catalog?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, adding photos to the catalog is one of the key features of the “Synchronize Folder” command in Lightroom Classic. This command provides the option to add photos to the catalog that are within the folder structure you applied the command to but that aren’t currently in the catalog.
More Detail: There are a variety of reasons that not all photos that are contained within a folder on your hard drive would be included in your Lightroom Classic catalog. You may have only imported some of the photos from a given folder, you may have removed photos from the catalog without deleting them, or you may have added photos to a folder outside of Lightroom Classic.
Regardless of the reason that a folder in Lightroom Classic doesn’t match in terms of the photos actually included in the folder on your hard drive, the “Synchronize Folder” command provides a solution.
To get started, right-click on the folder you want to synchronize and choose “Synchronize Folder” from the popup menu. This command will check all subfolders within the folder you selected for synchronization, so you can apply the command to a parent folder if you want to check all subfolders within.
After selecting the “Synchronize Folder” command Lightroom Classic will analyze the folder and provide a summary with several options. If there are photos on the hard drive that aren’t in the catalog, the “Import new photos” checkbox will be enabled, with a count in parenthesis indicating how many photos were found. Turn on this checkbox if you want to add those photos to the catalog.
If there are photos in your catalog that are not contained in the folder on your hard drive, the “Remove missing photos from catalog” checkbox will be enabled, also with a count of the number of missing photos. Turn on this checkbox if you want Lightroom Classic to remove those missing photos from the catalog.
You can also turn on the “Scan for metadata updates” checkbox if you want Lightroom Classic to check for metadata that was updated directly in the photos on the hard drive without being updated in Lightroom Classic. Turning on this checkbox will update the metadata in the catalog accordingly.
After selecting the options you want to enable, click the Synchronize button and the applicable updates will be applied to your catalog.