Exporting a catalog in Lightroom 5

If you are like me and import everything into Lightroom you will see your catalog start to get big really fast. It might start to be hard to find what you want with many folders that you aren’t actively editing and after awhile it’s usually a good idea to perform a little cleanup. If you want to export a folder or collection of images as a brand new catalog this can easily be done to help you keep organized. This is also great if you have a portfolio catalog that you are going to show someone and don’t want them to see all of your other folders.

Today i’ll walk through the process of exporting a folder of images into a brand new catalog in Lightroom 5. I’ll be using a folder as an example here but the same process can be done for collections as well. First right click (or Control-click Mac) on the folder you would like to export and select the Export this folder as a catalog.

export catalog lightroom

Now you will see a few options. First create a name for the catalog and choose what folder you would like this catalog saved in. This will create a folder with this catalog name and inside contain the actual catalog file as well as the original image files. Next, click the option to export the negative files if you want to copy the files. This will copy over the original image files into this new folder, if you want to keep the photos in their original folder location that’s fine the new catalog will just point to the original folder location. I do suggest clicking the last 2 options to include the smart previews and include available previews.

export catalog lightroom1

Once you click export this may take some time to run depending on if you are copying over the files and the size of the folder. Once it’s done you will now see a new folder that contains the new catalog and if you copied over the image files will also have a subfolder with the original images.

export catalog lightroom 2

Click on the new catalog file to launch this new catalog and you will see a nice clean version of Lightroom with just the folders from this export. Now if you want to remove the folder from the original catalog just launch that catalog again and right click on the folder. You will see a Remove option here. Select that and click remove. This will only remove the folder from the collection in Lightroom but won’t do anything to remove the original images from your computer.

Pretty easy right! I hope this was helpful, remember if you ever have a question on Ligthroom just let me know in the comments below :)

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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