Most photographers are familiar with Lightroom, the editing software included in the Adobe suite. Even though some amateur and professional photographers prefer to use the editing features offered by Luminar and its artificial intelligence or even the functionalities of Capture One, Lightroom Classic remains one of the most-used softwares in the photography world.
Many of us choose Lightroom to retouch our pictures and to catalog them.
But what are the best tools to organize your photos in Lightroom?
And what are the drawbacks of cataloging in Lightroom?
After introducing cataloging in Lightroom, we’ll talk about a new photo management software that will take your cataloging to the next level. It will be an excellent companion to Lightroom and will allow you to have a totally new point of view on your pictures.
We’ll tell you more about it at the end of this article.
Table of contents
What is a Lightroom catalog?
Un catalogue est comme une base de données pour vos photos. Il est représenté sous la forme d’un fichier informatique et contient des images ainsi que des informations clés sur les photos que vous avez importées dans Lightroom.
Dans un catalogue, vous trouverez 3 catégories d’informations :
- les métadonnées liées à la prise de vue de la photo et au fichier brut (EXIF).
- les métadonnées ajoutées par vous, l’utilisateur (drapeaux, notes, annotations IPTC, mots-clés, visages).
- les ajustements (retouches)
En plus des catalogues, il est également possible de créer des collections d’images (par exemple, la sélection des meilleures images que vous souhaitez imprimer/partager).
Ces collections peuvent être créées manuellement (glisser-déposer des images vers la collection) ou dynamiquement (définir la collection avec des règles – par exemple, les images ayant une note supérieure à 4 étoiles).
Nous verrons plus loin dans cet article comment utiliser ces outils de manière plus détaillée.
Why catalog your photos?
Whether an amateur or a professional, we accumulate thousands of images as photographers, not only for professional projects, but also more personal images such as family pictures, memories of a trip, a wedding, a trip with friends…
Cataloging photos allows us to classify and organize our images, which, in turn,allows us to find a specific image more easily.
To structure a catalog, we will first have to build a database by adding certain information to our images. A date, a theme, a project, a subject, a place…this is the type of classic information that usually appears in photographic catalogs.
The cataloging tools in Lightroom
In Lightroom, there are 2 families of tools for cataloging. The first family allows us to organize the structure of our catalog and the second to annotate our images.
These tools can be used in many different ways, depending on the user’s preferences. There is no right or wrong way to catalog. The goal is to be able to use these cataloging tools according to your needs so that they best fit your workflow.
The stars allow you to rate your images on a scale of 0 to 5. Generally, this rating is attributed to the beauty of your photo. If you find it perfect in its composition, its quality, its colors or its subject, you will give it 5 stars.
On the contrary, if you don’t like the photo but you wish to keep it for X reason, you will give it only 1 star. This allows you to filter your images according to their rating.
In Lightroom, you have a choice of 5 color labels: red, yellow, blue, green and purple. These labels can be used to group images and can be used independently or can be associated with the star ratings. For example, you can associate a yellow label with all your animal photos, green with all your portrait photos or blue to your images with 5 stars.
Additionally, you use additional color labels if you need to annotate more groups of images.
Organization of the structure
The most used organizational structures for folders
To have a clean structure in Lightroom and to be able to easily make backups of your photos, it is important that your folders and subfolders on your disk are well organized. Importing your photos to your hard drive before you import them into Lightroom will allow Lightroom to reflect your structure when it imports. Ideally, as we have mentioned above, you should have all your photos in one folder made up of structured subfolders.
There are many ways to classify your photos; it is up to you to find the one that best suits your needs. Here are some examples of classification:
By year, by project, by photographic style, by trip, by theme…
These examples can also be combined together. As long as your structure is ergonomic and adapted to your workflow, anything is possible.
Is multi-cataloging a good practice?
Most photographers use a single catalog in order to have all their photos gathered in the same place because Lightroom does not allow searching between catalogs. Others prefer to separate their professional and personal photos. Some photographers prefer to use one catalog per project to avoid slowing down their Lightroom software when working with it.
I personally use a catalog on an external disk to facilitate backups and to be able to drag all the photos that make up the catalog. I am one of those who have several catalogs.
The problem with Lightroom is that I cannot search in several catalogs at the same time, and having all my photos in a single catalog can slow down the software: the navigation across the photos becomes more difficult. Fortunately, there is now a way to solve this problem and allow the creation of multiple catalogs: Peakto.
Peakto: The grail for better cataloging your photos?
Save precious time
You don’t have time to classify or tag your images? With the Artificial Intelligence-assisted annotation feature, Peakto allows you to classify your photos automatically. Working with image recognition, this solution is ideal for those who don’t have time to annotate their photos.
Thanks to its artificial intelligence, Peakto will do the work for you. And for those of you who already have well-organized catalogs, this feature will allow you to complete work done before introducing Peakto or to perform advanced searches and displays by camera, lens, shutter speed, theme, colorimetry, and many other ways…
A breathtaking browsing experience
Finding your photos when you’re looking for them is great. Having discovery and exploration tools for all the ones you forgot about is even better.
Peakto includes a new display feature: Panorama. Panorama will give you access to a variety of completely innovative viewpoints on your images: by photographic theme, by color harmony, by the number of people present, by their aesthetic qualities or their flaws… Here again, it’s the artificial intelligence that sorts out the photos for you. Panorama’s highly optimized navigation makes sorting through massive numbers of photos a breeze.
Your classification work is totally preserved
Use Lightroom catalogs as you wish
Take advantage of the best features of each software
Thanks to its high compatibility with many softwares such as Lightroom, Luminar, Capture One, Aperture, iViewMedia, Apple Photos, Google Photos, and even with your files on your disk, you can finally use the editing software that suits you best.
Gathering all your catalogs in Peakto will not interfere with any of the work you have done previously. In fact, Peakto will only read and collect the information and present it to you in a single interface, without modifying anything.
All your retouching under one roof
No more constraints with your images
Always in sync with your organization
Enjoy your photos–even offline
Finding your way through your photos
With the massive number of images we take and the many softwares we use to edit them, it is not easy to find your way around. By being organized, you can use Lightroom’s cataloging options. To go further and manage large collections of photos, it is better to use a companion tool like Peakto. It offers a centralized search, an elegant view of all the photos and an automatic classification thanks to artificial intelligence that allows you to organize without annotations.
A welcome help in our search for elusive or long-lost photo files, you will find that Peakto makes your life as a photographer easier, simpler, and far less stressful!