Lightroom: Moving Photos Between Catalogs

category: Lightroom • 1 min read

The Lightroom “gurus” say, that you should only have one catalog. I have three. Regularly I need to move photos from one catalog to the other. I don’t have to redo my work such as cropping, keywords, white balance… Lightroom allows me to import photos from another catalog, with everything, except for the actual photo that stays at its original spot.

Lightroom has the built-in function of importing from another Lightroom catalog. File > Import From Catalog

Lightroom: Merge Catalog: Step 1

Lightroom: Merge Catalog: Step 1

Lightroom: Merge Catalog: Step 2

Lightroom: Merge Catalog: Step 2

And by almost magic, it will import the photos from the temp catalog into my main catalog. And now the problems start:

The problem with merging catalog is that Lightroom does NOT move the photos. So after the merging of the catalogs:

  1. I move the photos, by hand in Windows Explorer to the final destination. I know you are not supposed to do it outside of Lightroom, but it’s the fastest way by far.
  2. Delete the directory with the imported catalog in Windows Explorer
  3. Select the previously merged photos, they will show the missing flag, then just locate the actual photo for the first one and Lightroom will locate all the other photos.