Kenny McKeithan Photography | New Year Lightroom Cleanup for 2016

New Year Lightroom Cleanup for 2016

January 05, 2016  •  1 Comment

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 With the start of the New Year you may want to take a few minutes and do some cleanup in Lightroom to get started on the right foot. Here are three things you can do.

  • Update your copyright information
  • Clean out empty folders
  • Delete old backups

Here’s how to go about each one;

Update your copyright Information

     Once you have a Metadata Preset created and are applying it automatically to all of your imported images it’s easy to just forget about it and let it run. If however, you use the date as part of that preset i.e. ©Kenny McKeithan 2015, it will need to be updated annually. From the Lightroom Library Module click on the Metadata menu at the top and then Edit Metadata Presets. From the Preset dropdown list at the top select your current preset by name. Scroll down to the Copyright field containing the date and change it. Go back to the dropdown list at the top and click the preset name then select Update Preset. Click Done at the bottom and that’s it. You Preset is updated for another year.

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     If you are just finding out about this great little tool and you have no Metadata Preset now is a great time to set one up. It’s easy. Click on the Metadata Menu as before then Edit Metadata Presets. Fill out the applicable information that applies to you. We need only worry about IPTC Copyright and IPTC Creator information. Fill out as much information as you are comfortable with. For instance I don’t put my street address and I use my cell phone number only. To get the copyright symbol on a PC hold the ALT key and type 0169 on the number pad (note that this only works on a keyboard with a separate number pad. The number keys across the top won’t work.) and on a MAC hold the OPT key and type G. For Rights Usage Terms I’ll use the statement “No use without prior written consent. All rights reserved.” Go back to the top and click on the dropdown list then Save Current Settings as New Preset and give that Preset a name. I use something simple like “My Copyright” or “© Kenny McKeithan” it doesn’t have to be elaborate. Now, and this is the important part, Lightroom will only apply that preset to your imports if you tell it to do so. Next time you are importing  images in the Import Window on the right under Apply During Import find the Metadata dropdown list and select your new preset. Import your images as you normally would.  From this point on Lightroom will automatically apply this information to your images.

Clean out empty folders

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    As we go about using Lightroom in our daily workflow it is sometimes necessary to move images from on folder to another. There’s nothing at all wrong with this as long as you are doing that moving from within the Lightroom environment (not in Windows Explorer or MAC Finder). On occasion you may find that you have moved all of the images from their original folder to a new location leaving the empty folder in its original location. Lightroom will not remove this folder on its own so it’s up to you to remove it. In the Library Module look on the left under Folders. Any empty folders will show up as grayed out and will show an image count of 0. It’s perfectly OK to remove these folders from the list. Just Right-click the folder name then click on Remove. That’s it, all gone.

Delete old backups

     Hopefully you are religiously backing up your Lightroom Catalog data every time Lightroom prompts you to do so, once a week by default but there are other options. When you backup Lightroom it creates a new and complete backup file but it doesn’t remove the old file. After a while they can start to accumulate and take up a significant portion of your storage space. This is especially troubling on a system with a single hard drive such as a laptop. Deleting these old backup files can free up a lot of otherwise wasted space.

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     Deleting these files isn’t difficult at all but finding and identifying them can be a little tricky. By default Lightroom places it’s catalog files in a folder titled Lightroom in the Pictures folder (Pictures or My Pictures whatever your system calls it) and the Backups are in that Lightroom folder. So, navigate to Pictures>Lightroom>Backups and the old backup files should be listed there. If you have moved your catalog from the default location or you created a new catalog in an other than default location then you will have to navigate to that location to see the back-ups. If you are in doubt as to where your back-ups are located take a look at the small dialog box that opens up when Lightroom asks if you’d like to back-up. The location of the back-up files is listed there.

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     The date and time the backup was performed is written into the filename for each backup. On my system a file name of 2015-12-27 1806 means that a backup was performed on December 27, 2015 at 6:05 in the evening (1806 being military or 24hr time for 6:06). Be absolutely certain you understand how your system is naming the backup files before you delete anything.

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     It is only necessary to keep the most recent backup file however I will usually keep the last two just to be safe. Select the ones you don’t need and right click and delete or drag them directly to the Recycle Bin/Trashcan. If you backup weekly (some folks backup even more often) then it doesn’t hurt to do this every couple of months or so.

     There you go. Three simple Lightroom clean-ups that will get you New Year off to a good start.




Jeffrey A Eichinger(non-registered)
Thanks for doing this Kenny. I knew about these steps, but didn't do them very often. Great reminder and great training if it's new.
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