Lightroom (LR) is a combination of Camera Raw and a Photo Database. That means two things; you have the same retouching/editing tools as Camera Raw, but you also have a program that keeps track of your photos. Because the program keeps track of your photos you have to move, rename, and delete photos using LR. Working on the photos outside of LR will cause LR to lose your photos and that is when you will see the exclamation point!


There is no more crucial time in LR than when you are importing photos. This is where almost 1/3 of digital photo students lose track of their photos. You must choose your external drive as your destination and you must take your most recent version of the Library home with you so that you can bring it back to class.

LR Basics for the Classroom:


  • Only create one catalog for the whole semester
    • Call it LastName_LRCatalog (dalton_LRCatalog) or something like this and this will create your folder and your catalog
  • Create a second folder (not inside of you catalog folder) and call it LastName_LRPhotos
    • This folder will have all of your class photos in sub folders for each assignment
  • These two folders are the only two folders you need for class
    • The LRPhotos folder will remain on your external drive
    • The LRCatalog folder is the folder that you will drag to your desktop at the beginning of class and then at the end of class, you will copy this folder back on to your hard drive to replace the old one

Your external hard drive should look something like this:

When you import - Check your destination twice: