Managing Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Catalogs

So, I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for importing and editing my photographs. Great program, but in the past couple of days, I’ve noticed that my primary hard drive has been getting quite full and I didn’t know why. After doing some investigation, I realized that the Lightroom catalog files were taking up a big chunk of my HD space (using a great, free program called WinDirStat, I found out it was in the order of tens of gigabytes).

So, I came up with two solutions for this, the first less involved and second more involved (and requiring a second Hard Drive).

Solution #1: Optimize your Lightroom Catalogs

This is about as easy as it can get and, for me, provided surprisingly satisfying results. I had 20 GB magically re-appear with this move. That’s pretty substantial, in my book.

1. After launching Lightroom, select “edit” from the drop-down menu, and “preferences” from that menu (alternatively, just hit the Ctrl key and the comma [ , ] key at the same time). You should see a box like this:


2. Click the “Go to Catalogue Settings” button down at the bottom of the box and you’ll be presented with the following box:


3. Now, choose the “Relaunch and Optimize” button at the bottom of the box. Lightroom will quit, re-launch and optimize (surprising, I know) your catalogue files. Ta-daa! You should have more space on your HD now (like I mentioned above, I got about 20 GB “back”).

Solution #2: Move your catalog files

So while the previous solution is quick and dirty, I see it as more of a temporary fix. As you continue to use Lightroom, your catalogue will continue to grow. After optimizing the catalogue it’s still 4.2 GB and the fifth-largest collection of files on my HD. Again I know this because I just ran WinDirStat. Here’s the screen-shot:


So why not get it off my primary HD all together?

Right now, I back-up my Lightroom Catalogue to my secondary HD. What I decided to do was switch the two: move the back-up to my primary drive (in my case my C drive) and move the Lightroom catalogue to my secondary drive (which is the Z drive in my case). In the move, I’ll initially net about 3 GB of space (as my Lightroom back-up is 1 GB), but I’ll have also off-loaded the larger of the two catalogues and hopefully given my C drive some more breathing room.

So how to do this? A quick google doesn’t really give step-by step instructions, so I thought I would provide that here.

1. You need to find out where your Lightroom catalogues are located. The location changes depending if you’re using Windows XP or Vista, so the easiest way to locate your catalogue is to follow the first two steps above. As you can see, in the catalogue settings box, Lightroom shows the path to your catalogue.


In my case, as you can see above, my Lightroom catalogue files are located at “C:\Users\Gavan\Pictures\Lightroom” Just clicking on the “show” button opens up the location of the file folder. Easy-peasy.

2. Now you move (rather than copy) the entire folder to you secondary drive. I’m just dropping these into a folder right in the root of my Z drive. So the path would be “Z:\Lightroom” when everything is said and done.


I have Vista, so I have to prepare for a long wait. 2 hours!?! Sigh.

3. Once the move is complete, open Lightroom. It will ask you where the catalogue went.

Incidentally, at any time you can also hold down the Ctrl key when you launch Lightroom to switch locations of your catalogue:


Don’t create a new catalogue, but direct it to the new location of the catalogue (the location of the “Lightroom Catalog.lrcat” file). Make sure that the “Always load this catalog on startup” check box is selected:


And you should be off to the races! Now, all that we have left is to back-up the catalogue to the C drive. Here’s how:

Moving your back-up catalog

1. You’re going to have to force Lightroom to backup the catalogue. In order to do so, follow steps 1 & 2 from solution #1 above. You’ll be in the Catalog Settings menu. From the backup drop down list, you need to select “Next time Lightroom starts only” to force the back-up:nexttime
The important thing to note here is that once you’ve moved the catalogue, you’ll need to go back to the Catalog Settings and choose your old back-up frequency (mine was once a week).

2. Close and re-launch Lightroom. You’ll be confronted with:


Point the back-up directory to your main HD (by clicking on the choose button). I chose to put the new backup folder in the same folder as my old Lightroom Catalogue (“C:\Users\Gavan\Pictures\Lightroom”) (If it’s confusing, just imagine you’re mirroring or flipping the directories from each HD):


3. Select the Backup button, wait for Lightroom to do its thing and then, the move should be complete! All that is left is to check that the back-up did, in fact occur and then delete the “Backup” directory from the Z drive. Note: Do not delete the “Backups” directory, this is part of the main Lightroom Catalogue that you moved.

And after re-instituting the original back-up schedule like I suggested above, you’re done! Launch Lightroom and make sure everything is hunky-dory before emptying the recycling bin, though.

Running WinDirStat again shows the difference the move made:

N.B.: I’m Canadian, so I spell “Lightroom Catalog” as “Lightroom Catalogue”

Searching for Nikon Manuals

I’m picking up a second-hand SB-600 Speedlight from Jack this afternoon that’s missing the original manual. Nikon doesn’t make it that easy to get the manual and searching google for SB 600 Manual leads to a whole bunch of dead links. Here’s how I separated the wheat from the chaff:

On the Google homepage, select “advanced search” (just to the right of the search bar). You’ll get a page that resembles this:


Make sure that you select to only return PDF files in the search results (I’ve highlighted it above) and with “SB600 manual” entered as your search terms, you’re golden. This should work with any Nikon product, too. Keep in mind you might not want the first choice (especially if it is a Nikon-hosted file) as they’re often restricted right PDFs that don’t allow you to print.

Extending Flickr – the Greasemonkey Scripts

So, I’m a big fan and enthusiastic user of Flickr. Its helped me get about 15.3x the enjoyment out of taking photographs then I had prior to becoming a member. And while the site is pretty intuitive and easy to use, I’ve found some extra tools that help make Flickring easier, and that are easy for anyone to install and use.

For my first battery of tools require that you have Mozilla’s Firefox browser and the Greasemonkey extension for Firefox installed. Once Greasemonkey is installed, simply follow the links below to the Userscript website and click the install button in the upper right-hand corner (with the exception of the Buddy Icon Reply).

Greasemonkey Userscripts

Flickr Refer Comment

Refer Comment
This script will automatically add the appropriate HTML in the bottom of a comment you’re making so that other reader will know how you found / where you saw their photo. Link

Buddy Icon Reply

buddy icon reply

Add the personalized touch of replying to a photo commenter by name or by icon. By clicking on either name or icon reply, the script adds the appropriate HTML into your comment box so. Link

Flickr EXIF Decorator


A favourite script of mine. When you hover over a photograph, a translucent box appears with some of the more pertinent technical data about the photograph you’re looking at. A great way to learn what others have done to get a particular look. Link

Multi-group sender

multi-group sender

Again, a very useful script. It was a repetitive & huge waste of time to add photos to groups. With this script, its a matter of selecting all the groups at once (with the assistance of the CTRL key) and sending the photo on its way. Link

How interesting?

How interesting?

In a pretty straight-forward manner, this script will let you know how, relative to your other photographs, interesting a particular photo is. Link

Reset Flickr comments

Reset Comments

This script solves a particular peeve of mine: the persistence of the “new” icon beside comments when, in fact, there are no new comments. In the past, I would have to close the browser to “reset” the new icon. Now, with this script installed, when you hover over the “new” button, a “reset” icon appears. Click on it and your comments are re-set. No need to close and open the browser. Link

Internet Security Shitfit: WMF Exploit “worst infection in history”

Seems like all the geeks on the web are up in arms over a possible security exploit in Windows Media Files:

There is a new danger floating around the Internet right now, a zero-day exploit taking advantage of the Windows Media Format (WMF) vulnerability. Its not limited to WMF files, it is taking the shape of images as well. This exploit is currently billed as the worst infection in history. It can hide rootkits, it can even hide itself.

Not one to cry wolf, seems like this is legit. I would suggest installing the temporary fix until Microsoft unviels an official patch. Keep in mind that when MS does get around to doing this, you’ll need to uninstall the fix (which will be in the "Add or Remove Programs" as "Windows WMF Metafile Vulnerability HotFix") before installing the official one.

Update: Is this legit? Try a Google News Search for "Windows WMF Metafile Vulnerability HotFix" and see for yourself.