where does lightroom store photos

As a photo editing company, we spend a lot of time chatting with wedding photographers worldwide about their workflow and why we use Lightroom as a part of our professional photo editing services. Many photographers choose Lightroom over Photoshop thanks to its convenient photo organization and storage flexibility. One question we are asked quite often is: “Where does Lightroom store photos?”

Where Does Lightroom Store Photos?

To clarify, Lightroom itself does not store your wedding photos. Your images will not be stored in a Lightroom database or Lightroom-backed Cloud software. To use Lightroom, you must import your photos into the software using the import process.

lightroom library grid view
Images by Brian Hatton Photography

You will then be prompted to choose where you want your files stored. Continue on to learn more about the options you have to save your wedding photos and create an organized process for your workflow.

Where Are Photos Stored?

To continue answering the question, “Where does Lightroom store photos?”, let’s talk about where they are actually stored. While Lightroom does not store your wedding photos within its software or on a Cloud drive that is supported by the software, it does allow you to decide where you want to store your photos. Lightroom is all about flexibility, customization, and personal preferences, which is perfect for you in your wedding photography workflow.

This means you can use Adobe Lightroom to store your files any way you want. The only tricky part is getting your wedding photos to your desired storage location. This will differ for every photographer and is based on what works best for your workflow. Below, we share how you can store your photos from Lightroom.

Your Device

Lightroom offers the option of storing your edited photos on your device (i.e., your digital or DSLR camera). When you import your photos into Lightroom, you have the option to save them on your device instead of saving them to the USB, hard drive, or Cloud drive. This allows you to manage the space on your computer’s hard drive and keep your photos on your camera.

Your USB

You can also choose to save your files to a USB drive instead of your device. You can save space on both your hard drive and camera if you choose this option. USB storage also allows for plenty of flexibility as you can easily copy and share your USB drive with whomever you please.

Your Hard Drive

If you want your photos saved to your laptop or desktop computer, Lightroom allows you to save them directly to your hard drive. Simply choose this option when importing your files into Lightroom.

Your Cloud Drive

You can save space on all your devices by saving your files to your Cloud account. This makes sharing easier as well, as you will not need to email photos manually. Instead, you can simply share them on the Cloud with your clients, friends, or family. Or, you can load them into your Dropbox drive for even easier sharing.

Save Your Photos

To save your wedding photos to a specific location, simply select that location in the import process. During this process, you will be prompted to either copy, move, or add your photos to Lightroom. The software will also give you a fourth option to copy your files as DNG files.

Simply decide if you want to copy or move your photos to your hard drive, USB card, or Cloud drive.

Sometimes, it can be helpful to save your wedding photos to multiple places. That way, if something happens to your images on one device or software, you still have the photos backed up elsewhere. The more prepared you are for situations like that, the easier it will be to avoid losing your client’s images.

Your Lightroom Catalog

In order to keep your photos organized proficiently, Lightroom creates a catalog of your files. If you have added your files to Lightroom (as opposed to copying or moving them), those photos are now in your catalog. To see where those photos are located, simply right-click any thumbnail in Lightroom to view its location on your hard drive.

Create Backup Files

Lightroom also gives you the options to backup your catalogs or files, which is imperative for any wedding photographer. Wedding photos only capture memories if the photos themselves are safe and sound.

lightroom backup option screen

You can manually backup your catalog in the program by going to “edit,” “catalog settings,” and “backup” within the Lightroom menu options. You can create backup files as a part of your post-wedding workflow so you ensure you have multiple copies just in case something happens to the images.

Will It Get Confusing?

If you are more comfortable saving your photos to your camera, you can do so with this software. Saving your photos to your camera may not be the best idea for you and your business, but at least this software gives you the option to do so.

Another benefit of using Lightroom is the thumbnails of the files you have already uploaded into the software will turn gray when you begin the photo import process. The only tricky part is Lightroom only knows your photos have been previously uploaded is if the name of the file is the same as another photo you have previously altered with the software.

This means if you are trying to upload a photo with the same name as a previously uploaded photo, Lightroom will think the new photo is a duplicate. Naming is crucial when it comes to importing images into Lightroom and then saving them.

Now that we have answered the question, “Where does Lightroom store photos?”, saving photos in Lightroom is necessary if you want to take advantage of its organization features. Plus, it will allow you to quickly work with your photos when you need to. Organizing your files using Lightroom is key to maintaining a streamlined workflow, which will save you time. Find out some of the wedding photo edits that can be made once images are organized in Lightroom with our comprehensive blog post.

Discover additional ways to utilize Lightroom with our Top 5 Advanced Lightroom Tips.

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