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5 Common “Lightroom Lost my Photos!” Mistakes

1. Lightroom lost or deleted my photo!

Before you panic and think Lightroom lost or deleted your photo, ask yourself did you import the photo to your computer using Lightroom. If you just copied images from your memory card to a folder on your computer, by-passing Lightroom, how will Lightroom know where the photo is located? It’s best to import images to your computer using Lightroom.

2. I imported my photos using Lightroom but I can’t find them!

Are you sure you opened the correct catalog? When first starting out with Lightroom, it’s best to have only one catalog. Imagine a catalog is a filing cabinet. If you store a file in a filing cabinet at your house, it won’t be in the filing cabinet at work. Make sure you open the same catalog you used to import your photos.

3. I have a question mark next to my folder and an exclamation mark next to my photos!

Those dreaded exclamation marks next to your folders usually mean you have moved a folder or renamed it outside of Lightroom. This is a user error, not a Lightroom error. Moving or renaming your photos in Lightroom will prevent this. To fix the problem, right click on the question mark and choose Find Missing Folder and point it to where the folder is. If the exclamation mark is on a photo. click on the mark and choose locate.

4. I know my photos are in the folder, but I can’t see them!

I’ve done this many times. It’s a simple filter problem. A dead giveaway is the words; “No photos match the filter” right in the center of the screen. For some reason, I read it as “No photos found” and I question if the photos are actually there. Reset the filters; stars, flags, or colors. Make sure they are set to none. The folders panel will display the number of photos in that folder.

5. Lightroom changed my file structure!

When you import a file or folder from your hard drive, Lightroom doesn’t automatically show your complete file tree structure. Right click on the folder and select “Show Parent Folder”. You may have to do this a few times to climb up your file structure tree.

Lightroom is an intelligent program. These common mistakes are made by almost everyone when first learning Lightroom’s logic. Once you make these mistakes a few times, you will learn how to quickly spot them and fix the problem. In a short time, your workflow will be fast and easy.

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