This week has seen John Beardsworth weighing in on Ken Milburns ‘Inside Lightroom’ post on using Catalogs. John is quick to point out some of the failings of a multicatalog approach. Ken advocates having a different catalog for each genre he would’ve had in a main catalog.
It’s all very well in theory, but the whole idea of having a program that manages your images, is that you let it manage all of your images. John is right in saying that a central catalog is the best way.
My personal recommendation is that if you have a job that requires a speedy selection and processing workflow, by all means use a fresh catalog on a recently restarted machine. Once the selections are made and the processing is done, delete the rejects and import this into your main catalog.
There are people out there with 300,00 images in their catalog. They use fast machines and therefore have lesser speed issues.
Personally my main catalog doesn’t contain all my images-yet. I need time to get them all in. Currently I’ve been hovering around 65,000 images. I’ve been deleting old rejects as new images come in and the number stays fairly balanced. Having one main Library means I can access any image quickly. I recently shot an aerial job for someone that had a Ferrari. As we discussed the aerial job, he enquired if I had any old photos of the car. I was able to tell him instantly that I had shots of it as both a red and yellow Ferrari (he had a spray job done). This couldn’t happen with a multi catalog setup.
So for me one main catalog file is the way to go. I still use temporary catalogs for quick jobs and import the keepers to the main catalog for reference. I’d love a command to consolidate my library onto one chosen drive though, especially as the files out grow the mix of internal and external disks I now own.