My wife uses Lightroom for her Photography business. Her main drive is filling up and I installed another drive into our Mac Pro to be used as an archive. She has groups of files (Weddings, since she is a Wedding photographer) that she is comfortable moving to the archieve. What is the best way to do this so that we free up the space on the main drive but not have Lightroom complain about missing files and such? Ideally we'd like to "move" the files and have Lightroom just reference them from the other drive but we'd settle to just move them in such a way that Lightroom just doesn't complain about missing files. Thanks.


2 Answers 2


Step 1 - Move the files to the new location. It's important to a) Ensure they no longer exist at the original location, and be preserve their organization (ie. folder structure) on the destination.

Step 2 - Start Lightroom. Be sure you are in Library view.

If you've moved entire folders...

Step 3 - At the left, under Folders, navigate to the top-level folder which has moved

Step 4 - Right-click the folder

Step 5 - Select Find missing folder...

Step 6 - In the dialog that pops up, navigate to the folder's new location

Step 7 - Click "Choose"


If you've moved individual, arbitrary images...

Step 3 - Navigate to the top-level folder which contains moved photos. Moved photos within that folder will be branded with "The file named "filename" is offline or missing." in Library 1-up view, or with a "?" in Library thumbnail view.

Step 4 - In Library thumbnail view, click the "?" of any one missing photo. LR should respond with a dialog indicating "filename could not be found... Would you like to locate it?"

Step 5 - Select "Locate". LR will respond with a file system dialog.

Step 6 - Select the new location of the image files.

Step 7 - Ensure "Find nearby missing photos" on this dialog is also checked.

Step 8 - Click "Select".

Now all your moved photos will be referenced from the new location.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ You can also just right-click the entire folder in the Library, and move it all at once...saving yourself about five steps in this process. ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Apr 7, 2013 at 22:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have found that file copying from within photo programs (LR included) to be quite a bit slower than using the OS directly. With photo collections typically being so large, I prefer to save time by doing such management directly. Some tools are also not that clear on whether you're making a copy, moving the originals or creating variants. Managing the precious cargo directly helps to eliminate that ambiguity (if any exists for you, of course). \$\endgroup\$
    – U007D
    Apr 8, 2013 at 7:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't mean move the files within LR. I mean, after moving the files on disk, you can just relocate the entire folder all at once in lightroom by right-clicking it, and locating it on disk at it's now location. You wouldn't need to select each file or anything like that. The change is pretty much instantaneous. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Apr 8, 2013 at 18:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, now I see what you meant. I tried to provide the most general answer (works in all cases), but the scenario of moving the entire folder (and not just select images within it) is probably a more common scenario. I'll edit the answer to reflect this. Thx! \$\endgroup\$
    – U007D
    Apr 27, 2013 at 22:19

During a server migration at the office, I needed to re-link my LR catalogue before deleting my photos from the old server. My network administrator copied them to the new server. I then changed the name of the root folder on the old server to make LR ask me where the photos were. This step was unnecessary, since there is another right-click menu option to "Update Folder Location..." It worked just fine. But in the interest of sharing the simplest way I know to do this, I think that updating folder location on your root folder once the photos (and sub-folders) have copied would be the simplest way to re-link after a migration. Then you can delete the old ones at your leisure. For me, I'm leaving the old photos in place until I get confirmation from my network administrator that we have created one full backup of them.

Just FYI, this migration was from one ancient Windows Server to a Windows Server 2012. I use LR 3 on an iMac running Mac OS 10.9.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.