Normally when adding photos to Lightroom, I "Copy as DNG" from my camera's SD card to my external hard drive. Recently someone gave me a DVD containing over a thousand images in JPG format, which I added to my catalog. Unfortunately, without thinking I went with the default import method, which was "Add." This means the photos were not copied to my hard drive, but just added to the catalog. I then went through all the photos and rejected the ones I didn't need.

Now that I've realized my mistake, I want to copy the files to my external hard drive—but I don't want to re-import all of them and go through the whole review and reject process again. I want to just copy the images that are already in the catalog, the ones I imported and didn't reject. I can't find any way to do this in Lightroom. Is there something I'm missing?

I know I could just keep things as they are and put the DVD in when I need to work with these images, but my computer doesn't have a built-in DVD drive, and plugging it the external drive means unplugging something else to free up a USB port.


1 Answer 1

  1. Copy the files yourself to where you would like them but without Lightroom started.
  2. Disconnect the DVD or eject the disk, so that Lightroom cannot find them.
  3. Open the Lightroom catalog when you imported them.
  4. Go to root the DVD which should have a warning.
  5. Click on the warning and select "Locate Missing Files'.
  6. Lightroom should have found most images by now.
  7. In case it does not, you may have to do this for each directory tree as needed.
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm willing to accept that this might be the only possible method short of re-importing anything, but unfortunately it doesn't actually save me any time or effort. I'd still need to compare each file on the DVD to the ones I've already sorted through and kept/rejected in my catalog, in order to know which files need to be copied manually. But I do appreciate your answer, and I recognize that it might be the only way to do what I'm asking about. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nicholas
    May 12, 2014 at 16:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, because LR thinks those files have moved and are not new imports, the metadata will be intact, including the reject flag. That means all the rejected ones will be moved but you can now select them by the reject flag and delete all of them together. It's a little more work but not as tedious. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    May 12, 2014 at 18:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't understand the 4th step. What is "go to root the DVD"? \$\endgroup\$
    – galactikuh
    Jun 21, 2017 at 16:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ That means to select the root folder where the DVD is mounted. Most times on Windows, it gets a drive letter such as D:, E:, F:, etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Jun 21, 2017 at 17:50

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