My Lightroom CC (osx) has suddenly lost hundreds of files at once. They don't show as missing (with exclamation mark), and synchronization won't help. Even re-importin is not helping, because the file window won't show the files.

The only place I can see the missing files, is in Finder. How on earth I can solve this problem?

Edit: I just tried to import more photos, and noticed Lightroom discards photos which may look similar!! I DO NOT want this to happen, what should I do??

  • Where exactly does Finder locate your files? Are the files in their original folder? What happens if you copy/paste the files in a new folder? – Olivier Apr 16 '17 at 13:40
  • All my photos are located in a same folder. I just checked, in Finder it shows over 38000 photos, in Lightroom just 32000. I think there's no way I can solve this manually :( – Johanna84 Apr 16 '17 at 13:49
  • Maybe LR has a limit regarding the number of images in a single folder. I would strongly suggest you to organize your files in different folders. – Olivier Apr 16 '17 at 13:59
  • Try to sort your images by year and create a specific physical folder for each year. – Olivier Apr 16 '17 at 14:09

You have probably reached a limit of LR and/or your OS, maybe related to the maximum number of images it can take from a single folder. Regarding your hardware and your version of LR, such a thing already happened before (see https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/lightroom-5-hit-a-folder-limit-and-unable-to-select-the-newly-imported-folder).

Also, you are close to 32768, which is 2^15 and a little suspicious when talking about limitation.

Anyway, you should find a new physical organization for your images (one per year ?). Dropping all your images in a single folder isn't a good habit. In order to keep your edits, you should try moving your files from within LR, by creating new folders in the "folder" panel (left side by default) and then moving the desired images inside it.

  • Ok, got to try that! I hope this sorts it out. I'll come back later to report how it went. Thank you! – Johanna84 Apr 16 '17 at 14:31
  • Ok, now this is going haywire :D I made few folders (LR 2017, LR 2016... etc.) and started moving photos accordingly in Lightroom. In there, all seem ok. Then I went to check those folders in Finder. Each folder has hundreds of the missing photos in them, but that's not all. The missing photos are from variety of years. So now i have folder LR 2015 which has photos from 2006-2016. – Johanna84 Apr 16 '17 at 16:02
  • I wonder if I could move the files in right folders in Finder and then somehow synchronize them in Lightroom? – Johanna84 Apr 16 '17 at 16:05
  • Using LR, you can import image from any folder on your drive. Their location doesn't matter, all that LR is doing is saving your edit in its calatog, which doesn't contain your image – Olivier Apr 16 '17 at 17:11
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    You should probably move the files from within LR : you can create new folders in the one you are currently using and move images into them. This way everything will stay synced. – Olivier Apr 17 '17 at 8:58

Ok, came back to write a conclusion. If i learned something, it is not to keep all your files in one folder. That makes LR to do weird things eventually.

It was not easy to fix up. Took several hours to manually go through thousands of photos, and sort them out in corresponding folders year by year.

I lost keywords and editing from few thousand photos, but I was extremely happy to find the files anyway. I also learned to KEEP YOUR XMP SIDECAR FILE SETTING ON. By default, it's off. Google it if you must, I promise it will save your work if something like this ever happen to your LR.

I hope this will help someone out there.

  • writing xmp sidecar files is a bit dangerous performance wise. if you make a change to a lot of photos at once (like editing a tag), it will have to write to all of those files. Also, of course it doubles the number of files in each folder. – ths Apr 18 '17 at 11:42
  • Did you move these files from within Lightroom, or did you do it in Finder? – Mike Dixon Apr 18 '17 at 14:38
  • I couldn't move the files withing Lightroom, since they weren't showing in there no matter what I did. That's why I had to move them in Finder and then reimport to Lightroom. I understand the risks and slowing down the performance when using xmp sidecar files, but if it saves this much time and effort as I wasted yesterday, I am willing to use them. – Johanna84 Apr 18 '17 at 17:43

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