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I want to migrate 440 folders of photos from Lightroom 5. Some are DNGs, some are JPEGs. It's OK to export them as JPEG images as long as they:

  • render all the edits,
  • preserve the folder hierarchy, and
  • ideally preserve the keywords.

I'll try other photo editing programs later. Meanwhile:

This tip Exporting Files from Lightroom while Retaining the Folder Structure suggests using the LR “Folder Publisher“ plug-in by Jeffrey Friedl but apparently that still requires manually setting up a Collection for each folder, which is the essence of the problem.

(There are some questions like How should I migrate photos so I don't lose my Lightroom edits that don't address this problem.)

  • Do all photos have a unique name, or are names duplicated in different folders? If they all have unique names, there could be a scripting solution to get them back into the right folder hierarchy after exporting everything into one big flat directory. – JPhi1618 Jan 11 '18 at 16:25
  • @JPhi1618 This is a smart idea! Alas, a Python script finds 839 files using 330 duplicate filenames like 'CIMG0034.JPG'. If it was a small number, it'd be practical to rename them manually within Lightroom. – Jerry101 Jan 12 '18 at 3:02
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It sounds like the plugin Tree Export could work for you. https://www.photographers-toolbox.com/products/lrtreeexporter.php

"LR/TreeExporter is an export plugin for Lightroom 2 or higher that allows you to export images while preserving your folder tree (also known as the folder hierarchy).

I've used it many times in the past and it worked as described. It will export the pictures as jpegs for sure. Not sure how well it would work with mixed file formats though. Good Luck.

EDIT: Here is how I use the plugin. (1) Open up you folder tree so you can see all the top level folders you want to export. (2) I'm on windows so I select all of the top level folders I intend to export by holding down control key. (3) Run a select all command of all the pictures that show up. (4) Right-click one of the selected pictures and open up the export area and select "TreeExporter" in the export to area. Select my highest level folder and the rest of the export settings, then export.

  • This has potential, but how to get LR to export all photos? After selecting a folder (such as top level folder) that doesn't directly contain photos, Lightroom won't export anything. After selecting multiple folders that directly contain photos, Lightroom only exports the first photo from all of that. The only way I see to select multiple photos is within a single folder, which means I still have to go through 440 manual export sequences! I tried creating an "All Photos" Smart Collection with rule Short Edge > 10, but again LR only wants to export its first photo. – Jerry101 Jan 12 '18 at 7:20
  • Bonus question: When LR exports a JPEG with quality set to 100%, even if the JPEG was not edited in LR, it recompresses it to a 10% larger file. Is there a setting for "Compress edited photos to this quality, or copy unedited JPEGs as is?" – Jerry101 Jan 12 '18 at 7:23
  • Bonus Question response: I don't believe there is a way to just copy photos that have not been processed in Lightroom for the result you intend to have. Personally, I wouldn't ever use 100% on the quality setting. I've never noticed a difference keeping the quality at 75%. If you are a pro you might consider buying a plugin like jpegmini to save the most amount of space, but otherwise I think it's too pricey for most people. – rob j crowe Jan 12 '18 at 16:54
  • I'm not sure I 100% understand the issues you are having, but here is the process I use. (1) Open up you folder tree so you can see all the top level folders you want to export. (2) I'm on windows so I select all of the top level folders I intend to export by holding down control key. (3) Run a select all command of all the pictures that show up. Right-click one of the selected pictures and open up the export area and select "TreeExporter" in the export to area. Select my highest level folder and the rest of the export settings, then export. You shouldn't have to fool around w/ collections... – rob j crowe Jan 12 '18 at 17:01
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    Also, Lightroom does have an export option: file type "original" I've never actually used it so I am not aware of the details of what they do, but it may allow you to preserve the dngs if you can figure out the TreeExport plugin issues you are having... – rob j crowe Jan 12 '18 at 17:13

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