How to Free Up Space in Your Lightroom Catalog

7 Ways to Free Up Space in Your Adobe Lightroom Catalog - FilterGrade

While computers are beginning to store more and do more, this isn’t always enough for a photographer. Plus this extra space and faster run time will cost you significantly more. Why pay extra if it still isn’t going to compensate for the workload you produce? If you use Lightroom you may be wondering how you can help free up space by getting rid of unnecessary files, but you hesitate because you don’t want to lose all the work you still need to complete or plan on using in the future. Here are seven different ways you can reduce the space Lightroom tends to take up.

7 Ways to Free Up Space in your Lightroom Catalog

1. Final Projects

Use an external hard drive network drive to move images you are done with and no longer need immediate access to. It is best to have more than one drive to save work on. This will ensure you have a back up in place just in case anything were to happen and you feel less anxiety over deleting images from your computer. By using an external hard drive as well as a network attached drive you can access images on the external hard drive quickly when you find yourself in a situation where you need to make an edit on an archived project.

2. Delete Images

Seems simple, but this is one factor that many photographers forget to do.

It is often easy and convenient to import all your images from your camera directly to Lightroom. This can result in everything from your memory card getting put into Lightroom which includes all those images that are blurry, misfires, and just unusable. These images can be quite large and take up valuable space. You can have Lightroom flag these types of images so you can easily find and delete them from your Lighthouse catalog as well as a hard drive.

3. Delete Smart Previews

While smart previews may be smaller in size they can take up a lot of space. Often smart previews will be created when you import your images, resulting in many smart preview folders that can be deleted to free up space.

4. Clear Your Cache

Lightroom has a habit of holding onto things for longer than necessary. While the cache can help make things run faster in Lightroom all the little things such as video cache, preview cache, smart preview cache, and raw cache, stored there can be eating up valuable space. When the cache becomes overloaded with stored items you don’t need it can actually cause an error in Lightroom. Begin by deleting the raw cache, video cache, and smart preview cache. Keep in mind that preview caches are generated each time you run Lightroom, so emptying this cache could stall out Lightroom as it regenerates the needed previews, which is why you might want to consider emptying this cache last or only if necessary.

5. Delete 1:1 Preview

1:1 preview are generated each time an image is needed to be developed or zooming it. These full-size previews can be useful when editing but use a lot of storage space. While you want to keep 1:1 previews of the files you know you will be editing or need in the near future, as it can take a while for a new 1:1 preview to be regenerated when you need to edit the image, you can set a time frame for how long Lightroom keeps these previews in storage.

6. Delete Duplicates

There are a number of ways duplicate images can end up in your storage space. While Lightroom may flag duplicates during the import process it doesn’t do as well of a job of identifying duplicates that are already in your catalog. Instead of having to go through each image manually you can use a Lightroom plug-in that will help you identify any duplicates taking up space. The Duplicate finder you will have to pay to use but it can track down duplicate of an image that you have in various folder and flag the same images that have been saved as different versions of the same file such as JPEG, RAW, web version. It can help you delete a number of images in just seconds.

7. Clear History

One final way you can clear up some space on your hard drive is to simply clear the development history. While you may not want to do this often, since you may want to keep track of what you are doing while working on a project. Your history will hold onto a lot of data that will increase catalog sizes significantly. Do this with caution though as clearing the develop history will delete the history for every image in the Lightroom catalog so be sure to triple check that the history is not needed before performing this action.

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