Year-End Library Activities


What’s everyone’s year-end routine for maintaining their various libraries? Catalogs, backups, RAW files, previews, etc.

I’m a Lightroom user, so far everything I have is in one big library. The last couple years I’ve just copied my existing library to a new folder, renamed it “{library}-2019” and kept growing it. I don’t do anything special for a new year with my RAW files, I keep the current month’s on internal hard drive and move the older ones to external, they’re in a year-month-shoot folder hierarchy.

So far I’ve not needed to access an older library, I mostly do it as a final feel-good backup and if I get short on space I delete their previews. Keeping everything in one library works well for me because I have it organized in collections by subject and don’t need to remember what year I took a particular image to find it.

Curious what you all are doing, regardless of what catalog system you’re using.

Happy New Year!


Hi Will.

I shoot all my personal work with a Fuji X-T20 and I keep all of that in one Lightroom library. It’s all organized in chronological order so at the new year I just create a folder for 2019 and it tiers down from there to months to days to filenames. Every filename has the date in it so I know when I shot it. I like keeping it all in one catalog so I can go back and reference older work, create collections, make prints, etc… Sometimes I like to re-edit old work too. I also only work on and external HD to free up scratch disk space and so that I can work between multiple computers and use the same library, then I back up the external HD once a month or so. However, I don’t delete previews I wonder if that would be helpful for speed or not. I might look more into that.

I like hearing about other people’s file management solutions, it took me a while to figure out a system that actually worked for me so I could find things easily and keep my sanity. My new problem is how to organize my post production files in a competent way. I make a lot of exports for Instagram, prints, contact sheets, etc… Curious to know how people organize that aspect of their photography.

Happy new year!


I only delete the previews for space reasons on my internal hard drive. Not having them makes everything take for-EVER in Lightroom because it has to rebuild.

I don’t actually keep exports once they’ve been delivered. If it’s a one-off for emailing someone or posting to Instagram etc. I put it in a folder called “attach” which gets deleted periodically. Final finals of larger shoots I upload to a gallery service (Pixieset in my case but Smugmug and others do the same thing) but that’s for the client to access, I don’t really use it much. I wonder if I should export a big TIFF version of those somewhere to have in case of Lightroom disappearance.