Nothing feels better than being organized! When you have a place for everything, and put things where they belong it frees up your mind to focus on other things. At least, this is my philosophy when it comes to organizing my photos. You won’t believe how much organizing your Lightroom catalogue will improve your workflow!

I adopted this Lightroom organizing process many years ago. It is simple to set up, easy to use, and saves a lot of time through out the year trying to guess where and when I did a project, took a session etc.


What you will need to do is set up new a folder or have one folder dedicated to ALL images. I have a master folder – “LR Pictures Go Here”  You can title this whatever you like.

For me, I like to keep my desktop space free, so I send mine to an external hard drive:

External Hard Drive>LR Pictures Go Here

If you do not use an external hard drive, you can set it up on your desktop. Or utilize where you already are sending your images.


Step Two – Set up a new folder INSIDE  your “LR Pictures Go Here” with the YEAR


Step Three – Organize Work and Play

Then, because I do sessions for others, as well as my own personal work, I have a folder for CLIENTs, and a folder for PERSONAL. Of course if you don’t need this step, you can skip to the next one.


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Step Four – Organize by Month

I like to organize by MONTH, and I like my months to appear in order month order vs alphabetical in Lightroom so the key here is to put the numbers prior to the name of the month to help them display properly. Like this:

Organizing Your Lightroom Catalogue

Step 5 – Importing into Lightroom

When you import into Lightroom you are going to want to remember the names of your files and where you put them, as you will need that info to direct Lightroom to the proper place. After you import the first time, you will really just need to be aware if you are in a new month, and if you are going to place them into clients vs personal.

From there you can name each import whatever you like to make sense for you; a date, a client name, short description, etc whatever works best for your workflow.

Doing the Import:

Here you need to be aware of the DESTINATION box on the lower right side. This is where you will find the folders you have set up, and choose where/how the images will import.

For this import, I am choosing the path I created above: My Book for Mac main back up>2016>Personal>July. And once you have found the folder you want to be in and have highlighted it, you can click the “Into Subfolder” box and further label it as discussed; by date/subject etc. In this case you can see I am choosing “flag” and it is showing me a faded version below, in July, where this file will be after it’s completed. Import and you are done.

Organizing Your Lightroom Catalogue

Organizing your Lightroom catalogue may seem like an overwhelming task. However, if you take it step by step, it will probably take you less than 15 minutes to set up. This is a small investment of time for an organized filing system for the whole year and beyond!! Good luck!

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