What is a Lightroom catalog?

how lightroom catalogs work

If you are new to using Lightroom, you might be wondering, "what is a Lightroom catalog?"

It's a valid question and asked by many who are just starting up or have been using the program for awhile. To understand how Lightroom works, you must first understand the functionality of the Lightroom catalog & what it's used for.

In simple terms, Lightroom does not store your photos. Instead, the catalog references your photos either on your computer or hard drive ( where you set up your catalog) & stores useful information such as keywords, metadata, and editing you apply to your photos in Lightroom.

When you make a change to your photos in Lightroom, you are only making a change to your catalog & not your original photos.

It's not until you export the photos from Lightroom when these changes will applied to a copy of the photo , leaving your original photo untouched.

For this reason, Lightroom is non-destructive to your original photos.

In this video, I am going to show you how to create a catalog (if you haven't already done so) and how this catalog is a reference to your original photos. Let's get started!

Now that you understand how catalogs in Lightroom work, does it make more sense how Lightroom operates as a whole?

Let us know by commenting below & share with us your favorite takeaway from this tutorial. We can't wait to see what you have to say!

We create Lightroom tutorials based on your words of encouragement, so your feedback is more important than you know!

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