Lightroom 2 Nested Folder Gotcha

Tonight I hit a really nasty gotcha with Lightroom 2.  It has to do with nested folders that you load into your Lighroom catalog independent of each other.

In my organization system I organize my photos into projects with each project getting it’s own folder.  Projects are numbered from 0001 sequentially, with each photo in the project being named from XXXX-0001 sequentially (where XXXX is the project number).  The key aspect of this system is that the filename for a photo follows that photo where ever it goes and with just those 9 digits of the filename, I can locate any photo that I have ever created.  (In case you were wondering, yes it did a lot of work re-organizing my photos when I settled on this system so that all my photos would follow this naming standard).

As part of my workflow, after copying my photos onto my computer, I create a new project folder for them and then rename all the photos.  For a recent project, I had a subset of photos that I wanted to create into a time lapse movie so I created a subfolder within my main project folder just for those time lapse photos.  I imported those photos and processed them in Lightroom (including renaming them).  Tonight I then imported all the photos from the parent directory (making sure not to re-import the photos from the child) and processed them.

Here is where things go a bit sideways.  After import, Lightroom automatically put the child directory underneath the parent (that’s fine by me).  However, when you select the parent directory from the Folders panel, the photos for both the parent and child directories are displayed in the workspace.  This is a problem becuase the first thing I do with my workflow is to sort by date, then select all and rename the photos.  What happened to me tonight is that I renamed all the previously named photos in the subfolder.

How I would expect Lightroom to behave (Adobe:  hint, hint) would be to show me just the photos for the folder that I selected; not to automatically include the photos from any subfolders.

So, if you do anything similar with your folder organization, keep this behavior in mind so it doesn’t destroy any work that you may have previously done.

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