Articles, Blog

How to Identify, Locate + Relink Missing Lightroom Images

November 4, 2019


This is going to get hard mid-way through.
I am sorry about that, but in all the other tutorials that you’ll see online, this is
something they don’t cover. On the right hand side of your Folder’s panel,
there’s a pull-down menu. In that pull-down menu, you’ll see a setting that says ‘Show
Photos in Subfolders’. That needs to be unchecked, because when it is checked, it’s going to
show you how many pictures are in your hard drive and in your annual, year dated folders.
When in fact, you only want to see how many pictures are in your day and month folders.
So, make sure that’s unchecked, because what we want to do is set Lightroom up so that
we see the pictures contained in our month and date folders, but not in our year folders
or in our hard drive. And this will in part help us to identify when pictures are someplace
they don’t belong. In this particular example, we have two loose
images sitting on our hard drive that aren’t in folders. With that setup, let’s start to
take a look at how we identify missing images and how we recover them.
Let’s let look at the image preview window in the library module. Images that were originally
imported and are where the Lightroom catalog expects them to be, won’t have a warning icon
in this surrounding area around the image thumbnail. Instead, just under the histogram
at the top right panel will be a note that indicates that the original is present and
accounted for, and if there is a Smart Preview. When we select an image, you’ll see under
the Histogram, we have a note that shows us that the original photo is present and accounted
for. If we select another image, you’ll see that here, on this image, the original and
a smart preview are available. So the original is present and accounted for and there’s a
smart preview. Let’s see what happens when the images accidentally get moved from outside
of Lightroom and go missing. The smart preview will show a smart preview
icon now where there was nothing earlier. This is telling you there’s a smart preview
you can still work on it in the develop module, but the original is missing from the catalog.
On the one that had the original photo, you get the exclamation point telling you the
photo is missing. So keep in mind, even though there’s no exclamation point on your smart
preview icon, the file is missing from the catalog. You’ll see here I’ve clicked on that
icon, and it says that the original file could not be found.
Finding your images locating them on your hard drive or hard drives can be tricky business.
And this is just one example of how I find missing images in my library. It’s a good
starting point to learning more on your own about how to locate your missing files. Since
many people keep their images on an external hard drive, and those images get relinked
when it’s connected and the smart preview icon will disappear, we are going to use this
missing photo image to reconnect our image to the library.
Clicking on the icon will open up the dialog box for relocating our missing image. What
we are going to do is, we are going to select the name here, and we are going to copy it.
And if you are on a PC, you might have to write this down, because you may not be able
to copy it here. Once you’ve copied your file name, you can select Locate, and you’ll notice
that it opens you up into the same folder that the images are located in that are in
your library. But this file number, ‘1782’, which is located also at the top of this window
the name is located at the top of this window, isn’t here. So we are going to use the search
bar, and paste the name of the file to help us locate it.
And here’s where the dilemma can begin. We have two files that had been found that are
from different dates and different location on our computer. I know this picture was taken
in, June of 2014. I also see it’s on my hard drives. I know this is the correct picture.
Sometimes you’ll see one or two or many more pictures with the same name. That’s going
to create your dilemma. Use your finder info the dates in your thumbnails to help you locate
the images that belong in your catalog. Once you’ve found the right picture click
Select. And here is dilemma number two. You may have blinked and missed it, but file number
1781 and 1782 the thumbnails have been removed from this folder.
When you click Select, Lightroom finds the image and puts it in the Catalog, but in this
case it’s not in this folder. 1782 is gone, and 1781 is about to disappear, because Lightroom’s
found them and added them to your library. However they are on your hard drive, loose,
and they need to be added back into the original folder.
Here’s how we are going to put these images back into the original folder. We are going
to select this LR Hard Drive and now we have our two images that are floating loose. We
are going to select them using the Shift key, and we are going to drag them by grabbing
the center of the image, not the edge, and holding it over the folder where we want it
to go, making sure it’s highlighted and then releasing the images.
Now the LR Hard Drive reads empty and the 06-17 Barcelona Train Folder reads a 101.
We have added those two pictures back into the folder and now our library/our catalog
is back in order. There are no icons to indicate we are missing any images.
Losing images in your Lightroom library is never fun. However, hopefully finding them
will now be a little bit easier. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to write
me at [email protected], or leave a comment on the blog. This is Lightroom guy, thanks
for watching.

1 Comment

  • Reply Monika Rose April 5, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Excellent tutorial! Helped me locate my missing files when no other youtube video could. Thank you for this great resource!

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