How to Identify And Re-Connect Missing Original Photos in Lightroom Classic Catalogs

This article aims to guide photographers on:

  1. How to identify photos that have been moved from their original import location within a Lightroom Classic catalog.
  2. How to reconnect them (Scroll down to "Step 2").

Introduction

Imagen needs all of the project's original images connected inside the Lightroom Classic catalog to perform the high-resolution backup upload.

The Lightroom Classic import process tells Lightroom that the photos are in a specific folder, and Lightroom will always look for those photos at that location unless directed otherwise. Occasionally, the photographer will move the photos from the original location and will encounter missing files and folders issues within their Lightroom Classic catalog. 

Smart Previews are not compatible with uploading high-resolution backups to the cloud.

Step 1: Identifying missing photos

To find which original photos are missing from your Lightroom Classic catalog:

  1. Open the Library module.
  2. Expand the "Library" menu setting and select "Find All Missing Photos".

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  3. Lightroom will create a new "Missing Photographs" collection on the "Catalog" left panel and automatically display all missing photos in the Grid view.

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These visual indicators identify missing photos:

  1. Histogram Text: When a photo is selected, pay attention to the bottom of the histogram panel in the Library module.

    Indications that the original photo is missing:

    • "Smart Preview"

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    • "Photo is Missing"

      Screenshot_23.jpg

    Indications that the original photo is available:

    • "Original Photo"

      Screenshot_19.jpg

    • "Original + Smart Preview"

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  2. "Missing Photo Badge" Visual Indicators:

    Adobe Lightroom Classic utilizes a visual indicator, known as the missing photo badge, to identify images that cannot be found at the original location they were originally imported to.
    This badge appears at the top right corner of the photo on the Grid view and has two different icons and scenarios:

    1. A gray dotted rectangle with an exclamation mark in the upper-right corner of a thumbnail.

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    2. When the original photo is missing, but there is a Smart Preview created for the photo, A dotted rectangle with a rectangle on the inside.

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  3. Missing folders are identified by this indicator on the Folders panel on the left-hand side of the screen in the Library module.

    Look for any folders or subfolders marked with a question mark icon. This symbol indicates that Lightroom cannot find the corresponding folder.
    This scenario is common when the imported photos are located on an external drive that is not connected to your computer.

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Step 2: Locate and Connect missing files in Lightroom

Now that we identified the missing images, let's explore the two methods to locate/re-connect the missing files and folders in Adobe Lightroom Classic:

Method 1: Locating/Re-Connecting Missing Folders Using the Folders Panel on the Library module.

  1. Open the Library module.
  2. Locate the Folders panel on the left-hand side of the screen. If it's not visible, go to the Window menu and select 'Show Folders.'
  3. Expand the Folders panel to view the hierarchical structure of your image folders.
  4. Look for any folders or subfolders marked with a question mark icon. This symbol indicates that Lightroom cannot find the corresponding files.

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  5. Right-click on the missing folder or subfolder and choose 'Find Missing Folder' from the context menu.

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  6. Navigate to where the folder or subfolder is stored on your computer or external drive.
  7. Select the appropriate folder and click 'Select'.
    Lightroom will automatically update the folder location within its catalog.

Method 2: Locating/Re-Connecting Missing Photos Using the Missing Photo Badge.

Adobe Lightroom Classic utilizes a visual indicator, known as the missing photo badge, to identify images that cannot be found at their original location. 

This badge appears at the top right corner of the photo while on Grid view and has two different icons:

  1. A gray dotted rectangle with an exclamation mark in the upper-right corner of a thumbnail. 
  2. When the original photo is missing, and a Smart Preview was created, A dotted rectangle with a rectangle on the inside.

Here's how you can use this method:

  1. Open the Library module.
  2. Enter the "Grid" view by double-clicking on an image or using the keyboard shortcut "G".
  3. Look for thumbnails with the missing photo badge (see examples above).
  4. Click on the missing photo badge (scroll up to the "Missing Photo Badge" explanation above to learn about these badges).

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  5. Lightroom will ask if you want to locate and re-connect the photo. Click Locate.
  6. In the file browser, navigate to the correct location of the missing photo on your computer or external drive.
  7. Select the photo and click 'Select'.
  8. Lightroom will update the photo's location within its catalog, and the missing photo badge will be removed.

If more missing photos are in the selected folder, they will be updated automatically as well.

 

If you need any assistance, contact our support team; we will gladly help.

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