Plan your backup strategy
Lightroom allows you to schedule regular catalog backups when you exit the software. Backups executed from Lightroom include only the catalog file. You must independently back up your edited photos and anything exported from Lightroom.
Performing frequent, regular catalog backups is only part of what should be a comprehensive backup strategy. When formulating a backup strategy:
- Remember that the more frequently you back up your catalog and photos, the less data you stand to lose when a crash or corruption occurs.
- If possible, store the backup copies of your photos and catalog on a separate hard disk from your working files.
- Consider using dedicated backup software to automate the process and synchronize changes between your working and backup files.
- If you’re worried that your backup files might be accidentally erased, create redundant backups on additional disks, or on read-only media such as DVDs.
- For greater security, store your backup disk in a separate location from your working disk, preferably offsite or in a fire-proof safe.
- Consider making copies of your photos when you import them. Remember that this gives you only a copy of your original photos, not your edited photos. See Back up photos during import.
- Windows: \Users\[user name]\Pictures\Lightroom\[catalog name]\Backups\
- Mac OS: /Users/[user name]/Pictures/Lightroom/[catalog name]/Backups\
Running Mac OS X Time Machine™ backup or restore operations while Lightroom is in use is not recommended.
On Mac, Lightroom CC/Lightroom 6.1 doesn't zip catalogs larger than 4 GB. This is because the default Mac OS unzip utility is unable to handle archives larger than 4GB and reports such zipped catalogs as "corrupted".
Schedule catalog backups
When Lightroom Next Exits
Backs up the catalog the next time you exit Lightroom, and then the Back Up Catalog option switches to Never.
Every Time Lightroom Exits
Backs up the catalog every time you exit Lightroom, so changes from every working session are always backed up.
Once A Day, When Exiting Lightroom
Backs up the catalog the first time you exit Lightroom each day. If you exit Lightroom more than once a day, additional changes are not backed up until the next day.
Once A Week, When Exiting Lightroom
Backs up the catalog once a week. If you exit Lightroom more frequently, additional changes are not backed up until the next week.
Once A Month, When Exiting Lightroom
Backs up the catalog once a month. If you exit Lightroom more frequently, additional changes are not backed up until the next month.
Back up a catalog automatically
In the Back Up Catalog dialog box, click Back Up to back up the catalog at the default location and quit Lightroom.
Optionally, select any of the following before you click Back Up:
Shows you the default location where Lightroom saves backups. Click Choose to back up to a different location.
Test Integrity Before Backing Up
Checks for catalog corruption before Lightroom completes the backup. Testing integrity increases the time it takes to back up the catalog but reduces the risk of data loss.
You can also test catalog integrity when you open a catalog. In the General panel of the Preferences dialog box, select When Starting Up Use This Catalog > Prompt Me When Starting Lightroom. Then, start Lightroom. In the Select Catalog dialog box, select Test Integrity Of This Catalog and then click Open.
Optimize Catalog After Backing Up
Cleans up and reorganizes your database file to make it run faster and more efficiently.
Skip Until Tomorrow
If you've opted to back up your catalog once a day, click to postpone the operation for a day.
Skip Until Next Week
If you've opted to back up your catalog once a week, click to postpone the operation for a week.
Skip Until Next Month
If you've opted to back up your catalog once a month, click to postpone the operation for one month.