If you’ve used Lightroom Classic CC earlier, you’re familiar with the concept of catalogs. A catalog in Lightroom Classic CC is a database (.lrcat file) containing records for each of your photos and any videos you may have imported. A record in the catalog includes a reference to where the photo lives on your system; your instructions for processing the photo—for instance, the adjustments you applied; and photo metadata, such as keywords and ratings.
On the other hand, in Lightroom CC, your photos are stored in their full resolution centrally in the cloud, and synced with your computers and devices when you’re working on them. You can migrate your catalogs from Lightroom Classic CC to Lightroom CC. When you do so, Lightroom CC brings in each of your photos included in the catalog and uploads it to the cloud in its full resolution for access across multiple devices and computers. Later, to save on disk space, you can even consider deleting those photos from the local storage on your device.
Collections of your photos in Lightroom Classic CC automatically become albums in Lightroom CC. The following data in your Lightroom Classic CC catalog won’t be available in Lightroom CC after migration:
- Custom metadata
- Creations: books, slideshows, and print/web creations
- Shares on Lightroom for the web
- Map-saved locations
- Folders and folder hierarchy
- Smart collections
- Develop history
- Color labels (migrated as keywords in Lightroom CC)
- Optimize the catalog (File > Optimize Catalog).
- Reconnect any missing files. See Locate missing photos.
- Optimize the metadata for the migration. Some tips:
- Custom folder names are not migrated to Lightroom CC. As a workaround, before migrating, create collections in Lightroom Classic CC mimicing the custom folder names/structures.
- If you want to continue using Lightroom Classic CC after migration, consider upgrading to its latest version before migrating the catalog. This step makes it simpler to sync photos and metadata between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC. The original versions of any photos you import into Lightroom CC are synced back to Lightroom Classic CC.
- Ensure that the Local Storage > Originals Are Currently Stored In A Custom Location preference points to the desired location. See Local storage preferences.
- Ensure that there's enough disk space in that location to accommodate the original, full-sized images in the Lightroom Classic CC catalog. The migration process creates a copy of your images. If you're running low on space on an internal drive on your computer, you might want to connect an external hard-drive and specify a location on it as the custom location.
Review the information in the Before You Begin dialog and click Continue. Before doing so, keep the following considerations in mind:
- You can migrate a catalog only once.
- Once you migrate a catalog, Lightroom CC automatically syncs all your images to the cloud. The catalog no longer syncs in earlier versions of Lightroom, such as Lightroom 6 or Lightroom 2015. The sync functionality is available in Lightroom CC or the latest version of Lightroom Classic CC.
(Occasional) Review any exceptions that the migrator reports. For example, the migrator might report an exception if it is unable to locate some photos included in your source catalog. In such a case, you may want to click Migrate Later and begin the process afresh after resolving the catalog issues in Lightroom Classic CC.
If you want to ignore the exceptions and continue migrating, click Continue Anyway.
Review the information in the Catalog Ready for Migration dialog. If necessary, click Open Log File to inspect details. When ready, click Start Migration.
Lightroom CC begins the migration process and displays a progress bar. Depending on the catalog size and the resources on your computer, this step may take a while to complete.
Copy your presets to the Lightroom CC presets folder:
Mac Finder: Macintosh HD/Users/<username>/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom CC/Develop Presets
Windows Explorer: C:\users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Lightroom CC\Develop Presets
Alternatively, you can choose to move your presets. Do so only when the presets are no longer needed in Lightroom Classic CC.
Are my photos backed up in the cloud immediately after the migration is complete?
The photos I migrated were on an external drive. Do I still need to leave it connected once the migration is complete?
Leave the external drive connected until all your photos have synced to the cloud (Sync Status: Synced And Backed Up). After the sync is complete, you can disconnect the drive and set the Local Storage > Originals Are Currently Stored In A Custom Location preference in Lightroom CC to point to a location on an internal hard-drive. Lightroom CC moves your previews files from the external hard-drive to the internal location. Your originals remain safely backed up in the cloud.
For related helpful information, see Local storage preferences.