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mhayes, thanks for your input, when I said exporting them to HD, i was referring moving the image out of LR and to a folder on the HD
IndyFab, it seems that you'll fit all of your images into a single catalog, so do so.
Lr has many ways to find and group images, including key wording that you assign to images, metadata that the camera included in each file (e.g. EXIF data such as date, time, camera, focal length, aperture, etc., etc.), ratings and labels that you can assign, and collections which are basically pretend-folders that you put the files into (although really the files do not move and are not copied, they just seem to be in those collections). There is also the folder structure on the drive(s). All this allows you to get things done even if you leave the images and folders where they are for the benefit of Picasa or Canons DPP.
I was aware of that Great
Just remember that once you start using Lr to manage the files you should only use Lr to relocate them or else you will break the links between the files and you catalog.
Will keep that in mind.
It pays to have all images under a single parent folder on case you need to re-establish broken links in future. This folder need not be the root folder and it can have subfolders as you desire.
You can have a folder for each event but not everything fits into events. Those events can be arranged via collections and/or key words no matter where the files are stored.
Also be aware that Lr generally does notedit the files bu rather keeps track of the edits you want to apply and applies them on the fly or build a new preview. This is usually very efficient in terms of file management and pretty safe but other software may never see the Lr edits. Lr can export files but this has a special meaning. It applies the edits and builds a brand new file. It is different from the original file. If the original is a new file then the exported file will not be a raw, but more likely a jpg or tif. Do not export files if you simply want to make backups. For that you can get outside of Lr and copy your image files and also the Lr catalog (after closing Lr).
Ok, but am not familiar with what tif is.
I keep my Lr catalog backed up multiple times and my images too. I do not use Lr .xmp files, so that Lr works faster. I do not convert my files to .dng files because I want my raw files available to present and future software other than Lr (such as DPP from Canon or View NX from Nikon) that cannot handle .dng, and I don't want to lock in raw conversions to today's standard software. A .dng file with enclosed raw file is twice as big as the raw file.
When you say multiple times are you refering to frequency or copies. Also dont know what .xmp files are
You'll need to establish a useful and meaningful way to utilise the star ratings and colour labels in Lr. It can be very helpful but it pays to think about it so that wont need to change the ratings later on when you change your mind.
Thanks again Alan