Why You Should Start A New Lightroom Catalog Each Year

by Jul 1, 2024

Each race weekend often entails capturing, sorting through and editing a selection from thousands of photos. And while Adobe Lightroom (particularly Lightroom Classic) is one of the best tools for managing these vast collections of action shots, it also needs a little bit of management to keep your workflow efficient and organised.

If you are also using Adobe Lightroom to not only edit but organise your back catalogue of photos, one of the best practices that you can have as a motorsport photographer is to start a fresh new Lightroom Catalog each year.

Benefits of Starting a New Lightroom Catalog Annually

Improved Performance

It’s no secret that large Lightroom Catalogs can become sluggish over time, especially with the volume of high-resolution images we capture in motorsport photography. Simply starting a new catalogue each year is a great way to keep Lightroom running smoothly, reducing lag and improving your editing speed.

Over the years, Adobe has continued to optimise Lightroom to handle large catalogues. However, there is a noticeable performance difference when working within very large databases​. Starting a new one each year is a great, near-instant way to speed up your workflow, especially if you are trying to sort and edit photos within the tight schedule of a race weekend.

Enhanced Organisation

Starting a fresh new Adobe Lightroom Catalog at the beginning of each year or at least every motorsport season allows for the simple chronological organisation of your back catalogue of photos. This structure helps maintain a clean, streamlined workflow, which is beneficial not only when dealing with numerous images from various events throughout the year​ but also when you need to dig into your archive to find particular images from events years ago.

Simplified Backup and Archiving

Annual Lightroom Catalogs simplify your archival and backup processes. When combined with good file management processes, you can easily archive each year’s catalogue with its associated image files, ensuring they are easily accessible if needed.

I’ve found that archiving my photos and Lightroom catalogue files onto large NAS storage devices with built-in redundancies (along with some of my other backup processes) ensures that my photos are both easily accessible and protected from potential system failures and data loss.

Preset And Meta Tag Management

Starting a fresh Lightroom Catalog each year helps you manage your presets and meta tags more effectively. It can be very easy, especially when you are just starting out in motorsport photography, to try different ways to automate and organise your workflows.

A new catalogue gives you a fresh slate. It removes outdated or seldom-used items, keeping your workspace uncluttered and your tools relevant to current streamlined processes.

Things To Remember When Starting A New Lightroom Catalog Each Year

Naming Your Adobe Lightroom Catalog

One of the most important things to keep in mind is naming your Adobe Lightroom Catalogs so you can easily find the right one when you need to dig into your photo archives. Creating a new catalogue at the start of the year makes this easy by simply including the year in the name – something like Lightroom2024 or Motorsport2024.

Keep in mind that maintaining consistent naming and folder structure ensures continuity and a smooth transition between catalogues each year.

Transfer Presets and Meta Data Templates

Another tip to keep in mind is to make sure you back up and re-import your presets and metadata templates as needed. Each time you create a new Adobe Lightroom Catalog, you get a clean slate, which is great for cleaning out anything that doesn’t fit into your current workflow. But make sure you import (and for metadata, update) so you are ready for the first race of the new season.


Starting a new Lightroom Catalog each year is a simple yet effective way to keep Adobe Lightroom performing as expected while enhancing your workflow as a motorsport photographer and keeping your image archives well organised.

Rhys Vandersyde

Rhys Vandersyde

I've been working as a motorsport photographer in Australia since 2012, building up my business InSyde Media. I am very fortunate that I have been able to work at all sorts of motorsport events including Supercars, F1 and WRC all over Australia and New Zealand. Also, check out my personal website where I document my travels and a few other things.


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