Chapter 11: Organizing Images

A key benefit of working with the Library panel is organization.  Being able to find your best and favorite photos makes your library more useful.  Taking the time to organize in Luminar is important.


The primary organization tool in Luminar are folders, which connect directly to  Folders on your hard drive. In addition to physically being able to organize your real world-folders within Luminar, you can also create a virtual organization of your images using Albums.  Albums let you organize your images into groups without affecting their location on your hard drive. Let’s explore both approaches.

Using Folders to Organize Images

Organizing your images within folders in Luminar is a great way to keep and maintain your images on your hard drive. All organization you apply to folders inside of Luminar directly affects how the folder on your hard drive is organized, and vice versa.  If you create subfolders or add new images to folders on your hard drive, your image library in Luminar is also updated.  

What are Folders?

When you add a folder of images in Luminar, you are creating a direct link to the folders, subfolders, and images on your hard drive.  You should consider managing folders and their contents an extension to managing these items directly within Explorer in Windows or the Finder on a Mac.


How are Folders Different than Albums?

Since folders in Luminar directly link to (and effect) folders on your hard drive, you need to be sensitive to how you organize them within Luminar.  Albums allow you to organize your images inside of Luminar without affecting the structure of images on your hard drive.  Think of Albums as a playlist.  Images can be organized in several different Albums making them easier to find, but their location on your hard drive remains untouched

Master Folders

To add a folder to your Library, just click the Add Folder button (the + sign to the right of the word Folder( in the Library Panel or from the main menu Library > Add Folder.  The referenced folder is now added as a top-level folder to your folder collection.  All folders contained within that top-level folder are also added (as subfolders).

Using Subfolders

Any folders that already exist within a referenced Master folder are added as subfolders.  If a new folder is added to the master folder from within the operating system, Luminar will recognize that change and add that folder into the Library.  You can also add subfolders to Luminar.  Using nested folders makes it easy to organize image by client, location, or event.


Creating Subfolders

As you work in your Luminar Library, you may want to create additional folders to get organized. You can quickly create additional subfolders inside of any folder in your Luminar Library in two ways.


  • Right-clicking on a folder and choose New Subfolder
  • Selecting a folder in your Library panel and choose  Library > New Subfolder from the main application menu.

 A new subfolder is created called Untitled, which you should rename.  This subfolder is also created on your hard drive within the master folder. 

Also, you can drag folders from one level to another to create a nested folder.  Just select any folder in the library list.  Drag a folder on top of another to nest it and convert it into a subfolder.  The folder is relocated both in your Luminar library and on your hard drive.

Renaming Folders

As you continue to organize images, you may want to rename a folder or subfolder.  Perhaps it’s to identify the status of the images (such as Selects) or to split up by date or location. Be sure to use care when editing the names of folders.


  • If you choose to rename a folder or subfolder from within Luminar, the name of the folder that it is linked to on your hard drive will have its name changed.  
  • If you change the name of a folder while Luminar is running, your library will update to reflect the new names.  

NOTE:  If the Luminar application is closed and you rename or move a Master folder on your hard drive, Luminar may become confused.  This can break the link to your images and the folder is no longer available (and will be grayed out).  You should change the name of the Master folder back to its original name so that Luminar will reconnect to the media files and relaunch Luminar.

Moving Images Between Folders

You can move images and subfolders from one folder in your Library to another folder in your Library.  If you decide to reorganize your photos within Luminar, you can select single or multiple images and drag them onto a different master folder or into a subfolder.  These images will be relocated on your hard drive to match their new location inside of Luminar.  

You can also move an entire subfolder of images from one folder to another, this to will affect the organizational structure of your hard drive.  

NOTE:  If you move folders from one disk to another disk, images are moved (not copied).  This means they are transferred to the new location and erased from the previous location.

Moving Images from the Quick Edit Collection to a Folder

You may recall that the Quick Edit command is a great way to work with individual images and not add them to your collection of folders. Any image you open is tracked as a recent file in the Quick Edit collection.


Images that have been temporarily added to Luminar using the Quick Edit command can be permanently added to your Luminar Library.

  1. In the Shortcuts area, click on the Quick Edits collection.
  2. Select an image (or multiple images)
  3. Dragging the image thumbnails onto any folder or subfolder in the Library Panel. The images will be physically moved into the matching location on your hard drive.  

NOTE:  When you drag an image from the Quick Edit collection, it will be moved on your hard drive to the new location.

These images will still appear in the Quick Edit shortcut even though they are now part of your Library.  To remove them from the Quick Edit shortcut, select them and just press the Delete key.  The image is removed from the Quick Edit collection.  Though no longer in the Quick Edit collection, the images are in the new location you and added to your Library.

Reconnecting Missing Folders and Images

As you work with folders and hard drives, it’s possible that images may move from time to time. For example, if an external hard drive is unmounted, the folders linked to that hard drive will be grayed out.  When opened, thumbnails of the images contained in that folder will be seen, and the photos can still be rated.  However, you will not be able to edit or move those images while the drive is offline.

To bring those folders back online, simply reconnect the external hard drive, and Luminar will reestablish its link with the folders on the hard drive. Once reconnected the folders will no longer be greyed out and the images can be edited or organized as usual.  

A few notes

  • For best results move, rename, and organize referenced folders while Luminar is running
  • Avoid renaming master folders except within Luminar
  • Remember that relocating and renaming folders in Luminar has a direct effect on your hard drive.

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