I've put together a series of posts (three) about using Lightroom for scrapbooking, especially for digital scrapbooking supplies, because it is such an important part for my process and flow and makes everything easier.
I'm fairly new to Lightroom - I've had it for about a year. Before that, I used Aperture for my photos, which is a similar Mac program that has been discontinued, and the Apple Photos program for my digital scrapbooking supplies. So while I am no Lightroom expert, I have it working well for what I want. I am using the Classic CC desktop version on an iMac computer - I have a monthly Adobe Creative Cloud subscription which gives me access to both the Lightroom Classic CC and Lightroom CC cloud-based version as well as Photoshop.
MY SET UP
I am using Lightroom for both my photographs and my digital scrapbooking kits. I have moved a lot of my photos from Aperture into Lightroom, but still have Aperture running and go back there from time to time. I have not bothered moving all of my digital scrapbook supplies from Photos - a lot of my supplies are older and just not what I am using now (I've been digital scrapbooking for eight years). I have moved all of my Ali Edwards' Story Kits over to Lightroom because I use them all the time and anything new I buy is going into Lightroom.
In Lightroom, all of your images are stored in folders which are referenced in a catalogue. I am using the one catalogue for everything but I have three main folders (with sub folders within):
There are various ways to import your images into Lightroom - this is something I had to spend some time googling for information and everyone has a different way of doing it. I import my photos and digital supplies straight into Lightroom (so I am copying images from my phone or from the downloads folder on my Mac and they are being placed by Lightroom into folders on my hard drive). I then spend some time organising at the hard drive level after import. There are ways to set Lightroom up to import exactly as you like but I am happy to bring my images in then drag them to the correct folder. Still learning.
Some people do it the other way around - organising photos on their hard drive then bringing into Lightroom from there. Others bring everything into Lightroom into the one folder but use Collections to do the organising. I would suggest watching some YouTube videos and reading some articles about importing so you do it in a way that works for you. Photos don't actually live in Lightroom - they live on your hard drive and the Lightroom Catalogue stores the location and information for the image.
FOLDERS V COLLECTIONS
In the left panel of Lightroom, there are various click down menus - Folders and Collections are the main ones. If I click on Folders, I can see my Mac Hard Drive and the way my images are actually stored on my computer. If I delete or move things around here, I am deleting and moving the actual photo.
In Collections , everything is virtual, meaning your image isn't actually moving around or being copied to different places, it's just a pointer to the real image on your hard drive. Collections are similar to music playlists.
I operate mostly from my Folders, some people leave this area alone and stick to Collections.
ORGANISING MY FOLDERS
I store all of my imported photos in the Photographs folder, then I have subfolders by year then month. I also have some of my photos stored by theme rather than year like Weddings and Holidays & Trips with lots of subfolders underneath.
I see my everyday scrapbooking and my event scrapbooking as very different things, so if I have a lot of photos of an event (wedding, trip) I like to move those photos into their own folder rather than have my regular May photos folder filled with Fiji pics for instance. Personal preference.
In the past, I have spent a lot of time tagging photos (and digital scrapbook supplies) with key words but I don't want to spend time on that any more. I am happy to go through my photos manually for ideas and pages. I am more likely to scrap the recent photos or take a photo specifically for a layout so having everything organised and tagged isn't really necessary.
I also have older children now (9 and 12) so I am not taking as many photos every day like I used to. I still have Aperture running on my computer for now with all of my old smart folders and tags so I can go back there and look through my tags, but I am not adding new photos to that program.
Similary, I used to tag all of my digital scrapbooking supplies (I have a huge collection) by Designer, Colour, Item (card, tag, circle, word art) and have some really great smart folders for that kind of thing in the Photos app. That is still running with all of my older supplies and I do go back to it from time to time, but I've decided not to continue that in Lightroom - I'm happy to just use the Search function. I am also buying a lot less supplies so it's easier to keep track of what I have.
Collections can be set up to be smart (so every image with a tag or from a particular date period automatically appears) or you can create blank collections where you add images in manually.
Collections are a good way to collect photos or supplies for a current or future scrapbooking project. For example, when I'm working on my December Daily, I might have two or three different digital collections for the project. I want to keep them in their separate folders for organisation up in my Scrapbook folder, but to actually work on my project, it's easier for me to have everything available in one folder. I can create a Collection called December Daily Supplies 2018 and drag everything I want there.
Again, some people do zero organising at the folder/hard drive level and only use Collections.
DIGITAL SCRAPBOOK SUPPLIES
My scrapbook supplies all go into the Scrapbook folder and I have folders set up underneath. For example, I have a folder in Scrapbook called AE Story Kits and that is where all of my Ali Edwards digital Story Kits are stored - a separate folder for each kit.
Next post I'll look at importing and organising scrapbook supplies.