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How to Fix Missing or Offline Photos in Lightroom

Have you ever encountered a folder of photos in Lightroom that has a question mark by it? Or maybe run across thumbnails in Lightroom that have question marks?

Maybe you haven't known what they were or why they were there before. Today's video tutorial is all about what these icons are telling you and how to fix the situation!

Watch or read below!

About Your Catalog

Your Lightroom Catalog is having a relationship with your photos. Your photos aren't stored in Lightroom. It just keeps tabs on them and keeps track of the adjustments you make. All that information is stored in your Lightroom catalog.

When you move your files while you are not in Lightroom, turn off one of your hard drives so that your computer can't see it anymore, or rename a folder of photos (again—when you are not in Lightroom), Lightroom loses track of your photos. It puts up those little "question mark" icons to let you know that the relationship is in a broken state. I DOES NOT necessarily mean that the photos have been deleted or are gone (though it could if you deleted the files).

How to Fix the Relationship

Missing Files in Lightroom

To fix the missing or offline photos, you just have to reunite Lightroom and your photos. To do this, right-click on the folder with the question mark and choose "Find Missing Folder..." This will open up a window that will allow you to navigate to where the files are now located. If the folder has just been renamed, it will rename the folder in Lightroom and the relationship will now be fixed!

How to Avoid Ruining Relationships

To avoid missing or offline photos, move and rename your folders from within Lightroom. Renaming a file is as easy as right-clicking and choosing "Rename." Moving a folder is as easy as dragging and dropping.

If this seems too hard to remember to do--just know that you will sometimes have to fix these broken relationships. And now that you know how to do it, it will be simple! Right?

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