Over the last few weeks, my Lightroom 5 catalog was taking a significant amount of time to load after I opened the program. At one point, it was taking 8 to 10 minutes before I was able to even click on an image to work on it in the Develop module. Once the catalog was open, things operated fairly well, but I was still frustrated with the sluggishness of the overall program.
Waiting for the catalog to load is no fun, so I used the Optimize Catalog utility to see if that would speed up overall operation. To access this utility from Lightroom 5, click on File –> Optimize Catalog. The process took about five minutes, but made a huge improvement in performance. Program launch went from 8 minutes down to 10 seconds. Yes, that’s right. It now only takes ten seconds to open Lightroom 5 and begin working on images. If Lightroom 5 is operating slowly for you, then I encourage you use the same utility.
On another note, I usually organize my catalogs so they contain between 75,000 and 100,000 images each. For me, this represents about two years of shooting. The catalog I’m referring to in this blog post is my 2012-2013 catalog and it currently has 104,170 image files. Technically, there’s no limit to how many photos you can add to a Lightroom catalog, but I’ve found that something less than 100,000 images is a good number to shoot for.