The results are a little surprising… Lightroom catalogs are not nearly as large as many would assume.
While the average Lightroom catalog size is 15,888 photos, the median number of photos in a Lightroom catalog is 5,095. (A smaller number of very large catalog moves the average up.)
The first quartile is only 794 photos. The third quartile is 19,388. This means that the majority of Lightroom catalogs are between 794 and 19,388 photos.
Note the bin sizes differ.
It seems that many photographers choose to have multiple smaller catalogs as opposed to one large “master” catalog. In fact, a whopping 21% of catalogs that we synchronize are smaller than 500 photos. The photographers with the smaller catalogs are much more likely to synchronize / backup multiple catalogs to Mosaic than just one. Obviously one photographer with thirty 1,000 photo catalogs skews the “average” number as there are more catalogs that are smaller than a photographer with a single larger “master” Lightroom catalog.
Only 2% of the catalogs we synchronize are over 75,000 photos.
There could be a number reasons for this. Although this is speculation, we have noticed a large spike in Lightroom usage in the past year. And we aren’t alone. In this survey from”http://digital-photography-school.com/post-processing-poll-results” target=”_blank”>The Digital Photography Schoolon what post-processing software is used most often, “Lightroom is up 10% from two years ago to 42% currently.” (19% report using Photoshop.) It could be that many new users didn’t migrate older photos into Lightroom but started with only new empty catalogs.
A caveat: These numbers may or may not represent Lightroom users as a whole. Of course, Mosaic users are naturally better looking, have lower cholesterol, higher SAT scores, more friends and are generally more interesting than typical Lightroom users (note: we only have anecdotal evidence to support these claims). But beyond that, we don’t know too much about how our users compare to the Lightroom audience in general. I’d assume that Mosaic would skew slightly more towards a “professional” photography audience, which makes the smaller catalogs even more surprising.
A few notes on the data: This is based on a random sample of 3,000 Lightroom catalogs, which should be a significant enough sample size. Also, this is “per Lightroom catalog” and many photographers have multiple Lightroom catalogs so this is not representative of “a total number of photographs in a photographers archive.”
It’s certainly a bit surprising that 82% of Lightroom catalog have fewer than 25,000 photos. How many photos are in your Lr catalog? Do you have multiple catalogs? Why? Let us know in the comments below!