How to Find the Original Image File on Your Hard Drive

Sometimes you just need to find the original file on your hard drive. Lightroom has a simple built-in function for that.

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Filed Under: Library Module

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You can do quite a few different file management functions within Lightroom, such as renaming or moving files. But sometimes you just need to find the original file on your hard drive.

If you’re navigating to the image using the Library module’s Folder hierarchy in the left panel, it’s reasonably straightforward to see where the files are because that’s organized by source drives and folders. But it’s less clear if you’re using collections or search results, where a bunch of different images might be displayed that are saved in multiple different spots on your hard drive.

Lightroom has a built-in function to help you find the original file, and it’s very easy.

You simply right click on an image or thumbnail and choose Show in Finder (on Mac) or Show in Explorer (on Windows).


That will then open a separate Finder or Explorer panel for you and go directly to the file and highlight it.

This works in the Library, Develop, Map, Book, Slideshow, Print, and Web modules.

David Coleman / Photographer

David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. I've been using Lightroom for years, from back before it was Lightroom (RawShooter). More »

3 thoughts on “How to Find the Original Image File on Your Hard Drive”

  1. Hi. Wondering if you can help me. I followed these steps but the photo that I was after didn’t show up in finder but another one with the same name did. I clicked on it to try and see a better view of the picture but also find similar pictures was also ticked. I now have not the original photos group that I was after, but in lightroom they have all been replaced with this other picture and similar from that shoot. I am desperate to get these photos back, even though they are missing from lightroom at least if they are on the screen I can screen shot them. PLease help me.

  2. Literally, have the newest version of Lightroom CC, and it does not have this function, very crazy, searching everywhere, but cannot figure out how to find my original photos, very frustrating, I work with over 2000 photos per week, and there a folder from about a year ago that I cannot figure out where I have the originals stored…

    • This is another example where Adobe’s naming system isn’t helpful…. In Lightroom Classic 9.1, which is the current version, it’s showing up normally for me. I originally wrote this when Lightroom 6 was officially called Lightroom CC, before they forked into Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC that were two distinct products. The cloud-based database/filesystem of the current Lightroom CC doesn’t work the same way and can’t show you the original filing location in the same way.


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