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Backwards syncing of published folder

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New Member
Jul 6, 2011
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
Operating System: Mac, OS 10.11 El Capitan
Exact Lightroom Version (Help menu > System Info): LR Classic CC

I recently discovered the ability to directly publish into a Harddrive and Dropbox.
I am trying to sync my designated published-folders in a way that the previously existing photos appear in my LR publishing section along with the future photos that I will add into this folder directly inside LR.

Here is my context:
I have a large Media Archive of jpgs in my computer's memory. I used to export into it directly from LR and then sync that folder to my LR catalogue to manage the jpgs. This Media Archive represents in a way the jpg versions of a selection of my raw files to be shared with relevant people. The raw photos exist in my LR catalogue in their own folder structure, sometimes similar to the Media Archive format, sometimes different. The Media Archive is but a small part of my overall catalogue.

Now I see that if I use the publishing service, I will save time because "Publish now" would create the necessary new subfolders and export the jpgs into them automatically, while also keeping a record of these folders in my LR catalogue, under the publish services section.

Is it at all possible to sync such a folder automatically, like we do with any other folder in a hard drive, ensuring that the preexisting photos can be imported into LR or that future changes within the publish section can be carried on to the hard disk copy of that folder?

I'm not sure that I understand your question. The whole idea of publishing is that you do not have to add the jpegs to the catalog, because they are basically just duplicates (in another file format). By using a publishing service, you keep the jpegs linked to their raw counterparts in Lightroom, without having to import them again. Any changes you make to the raw file will trigger a republish, so the jpeg remains in sync.
Yes, your point is very valid for my future exports.
I am trying to make sure my past exports, which were done without the publish services, can also be seen in that publishing folder for 2 reasons.
1- to keep all that Media Archive in one place
2- and as a positive side effect, I do not publish photos that were exported previously

The other way to achieve these points would be that I drag the raws of Media Archive into the publishing folder, but with over 5000 pics, it will be time consuming and the service would try to publish any new additions into the publishing folder. The 5000 photos do not need to be published again.

I guess perhaps it is easier to stick to my current workflow for this archive, which is using Collections. But there again, I had the same exact problem: to sync the pre-existing folder structure from the media archive into the folders in the Collection. My original mistake was actually not starting the Media Archive 6 years ago with Lightroom, but I didn't know I would keep it for this long and that it would grow to be this big.
thanks... I was just checking to see if there was a way I couldn't think of. Thanks for the feedback.
by the way, I found a plugin that allows backward syncing in a way that it allows importing the folder structure of existing dropbox folder into the publishing services. It does not, however, import any photos from those photos, so it's only a partial solution.

I am not sure what the rule is here about sharing links to plugins of other people, especially if they are paid for plugins. Therefore I am not adding a link.
Here is the link. It didn't do what I need but I can see it being useful for some people. It has 10 days unrestricted trial, to test before you make the purchase.

Dropbox - alloyphoto
Here is the link. It didn't do what I need but I can see it being useful for some people. It has 10 days unrestricted trial, to test before you make the purchase.

Dropbox - alloyphoto

I use that plugin, but that is an entirely different plugin. What it does is export images directly to the Dropbox servers, so you can save a backup on the Dropbox servers without having to store a copy of all these images in your local Dropbox folder. I don't see how you could use this plugin to 'backwards sync' a publishing service.
In my case, I need to maintain a jpg version of the aforementioned Media Archive (MA) in my Dropbox. It's not just for backup purposes, it's where all my colleagues and clients find the photos they need. True, I wouldn't need to store all the same images in my local DB folder, but it becomes practical to do it when I need to share specific folders.

Now, with over 100+ folders already in that MA, starting a new publishing service would not make sense.
This app has the ability to import the folder structure directly from Dropbox. True, it's not necessarily backward syncing, but it did bring all the 100+ folders into my LR publishing services, albeit with no photos in them. If I would choose to continue using this publishing service, it would mean this import job did half the job for me, by mirroring the DB folder structure. Since I do not want to re-export 5000 photos, I am not gonna do that. If I can figure out a way to import the folder structure into my Collections, using a similar plugin, that would be good enough for me.

But this feature would be great for someone in this context:
- if they created a complex folder structure to store some photos and only then learned that they could do this through LR using this plugin
- they do not have so many photos that they do not mind re-exporting the same photos via publishing and from.
The plugin would give them a good start then to maintain the DB folders as the plugin is intended to do, or in the way you have described.
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