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Catalogue size and managing work flow between desktop and laptop

tom manley

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I have been using Lightroom since version 1 and have a main catalogue of around 12000 images which over the last year has started to operate more slowly. Recently I have been thinking about a few issues and changes to my workflow
1)Generally catalogue is ok - but files can take upto 10 seconds or more 'loading' especially when zooming into details of images. I wonder if this is to do with the catalogue size, is the performance being affected by the amount of images some unto 50MB DNG files? Are there are ways to resolve this?
2) Also it seems to be unpredictable as to what files take a long time to load - sometimes they are sharp and zoomable quickly. Should i consider breaking my catalogue down and if so what is the best way to do this.
3) My third issue is about using multiple catalogues. I have recently started to use a lap top in conjunction with a desk top. I store my image library on desktop - Mac Pro internal hard drives, and plan to use lap top for occasional editing and image previews - any advice on best way to go with this would be helpful, export catalogue or use smart previews?
 
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Hi Tom, so which LR version are you using now?

Don't start breaking your catalog down - 12k is tiny!

On the laptop, will you be editing existing images or new ones? And will you know in advance which ones you want to edit?
 

tom manley

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Thanks Victoria, I'm on Lightroom 5 - some people have said that breaking down into smaller catalogues is preferable but agree that i would like to keep as few catalogues as possible.
I think i will generally be using LR on laptop for editing existing images which are kept in my main catalogue on desktop and then reimported back into that catalogue. Would use the laptop to do web uploads, portfolio, emailing previews etc.. and to edit on a job by job basis
Alternatively perhaps i would have the whole catalogue viewable on laptop - using smart previews ( not used these before )
I think what would also be very useful would be to create a separate catalogue for all finalised & edited TiFFS ( at the mo i keep these in same folders as raw files ) and perhaps export these originals to the laptop as a catalogue. As you can see i am only just beginning to think about my options here!!
 
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As you can see i am only just beginning to think about my options here!!

I haven't forgotten you Tom... just need a functioning brain to give a sensible reply. I'll come back to you!
 
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Hi Tom, sorry for disappearing, nasty bug.

Ok, there's a few ways of doing this. If you're really planning on diving into it in detail, Peter's Krogh's Multi-Catalog Workflow book goes into the options in a lot more details.

The simplest option is to keep your catalog and original photos on an external drive that you plug into whichever computer you're using at the time.

Beyond that, you can keep the catalog and smart previews in a Dropbox folder (or various other sync options), with various warnings such as you need to make absolutely sure each machine has finished syncing before swapping machines.

Or you can use import/export catalogs to split and merge catalogs, although that'll become a pain if you're trying to do it on a daily basis. If you're just wanting to take a 'set' of images out on the laptop and then merge the changes back into the desktop later, though, that works pretty cleanly.

Any thoughts which way you're leaning?
 

tom manley

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Hi Victoria,
Well some time since we were talking about this and has taken me a while to consider the best option for me to proceed with. I wanted to create a reference copy of catalogue from my desktop to my laptop - so i can tweak files / keyword / edit organise files etc when not at my office where I keep desktop.
After giving it some thought i have decided to go down the import / export route to try and maintain a reasonably well synced catalogue system between the 2 computers.
So I have just got round to doing this and have exported the whole catalogue with negative files / previews to a 2TB external drive and imported this into Laptop with same file hierarchy, as well as copying my Metadata presets and slideshow presets that I use in general processing.

So here is what i may do:
if i carry out some maintenance to the catalogue on my laptop - perhaps delete some files, edit a few, change some collections, keywords etc and potentially add some files.
Meanwhile I may also add new folders and images to the master catalogue on my desktop and its internal harddrive of images .
My question is if after a week or so - I want to consolidate my main Library catalogue on desktop. Should i be able to import from catalogue - to update the info and changes from the revised catalogue on my laptop. Would doing this procedure on a regular ( say 2 weekly basis ) not risk corrupting integrity of my main catalogue.
Thanks - Oh and i bought your book! Has helped with a few pointers already!!
 
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