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Development and metadataassignment from separate computers

BrJohan

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Nov 4, 2011
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From a relative to my wife I/we have got a rather large number of imagefiles (primarily scanned negs, slides and photos). Most of them show persons and places dating back to the 1940s and onwards.

Now we want to 'take care' of this 'treasure' using Lightroom. I know how to 'develop' the images, and my wife know a lot about their contents.

An idea is to store the imagefiles on a NAS and then
1. import them to a catalog on my computer - to let me do the development activities
2. simultaneously import them to another catalog on another computer with LR - to let my wife assign metadata (keywords, people, ...)

Can we, when both of us have done our part of the work, in one way or another, merge the results of our combined work into one catalog (new or one of the previously created)?

If 'yes', how?

If 'no', how to allow us to divide the work simultaneously using two computers?
 
Joined
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You can, but you'd have to very very careful. Lightroom stores the metadata and the edits in its catalog, not in the images, so you would both have a catalog that contains part of the work. That is tricky. You can use 'Import from Another Catalog' to merge catalogs, but that will probably create virtual copies of each image, where the original contains one part (the keywords for example) and the virtual copy the other part (the edits). That is also not what you want.

There is a way to let Lightroom store metadata and edits into the files themselves. You can select the images and then choose 'Metadata - Write Metadata to Files'. Then, on the other computer, you can select the same images and use 'Read Metadata from Files'. That will work if you would split the images in two parts. You both work on one part and when you are finished, you both do the 'Write Metadata to Files' thing. Then you both select the other part and use 'Read Metadata from Files'. In the end, you use the same method to synchronise the second parts.
 
Joined
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Yes, this is possible. Both metadata (keywords) and develop adjustments are stored in the database file that is the LR catalog. If you Imports the image files into one LR catalog, storing the files in a NAS destination. Then you can make a copy of that catalog file and open the copy on the second computer. On both computers, the drive letter of the NAS needs to be the same, since LR stores the path to the image files as a reference location in the catalog file. Neither of you can delete any image files during this time. Either of you can mark an image rejected (X) as this (X) is another metadata entry. When the metadata update is complete, you can copy that "metadata" catalog back to the computer with the master catalog. Next, in the master catalog you can use the "Import from another catalog" function to import from the "metadata" catalog. This will merge the two catalogs. After which time you can safely delete rejected images and import new images.
 
Joined
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I agree with Johan, though I'd maybe add a few more "verys" in there.

Slightly off the wall perhaps, but you could make use of LRCC's mobile sync capability. Using the one master catalog, add the images to be "shared" to a synced collection. Once they have been uploaded to LRmobile, the master catalog in Lightroom becomes the place where your wife does her metadata work, while you can edit the images either:

1. In Lightroom when your wife's not using it, or
2. In LRmobile on the synced iDevice, or
3. In your web browser by logging into lightroom.adobe.com using your Adobe ID.

If using either 2 or 3 your edits will automatically sync back to the images in the master catalog.
 

rob211

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Mar 17, 2014
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Would that Lr Mobile were good enough to do metadata entry, but it stinks. Still can't even do hierarchical keywords.

As others noted, it's really a workflow problem. You have to be very careful not to overwrite her changes, and you her's. Metadata like keywords, people, timestamps, location, etc is pretty easily segregated from the adjustment workflow. Indeed, lot of us who use stuff like Photo Mechanic do this all the time.

Which brings me to this: have you considered having her use Bridge instead of Lr? it actually is superior in some ways for metadata entry. And it can do its own collections and organization, and doesn't have to import. And there are metadata templates, which for batch work can be real timesavers. Sort of like presets in Lr. And since Bridge browses, it wouldn't matter if you moved stuff around in file folders.
 
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Would that Lr Mobile were good enough to do metadata entry, but it stinks. Still can't even do hierarchical keywords.
Which is why I said do the metadata entry in Lightroom, not LRmobile.
 
Joined
Jun 24, 2010
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Encinitas, CA USA
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Here is how I would tackle this.

Import all the images into a master catalog. This would then be the catalog where you are doing all the development and adjustments.

Then select a portion of these images in your master catalog that your wife wants to work on and use Export as Catalog and include all available previews to create a working catalog to be used for adding metadata.

Copy that new working catalog and its associated previews on to her computer.

If you have an existing Keyword hierarchy that you want to follow export Keywords from the master, copy the resulting file ( I think it is Keywords.txt) to her computer and use import Keywords in the working catalog

Now she can start all the metadata work separately.

When the metadata work is completed copy the working catalog back to your computer. At this point you only need catalog file (.lrcat) and not the previews and use Import from Another Catalog to bring all the metadata changes back into the master catalog.

Then repeat as often as necessary.

Through every iteration I probably set aside or delete the working catalog after verifying that the metadata in the master catalog is up to date. And BACKUP your master catalog just prior to each import just to protect from any unforeseen problems.

This will allow you to each work completely independently and avoid much of the potential confusion that could arise from trying to coordinate read/save metadata from the actual image files.

-louie
 
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