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Help sense-checking online workflow

lrq_7

New Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Messages
3
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Classic 11.2 / Adobe CC Photographer Subscription (20gb)
Operating System
  1. Windows 10
So I am attempting to get a workflow together using:
  • Lightroom Classic (LRC),
  • Lightroom web / online - i.e. lightroom accessed from lightroom.adobe.com in a browser - I'm not sure exactly what to call this, so I'll call it Lightroom Online (LRO) here.
  • Adobe Portfolio (AP).
I'd appreciate a sense check by those of you with experience to spot where I'm going wrong!

Apologies for the wall of text from a new user.... this seems like the best discussion forum on the internet for lightroom so I'm just throwing it all out there in the hope of useful feedback!

Background:
I have used LRC for... at least 12 years I guess. I have a single primary catalog with 300k+ photos in it, no videos. I may also have smaller working catalogs, but I don't persist them, they are not relevant from a syncing perspective. I take photos on multiple devices but they all get plugged into my PC and the photos imported to LRC. Unlike most of the discussions here on Classic / Cloud workflow, I don't want to edit in both platforms. I have no issues with LRC to the point where I export a processed, tagged JPG. However, currently those JPGs sit on my PC or a NAS and normally go nowhere. When I want to post them online, or share them, or send them to anyone, I have to dig out the file by searching in LRC and either digging out the export or re-exporting another copy. I have some processed photos on flickr, some on google photos, some on my personal site (on squarespace), and some on facebook. Probably I have some in dropbox folders too, and maybe in other places as well. So, I want to:

Objectives:
  • Keep the keywording, organization, post-processing, in LRC.
  • Get a "good enough for web viewing" copy of all the 3* and above photos online for my own use. This is where I want to use LRO.
  • Share sets of photos with family on an ad-hoc basis. For this, I think I can share Albums from LRO
  • Get my best photos online semi-permanently on my site. For this, I think I can use AP, again part of my subscription.
How I think my process can work - please tell me if you spot any mistakes or issues I might run into :)
  • I import photos in LRC exactly as now, process in LRC exactly as now. (I also run backups exactly as now, since I'm not treating the adobe cloud as a backup.)
  • I add the 3*+ photos to one or more collections that get synced to LRO. It seems I can't use smart collections for that, but that's fine, I can add them as the final step in my editing workflow.
  • I can myself then browse through LRO wherever I am, whenever I want to look at my own photos, rather than needing to open LRC, or browse through folders on a NAS. This is already a big step forward for me...
  • Keywords not synching properly is a bit of an issue, but as I understand it: as long as I save metadata to the file before syncing (and do not already have a smart preview generated (which I won't, as I don't use them)), the synched file will have keywords correctly tagged on initial upload. I can't access the keyword hierarchy in LRO, but I can search by existing keywords, which is good enough. I don't need to add new keywords in LRO, so them not syncing back is not an issue. I might *occasionally* need to update keywords from LRC, but that's very much an exceptional process, so I can come up with some workflow by which I first remove the photos from the synched collection, remove the smart preview, edit the keywords, then re-add and re-sync the photos - this is a pain but not an insurmountable problem.
  • I tag all (important) people in LRC. Faces tagged in LRC don't show in LRO, but the keyword tag does appear so I can do a search by name, which is the most important thing. I don't want cloud-based processing of faces, so will keep face detection disabled in LRO.
  • Question - if I want to select a subset of photos for sharing, I'm not sure whether it's best to use LRC or LRO.... it seems like if I sync one big LRC collection of "2021 photos" and then a subset collection of "2021 Christmas with family" the adobe sync should be smart enough to not upload the same smart preview twice.... but I'm not sure, maybe it would be easier to do all the selection in LRO?
  • Either way, I end up with an album in LRO which I can then share to family by using "Share & Invite". This is the second big win, since it doesn't need me to pick a service and re-upload them.
  • I can also synchronize my best album with Adobe Portfolio where they'll be publicly visible. Third win, since I can re-point my domain to AP and stop paying for squarespace.
  • I guess I could at some point use Lightroom on Mobile / Desktop as well, but I don't really need to as long as I have LRO in a browser....
Other questions:
  • If I upload from LRC, I think it uploads the smart previews only. Does this count against my adobe cloud storage quota? The implication is no, but that seems too good to be true?! I could upload web-resolution copies of 50k photos for free?
  • Downloading a jpg from LRO produces a file that is 2048x1366 (which is fine) but has no metadata: tags, ratings, etc. (which is a bit of a pain). I guess there is no way around this?
  • I'm a bit hazy on what happens on delete. I never delete from LRC, so that's not an issue, but if I remove a photo from all synched collections presumably it vanishes from LRO and subsequently from AP.... not sure if it's all automatic or I have to give it a kick along the way....
  • If I need to share full resolution files for someone else to download and print, I guess I need another workflow. Not sure how I could get the originals / full-res JPGs from LRC to LRO? I don't really want to use Lightroom-not-classic-on-desktop because it will create another local copy of all the smart previews? This isn't really important as it's quite a rare occurrence, maybe I could just manually upload exported files though the browser?
  • I have a plugin on LRC to put borders / name on a photo for export. It would be nice to keep doing this to all online web copies, but as far as I can tell, there is no way to put that into the sync workflow since an export isn't being performed?
  • I don't really see the point of Gallery in LRO if I use AP.... any reason it's relevant?
  • Hypothetically, I might want to use Lightroom on mobile to upload originals, download them from LRC, delete the the originals from LRO and push them through this same workflow. But I have a feeling this might be a step too far, and likely to lead to confusion, probably best to just have smart previews online to keep the workflow clear?
If all this works as I think it will, I'll be really happy, and hopefully so will friends and family who hassle me to see old photos from years ago. Thanks again for any feedback, even if it's just "you're overthinking this, give it a go" :)
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
13,728
Location
West Sussex, UK
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
[*]Lightroom web / online - i.e. lightroom accessed from lightroom.adobe.com in a browser - I'm not sure exactly what to call this, so I'll call it Lightroom Online (LRO) here.

Lightroom Web is fine (or LrW if you want to shorten it), much more recognisable than LRO.

Apologies for the wall of text from a new user.... this seems like the best discussion forum on the internet for lightroom so I'm just throwing it all out there in the hope of useful feedback!

No worries about the "wall of text", but it would have been easier to respond if you had used numbered bullet points.:)
  • I import photos in LRC exactly as now, process in LRC exactly as now. (I also run backups exactly as now, since I'm not treating the adobe cloud as a backup.)
  • I add the 3*+ photos to one or more collections that get synced to LRO. It seems I can't use smart collections for that, but that's fine, I can add them as the final step in my editing workflow. There's a plug-in from Jeffrey Friedl (and I think John Ellis has something similar) which sort of let's you sync Smart Collections.
  • I can myself then browse through LRO wherever I am, whenever I want to look at my own photos, rather than needing to open LRC, or browse through folders on a NAS. This is already a big step forward for me...
  • Keywords not synching properly is a bit of an issue, but as I understand it: as long as I save metadata to the file before syncing (and do not already have a smart preview generated (which I won't, as I don't use them)), the synched file will have keywords correctly tagged on initial upload. I can't access the keyword hierarchy in LRO, but I can search by existing keywords, which is good enough. I don't need to add new keywords in LRO, so them not syncing back is not an issue. I might *occasionally* need to update keywords from LRC, but that's very much an exceptional process, so I can come up with some workflow by which I first remove the photos from the synched collection, remove the smart preview, edit the keywords, then re-add and re-sync the photos - this is a pain but not an insurmountable problem. No need to "remove the smart preview"....if you don't typically use them, LrC does not retain the smart previews when it creates one for syncing to the cloud. You might also consider a more simple approach when editing existing synced keywords, i.e. apply the changes to both LrC and LR Desktop. That is what I do and works fine for minor changes.
  • I tag all (important) people in LRC. Faces tagged in LRC don't show in LRO, but the keyword tag does appear so I can do a search by name, which is the most important thing. I don't want cloud-based processing of faces, so will keep face detection disabled in LRO.
  • Question - if I want to select a subset of photos for sharing, I'm not sure whether it's best to use LRC or LRO.... it seems like if I sync one big LRC collection of "2021 photos" and then a subset collection of "2021 Christmas with family" the adobe sync should be smart enough to not upload the same smart preview twice.... but I'm not sure, maybe it would be easier to do all the selection in LRO? It would probably be easier to use LrC rather than LrW to organise images into collections/albums. Yes, it is smart enough not to upload smart previews more than once!
  • Either way, I end up with an album in LRO which I can then share to family by using "Share & Invite". This is the second big win, since it doesn't need me to pick a service and re-upload them.
  • I can also synchronize my best album with Adobe Portfolio where they'll be publicly visible. Third win, since I can re-point my domain to AP and stop paying for squarespace.
  • I guess I could at some point use Lightroom on Mobile / Desktop as well, but I don't really need to as long as I have LRO in a browser....Personally, I'd far rather use LrMobile on a phone/tablet than use LrW in a browser on said phone tablet, for most things.
Other questions:
  • If I upload from LRC, I think it uploads the smart previews only. Does this count against my adobe cloud storage quota? The implication is no, but that seems too good to be true?! I could upload web-resolution copies of 50k photos for free? You can upload your entire library to the cloud as smart previews, entirely for free. Very generous of Adobe.
  • Downloading a jpg from LRO produces a file that is 2048x1366 (which is fine) but has no metadata: tags, ratings, etc. (which is a bit of a pain). I guess there is no way around this? None that I can see at the moment....we'll keep prodding Adobe to improve this aspect of LrW.
  • I'm a bit hazy on what happens on delete. I never delete from LRC, so that's not an issue, but if I remove a photo from all synched collections presumably it vanishes from LRO and subsequently from AP.... not sure if it's all automatic or I have to give it a kick along the way.... It'll be removed from the cloud automatically, thus from LrW. But it will stay in Portfolio until you refresh the album.
  • If I need to share full resolution files for someone else to download and print, I guess I need another workflow. Not sure how I could get the originals / full-res JPGs from LRC to LRO? I don't really want to use Lightroom-not-classic-on-desktop because it will create another local copy of all the smart previews? This isn't really important as it's quite a rare occurrence, maybe I could just manually upload exported files though the browser? There are various ways of doing this, but anything you upload via LrW goes up in original form and because your LrC catalog is synced they'll also be downloaded back into LrC, again in original form. Something you need to figure through....
  • I have a plugin on LRC to put borders / name on a photo for export. It would be nice to keep doing this to all online web copies, but as far as I can tell, there is no way to put that into the sync workflow since an export isn't being performed? Correct.
  • I don't really see the point of Gallery in LRO if I use AP.... any reason it's relevant? The Gallery's advantage is that any changes you make in any of the collections/albums are automatically reflected in the LrW Gallery, but with Portfolio you have to remember to re-publish the album in order to get the changes applied.
  • Hypothetically, I might want to use Lightroom on mobile to upload originals, download them from LRC, delete the the originals from LRO and push them through this same workflow. But I have a feeling this might be a step too far, and likely to lead to confusion, probably best to just have smart previews online to keep the workflow clear? Many, many users do have a workflow which allows phone captures to automatically sync up to the cloud and down into LrC. Once in LrC they are removed from All Synched Photographs (which deletes them from the cloud), then re-synced back to the cloud from LrC as smart previews. It works.
If all this works as I think it will, I'll be really happy, and hopefully so will friends and family who hassle me to see old photos from years ago. Thanks again for any feedback, even if it's just "you're overthinking this, give it a go" :)
 
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
1,956
Location
Waltham MA
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
A few random points since I think Jim answered most of it.
1. LrD or Lightroom Desktop is what I use on my computer. It is much faster/easier than using LrW for most tasks.
2. I use Lr shared albums instead of Portfolio. For my purpose which is sharing photos with specific individuals this works better. As I tweak, change or update an album it is updated seamlessly. In addition, on multiple family trips, the shared album has been very useful as a central sharing point for everyone.
3. Never delete! :D Why?
 

lrq_7

New Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Messages
3
Many thanks for the feedback!!
Lightroom Web is fine (or LrW if you want to shorten it), much more recognisable than LRO.
Noted!
No worries about the "wall of text", but it would have been easier to respond if you had used numbered bullet points.:)
Also noted :)
  • I add the 3*+ photos to one or more collections that get synced to LRO. It seems I can't use smart collections for that, but that's fine, I can add them as the final step in my editing workflow. There's a plug-in from Jeffrey Friedl (and I think John Ellis has something similar) which sort of let's you sync Smart Collections.
I found the Jeffrey Friedl one -thanks.
  • ... No need to "remove the smart preview"....if you don't typically use them, LrC does not retain the smart previews when it creates one for syncing to the cloud. You might also consider a more simple approach when editing existing synced keywords, i.e. apply the changes to both LrC and LR Desktop. That is what I do and works fine for minor changes.\
Ah, good point. Yes, if it's a few tags to one or two photos I can just do it manually in both....
  • Question - if I want to select a subset of photos for sharing, I'm not sure whether it's best to use LRC or LRO.... it seems like if I sync one big LRC collection of "2021 photos" and then a subset collection of "2021 Christmas with family" the adobe sync should be smart enough to not upload the same smart preview twice.... but I'm not sure, maybe it would be easier to do all the selection in LRO? It would probably be easier to use LrC rather than LrW to organise images into collections/albums. Yes, it is smart enough not to upload smart previews more than once!
Great, one less thing to worry about.
  • ...
  • I guess I could at some point use Lightroom on Mobile / Desktop as well, but I don't really need to as long as I have LRO in a browser....Personally, I'd far rather use LrMobile on a phone/tablet than use LrW in a browser on said phone tablet, for most things.
I don't really do much on my phone at the moment so I'll give both a try...
  • If I upload from LRC, I think it uploads the smart previews only. Does this count against my adobe cloud storage quota? The implication is no, but that seems too good to be true?! I could upload web-resolution copies of 50k photos for free? You can upload your entire library to the cloud as smart previews, entirely for free. Very generous of Adobe.
OK, that's really great! I was half expecting to need to upgrade my subscription. Unexpected bonus!
  • Downloading a jpg from LRO produces a file that is 2048x1366 (which is fine) but has no metadata: tags, ratings, etc. (which is a bit of a pain). I guess there is no way around this? None that I can see at the moment....we'll keep prodding Adobe to improve this aspect of LrW.
  • I have a plugin on LRC to put borders / name on a photo for export. It would be nice to keep doing this to all online web copies, but as far as I can tell, there is no way to put that into the sync workflow since an export isn't being performed? Correct.
These two are less great.... but neither is critical to me, more nice to have.... and perhaps in a few years they'll make the feature roadmap.... do you think there's a chance of the first one being actioned? It seems like it would be important to lots of people?
  • I'm a bit hazy on what happens on delete. I never delete from LRC, so that's not an issue, but if I remove a photo from all synched collections presumably it vanishes from LRO and subsequently from AP.... not sure if it's all automatic or I have to give it a kick along the way.... It'll be removed from the cloud automatically, thus from LrW. But it will stay in Portfolio until you refresh the album.
  • I don't really see the point of Gallery in LRO if I use AP.... any reason it's relevant? The Gallery's advantage is that any changes you make in any of the collections/albums are automatically reflected in the LrW Gallery, but with Portfolio you have to remember to re-publish the album in order to get the changes applied.
OK, I guess I need to decide which behavior is better for me in the different scenarios....

  • If I need to share full resolution files for someone else to download and print, I guess I need another workflow. Not sure how I could get the originals / full-res JPGs from LRC to LRO? I don't really want to use Lightroom-not-classic-on-desktop because it will create another local copy of all the smart previews? This isn't really important as it's quite a rare occurrence, maybe I could just manually upload exported files though the browser? There are various ways of doing this, but anything you upload via LrW goes up in original form and because your LrC catalog is synced they'll also be downloaded back into LrC, again in original form. Something you need to figure through....
  • Hypothetically, I might want to use Lightroom on mobile to upload originals, download them from LRC, delete the the originals from LRO and push them through this same workflow. But I have a feeling this might be a step too far, and likely to lead to confusion, probably best to just have smart previews online to keep the workflow clear? Many, many users do have a workflow which allows phone captures to automatically sync up to the cloud and down into LrC. Once in LrC they are removed from All Synched Photographs (which deletes them from the cloud), then re-synced back to the cloud from LrC as smart previews. It works.
... and these two look like projects for a few months' time, once I've got the basic flow setup :)
A few random points since I think Jim answered most of it.
1. LrD or Lightroom Desktop is what I use on my computer. It is much faster/easier than using LrW for most tasks.
As with mobile, maybe I'll try both. But will LrD download a copy of every photo to my PC? Since I already have the LrC copy, I don't need or want another local copy....
2. I use Lr shared albums instead of Portfolio. For my purpose which is sharing photos with specific individuals this works better. As I tweak, change or update an album it is updated seamlessly. In addition, on multiple family trips, the shared album has been very useful as a central sharing point for everyone.
I think for individual sharing, albums makes mores sense. But I'd like a (fairly) static "best-of" collection, and maybe portfolio is better for that....
3. Never delete! :D Why?
Well, maybe not never, but very rarely :) I delete stuff when I import from my phone - screenshots and stuff that isn't really a photo. But I decided many years back it was easier for me not to delete photos because:
  1. I occasionally delete the wrong photos by accident. Very rarely, and only in 1 or 2 cases did I not have a backup, but even so , it happened
  2. Even if a photo is bad, I sometimes want to look back to check something. Particularly with holiday photos and such like, I check what that restaurant was called, or something similar...
  3. It used to be easier to validate backups when I had every photo in sequence - I knew exactly how many photos should appear just by checking the filenames. Now I do backups differently, so this one isn't really relevant....
  4. Most importantly, I found myself spending several seconds on every single potential delete trying to think through if any of the above applied, or if I had any other reason for keeping it. When I was coming back from a trip with a couple of thousand photos, spending a few extra seconds on each on adds up, particularly since I was spending time on photos I cared least about..... so I now I just set on one star, move on, no extra thought required, which leaves me more time to spend on the best photos. (Well, that and trying to work out overly complicated improvements to my already complicated workflow :) )
I'm not saying it's good practice, I guess depends on how you value time vs storage space.....
 
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
1,956
Location
Waltham MA
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
LrD by default only caches photos. You can set it to keep a local copy of all images, or so even force specific albums to be cached locally.
My primary desktop, I have configured to keep a local copy of all images. My travel laptop I cache specific albums I am working on. My backup laptop, I only use the default cache.
For the cache you can control total space used, and if it caches original and/or smart-previews.
For originals, you would need to have them in the cloud which would blow up you space requirements.

In terms of deleting images, I have taken an alternate approach. I started taking digital photos in 2001; when i migrated from Apple Aperture to Lightroom in 2013 ish I had about 30K pictures. I found when I would go back to create collections for whatever reason I had way to much debris to sift through. This got progressively worse over the years, to the point I always excluded images with less than 2 stars and I had over 50K images. I now delete anything with zero stars. I have just over 20K images which are ones I want to keep. I have imported another 10K images my wife had from before me; which she has promised to sort/filter and work on. As a result, I have found it is much easier to find images I am looking for, make books, send images to grand parent picture frames... whatever task I need. So deleting the cruft, makes me much more productive and faster later on.

In addition, from a family legacy perspective. Discussed with my kids, and my parents. If the collection is too large, they will never do anything with it, and will end up just deleting everything because it will be unmanageable and overwhelming. So they have asked me to pare down and get rid of as much cruft as possible, that way they are more likely to keep images that are important to them.

Tim
 

lrq_7

New Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Messages
3
LrD by default only caches photos. You can set it to keep a local copy of all images, or so even force specific albums to be cached locally.
My primary desktop, I have configured to keep a local copy of all images. My travel laptop I cache specific albums I am working on. My backup laptop, I only use the default cache.
For the cache you can control total space used, and if it caches original and/or smart-previews.
For originals, you would need to have them in the cloud which would blow up you space requirements.
Great, now it's clear, thanks!
In terms of deleting images, I have taken an alternate approach. I started taking digital photos in 2001; when i migrated from Apple Aperture to Lightroom in 2013 ish I had about 30K pictures. I found when I would go back to create collections for whatever reason I had way to much debris to sift through. This got progressively worse over the years, to the point I always excluded images with less than 2 stars and I had over 50K images. I now delete anything with zero stars. I have just over 20K images which are ones I want to keep. I have imported another 10K images my wife had from before me; which she has promised to sort/filter and work on. As a result, I have found it is much easier to find images I am looking for, make books, send images to grand parent picture frames... whatever task I need. So deleting the cruft, makes me much more productive and faster later on.
I know what you mean, I normally browse at 3+ or even 4+ to avoid seeing the cruft, and build collections from that subset... but I know there's more if I need it!
In addition, from a family legacy perspective. Discussed with my kids, and my parents. If the collection is too large, they will never do anything with it, and will end up just deleting everything because it will be unmanageable and overwhelming. So they have asked me to pare down and get rid of as much cruft as possible, that way they are more likely to keep images that are important to them.

Tim
I decided on this that I'll likely primarily hand down the processed JPGs - and I only export the 3+ photos. That will give my descendants a much smaller collection to deal with, and I broadly structure albums into two sets, photos of (known, named) people, and others - I care about the latter group but I know most people don't. So it's likely whoever inherits will get a hard drive with two sets of albums of JPGs, they'll probably copy off the people albums and ignore the others. If anyone does want the others in future they'll sit on a hard drive for a bit, and if some family member turns out to have an interest in photography, they can also have the NAS with all the RAWs and the LrC catalog on if they like, but I don't expect anyone will...
I also obsessively tag everything, so it'll be really easy to select by e.g. country if someone wants to keep the photos from the more exotic locations I've visited but dump the typical tourist shots.
Seems slightly morbid now I write all that down, but it does no harm to plan for the future!
 
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