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Help with Lightroom Catalog Advice / Travelling

twopinetreesphoto

New Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2018
Messages
2
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Version
latest
Operating System
Windows 10
I'm really trying to refine and improve my ability to transition from field to home with Lightroom and I'd love to hear others advice. Currently, I do all my main edits in a single Lightroom catalog that has every picture I ever took in it which currently has about 16,000 files in it, on my desktop computer at home. I back this up regularly to an internal drive as well as an external RAID 5 enclosure.

My problem is that I will go out on a shoot say for a week, download my shots my laptop and process them in a new blank catalog which doesn't have my keywords or presets or anything, and when I get home I want to be able to easily retain all my edits and transition to my desktop.

Now I know I need to do some work here but I don't know what direction I need to go. I've seen others have their entire catalog on an external drive, and just plug that into laptop, desktop, whatever and just do that. I have a 128meg SSD USB 3.0 drive available for this but it won't fit all my images obviously. Do I need to separate my stuff into keepers and archive catalogs, and make my keepers catalog my transient residing on my SSD? I KNOW I don't need all 16,000 images with at all times, but all 16,000 total about 383GB. I've also heard that a catalog with a high number of files like mine causes performance issues.

I guess I'm asking what solution would you recommend, to have a mobile catalog that's portable between field and home and given that, how would take what I have and transition to that? I've been trying to go and just delete junk shots I don't need but it's very tedious. Where would Smart Previews come into play, if at all? If I had all the images with me, they wouldn't because they're only helpful when I don't have the full image? Thanks in advance.Doug
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2007
Messages
2,135
Location
Puget Sound
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Classic
Hi Doug. Welcome to the forum! A question or two to clarify. Are you wanting your main catalog with you when travel, or do you just want to have your travel images incorporated back into the main catalog when you return home? If the former, the Smart Previews will be part of your solution along with a main catalog that travels along with you. If the latter, then you can just merge the catalogs when you return home and that will include your edits (and "rinse and repeat" after your next trip). You could also work off of a single catalog with two drives - one drive with your images at home and the other with your travelling images, and then move the images from one drive to the other when back home. In either event, 16k is not a huge catalog, and catalog size and complexity depends on more than just the number of images.

Good luck,

--Ken
 

twopinetreesphoto

New Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2018
Messages
2
Lightroom Experience
Intermediate
Lightroom Version
Hey Ken, thanks! Well honestly I don't know yet. I think there would be times when it would be nice to have my whole catalog with me, but it's not all the time. If that's the case, I would buy a 512GB Samsung T5 SSD for the job and try to pair down my stuff as much as possible. On the former, why would I need smart previews, as I would have all my images with me? Oh I see, I would only have the CATALOG with me, not the images but I would make smart previews for them all. Or I could keep the catalog and all photos on my external drive, then keep desktop backups routinely.

Is there a big benefit or con one way or another? I want to make a final decision, get it configured and be done with it. I also think I need to go back and pay some attention to my folder structure but that's another discussion. Let's say I want my whole catalog with me. I would agree that likely I don't need all my files from my desktop available for export, so I can just keep the catalog. Would it be possible for me to do it selectively? Keep my fav images on my external, but most of the rest on my desktop only and use smart previews for those? Will generating Smart Previews bloat my catalog?

What is the process then for my catalog only on an external drive? First I generate smart previews for all images, then move my catalog to my external drive. When I am remote, I can copy whole images to my external or laptop drive temp, import whole image into LR but generate smart preview too. Do my field edits. Then back home, plug in my drive, copy the images over, then open catalog from external and I get all my edits? Thanks for the advice!

Doug
 
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