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Help with merging and consolidating an old LR catalogue and newer apple photos library into CC (cloud based)

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New Member
Mar 26, 2016
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
Lightroom Version Number
Lightroom CC 2.1.1
Operating System
  1. macOS 10.14 Mojave
Hi all,

A few years ago I was using Lightroom (classic desktop) to manage all my photos. At some point I decided to move away from Lightroom as I wasn't using it that much and giving the new Apple Photos a crack. I went through a fairly pain-staking process of exporting all my Lightroom photos and collections and recreating this in Photos (including collections, picks/loves, etc, etc). At this time, I also a bunch of images that were sitting on my phone and some other random ones from older hard drives, etc. Anyway, all went well and I successfully transitioned on Photos and had a nice cloud-based photo library.

Recently, after following the progress of Lightroom CC (cloud) and getting back into my photography, I thought it time to give Lightroom another try. The conundrum - how to move back. Luckily I kept a full backup (catalogue files and originals) of my LR catalogue from when I left last time. This is great because it still has all the collections and more importantly, the develop settings for the photos I had developed using LR last time around.

For this reason, I have used that backup, upgraded it in a trial version of Classic CC and then migrated it into LR CC (cloud). This has worked very nicely and is currently uploading to the cloud.

I now have to bring in the rest of my photos since I stopped using LR last time. I'm facing two problems:
  1. Migrating all photos taken SINCE I stopped using LR last time - easy to find them by using the date. But how can I also automatically import retaining things like love/picks, key words, etc?
  2. There are a smattering of other images that I added to the Photos library that were never in the original LR catalogue, but that are randomly scattered (date wise) throughout the library.
So I'm wondering if there are any tried and tested ways of:
  1. Migrating only part of an Apple Photos library into LR, but retaining the loves/picks, keywords, etc?
  2. Is there a way to compare my new catalogue in LR CC (cloud) with my Apple Photos library to find the smattering of missing images and then grab them all to import?
I've got a few ideas around getting a file list of all files in the relevant directories and comparing in excel. But can't get that to work very well at the moment (eg: the number of files returned isn't matching the number of images). Also no idea how I would "get" all the files that need to be moved even if I can get a definitive list.

If any has any ideas, please let me know!
Hi Benzy, welcome back!

That is a tricky one. The migration tools - either from Photos or Classic - don't check for duplicates, so if you just did a Photos import now, you'd end up with a second copy of all of the existing photos.

If you're happy you transferred all of the collections, picks etc. into Photos when you moved a few years back, then I might consider wiping all the Classic stuff out of CC and just importing from Photos using the migration tool.

If you did that, you wouldn't get any edit settings that you'd previously done in Classic, as Photos wouldn't have understood those. But searching for ones where you were happy with the edits in Classic and just adding those might be a workaround for that issue.
Hi Victoria,

Thanks for the reply. I think your idea is the way to go. I'm going to try doing the Photos migration. I have then exported only the "developed" photos from LR classic as a new catalogue and will migrate this separately.
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