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Incremental export of master catalog with smart previews?

mfaucher

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I have a master catalog on my desktop containing over 150,000 images. I want to periodically export the catalog to my laptop while working in the field. I've already done one pass of catalog export with smart previews that took about a day to generate. Is there a way to incrementally update the export catalog with changes only - without having to rebuild the entire export catalog?
 
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Welcome to the forum.

Why do you need 150K cataloged images in the field? Most often it is just the more recent images that still need attention. Exporting a small subset of these more recent images is usually sufficient for most people. Unless you can demonstrate a critical need for all of these images in the field, I strongly recommend keeping a master catalog with all of the images and a field catalog to be added to and updated in the field and then sync'd with the master catalog using the "Import from Catalog".

Do you really need Smart previews at all? I have a desktop and a travel laptop. I don't use the Smart previews function at all. The things that I do on my travel laptop do not require a Smart preview since the catalog is used for mostly importing new photos and finishing post process of recent photos from the master catalog.

If I needed Smart Previews and a copy of my master catalog in the field, I would copy the master catalog and the Smart previews folder to the field computer and use that. as is. Any time I need an up to date master catalog copy on the laptop, I would repeat the process. The only way to synchronize the two catalogs is to use the "Import from Catalog " function to merge one catalog into the other.
 
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Yes, welcome to Lightroom forums!

Cletus is right about the questions that he asks.
If you are able to share with us the reasons behind your desire to travel with all your images it will be much easier to guide you.
The details of what you need to do will really influence what is suggested.

Tony Jay
 

mfaucher

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I'm out in the field and away from my desktop for 2-3 months at a time about 2-3 times a year in places with no or slow Internet access - so my desktop with my master Lightroom catalog is unavailable to me about half the year. During my field time I want to be able to work with my master Lightroom catalog (metadata updates, publish to web sites and blogs, fulfill client requests for photos, etc). I have been taking a 2TB portable drive with a copy of the entire catalog and photos (RAW) out into the field for this purpose - but now cannot fit that copy on that drive. I'm evaluating whether I can instead work with an exported catalog with Smart Previews or need to do something else. Syncing the 2TB portable drive to the entire catalog was fairly straightforward - there are many applications that can do this. However keeping an catalog export in sync seems to be a challenge, at least from within Lightroom, without generating a new catalog export each time. If there is a better way to handle my situation, I'm eager to hear it
 
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Smart Previews will lessen your footprint in that you won't need to carry around all of the master original image copies. So that leaves you with a catalog (what size?) Preview Cache of some 10s of GBs in size and Smart previews, some what larger than the Preview Cache but probably still considerably less than 1TB.

At this point, I'd suggest keeping two master catalogs. One at home and one for the field. The home Master catalog will have the master original image file copies available to it while the Field master will only have Smart previews, pointers to a detached HD containing your master original image file copies and any new imported master original image file copies not available on the Home Master. I would presume that Home master original is not getting any updates while you are away. If that is the case, then replace the Home Master catalog with the field master catalog and transfer any new images to the HD containing your master original image file copies and rebuild your smart previews. if the Home Master catalog IS being updated with new work while you are away then instead of replacing the Home Master catalog with the field master catalog, you need to use the "Import from Another Catalog" function to merge the two catalogs.

Notice in my suggestion that the "Export As Catalog" function is not used. Straight file system copies of the catalogs and the Smart previews from one computer to another should be all that you need You end up with Catalog A and Smart Previews A on the master computer and copies Catalog A' and Smart Previews A' on the field computer. On return, Catalog A' either replaces Catalog A with a file system copy or is imported into Catalog A using the "Import from Another Catalog" function.

publish to web sites and blogs, fulfill client requests for photos, etc
While the Smart Previews will handle most of this most of the time. There may be some instances when LR will need the real master original to render the export. I can't name a case at the moment but there are others here that might be able to point out any exceptions to the rule.
 
Last edited:

mfaucher

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Thanks. Catalog A and Smart Previews A have a total of 193 GB, well within my field computer storage capacity. I don't update the master computer while I'm away so copying the catalogs back to my master computer upon return ought to work. I have maintained a separate catalog for current trip photos on my field computer and then do a catalog merge on my master computer when I return home because of space issues in my field computer. Now I have the option of doing the merge on my field computer, either on the fly or at the end of the trip. I understand I might not always have the option of rendering an export with enough detail out of Smart Previews but it ought to be better than not having anything.
 
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With smart previews, you'll now be able to work straight in your main catalog while you're away (no need to merge then), and just copy the original photos plus the catalog back when you return.
 
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