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Lightroom catalog help

michaelnbrown

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May 23, 2020
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Going from iMac to MacBook Pro. All of my photos currently on 3TB external HD, all organized in LR by year and season over the past 10 years or so. About 1TB of photos, all in one catalog.

Will be traveling in a camper full time so I am downsizing :). Only want access on my MBP to photos from this year, last year and maybe some favorites from over the years.

I already have the MBP and a Sandisk 250gb SSD external HD - that's where all my photos will live.

Questions: Can I move the photos in LR for only the last 2 years and still use the old catalog? Will it just show the folders from previous years with a ? because it can't find the photos? And then what happens if I attach my old 3TB external HD 6 months from now with all of my old photos? - will that cause issues with the current catalog. Do I need to make a new catalog? As I said, I also want access to some older photos and I plan to make a favorites folder - I figured I need to do this because as much as I like collections making a new collection won't work because LR won't have access to many of those photos. FYI - I already used time capsule to move everything else to my new MBP, including LR - but once I make my favorites folder on my old iMac then I will move a fresh version of the lrcat file. The catalog I plan to keep on the MBP, photos on external HD, backed up with Time Machine on another external HD. Am I doing this right? Any other advice?
 
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Getting impatient already?

If you do not have your old 3TB drive attached, then Lightroom will show these folders and images as missing. If you re-attach that old 3TB drive six months from now, Lightroom will no longer show them as missing. It is as simple as that.
 

michaelnbrown

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May 23, 2020
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10
Getting impatient already?

If you do not have your old 3TB drive attached, then Lightroom will show these folders and images as missing. If you re-attach that old 3TB drive six months from now, Lightroom will no longer show them as missing. It is as simple as that.
Thanks so much for your reply, but that was only part of my question.

I am planning on only moving a small fraction of my images to my new hard drive - will the current catalog function if only some of the folders are present? As I mentioned above all of my photos are arranged by year and then subset by season for the last 10 years. If I only move the last 2 years worth of photos will the current catalog function normally with this?

Also, as I mentioned above, I would like to create folder of favorite images from over the years to always have with me, but I can't figure out a way to do this. Normally, I would use collections, but this won’t work because I won’t have those actual photos in my library. What I planned to do was just make a copy of all my favorite images in one folder for my new hard drive, but then I realized that LR won't allow me to do this - a photo can only be in one folder.
 
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I am planning on only moving a small fraction of my images to my new hard drive - will the current catalog function if only some of the folders are present? As I mentioned above all of my photos are arranged by year and then subset by season for the last 10 years. If I only move the last 2 years worth of photos will the current catalog function normally with this?
As I said before: yes. Lightroom will not have any troubles, except that it will show the folders and images as 'missing' (and so you won't be able to edit them). When you reconnect the drive, they will no longer be shown as missing.

Also, as I mentioned above, I would like to create folder of favorite images from over the years to always have with me, but I can't figure out a way to do this. Normally, I would use collections, but this won’t work because I won’t have those actual photos in my library. What I planned to do was just make a copy of all my favorite images in one folder for my new hard drive, but then I realized that LR won't allow me to do this - a photo can only be in one folder.
If you really want to have the originals with you, then you need to move those to a 'favorites' folder on your internal hard drive. Create the folder (from within the Lightroom folder panel), then drag and drop the images into that folder.

An alternative is to generate smart previews for those images. Smart previews are 'proxies' for your originals, so you can work with these images even when the original is offline. You can do pretty much everything that you could do with the original. The only thing you can't do is send them to Photoshop or another external editor or plugin.
 

michaelnbrown

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Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
10
As I said before: yes. Lightroom will not have any troubles, except that it will show the folders and images as 'missing' (and so you won't be able to edit them). When you reconnect the drive, they will no longer be shown as missing.


If you really want to have the originals with you, then you need to move those to a 'favorites' folder on your internal hard drive. Create the folder (from within the Lightroom folder panel), then drag and drop the images into that folder.

An alternative is to generate smart previews for those images. Smart previews are 'proxies' for your originals, so you can work with these images even when the original is offline. You can do pretty much everything that you could do with the original. The only thing you can't do is send them to Photoshop or another external editor or plugin.
Thanks so much for your reply! The smart preview option might work well for me, I'll check it out.
 

michaelnbrown

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May 23, 2020
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....
An alternative is to generate smart previews for those images. Smart previews are 'proxies' for your originals, so you can work with these images even when the original is offline. You can do pretty much everything that you could do with the original. The only thing you can't do is send them to Photoshop or another external editor or plugin.
I'm thinking the smart preview might work well for me as I'm not sure I'll need the full sized files. Can I export these smart previews to my external hard drive as a new catalog without including the original file?
 
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I'm thinking the smart preview might work well for me as I'm not sure I'll need the full sized files. Can I export these smart previews to my external hard drive as a new catalog without including the original file?
You can export images (with a smart preview) to a new catalog without copying the original (just do not check the 'include negatives' option), but I'm not sure why you would want to do that. There is no real advantage over just having the entire catalog with you, with smart previews for those images you want to have available.
 

michaelnbrown

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May 23, 2020
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You can export images (with a smart preview) to a new catalog without copying the original (just do not check the 'include negatives' option), but I'm not sure why you would want to do that. There is no real advantage over just having the entire catalog with you, with smart previews for those images you want to have available.
Please pardon my dial up speed brain, but I want to make sure I have this right.

If I have LR create smart previews for all or some of my files then I could simply move my LR catalog with these smart previews to my new external HD and be good to go, right? I could also move any files that I want full access to onto my new external HD.

Also, I have a bunch of collections in my current LR catalog - would these function with smart previews just like they do with the full files?

One other question - I'm not sure I really need access to all of my files vis smart previews but if I did how much space would this take up? - I currently have about 1TB of images on my old external HD. My new SSD external HD is only 250gb and I don't want to fill that up with smart previews of my old images.

Thanks so much for your input. I just want to make sure I employ the best strategy before I start moving things.
 
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Using smart previews is like having the original images online. Everything works as it always works, except that when you zoom in to 100% you will obviously zoom in to 100% of the smart preview size, not the original size. The smart previews are stored inside your catalog folder, so copy the entire folder to the internal disk and you are good to go. Smart previews are approx. 1 MB each, except for smart previews that are generated from HDR DNG files. For some reason ‘HDR smart previews’ can be as big as 20 MB.
 

michaelnbrown

New Member
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
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Using smart previews is like having the original images online. Everything works as it always works, except that when you zoom in to 100% you will obviously zoom in to 100% of the smart preview size, not the original size. The smart previews are stored inside your catalog folder, so copy the entire folder to the internal disk and you are good to go. Smart previews are approx. 1 MB each, except for smart previews that are generated from HDR DNG files. For some reason ‘HDR smart previews’ can be as big as 20 MB.
Just played with smart previews a bit in LR - made smart previews for about 5k photos - 4gb - love it! Thanks!
 

michaelnbrown

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May 23, 2020
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10
Hopefully last question. Not exactly LR specific, but this is in regard to backups.
I plan to keep my 3TB external hard drive in storage (this holds all my original photos).
I also have a 2TB external hard drive and another 1TB external hard drive, both of which contain current Time Machine backups. Time machine backups obviously contain all of my images, but there must be something missing or some compression involved because they take up much less space than the 750GB of photos that I have. Are these time machine backups sufficient or would you recommend that I convert one of the time machine backup drives to pure photo storage and duplicate the 750GB of my photos?
 

michaelnbrown

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May 23, 2020
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Sorry, last issue, I swear :). I noticed while transferring LR files to my MBP that the previews file (not the smart previews) is 24GB - that's for my entire library and most of my photos won't even be accessible on this computer, aside from the ones that I just built the Smart previews for - do I need to transfer this large preview file to my MBP?
 
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Normal previews are needed to view the images. You always look at a preview, not at the original image. If a preview is missing then Lightroom will rebuild it, but it needs the original image (or the smart preview) to do so. If you do not copy the previews, then initially Lightroom will show empty slide mounts for all images. Then it will start to rebuild the previews, but it can only do so for the images that have smart previews if the originals are offline. It’s up to you to decide if that is acceptable.
 
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