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One catalog for everything (from mobiles images to SLR etc).

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Jay Clulow

Photographer | Retoucher
Apr 27, 2016
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Version Number
Operating System
  1. macOS 10.15 Catalina
  2. iOS
I know this is going to stir a pot with people and you're always going to get people doing things massively differently. I think this is a question where the pros might have to take a back seat on. This is more a hobbyist approach than pro.

So basically in a time where cloud sync is a reality and multiple devices are the norm. If you were to have a single catalog that housed every photo from snapshots on your iPhone to all types of images shot on your main camera. How would you approach having Lightroom as the be all end all of your image catalog solutions?

How would you go about importing/storing the images? Would the sit within the same imported folder or separated out.

Here are my library contents
  • Social photos backdating to the early 00s - Current date
  • Getting my first DSLR in 2015 and shooting everything for the next decade from portraits, landscapes, macro, motorsport, product, events & weddings etc.
  • Photos on iPhone of the same projects im shooting with the main Camera
  • Occasional drips and drabs of photos shot on iPhone and main camera every other day with zero consistancy of what the subjects are.
I'd be interested in seeing how others would approach this. I've still never found a solution that works given the sheer diversity of the types of photos captured.
Multiple catalogues aren't an option in my pwn personal workflow as everything is managed in a cloud backed up manor.

I'm a hobbyist, and like you I have lots of different types of images ranging from snapshots on a phone to dedicated day-long "shoots", with loads of casual ad-hoc photography in between. All of them are imported into the same date-based folder structure, bar none, and I differentiate using keywords. The keywords then allow me to build collections/albums to make viewing and sharing choices easier. I've never yet had a problem dealing with the diversity of the types of photos I've captured. The collections/albums I've created will cover one-off events such as an airshow, family photos covering decades, places of interest captured over a period of time (maybe years), etc.

So basically all images are stored in the same structure with no effort to deal with the diversity at that stage. The diversity is dealt with via keywords and then the collections/albums that I create.
I have always used one catalog for a universal repository for all of my images. My work flow has been to Import camera cards into LR, import iPhone Photos into Lightroom and any other image files that I might want to manage.

With the availability of the Adobe Cloud, I have made some changes to my workflow. I replace anMBP with an iPadPro. I import my camera card either as before to Lightroom Classic or Lightroom for iPad which syncs with Lightroom Classic. iPhone photos go directly to the mobile Lightroom app and sync'd to the cloud and down to Classic. All of those throwaway phone shots show up in Classic where they are often deleted immediately.
Thanks Jim, I think date based folders do seem the most logical. To be honest I've never really got into keywording. I'd prefer to navigate given the diverse nature of the shots I think keywords would be a secondary level of search for me.

Clee01L, I think our workflows are very similar by the way you've described yours.
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