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Stu Wilkie

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First time poster here, so hi.

I was just wanting to ask a couple of questions regarding the compatibility of Lightroom catalogs in other programs. Say, for instance, I was wanting to move from Lightroom to another photo editing app (a DAM?), how hard would that transition be? The reason I ask is that the only thing that's still tethering me to Adobe's CC, is Lightroom. If I can find a way to still be able to open my many edits in another app, then it's goodbye Adobe (and hello to the ever growing Affinity suite).

Thanks for your help in advance!
 
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Your question really revolves around the other apps' capabilities, not Lightroom's. That's because Lightroom has always been relatively open with its metadata, optionally saving work back to the files in standard xmp formats. Stuff like stacks, flags, history steps, collections, virtual copies aren't available, but adjustment metadata is written in standard format, IPTC metadata too. So other apps would be able to read it - but are they really up to that job?
 
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Welcome to the forum. LR is two things. First, it is a Data Asset Manager (DAM) tool There are other DAM tools, but they are not (IMO) as DAM good as LR for managing images.
Second, LR is a parameterized image editor (PIE) This means the Editing is non destructive in that no data is changed in the original image file. Develop instructions are maintained in the LR database called the LR catalog file. When LR is running, the original image is massaged by LR to display the adjusted image on the screen. These develop instructions (i.e. Exposure - 1.25, Shadows = -25, etc.) These parameters are used as processing instructions for algorithms that are unique to Adobe. Other PIE apps like Affinity, On1 PhotoRAW and CaptureOne do not understand these PIE parameters. If you want to preserve your PIE results outside of your computer screen in LR or another Adobe app, you need to create a derivative using the LR Export function.
If you should decide to abandon LR, you will be faced with the same dilemma that Aperture users were confronted with when Apple discontinued Aperture. You would need to preserve all of your LR adjustments in separate exported images. You can always reprocess your originals using Affinity, On1 PhotoRAW and CaptureOne etc. but the result will not be the same as the results from LR.
 

Roelof Moorlag

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Say, for instance, I was wanting to move from Lightroom to another photo editing app (a DAM?), how hard would that transition be?
In general it's very good to think about an exit strategy when starting to use a new application but as Cletus pointed out, there is no good solution for your edits right now.

If you use Lighroom mainly for organization purposes i think it's a good idea to invest more in keywording then in collections. This because keywords can be transfered quite good from one DAM to another. You have to put the keywords back into the image however but that can be done at the moment you want to migrate for a great number of images (batch) at the same time.
 

rob211

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Catalogs or libraries are not compatible with each other. None of them.

But most can read and write data to standard photo metadata, like keywords, locations, captions, etc etc. Using this you can replicate most any structure that a photo library or database creates. Lr and some other applications use hierarchical keywords, which make this easier. Look at Photo Mechanic for that too.

Because Lr is the sort of the de facto standard for photo organization, and developed stuff like DNG, PDFs, etc, some other applications can make use of the info it generates that would otherwise not transfer over. Mylio for instance can read Lr metadata edits and image adjustments and make them. Some stuff works the same way between Fast Raw Viewer and Lr, and Photo Mechanic.

Affinity doesn't have an Lr-like product; Affinity Photos is more like Photoshop Lite. But since PSR files are again a de factor standard, it can read them. But you'd lose a lot of info that is based on, for example, layers. And of course not much besides Affinity can read Affinity's proprietary file format.

So, in short, you can easily future proof images via photo metadata like the IPTC stuff and exif. But image adjustments, not so much. Adobe's stuff is more compatible than most anything, but not that many applications can read the adjustment parameters that Lr creates.
 

PhilBurton

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Catalogs or libraries are not compatible with each other. None of them.

But most can read and write data to standard photo metadata, like keywords, locations, captions, etc etc. Using this you can replicate most any structure that a photo library or database creates. Lr and some other applications use hierarchical keywords, which make this easier. Look at Photo Mechanic for that too.

Because Lr is the sort of the de facto standard for photo organization, and developed stuff like DNG, PDFs, etc, some other applications can make use of the info it generates that would otherwise not transfer over. Mylio for instance can read Lr metadata edits and image adjustments and make them. Some stuff works the same way between Fast Raw Viewer and Lr, and Photo Mechanic.

Affinity doesn't have an Lr-like product; Affinity Photos is more like Photoshop Lite. But since PSR files are again a de factor standard, it can read them. But you'd lose a lot of info that is based on, for example, layers. And of course not much besides Affinity can read Affinity's proprietary file format.

So, in short, you can easily future proof images via photo metadata like the IPTC stuff and exif. But image adjustments, not so much. Adobe's stuff is more compatible than most anything, but not that many applications can read the adjustment parameters that Lr creates.
In the software world, nothing lasts forever. Lotus 1-2-3, anyone? WordPerfect?

Rob211 is spot-on here. If/when your application vendor departs for that bit bucket in the sky, your chances of a smooth or any migration to new software depend in large part on the installed base of users. Stated differently, if dearly departed Vendor X had a large installed base, then Vendor Y will invest in developing the software migration tools necessary to read Vendor X's data formats. If you subscribe to this premise, then you are more future-proofed with Adobe products (in general) than some other vendor with a gnat's eyelash-sized market share. Even if the other vendor has some really nice features that Adobe doesn't support (now ...). If those features are important to your income, then you have to use that other vendor's product, of course. But do that with your eyes wide open.

Phil
 
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