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Catalogs Storing Photos and Catalog in Dropbox

fay.ratta

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Jun 30, 2019
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I mostly work from home using Lightroom Classic on my iMac, but also travel and want to have access to upload/edit from my laptop. I've seen suggestions about storing everything on an external drive but would prefer not to have a separate piece of equipment. Would it make sense to upload all my photos to Dropbox as well as the catalog and then work from Smart Previews on whichever computer I'm currently on? I know the initial upload would be a bear and I don't have a super fast connection at home...so maybe that's the limiting factor. I guess another option is to have a 'travel' catalog that I then import when I get back home. Any and all suggestions welcome.
 

fay.ratta

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Jun 30, 2019
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Thanks...so I would move my current catalog folder with the lrcat files to Dropbox and build Smart Previews to put with it? Now, what about photos that I take while traveling? Do I keep them on my laptop and the catalog incorporates them? So that while working on my desktop computer I can still see them? Or at least see their Smart Previews?
 
Joined
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Thanks...so I would move my current catalog folder with the lrcat files to Dropbox and build Smart Previews to put with it?
Yes, all you need to edit the pictures is the catalog and smart previews. You can leave the originals at home.

Now, what about photos that I take while traveling? Do I keep them on my laptop and the catalog incorporates them? So that while working on my desktop computer I can still see them? Or at least see their Smart Previews?
The images you take while traveling you import in Lightroom, and you do store these images in Dropbox. Then you can work on them like you can work with any other images. When you get home, you move the originals (using Lightroom!) from their location in Dropbox to where you store your other images.
 
Joined
May 9, 2015
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Some things to consider.

When working in LR, the Catalog is always being accessed and updated. you can hardly scratch your nose without something being updated in the catalog. If you internet connection is less than very good, you may be waiting a lot.

Depending on where you travel, you may not have an internet connection at all or, as in many hotels, is throttled or has firewall blocks for some types of data. If you're in such a hotel, at peak times when the rooms are full of folks streaming movies, uploading new RAW images to Dropbox may keep you up very late. If you're without an Internet connection you have plenty of time to read a good book.

Personally, I use the everything on an external HD model (with an exact copy left at home), but the travel catalog is also a decent model. I just don't trust my ability to do anything over the Internet from Laos or Peru or even Cow Springs Arizona.
 

tspear

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Sep 23, 2014
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I have done this with OneDrive, Dropbox, Google drive, and few role your own solutions.

The two points I would make.
1. Make sure everything is synced before opening on the other computer.
2. Dropbox is much more expensive than either Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive.

Tim

Sent from my SM-J737T using Tapatalk
 

fay.ratta

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Jun 30, 2019
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Thanks everyone. I've put the catalog on Dropbox for now...if I becomes too slow, I may go with the hard drive back up and travel solution. Does that negate the need for smart previews? Are ALL your cataloged photos on the hard drive as well as the catalog itself?
 
Joined
Jul 22, 2012
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Cheshire, CT
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One more comment or clarification about Dropbox..... you can still store originals in Dropbox when you are traveling even with a bad or slow internet connection, just turn off or pause the Dropbox sync. Your originals will stay in the Dropbox folder on your laptop hard drive anyway, then they will sync up to Dropbox and any other computer once you have a connection. You do need to remember that without the sync up to Dropbox servers you'll only have the copy on your hard drive so you may want to think about having a second backup somewhere, or not erasing/reusing the cards, just in case.
 

PhilBurton

Lightroom enthusiast (but still learning)
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One more comment or clarification about Dropbox..... you can still store originals in Dropbox when you are traveling even with a bad or slow internet connection, just turn off or pause the Dropbox sync. Your originals will stay in the Dropbox folder on your laptop hard drive anyway, then they will sync up to Dropbox and any other computer once you have a connection. You do need to remember that without the sync up to Dropbox servers you'll only have the copy on your hard drive so you may want to think about having a second backup somewhere, or not erasing/reusing the cards, just in case.
When I travel, I always carry a "photo backup" external hard drive, which I do not keep in my camera bag.
 

rob211

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Mar 17, 2014
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Walnut Creek, CA USA
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Thanks everyone. I've put the catalog on Dropbox for now...if I becomes too slow, I may go with the hard drive back up and travel solution. Does that negate the need for smart previews? Are ALL your cataloged photos on the hard drive as well as the catalog itself?
You could travel with smart previews instead of originals if space is an issue.

And where your catalogued photos are depends on where you put them. If you imported them or moved them to your hard drive, that's where they are. If you didn't, they aren't there. You have control of that via Lr at import or later by manipulating the folders in the Folder pane. Here's an example of how many use a master catalog, and an exported one on a portable hard drive for travel: How to Manage and Merge Lightroom Catalogs for Travel Photographers
 
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