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Work seamless and move photos from MacBook pro to iMac within LR


New Member
Mar 18, 2017
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
I've got a MacBook pro that I always take with me when travelling. At home I've got an iMac connected (thunderbolt) to an external 8GB HD.
I'm struggling to move the photos from my MacBook Pro to the iMac (external HD) and keeping all post-processing I've done while being on the road. If I export the catalogue my experience is that I lose all post-processing or am I just not doing it correctly?
Jun 24, 2010
Encinitas, CA USA
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
I don't know how your travel catalog is setup but if it is standalone and just contains the images imported while traveling than you can simply import that into your home catalog and not run the additional "Export as Catalog".

You also have to decide how to move all the image files.

If you Export as Catalog and check the box "Export negative files", the export will create a new folder that has the new catalog of the images that you selected for export and additionally a sub-folder that contains a copy of every selected image. You can then copy this entire folder, catalog and images, to your home computer and run "Import from another Catalog..." from you master catalog on the home computer. Strongly recommend that you use "Add new photos to catalog without moving" option. You can safely relocate the new folders into your existing folders by drag and drop in the Folders panel.

Alternatively you can export the catalog without including the image files and separately copy the exported catalog and the folders that contain all the related image files to your home computer. After you import the this catalog into your master you may need to use the "Update Folder Location" (right click on folder" to point to where you copied all the image files.

Again since I don't know the organization of your catalogs and images on the two computers this could be more complicated. But, this is basically what needs to happen.

Also when copying between two computers on a network it is always way more efficient to initiate the copy on the target computer. This is because network reads are way way more efficient than network writes.

When copying a lot of image files that I presume you consider valuable it is also advisable to use an application that can verify that the data written is identical to the data read. I use ChronoSync to move all my images from my travel laptop to my home computer.

Be sure to back up your master catalog before you begin just in case something goes wrong. I do this several times year after each trip or photo shoot and have never had a problem, but, you can't loose by being too careful.