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Workflow for desktop and laptop with LR6.1

Hal In Texas

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Joined
Dec 28, 2018
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7
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Lightroom Version
LR 6.14 Perpetual License
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Hi!
I’m starting as a novice user to LightRoom6.14 even though I’ve played with LR for around a year. I saw a thread on the forum “Vacation Workflow” with LR6. I read that and thought I could use it as a basis for my general workflow yet….

The general conclusion was to use a single portable catalog on one external drive between a desktop and laptop for all your photos under management. While I agree a single portable catalog would be easiest from a use perspective, I have a lot of reservations on that simplistic solution. Some negatives of the simple solution I see are:
• A very large portable external drive required. Currently an 8TB device weights 1.5 to 2+ pounds. That’s about what my laptop weights.
• External devices are exposed to a much worse environment than in a stationary desktop (or server) storage. I’m guessing the failure rate seen on the portable drive is much higher than similar drives in server storage environments.
• A single mobile drive is easier to loose, break, or be left behind.
• The risk of a full back-up recovery goes up. The recovery process is a time consuming difficult process that I’m never certain works 100%. I’m trying to minimize this risk.
• Stationary storage is much more secure and robust.
• And finally I’m just uncomfortable carrying around 27+ years of my family photos.

My current desktop storage system used is:
• ~12 terra bytes of easily expandable cheap secure storage. This is used for backups, all photos & the TBD Lightroom managed database stuff.
• Currently I have 2+ terra bytes of original photos. This is 27 years of family & personal photos. When I include backups, managed – developed photos, and print ready pictures, the current used photo storage is ~6 terra bytes.

I have a robust process for photo storage & backup but it's very ad-hoc for photo management. Last year I decided to use LightRoom 6 for photo management and I’m now trying to get everything into a good workflow process using LR.

My current usage requirements & thoughts are:
• Primary management will be a single catalog of all photos using LR6. This will be at my primary desktop with large secure expandable storage.
• I play with photography “management” at 2 main locations plus when on vacation so I also need a portable compute, such as my laptop, for photo management.
• It’s going to take a long time to cull/develop all photos in LR6 so I do not want to be locked into the desktop when doing the initial move to LR6. That is, I also want to use the laptop for the initial move getting into a single catalog in LR6.
• A small external lite-weight 1-2 TB drive can be used for a temporary transition working catalog

So does anyone have a workflow that is being used with LR6 which can meet the above usage? I started to test one I cobbled from googling and reading this topic. Yet, I’d rather use a workflow that is in use and tested.
 

Replytoken

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Might I suggest that you keep your catalog and smart previews on a portable SSD drive (e.g. Samsung T5) and leave your images at home on desktop drives? You can either buy a larger SSD to accommodate new files while traveling, or possibly pick up a second drive for images. Unless you need all of your images at all times, the smart previews should work reasonably well for most work flows. The Samsung drives are quite tiny and very fast. And my understanding is that they are going to be replaced with a newer generation that will be even faster. So long as you do proper backups, I do not see a lot of downside issues of keeping a catalog on a portable SSD drive. Yes, there are exceptions, but make sure you actually fall into that category rather than just assume you are in it.

Good luck,

--Ken
 

Zenon

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How does that work? You have smart previews which you edit on the road and add new files. When you get home and plug in the portable drive the smart previews update automatically and then you just "import from another catalogue" for the new files?
 

Replytoken

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How does that work? You have smart previews which you edit on the road and add new files. When you get home and plug in the portable drive the smart previews update automatically and then you just "import from another catalogue" for the new files?
For the most part, yes. It depends if your work flow involves writing out to the files or just keeping the edits in the catalog. Again, this works if you can work with smart previews while away from your actual image files.

--Ken
 

Zenon

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I'm that other thread about this. I usually just create a new catalogue on my laptop and then just use the import from another catalogue command when I get home. We will be going on a longer trip and I'm trying to decide if I want some of the previous years stuff to come with me or just get all new shots, as usual. Sometimes I like access to files as reference in other forums. Still trying to decide.
 

Hal In Texas

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Dec 28, 2018
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6.x / CC 2015.x
Since I'm new to this and I'm quickly to the point of having too many questions to make a good decision...

I think I see 2 completely different workflows described; and I'd like to decide if one approach is truly better with fewer pitfalls. My uneducated gut says a primary catalog in a stable non-moving computer environment is a good goal. And I'd like an approach to get there. Yet I need to be able to support times of LR6 usage at remote locations. So my main concern is if the Import/Export process with LR6 Catalogs is robust.

If Import-Export Catalog command is robust then the workflow would use a external drive with a "small" Working Catalog to move LR6 database entries and photos to the main catalog after remote edits. This workflow would work both while on vacation & at a remote location while developing of any of my backlog photos. I see a key to this approach is to ensure Import/Export catalog is a robust command and that I understand how those commands behave.

As part of the workflow I'd like to keep the Working Catalog small, so the workflow would remove photos & LR6 entries associated with photos moved to the main catalog. Are there issues with the removal process in LR6?

What concerns would you have if I start down this approach with LOTS of photos?
 

Replytoken

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I usually just create a new catalogue on my laptop and then just use the import from another catalogue command when I get home.
An acceptable method. This is what was done before smart previews existed. Still acceptable if you do not need your catalog.

--Ken
 

Replytoken

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Since I'm new to this and I'm quickly to the point of having too many questions to make a good decision...

I think I see 2 completely different workflows described; and I'd like to decide if one approach is truly better with fewer pitfalls. My uneducated gut says a primary catalog in a stable non-moving computer environment is a good goal. And I'd like an approach to get there. Yet I need to be able to support times of LR6 usage at remote locations. So my main concern is if the Import/Export process with LR6 Catalogs is robust.

If Import-Export Catalog command is robust then the workflow would use a external drive with a "small" Working Catalog to move LR6 database entries and photos to the main catalog after remote edits. This workflow would work both while on vacation & at a remote location while developing of any of my backlog photos. I see a key to this approach is to ensure Import/Export catalog is a robust command and that I understand how those commands behave.

As part of the workflow I'd like to keep the Working Catalog small, so the workflow would remove photos & LR6 entries associated with photos moved to the main catalog. Are there issues with the removal process in LR6?

What concerns would you have if I start down this approach with LOTS of photos?
I guess my question is - do you need access to your full catalog when on the go? If so, then using smart previews and a portable drive for your primary catalog is not a bad method. If you do not need your catalog on the go, then just create portable catalogs as needed and then import when home. Regardless of how robust the processes are, you should always have backups. And as a catalog backup is not unreasonable for a portable drive, I would make sure that you have one or more with you when on the go. Having said that, many people use the import/export process with portable and primary catalogs.

--Ken
 

Hal In Texas

New Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Messages
7
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
6.x / CC 2015.x
All,
Thanks for answers to my questions. I tried to Import/Export a small "folder" test case using my Desktop & Laptop and see no issues. Everything looks great including keywords & flags and folder location containing photos after the operations were complete.

This makes a consistent workflow when on vacation. I can use an Empty Working Catalog, import the photos into LR6 on my laptop and can do some photo management on my laptop. When I get back to my desktop, I can complete the photo backup process, then Export from my laptop & Import to the primary LR6 on the desktop.

I plan to empty photos from my laptop after the import from my desktop is successful. I will also ensure that the LR versions are the same and that my keyword management is sound.

Happy New Year to all and thanks again!
 
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