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Old Aug 21, 2011, 2:13 PM   #1
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Default Lightroom on laptop and desktop

I know I should probably post this in the software section. But, I think it's better to hear from people you know and trust than whoever happens in that forum. Although, I may go ahead and post there, too.

Anyway, I recently purchased LR3. Got it at a discounted price. I've installed it on our desktop and my husband's been using it quite a bit. I have yet to do anything in it yet as I need to fully understand how I should set these catalogs up for the way I work. Nor have I had time. Work and family caregiving matters have been filling my days.

All my photos (all data files, actually) are stored on an external drive (S) attached to our desktop computer. I use my laptop 95% of the time when dealing with files on that drive. On my laptop I have this S drive mapped to the laptop. As long as our desktop computer is powered on, I can access the drive.

If I go on a trip somewhere, I backup the S drive to my portable external drive I attach to my laptop (E). I have a 1_XXXXX folder that I put anything I do on the laptop while out and then transfer to the S drive upon returning home.

What would be the best way to do the cataloging in LR if I'm going to primarily use my laptop with Lightroom, but will be switching between the S drive on the desktop when at home, and the E drive attached the laptop (with the same data on it) when on the road?

Should I catalog via the mapped drive through the laptop saving the catalog on the S drive? Then, if out on the road, if I use LR set up a temporary catalog on the laptop external drive that gets transfered to the S drive upon returning home? I'm assuming for new photos I upload while out on the road should have no problems. Right? But, what if I try to process any that are on the S drive at home, but I'm now accessing on the E drive I have with me? Will that work?

Am I making sense? I can hear the thunderboomers off in the distance and I need to leave for the airport for the second time today very shortly. Dropped hubby off this morning and before I returned home he called saying to go get him, the flight had been canceled. Had been scheduled by work and he was never notified by the airline of the cancelation. So, I'm trying to fit this query in between little chores and the weather.

Thanks for any advice on this. I know this is a little convoluted of a situation with my drives. Seems everything I do gets that way. My laptop just isn't large enough for all my files and our desktop computer is set up to backup every day. The laptop only has the external drive attached periodically.

Thanks, Patty
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Old Aug 21, 2011, 6:45 PM   #2
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I think you could do this relatively easily but it's always hard to keep things synchronized between the two drives and that will take careful thought.

Before I talk about the two ways I could see that might work, there's something you need to understand about Lightroom. LR doesn't change any files, it's essentially a database that stores commands and thumbnails. So if you work on a file in LR on your desktop, then create a new catalog on your laptop with the same files, the work (changes) won't show up at all unless you save the metadata to the file.

One way would be to create two catalogs - one for the S drive and one for the E drive. The problem with that is any changes you do in one catalog is not carried to the other catalog, since they are cataloging different files (one on S drive, one on E drive). If you are careful about saving the metadata to the file, then making sure the files are kept the same between the two drives, it could be done.

If I understand your work-flow correctly, you always use the S drive when you are home. When you are going on a trip you'll copy the files you want onto the E drive and take that when you go, putting pictures you take while gone on the E drive. When you get home you copy the new files to the S drive.

Given that scenario, I think I would try to get away with one catalog. Make your changes as you want at home using the S drive. When you get ready to go away, make sure that the E drive has the same files and file structure as the S drive, then go into the catalog and update the file location to the E drive. In my case, I use a chronological file system so I updated the "2011" folder to a different drive. All of the daily folders updated (except for two that I had not copied to the other drive - nice way of checking that I had correctly copied everything). If you don't have a folder like that you'd have to change each folder individually.

If you have some files in the catalog that are not on the E drive the changes you made won't disappear - the catalog will show question marks and you wouldn't be able to make changes but as soon as you hook up the correct drive they'll be there ready for you, with changes.

The only thing I would do is probably make a separate back-up catalog before I updated the folders, just in case something goes wrong. You can delete it when you verify all went well. When you get home, copy the new files to the S drive and then go into the catalog and update the folder location.

With LR I find that I like using chronological file system for the files themselves, then I have the pictures keyworded so I can find things by topic. Not everyone would be happy using something like this though.
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Old Aug 22, 2011, 7:55 AM   #3
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Just how I work with lr.

Setting Up Catalogs

I only use 1 catalog (what hasn't got any problems with the 22000 images) .
That catalog and all images are on my external drive and I work always from that drive.

I also have that drive mapped to the same letter (in my case w: ) on my pc at home, at work and on my laptop.

I've got 99% of my images tagged with keywords, to find what I'm looking for. (it took me a while to get there). (same idea as Harriet)

Backup
To keep my data save I backup/copy the catalog and the images to my home pc. (and an extra external drive)

Remember you don't have to copy/backup the "Lightroom 3 Catalog Previews.lrdata" directory because those will be regenerated from the images if they are not there (it takes a long time to copy that preview dir, and my copy tool has a lot work with it)

If you want to copy only the new files there's a freeware tool syncback that will only copy only new or changed files (http://www.2brightsparks.com/syncback/) that is worth taking a look at.
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Old Aug 22, 2011, 8:55 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info. I'll have to look at it closer in a few days. Dad in surgery again tonight after just having had surgery last week. And, been in hospital/rehab all of July. It's been a long two months. I thought yesterday we were out of the woods, but looks like we're not done yet.

I'll be back.

Patty
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Old Aug 22, 2011, 9:58 PM   #5
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So sorry to hear that your Dad is having more problems - very tough thing. Hang in there!
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Old Aug 24, 2011, 7:17 AM   #6
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Hi Patty

Sorry to hear your news, hope things improve soon.

I'm glad you asked that question because I too use LR3 on a laptop and desktop. Must admit, I've never bothered with catalogs (yes, I like to make life difficult for myself). Most of the time I develop the raw files on an external hard disk on the laptop (on trains and in hotels) then copy the folders ontp the desktop.
However, following Harriet's and Ronny's responses I think I'll try to use LR3 more intelligently.
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Old Aug 24, 2011, 8:13 AM   #7
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I don't have LR and just use the windows file system, but save my images to 3 drives one network drive, 1 external usb and my laptop currently my main computer. I have never looked at LR and I don't use the organizer on SPE. What advantages does LR provide that justify the cost.

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Old Aug 24, 2011, 2:26 PM   #8
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I like LR for a couple of things - I use the develop tool to make global changes to a photo. It doesn't matter if the original file is jpg or raw, the program uses the same tools to adjust both (unlike Photoshop where you have to specifically open a jpg in Camera Raw if you want to use it for changes). I like the straightening and cropping tools better in LR. I've also got a working file catalog where I keep only photos that I want to mess with further - in the past I've sometimes found myself processing a photo that I had completed before. Another thing I like - if I've taken bracketed shots or a series for a panorama, it's easy to spot them using the thumbnail in LR. I can either do the HDR conversion and the separate programs will automatically re-import the new file into LR or use the "edit in" to merge the files to panorama in CS4, with the new file also being automatically imported back into LR. I find it especially useful for HDR photos because it's always interesting/useful to compare the HDR version with the middle exposure or one of the underexposed shots that has been worked on to bring out details in the shadows. Especially with the K5 the HDR version may not be better than one of the modified original shots. Another thing that's nice about LR - if I've taken a series of shots of one particular subject, I can do a quick slide show (or flip through them), comparing them side by side, and that helps me choose which one I like best.

As far as organization goes - I used to put files on a CD and then make a contact sheet (there used to be a script to do that in photoshop) and put that in a notebook, so that I could find photos later. That was fine until my contact sheets filled four 3" binders and were only organized by date, not by subject (I know I took a neat picture of Royce Hall a year or three ago), and people started wanting to use some of my photos for something and I needed to find the original to make them a higher resolution file. So now I've gone to eSATA external hard drives and a LR catalog for each drive and keyworded the files. Now it doesn't take long to find anything, even if I don't remember when I took it.

So I started using LR for it's develop tools, but as time goes by I've started to make much more use of the cataloging tools.
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Old Aug 24, 2011, 3:32 PM   #9
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Thanks Harriet, I may just have to investigate LR a little, Keywording the files now that may take some time, does LR have some tools to make that easier.

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Old Aug 24, 2011, 3:49 PM   #10
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Harriet has written down almost all the reasons I started using LR, the only thing I had is that I'm lousy at organisation and LR really made this easy.
Before LR, I was using IMatch from Photools, a great organiser but it doesn't has the post processing possibilities LR has.

Yep it has got those tools, when you start adding keywords to pictures it'll show the last used keywords, and the keywords the pictures around your current one so that you don't have to search through the list.
Also keywords are hierarchical listed, so that when you want to add the keyword 'common chaser' to a dragonfly, this will automatically add 'dragonfly', 'insects', 'fauna' if you've got a structure like this.
  • Fauna
    • Insects
      • Dragonfly
        • Common Chaser
I would post you my structure but that wouldn't help much because that is in dutch.

If you start with a lot of pictures it'll take some time to keyword them, but it's more than worth the effort.

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