23 Replies Latest reply on May 11, 2012 4:55 AM by GoshawkCso


    GoshawkCso Newcomer

      Hi, I am currently using PC version for Lightroom. All of the photos I am taken are in .RAW format. I want to switch over to a MAC and purchase CS6. What's the best way to transfer the photos I have developed in LR on the PC?



      Will the original RAW file be transported and will my changes port over as well? The way I understand LR is that you can develop the image and revert back to the original whenever you want by clicking reset - this removes all changes/edits - is this correct? Just want to make sure all that hard editing work doesn't disappear and I lose images.




        • 1. Re: PC/MAC

          I am curious as well.


          Even though i have all of my DNG files set to save XMP in catalog settings, I have jpgs from all of my other devices and they are succepable to failure upon transfer.


          The main question: is the LR3 Catalog file in PC the exact same as the LR3 catalog file on a Mac and if not is there a converter ?


          See the image below for safest Catalog settings, this may slow your machine but it saves automatically as changes are made. This means you could email this file to a friend with LR and it will open with all edits in place! give it a test.

          this also means that if your machine dies dead you can import the images with all keywords and edits saved inside the image - brilliant but not the best scenario as you have lost your collections and such upon BSOD. This applies DNG files and also applies to RAW /sidecar files NOT jpgs.

          • 2. Re: PC/MAC
            GoshawkCso Newcomer

            Endover, can you explain a little more on DNG to save in XMP in catalog settings? What does this mean ? DNG is setting for .RAW files? Sorry, somewhat new to all of this. It would be nice if you could save both a copy of the original .RAW, and a copy of the Edited Image (so there are two if you want to transfer to new computer) Is there a way to save the edited image under a new name?

            • 3. Re: PC/MAC
              john beardsworth Rockstar

              The LR catalogue is identical on PC and Mac. Identical.


              Copy it over to the Mac. Copy your images over to the Mac using Explorer/Finder - in an identical folder structure.


              Open the catalogue on the Mac, and point the folders to their Mac address.


              In other words, it's exactly the same as if you were moving from one PC to another. And you don't need to bother about the DNG/XMP stuff (don't let it confuse the migration)



              • 4. Re: PC/MAC
                endoverend.com Newcomer

                Working example:

                I import my files (NEF) from card reader - my IMPORT settings in LR3.6 are (covert to DNG) i do store an NEF original inside the DNG as its 2x the filesize and redundant if you lose the file.

                AFTER the NEF has been turned into a DNG (a raw filetype) then all of the metadata info (changes in sliders and text added to the file) gets stored "inside" the file as opposed to outside the file (LR catalog file).

                special note: (Automatically write changes to XMP) means that its is saving all of you slider and text info inside either a DNG or an (xmp sidecar file sitting next to your NEF "google this" )



                keep in mind that I am shooting Nikon NEF , Canon has .CRB files and manufacturers make a point to having a specific file exstension for each camera raw file format.

                This means camera raw is a "general" term that refers to a different filetype per camera and then also a conversion to DNG.

                • 5. Re: PC/MAC
                  endoverend.com Newcomer

                  Good comment John, Have you personally done this hands on ?

                  • 6. Re: PC/MAC
                    endoverend.com Newcomer

                    My comments were a bit off topic - only in an effort to help ease worst case scenarios.

                    • 7. Re: PC/MAC
                      endoverend.com Newcomer

                      edit ( I DO NOT STORE ORIGINAL RAW FILE INSIDE  DNG)

                      • 8. Re: PC/MAC
                        GoshawkCso Newcomer

                        John thanks. So forgetting about the PC /MAC issue, this is not different than dragging and dropping? Just want to also make sure I understand "identical file structure" sorry, can you dumb down further!?


                        Will this same methodology also work if I switch to full-blown Photoshop, versus only Lightroom, which is my primary editing tool at the moment? All I really want to make sure of is that 1. my original image is transfered (from 5d mark ii > computer in raw format), 2. developed/edited images show up in the Photoshop/Lightroom editor on the new computer.

                        • 9. Re: PC/MAC
                          endoverend.com Newcomer

                          If things are as John specifies : then its like moving Itunes.

                          ! Do not change any floder names at all or move a single thing in the process and you may want to make sure the HARD DRIVE "Letter" is the same if all of your images are on a secondary hard drive make the drive letter the same as the one on the PC to save any frustrations... D drive....


                          good luck!

                          • 10. Re: PC/MAC
                            Cornelia-I Champion

                            Hi Goshawkseso,


                            DNG is an alternative format to the proprietary raw formats of your camera, defined by Adobe and proposed as general image raw format similar as PDF for documents.

                            Upon import you can tell LR to save a 2nd copy as original raw while converting the real working file to DNG. The raw would not become part of your catalog, it is just a safety backup.


                            You don't save edited images in LR, because you save a set of interpretation instructions inside LR, which points to your untouched original image file.

                            If you want to have a jpg from your edit, you export, which writes a new file.

                            You could add this exported file to your catalog, but what for?

                            You can recreate it any time.

                            So I just use my exports and trash them afterwards.



                            • 11. Re: PC/MAC
                              endoverend.com Newcomer



                              Have you migrated from Windows 7 64 to Mac personally hands on ?


                              Its the burnig question for many Windows users wanting to jump.

                              • 12. Re: PC/MAC
                                GoshawkCso Newcomer

                                Cool. In LR how can you view both the original and the edited/developed right next to each other? So before/after?

                                If using an external hard drive to back up the images, what images are actually being saved to this? the Original and the Edit?

                                Sorry, hope these are not horrible stupid questions! Thanks guys for helping.

                                • 13. Re: PC/MAC
                                  endoverend.com Newcomer



                                  I put all of my exports in an folder outside of my main folder and sync it as moving things around outside of LR breaks the process of finding Via metadata, redundant but if you lost LR at least you have rendered images to rely on as backup if the DNGs get corrupted (forbid) its all the editing time that matters in the end.

                                  • 14. Re: PC/MAC
                                    GoshawkCso Newcomer

                                    Cornealia thanks. So when you say working file, this is the one that I am editing/developing?. How can I tell LR to save this second copy (where do I click?). This will keep the original, but not show in the catalog correct?

                                    • 15. Re: PC/MAC
                                      endoverend.com Newcomer

                                      Edits are the same as original until you export them - go to bottom toolbar and find buttons for before and after bottom left (YY)  Loupe view

                                      • 16. Re: PC/MAC
                                        GoshawkCso Newcomer


                                        So the best way to back up images the ones you have edited, is just to export as either DNG, .TIFF, or JPEG, correct? So you can have a "backup" of the image you edited and "finalized"

                                        • 17. Re: PC/MAC
                                          endoverend.com Newcomer

                                          NEF to DNG / export to JPG or TIFF  (read up on "color profiles")



                                          The workflow is confusing yes.

                                          • 18. Re: PC/MAC
                                            endoverend.com Newcomer

                                            Google then buy "The DAM Book"

                                            • 19. Re: PC/MAC
                                              GoshawkCso Newcomer

                                              Okay I will check it out. I am to the point where I am exporting a lot of images to JPEG TIFF format and having them printed, but am having a lot of trouble staying organized and efficient. Can anyone here recommend a good/reliable commercial printer who will accept dropbox or ftp file transfer (in Northeast)

                                              • 20. Re: PC/MAC
                                                Cornelia-I Champion

                                                Working file is the one your LR catalog points to.


                                                I still doubt that you have understood the nature of LR vs. photoshop.


                                                Photoshop really edits destructively one image at a time, or as many images as you have opened.


                                                LR does not touch your images. It references them. LR stores records about your images in its catalog. You do not open a file in LR. In Library module you use previews which LR has built and stores in another folder and lots of subfolders (no need or chance to understand which file relates to which image). In Develop you use different previews which get stored again somewhere different, the ACR cache.

                                                Now to "save" your edits:

                                                Obviously you LR database is the most valuable file for this, so a backup from LR will save the .lrcat-file inside a dated folder. You can open this in case your real working catalog should get corrupted.


                                                Your images, which are referenced by the catalog file, do not get backed up by LR. You need to do that entirely on your own.


                                                You can save parts of your LR records inside the xmp-part of your referenced image files. For a DNG or JPG or TIFF this will be inside the file, so you do not see anything of it in your file browser.

                                                For proprietary raws this will be a sidecar-file, having the same filename as its referenced file ending with .xmp


                                                Longterm archiving strategy:

                                                I want to save as little as possible, but be able to recreate everything.

                                                That is why I limit it to the original images files ( the referenced ones) with xmp, plus the lrcat.

                                                Any preview can be recreated, as well as any output which was derived from LR's export.


                                                I rather prefer to save these multiple redundant times on different shares, physically stored in different locations (3 versions). Endoverend seems to feel more safe if she/he has exported files as well, although those will not help you to recreate everything. (How many versions?)

                                                Where I would consider my catalog cluttered if I would include references to exported files as well, others prefer to find them again via LR. I trash them after use and would recreate them again should I need them again.


                                                So you should become clear what you organize by LR and what you organize by backup strategy.

                                                And don't confuse.



                                                • 21. Re: PC/MAC
                                                  john beardsworth Rockstar

                                                  GoshawkCso wrote:


                                                  John thanks. So forgetting about the PC /MAC issue, this is not different than dragging and dropping? Just want to also make sure I understand "identical file structure" sorry, can you dumb down further!?


                                                  Will this same methodology also work if I switch to full-blown Photoshop, versus only Lightroom, which is my primary editing tool at the moment? All I really want to make sure of is that 1. my original image is transfered (from 5d mark ii > computer in raw format), 2. developed/edited images show up in the Photoshop/Lightroom editor on the new computer.


                                                  I said "folder structure", not "file". Try to keep all matters of file types entirely separate from the PC/Mac migration.


                                                  Imagine on PC you have all your photos in a big folder called My Pictures, with subfolders for years, months, then days. Or let's say those subfolders are based on themes like Family, Travel, Events. Where you move stuff over to Mac, keep those subfolder structures identical - instead of My Pictures they might be in the Mac's Pictures folder.


                                                  Then, even if we ignore Lightroom, you will be able to check in Explorer and Finder that everything has made it over to the new computer. Right click My Pictures in Explorer and review the number of files, size in gb. Do the same in Finder.


                                                  When you then copy your Lightroom catalogue (the lrcat file) over to the Mac and open it there, the catalogue won't be able to see My Pictures. There'll be a question mark. Just point this to the Mac's Pictures folder and LR will then find all the subfolders and be ready to go.


                                                  If you confuse migration with changing file types and restructing your folders, you are making work for yourself. Make sure you really know what your Lightroom catalogue is,  and that you treat migrating the files as a separate exercise done through Explorer/Finder.

                                                  • 22. Re: PC/MAC
                                                    GoshawkCso Newcomer

                                                    Okay thanks Cornelia, lots of good info here.

                                                    • 23. Re: PC/MAC
                                                      GoshawkCso Newcomer

                                                      John, thanks for clarifying.