5 Replies Latest reply on Mar 9, 2015 3:29 AM by Geoff the kiwi

    Lightroom on multiple devices, one photographer


      Hello there,


      I have just subscribed to CC Photographer edition which gives me access to Lr and Ps.

      I use a Mac Book Pro (office), a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (On Location) and an iPad 3G 64GB Retina (On Location). I shoot with a Nikon D810.

      I have installed Adobe CC on all 3 devices and further Lr and Ps on both the PC and MAC.

      Lr Mobile is installed on the iPad as well as the Adobe CC app.


      I am trying to achieve the following workflow:

      1. To import and store images from my camera to Lr on my Surface Pro 2 when on location.
      2. To edit, rate, tag, crop, etc... via Lr on my Surface Pro 2 at location or in transit (on/off line).
      3. To arrive at the office, where my Mac Book Pro and larger monitors live at, for editing / viewing seamlessly.


      I do not know:

      1. Is there a way to "flag" images that I am interested in on my (location) devices and have them appear on my Mac Book Pro for detailed editing?
      2. Can my iPad contribute to the above explained workflow? Can I view the "flagged" images via the devices' retina display when offline?
      3. Should my Lr catalog be synced across all devices? (I have managed to create collections on one device and have them appear on another, although there were constant sync problems between those created via the Mac or PC. When created via the iPad app they always appeared on both PC and MAC)
      4. Where are my images best to reside on? NAS, Surface Pro 2, or CC? (Keep in mind that the D810 produces images in the rage of >40MB. My Projects can weigh upwards of 20GB each! None of my portable devices, nor CC can host my entire photographic library)


      I am sure that I may be missing or misinterpreting the use and given workflow of CC (Lr and Ps) but I will be grateful if one can shed some light on the above.


      Many many Thanks,



      Greg T

        • 1. Re: Lightroom on multiple devices, one photographer
          JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          I'm not going to begin to try to tell you how to set up your workflow. What you are trying to do is complicated as far as Lightroom is concerned. The one thing I will point out is that the catalog must reside on a drive that is local to the computer Lightroom is running on. In other words, the catalog cannot reside on a network drive. This means you are going to have to devise a method of moving the catalog from one computer to another. You might consider putting the images and the catalog on an external drive that can be switched from one computer to another. The rest I will let you work on yourself.

          • 2. Re: Lightroom on multiple devices, one photographer
            john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Let's say your main catalogue is on the MBP. You have a couple of choices. One is to copy the catalogue (possibly with Smart Previews) to the SP before a trip, import new images to it, and then move it and the new images back to the MBP at the end of a trip. The alternative is to run a separate "trip" catalogue on the SP, copy it to the MBP at the end of a trip, and use File > Import from Another Catalogue to bring the trip's work into your main catalogue. You can then delete the "trip" catalogue.


            Nowadays I mainly do the first method with a desktop PC and a Mac laptop taking the place of your MBP/SP, but the other older method works better when the trip is short and I don't need my main catalogue on the laptop.


            Your pictures are going to stay at home on the main system. Remember Smart Previews give you some on-the-road editing and let you take the full catalogue with you.


            Think of the iPad as a loop off the main catalogue. It's not fundamental to your main workflow here. Instead, it's so you have pictures with you in the pub or on the train, letting you show them to friends or add ratings/flags when you've a bit of time. Those changes automatically flow back into the main catalogue.


            You sound like you've got a better understanding than some of the overall workflow, but these are the areas you need to investigate so you can continue to put it all together.

            • 3. Re: Lightroom on multiple devices, one photographer
              GregTee Level 1

              Thank you Jim and John for your prompt replies!


              So according to your messages am I correct in saying that:

              1. Mobile, only syncs to one Lr Catalog at a time and that Catalog must reside on a PC/MAC.
              2. Having said that, further desktops (PC/MAC) cannot share that same Catalog via the CC platform.
              3. Finally, a desktop will only access one individual Lr Catalog at any given time.

              This means that natively (without transferring catalogs & files) I may only edit and sort images on one desktop computer, either my SP or MBP.

              I understand that once I make the Desktop link (PC/MAC), my iPad will act as a review and basic-edit device for when in transit. These changes will then automatically sync to my main Desktop Collection for further editing and full size exports.

              I attempted to test the above setup and have achieved to:

              1. Drag a number of pictures from "All Photographs" directly into my Lr mobile collection. The photos appeared on the iPad after a few minutes.
              2. I edited, flagged and rated these images on my iPad and all changes were synced back to my Desktop Catalog.
              3. I then deleted the Lr mobile collection to test what happens and concluded that all changes made on the iPad remain on the edited images. (obviously can be reset as Lr is not destructive)


              Finally I have a few questions on what actually gets transferred into my iPad for an understanding on limitations.

              1. Does the iPad use something similar to "smart preview"? (The sync was too quick to have transferred full sized images).
              2. Would you advise that i drag and drop each project into an Lr mobile folder for syncing and working when in transit? Even if 400 images weigh nearly 10GB?
              3. Can I edit / alter the available photo editing presets in the app?
              4. Is an iPad Retina considered as accurate as a MBP Retina display? By accurate I mean "balanced" i.e. flat response across colours.
              5. Does Lr App in iOS feature a histogram?
              6. Does Lr App in iOS feature a Zoom Level Indication (100% or 1:1 etc...)


              I will continue testing this workflow and come back with more info on the original workflow matter.


              Thank you for taking the time to help me.




              • 4. Re: Lightroom on multiple devices, one photographer
                john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                1. Smart previews are used.

                2. That's your call. Why not? I've currently 2400 on my iPad2 and they use 4.9Gb.

                3. Sadly, no

                4. You wouldn't trust it like a properly-calibrated monitor, but you can certainly do broad adjustments on it anf get a picture into the ball park. Later, when you are using a colour managed monitor, you fine tune the picture.

                5. Yes. It appears when you tap the picture.

                6. No


                One thing you haven't mentioned is offline editing. By default, smart previews are downloaded to the iPad only when you use them, but this means that when you're offline you might find you only have a screen-size version that you can't zoom into or adjust, So for each collection, I enable offline editing. This forces the smart previews to sync down to the iPad while you're online. There's a counter  on each collection that indicates how much has downloaded.

                • 5. Re: Lightroom on multiple devices, one photographer
                  Geoff the kiwi Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  I have my catalog and previews on an external disk as well as my image files and plug and play on either of my two MBP's. Simple.