If you have everything in one folder (catalog and photos) LR should automatically import the photos when using:
File >> Import From Another Catalog
If your iMac and laptop are networked you should be able to navigate to the other catalog without re-naming. Otherwise you may need to use an external hard drive. The import from catalog dialog should show the folders with catalog and photos being imported -see image below.
I regularly have a travel catalog on a large 68gb SDXC card on my Macbook Pro. So I can do editing, rating and key wording etc. on the road. I then import the laptop catalog into my main Lightroom catalog on the Windows desktop machine and clear the card ready for the next trip.
This video tutorial should help:
Do not import images into the iMac. DO NOT. Let me repeat that redundantly. Do not import images into the iMac. DO NOT.
In the MBP, open Lightroom and select File->Export as Catalog. Choose a name for the exported catalog. Check "Include Negatives". Move all the files thus created to the iMac. Open Lightroom and select File->Import from Another Catalog, and point to the exported catalog copied from the MBP.
And did I mention that you're not supposed to import images into the iMac? That would not be a good thing. Very bad. Don't do it.
To be clear don't use the import button in the Library. Use the file menu and Import From Another catalog.
Thanks guys I guess this makes sense. I haven't attempted to try this yet as I need to free up some HDD space on the iMac.
I get the message that I should not import images onto the iMac dg_paige but I don't understand how I can migrate just the Catalog (which is just 50MB) and the Previews (which are 6.4GB) alone; how do they link to the raw image .CR2 files (111GB) which are left behind on the MacBook? It is not obvious as to how all of the raw files are transfered over when just the .lrcat file is selected at the start. When you select 'Import from another catalog' and then the Import button does it automatically bring the raw files across with the catalog and the previews? Also I don't have the MBP and iMac networked so I'm going to have to do this via an external HDD.
Assuming that the raw files do copy over to the iMac, I need to find 118GB free space which I don't have at the moment.
If everything is in a single folder on the MBP you can right-click (control-click) and choose export folder as a catalog. Do it using the external drive. You can them import on to the iMac. For the future I would recommend setting up a folder for a dedicated catalog when on-location. That should contain the catalog, previews and image folder. It’s also best to eliminate smart collections (see the video) so that you are not combining with your main catalog when you import. The 68gb SD card works perfectly for me as I never shoot more than 2k of images on any trip and it saves carrying an external drive. So basically when I import from camera I am copying directly to the images folder on the SD card.
Thanks John. Everything is not all in the same folder and when I attempted to move the raw files I got the dreaded '?' on the folders so I moved the files back to their original location. I'm going to attempt the merge when I can get my wife to clear off some of her files from the iMac.
Are you using the 68GB SD card as a backup to the drive on your MBP? Not a bad idea but my wife shot 110GB worth of images (4400 pics) in just 30 days on the road so we went for a portable 1TB WD My Passport Ultra drive which is not too heavy. I guess that your 2,000 pics can fit OK on a 68GB card.
I get the message that I should not import images onto the iMac dg_paige but I don't understand how I can migrate just the Catalog (which is just 50MB) and the Previews (which are 6.4GB) alone; how do they link to the raw image .CR2 files (111GB) which are left behind on the MacBook? It is not obvious as to how all of the raw files are transfered over when just the .lrcat file is selected at the start.
My earlier reply included the exact steps to do this.
Yes when traveling the catalog and images are all written to the SD card, not the internal drive where the application sits.
Obviously for long trips you would need to set up the on location catalog on an external drive, but you can get good portable types.