Lightroom Tutorials do a great job of explaining how you can work with photos stored on an external HDD, and how Smart Previews can allow you to continue to work with those photos when the HDD is not connected. What I think needs to be added (unless I am not finding it) is a video tutorial on how such a collection works across two devices. I can't be the only person who intends to work in this way and would like to know how this will work before investing in a MacBook.
- External HDD contains full photo collection.
- Currently Lightroom on iMac has a catalogue that references these folders. It has its own smart previews generated and stored on the iMac.
- Intention is to also have Lightroom on a MacBook with a catalogue that references the same collection of photos, and has its own local smart previews generated.
1. If I edit photos using the smart previews on the MacBook, and later connect the external HDD, I know the photos on the HDD will be updated. What I am unsure of is once the external HDD is connected to the iMac, that the iMac catalogue will automatically update to the edits made, and update its smart previews as well. Can someone please confirm whether or not this will automatically occur?
2. If I import photos to the MacBook. Then with the external HDD connected, move the photos to the external collection. When I connect the external to the iMac again, will the newly added photos appear automatically or will there be an easy way for them to be added, and will any edits made on the MacBook appear on the iMac?
Appreciate any feedback either from actual Adobe staff or anyone who already works this way.
Lightroom is designed as a single-computer, single-user system. The easiest way to share the LR catalog between your multiple computers is to put the catalog and previews folder on the external drive with your photos, then move the drive from computer to computer as needed. This way there is no "sharing"; each computer will be using the real catalog and seeing all your edits.
Another solution is to put the smart previews in a drop box folder which is then kept in sync via the cloud. As Mike’s video shows, you exclude the main previews which would take up too much storage space.