The best thing to do in such a situation would be to keep the catalog and the images on the external hard drive.
How to do that is mentioned below-
- Open Lightroom
- Click on file - New Catalog
- Now create a new catalog on the External drive and click ok
- Lightroom will now open with this new catalog
- Click on import and then use the add option to import images
This way you can keep all the data on the external drive, however eventually you will have to increase your HDD as you may install applications of presets or plugins.
You are right that LR does not copy your original image files into LR, but it does store the metadata info about your image files and the edits you make in the LR catalog. It also makes previews (standard or 1:1) to look at in LR, and these take up more space.
As an example, I have 100,000 images imported in LR (and stored on their own HDD), and the LR catalog is now about 3GB in size, and the previews (mainly standard but some 1:1) now occupy 566GB! Yes that's right - 566 GB. I have the catalog and previews on another separate drive, since my system SSD is only 256GB. And don't forget the ACR cache, which also needs space somewhere, but not so much - that is only 40GB in size, but you can put a limit on that in prefs.
So you probably need a separate drive for the catalog and previews, or a bigger one for images, catalog, and previews.
This is so helpful! Thanks
Thanks for your help, this is useful to know. I was confused as to what data was being stored, but it makes sense that the previews would use up additional space (I suppose this is to save waiting for previews to load from the HDD). I'm currently only working with around 6000 RAW files so shouldn't need to upgrade yet. Thanks again. I'm loving Lightroom so far, it's great that I can browse my photos and retouch them all from the save program.
I have photoshop cc as well and both these programs are taking up around 3Gb each on my hard drive. this is crazy!
If you are talking about the installation size, then that is justified and expected,