6 Replies Latest reply on Dec 6, 2017 12:54 AM by 99jon

    Using Lightroom through the cloud with multiple computers

    thejoejay42 Level 1

      Hi All, I've just switched over my work flow to Lightroom CC, and I'd like to be able to edit and process photos on both my Surface Pro 2 and desktop running Windows 10. I currently use OneDrive for syncing things between the two and I've read you can chuck the Lightroom catalog file in the cloud to keep things consistent. I just have a few questions (and hopefully you guys can provide some suggestions) on managing and maintaining a consistent work flow on both machines:


      • I've got the OneDrive folder on my D:/ drive on the desktop (running a dual SSD/HDD system) and on C:/ on the Surface
      • I do have a few of my photos in folders (managed through Lightroom currently on the desktop) stored in OneDrive. This makes it easier for me to access them when I'm on my phone and need to check/pull down a few files.
      • I can create smart previews for albums stored locally on my desktop and they should sync with the catalog file stored in OneDrive, right?
      • Problem is that the photos stored in OneDrive are in different locations on both machines. On the Surface it's on C:/ and on the desktop it's on D:/
      • Since LR does not detect OneDrive as a drive, when I sync the catalog file from my desktop to my Surface, if I'm correct it should mark my D:/ (on my desktop, with the OneDrive folder) as offline and thus mark the OneDrive folder in C:/ (on the Surface) as a different entity. When I get back to my desktop it will mark D:/ OneDrive as online and C:/ OneDrive (on my Surface) as off-line.
      • So there will be duplicate OneDrive folders in my single catalog, synced through the cloud
      • Is there a better way of doing this? I would ideally like to keep my photos that are in OneDrive in OneDrive for the sake of convenience, not in the form of smart previews.


      Thanks for your help everyone!


        • 1. Re: Using Lightroom through the cloud with multiple computers
          99jon Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          Have a look at Mike’s set-up. He uses dropbox in conjunction with smart previews. He has a video tutorial at Tip Squirrel



          • 2. Re: Using Lightroom through the cloud with multiple computers
            ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

            Because LR references your images by {drive + path + filename} and because your two computers have OneDrive syncing to two different drive letters, you will need to "relocate" the images each time you swap computers with the catalog.

            The easiest way to do this is to have a single root folder that all your images are underneath.

            Then from LR's Folders panel, you just "relocate" or "find missing" on that single root folder and everything under it is automatically fixed.


            The other catch is that many of these sync services do not correctly handle files that are randomly changed internally, like database files are changed. The best way to handle this is to copy the catalog out of the OneDrive folder, use that copy, then copy the catalog file back into the OneDrive folder. Or turn off the syncing while you are using the catalog.


            In all honesty, the easiest way to keep multiple computers in sync (not the prettiest way) is to put your images and the catalog on an external drive and move the drive from computer to computer as needed.

            • 3. Re: Using Lightroom through the cloud with multiple computers
              thejoejay42 Level 1

              Thanks for the suggestions guys!


              So if I created Smart Previews for the folders in OneDrive on my desktop's D:/ and didn't bother to import those already locally-available files on the Surface's C:/ disk, via syncing it over the cloud this would mean I can edit and export photos within a synced catalog. The only problem is that I would have duplicate files in different locations, but that's alright because the Lightroom files are Smart Previews, right?


              And once I get back to my desktop and the catalog folder syncs up, the photos stored in the OneDrive folder will be available as full JPEGs/RAW files.

              Also how would you go about importing and editing new files from the Surface? Is there a way to edit and sync them back to the desktop, even though the desktop's drives will be offline?


              Edit: just had a think about it, so correct me if this won't work. If I imported the Surface's OneDrive folders on C:/ into the catalog, any photos I import into it using OneDrive will sync across to my desktop anyways (OneDrive will sync changes in those folders into the OneDrive folder on my D:/ drive on the desktop). So in theory, all I need to do when I get to the catalog file on my desktop is hit 'synchronise folders' on the root OneDrive folder and the new files should sync across, adjustments, developments and everything. Sound good?

              • 4. Re: Using Lightroom through the cloud with multiple computers
                99jon Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                Mike uses smart previews because it’s not a good idea to have the catalog in the cloud. Lightroom is constantly writing to the catalog, so as it grows you could easily exceed your storage limit. But yes you need to let everything sync between computers before exporting etc.


                When travelling I import everything into a travel catalog – no sync required and no need to carry an exteral drive. I can edit, mark picks and add keywords and captions etc. When I get home I import the travel catalog to combine with my master catalog on the desktop pc. Works perfectly as I don’t need to have access to the entire catalog at all times.

                • 5. Re: Using Lightroom through the cloud with multiple computers
                  bgwg Level 1

                  I am getting a new computer and considering a new "workflow". I see 3 options flushing out.

                  1. External drive

                  2. One Drive-with serious cautions about the database of edits getting saved correctly over the cloud. I don't think my online backup software will backup from Google Drive or One Drive. You can think of "synced" copies as backups however I've seen cases where accidental deletions are synced and photos lost.

                  3. I had not considered your idea of importing photos to your Laptop/Surfacebook into a "travel" catalog & then combining that with the desktop main LR catalog.


                  Can you expand on the workflow for #3 and have you changed anything since they've come out with the LR Classic & the LR mobile? Do you run the full version of LR on your laptop or the mobile version?


                  I have the latest software & was able to edit photos on my Surfacebook using the mobile version and those edits did sync with my desktop "LR Classic" installation. But I still have the problem of not being able to download my photos & process them when I'm traveling because I want the original raw file on my desktop computer. So I have to wait until I get home to do the download & processing. Once that is done & I select "sync", then they are available on the Mobile app. The new software mobile app does allow for photo transfer via a USB cable & editing is possible, but no documentation is clear about whether you then have to download the photos on your main desktop machine. Does LR Classic recognize that the photos are already partially downloaded to a phone? Seems unlikely. I haven't tried this yet.


                  I would really appreciate an update on your workflow with the "travel"  catalog concept. I love that idea

                  • 6. Re: Using Lightroom through the cloud with multiple computers
                    99jon Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    I have LR Classic installed on my laptop and also my desktop at home. I use a 128gb SD card for the travel catalog  which has a single folder for photos/videos. I import photos from my camera, copying the raw files to the SD card folder.


                    When I get home I launch Lr Classic on my desktop and choose:

                    File >> Import from Another Catalog

                    I then navigate to the SD card (connected with card reader) and select the travel catalog and choose to import negative files. All my files and editing is then available in my master catalog.


                    This Adobe video has more information: