The easiest and most reliable way to work on the same images on two different computers is to have the catalog and the images on an external hard drive that can be switched between computers. The catalog must be on a hard drive that is local to the computer running Lightroom. The cloud is not the solution for what you are trying to do. The cloud enables you to create collections that can be shared. Then you can use Lightroom Mobile on your mobile devices to modify those images. Those changes will be applied to the master images residing on your main computer.
Thanks Jim but while I get that, it's not ideal for me. I travel, and putting my catalog on an external hard drive leaves me vulnerable to losing the drive, having issues with it etc. mYbd I need to look at putting my pictures and catalog on something like box is the answer. Comments?
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Lightroom needs to see (or be fooled into seeing) the catalog as a local file.
This works using
- internal and external hard drives or
- something like Dropbox which stores a virtual copy of its files on your local hard drive then syncs them remotely to dropbox.com. I believe Box has a similar feature. It's that sync'ed copy of the Dropbox/Box files on your local hard drive which makes "sharing" the LR catalog it work. It's not really shared. It's automatically synced by Dropbox to multiple connected computers sharing the same Dropbox account.
The downside of this approach is the risk of data duplication due to conflicted copies. If Dropbox cannot access the LR catalog due to it being is use or the timestamp is off, Dropbox either skips or duplicates the files.
If you're disciplined enough to close your LR catalog after every editing session, then Dropbox will cleanly and safely sync the LR catalog to the other computer's Dropbox and you can edit the updated LR catalog on the other computer. If you fail to close LR correctly even once, you'll have to sort out multiple conflicted copies of your LR catalog before you can continue editing.
...I travel, and putting my catalog on an external hard drive leaves me vulnerable to losing the drive, having issues with it etc...Comments?
That's why God created backup EHDs, which you leave at home.
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May be it helps to show you my work environment:
- A NAS for my backups with RAID disks and a lot of space
- A desktop workstation when I'm at my HO with a 6Tb photo disk, the catalog is on an SSD.
- A Laptop for my travels and out of office edits with a 2Tb external disk (catalog and pictures on the same disk).
My exchanges are done (mostly) one way: laptop->desktop->back-up, rarely I need older files from my desktop to be edited on my laptop.
This configuration decides my work pattern: When I go shooting, I import the pictures to my external disk from my Laptop. At my HO, I import the catalog (File->import from an other catalog) to my desktop. Then I do a back-up. After that only I reformat my cards. I have currently still plenty of room on my external disk, but when arriving at it's limits, I will probably delete the older files from the catalog. But it may be also that by then, that I can afford and buy additional external space (my external disk is a SSD).
Additional security would be to add a second external disk. I think currently, that I do not need that. But I would definitively need a mirror for my NAS at a remote location.
Thanks for the helpful tips all. I do carry a bunch of equipment around, so I'd rather not take yet another hard drive. The Box (or Creative Cloud) option seems viable though. Let me see if I understand it.
I currently have Lightroom 6, not the CC subscription. If I get a Box account, I can move my catalog to that, and then make sure I close Lightroom every time I finish an editing session. Then I have to make sure that Box has synched, and when I open Lightroom next, regardless of which computer I open it on, it will get the latest catalog. Is that right?
So my first question is can I load LR6 on 2 PCs as long as I don't use it simultaneously?
Next, it's the same procedure if I decide to go with CC. In this case I could also use the CC storage. That would accomplish the same thing right?
And finally, for either option, my photos themselves would be on my desktop hard drive. My laptop would be able to 'see' the virtual copy in the catalog, and would apply any changes only in the catalog.
Is that right?
Thanks for all the help
Your Lightroom license entitles you to 2 installations for your personal use. So, the answer to question number 1 is yes.
No, the creative cloud will not accomplish the same thing as dropbox. Some people have the misunderstanding that images are stored in the cloud automatically, and therefore can be accessed from different computers. That is not the case. The creative cloud gives you access to Lightroom Mobile. That is a program that can be installed on your mobile devices. Then you create collections that you choose to share on Lightroom Mobile. Those shared collections can be edited on the mobile device and the changes will transfer to the master computer. You can also edit those collections using your computer and accessing a website, Lightroom.adobe.com. You could access that website from your laptop and work on the collections that you have chosen to share.
Images must be on a hard drive that is local to the computer running Lightroom. The only way you can work on images from another computer is either using Lightroom Mobile on a mobile device or going to the aforementioned website. The editing capabilities are not the full set that you have in the desktop Lightroom program. But it does give you the opportunity to work on images when you are away from your main computer.
Thanks Jim, but I'm still a little confused. If I move my catalog to Box, that's not the same thing as moving my photos. So my photos would stay on my desktop. Reading your second paragraph, it seems like I have accomplished nothing by moving my catalog to box if I cannot do any editing to the photos on my desktop. So what would the point be of moving my catalog to box?
Sorry if I'm misunderstanding
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My external HD is (with the protective packaging for transportation 13x9.5x3.5cm. And it weights near to 0.
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Images must be on a hard drive that is local to the computer running Lightroom.
This is only partially correct. the images may also reside on a network disk. The catalog needs to stay local on your computer. That is because LR does not support simultaneous access to the catalog and there would be inconsistencies in the data when accessing the catalog database from 2 or more computers at the same time.
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The catalog is a database, containing your edits, previews of the pictures, pointers to the pictures and some other data. As the current pictures are not stored with the catalog, you should not change their location or name behind the back of LR. but this allows for a compact catalog and allows for offline editing, without having to have the pictures on-line.
Moving the catalog to dropbox will allow access from 2 or more computers to the same catalog, without having to physically attach a disk to that computer. It works, but is not supported because LR does not support concurrent catalog access. If you are sure not to connect with 2 computers at the same time, there is no drawback as long as dropbox can synchrinize your data before dropping the connection.
The drpbox workaround works because a dropbox folder appears as a standard folder to your applications. If LR could detect this as a networked directory, it would refuse using it.
But then the network disk is local to the computer. My statement, however, was probably a bit misleading.
I wouldn't like to shuffle 30Mb+-images through a slow internet connection, but I'm using a LAN for storage. Pictures can be on the LAN (or WAN), but the catalog needs to be on (what LR thinks is) a local disk. Dropbox is a local disk (from a LR point of view).
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Dropbox seems to be a reasonable solution for some users. Extra caution needs to be used to ensure that ample time is allowed for the catalog to be updated after Lightroom is closed. Other than that, I see no problem with the dropbox method. I have never used it. I guess I'm a little too simplistic. I do all of my work on a single desktop Windows 10 computer. Kind of boring, right?
Not boring. Old school. I prefer the external HD now, because I need to be mobile. I wanted something solid, and no need for (slow) internet.
Thanks guys. I'd much prefer to do everything from 1 computer also, as I have been for years, but I'm going to be more mobile and would like to be able to work on them while I'm out of town. Thought about the hard drive, and would probably have resorted to that if I had to. I get the portability, but it's just 1 more thing I have to worry about, so I probably wont if I don't have to.
So sounds like I'll probably give box a shot. Since I'll physically be away from my desktop when I'm using my laptop, I think the synching will work fine. Thanks for all your help
So now I've done a little research, and I think I have it. Can someone confirm that this is right, or tell me what's wrong with it. I want to be able to process pictures on both my desktop and laptop.
1. Today I have Lightroom, my pictures and my catalog on my desktop, and nothing on my laptop.
2. I should get a box or dropbox subscription, and copy my catalog to it, meaning that any changes I make to the catalog on my desktop will be synched to the cloud solution (let's call it box).
3. I should install Lightroom on my laptop, and copy the catalog from box to my laptop, and use the catalog on my laptop as the location for any edits I make on my laptop, meaning that any changes that are made from my desktop will be synched to my laptop thru box, and any changes I make on my laptop will be synched to my desktop thru box.
NOTE: at this point, I am never using the box catalog for anything except as an intermediary for changes made on either computer. This also means I don't have to be online to do any edits, and that I do not ever need access to my photographs once they are loaded on my desktop and imported into the desktop catalog and synched to box and the laptop - let's say I will always do that. I get that I will always have to make sure that any changes I make on either computer, online or offline, will have to be synched to box, and to the other computer before I can use the other computer.
Is that right, or should I put my catalog on box and point both computers at it, meaning that I need to be online to be able to use Lightroom?
The steps you've described are required to make this workflow work.
Regarding your last point: that's right. You cannot point LR to the catalog in Box in the Cloud. It must be local. The whole point is not to have to be online to be able to use Lightroom.
Don't start editing on the second computer until you know that Box has finished syncing the Catalog file (containing edits from the previous session) from the Cloud.
The key is to ensure that when you're done editing, you close Lightroom every single time so there are no lock files to prevent Box syncing the catalog to the Cloud. Otherwise you'll get stuck in the nightmare of sorting out non-synced Catalogs and - potentially - conflicted copies. That discipline is the key to making this workflow successful.
Thanks. So exactly as I outlined before asking the question that you answered, although I may not have the specifics about how box works right. Again, thanks for the help
Yes. I think my edited version was posted after you replied.
Doesn't matter. Think you've got the workflow.
Excelent, I did not understand about the duplication and you explained perfectly. Dropbox works perfect to work in mi iMac and Macbook pro.
I know this has been sorted, but Adobe could allow lightroom for windows/mac be able to edit synced collections in the same way that lightroom mobile can do.
That would be a great solution, providing a great editing solution on a 2nd pc/mac.
Most of the technology they need to do this is in the mobile apps. So, come on Adobe - this would be a huge boost to usability for lots of users that have a desktop and a laptop.
If I'm correct, there is a way of doing that ... via a web browser!
Wouldn't using the web browser approach result in some loss of Lightroom's functionality?
And a related question: Is it just the Lightroom Catalog IRCAT file that is moved to Dropbox, or do I also move the Lightroom Previews Catalog.IRDATA file too?
Never used the browser, so I can't comment on this!
You need to move the whole stuff. I do no see an option to assign other paths to the Preview and smart preview directory. Anyhow using Dropbox is not supported by Lightroom, so use it at your own risk.
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You could always go the smart preview route. This would
allow you more editing than just standard previews.
All edits stored in the catalog and always with you.
Thank you. Would have responded sooner, but been getting a system error whenever I attempt to log-in here. That problem is discussed in another thread.
I decided to move my Lightroom files onto a 1TB external SSD. i'll simply move the drive between machines as the need arises, initially changing my file location setting in Lightroom's preferences on each machine. Seems that's the simplest choice here to avoid pitfalls set out in this thread.
Don not forget the regular backups of your external drive.