Photos cannot be stored in "the cloud", for example in DropBox. They have to be stored on a local disk, or stored on a network drive.
The question mark happens because you move photos outside of Lightroom, this causes the photos to be disconnected from Lightroom. To fix this, move the folder back to your local drive to the exact same location it was in previously.
Thank you for your reply!
I am not clear on what the difference is between 'add' and 'copy'.
When you import
ADD doesn't move the photos, it leaves them in their existing folder location. Add is usually used when the photo is already on your computer.
COPY makes a copy of the photos in some other folder (which is specified in the Import dialog box under Destination), and it is this copy that Lightroom uses. Copy is usually used when the photo is on a camera card.
Thank you dj, I appreciate your help!
If your Drop Box is synchronized to a Drop Box folder on your hard drive, it is perfectly acceptable to select "Add" when importing. But as stated by dj_paige, you cannot move these images outside of Lightroom. If you move or rearrange the folders/images in Drop Box in the cloud, they will be moved on your hard drive as well. Lightroom will then lose connection with these folders/images.
...I finished sorting the first folder and now in order to move to the next folder I had to deselect the first folder and select the next folder in Dropbox. So now I have all ? (question marks) in front of the collection folders and parent folder, because LR doesn't know the location of the original files.
Exactly what are you doing here?
Did you actually sort the files outside of Lightroom in the first folder or did you create collections in Lightroom as the sort mechanism?
Did you import the second folder?
Thank you Joe for your time!
Yes, I sorted the first folder in LR by creating collections. Now I am importing the second folder from Dropbox into LR. Also in Dropbox 'selective sync' I am syncing the first folder back into Dropbox so these files are connected to LR again.
I would love to get both of your opinions, Joe and DJ!
I have about 100GB of photo and video files in my Dropbox and my task is in LR to sort by year and edit the photos, narrow down each year to about 100-200 photos and then export them to a web portfolio.
I don't have so much space on my iMac's internal hard drive, so I was researching on how to do this best using an external hard drive.
The solution seemed to be, creating two mac user accounts on my iMac, user account A has my entire Dropbox synced to the EHD as back up and mac user account B has my Dropbox linked to my computer's internal hard drive, but uses 'selective sync' so I don't use up all of my HD's space. Now that means, syncing one folder at a time and importing it into LR, sort and edit and then comes the next folder...but now of course I realize I will be filling up my internal hard drive again by importing folders and not being able to disconnect the previous folders after they are imported into LR. Makes sense?
Any thoughts anyone?
Help is much appreciated!
You have space problems. Buy another hard disk, that is by far the easiest solution.
An EHD is the answer. You can import using "Copy" to that EHD. After that, you should be able to Un-Sync that folder. Lightroom will still be OK because the Library will be linked to the files on the EHD. You could copy all the Dropbox files to the EHD outside of Lightroom and then import directly from the EHD using "Add".
Thank you Joe, I very much appreciate your suggestions. I haven't been able to try it out yet, but will do so next week. Will be in touch! ((:
Thank you again Joe and also dj_paige!
I am trying to get this straight in my head.
My current set up is with the two mac user accounts. User account A has all my dropbox files on the EHD and I am working from the mac user account B in LR with 'selective synced' Dropbox files.
Joe, so you are suggesting, since I have the EHD connected to my computer and have access to it in both mac user accounts to copy the 'selective sync' files over to the EHD by exporting them, right?
I also went ahead and 'add' ed, as you suggested the next batch of Dropbox files to LR importing them directly from the EHD (not going through 'selective sync' Dropbox files from the internal hard drive.
Now I am of course wondering what would happen if my EHD gets disconnected by accident?
Nothing serious would happen if your EHD gets disconnected. You simply reconnect it. (And of course, I assume you will have recent backups of all of your photos and catalog file.)
...My current set up is with the two mac user accounts. User account A has all my dropbox files on the EHD and I am working from the mac user account B in LR with 'selective synced' Dropbox files.
I was thinking that User B might have a separate EHD, but if the existing EHD has enough room, that might work. User B would create a new folder on the EHD (Existing or New), naming it something like "User B Photos".
...Joe, so you are suggesting, since I have the EHD connected to my computer and have access to it in both mac user accounts to copy the 'selective sync' files over to the EHD by exporting them, right?
My thought was to copy them to the EHD using the Finder, outside of Lightroom.
...I also went ahead and 'add' ed, as you suggested the next batch of Dropbox files to LR importing them directly from the EHD (not going through 'selective sync' Dropbox files from the internal hard drive.
...Now I am of course wondering what would happen if my EHD gets disconnected by accident?
You would see question marks on the photos. You would also see the green light in Lightroom next to the EHD turn red. To reconnect, just plug in the EHD and all will be back as you left it.
With this set up, all of the User B files will be on the EHD twice. A simpler solution might be for User B to get a separate EHD and either 'Selective Sync' as many folders as needed or have full sync to all the files and folders. User B could now import photos into Lightroom by selecting 'Add' directly from the User B Dropbox file rather than having to copy files from the 'Selective Sync' folder to the EHD many times.