You can do that by creating Smart Previews for all the images. But that takes up a ton of space if your catalog is loaded with images.
Better off copying, and or moving, all your images to an external drive and updating your catalog file to access them from the external. Copy the Catalog file and all other folder in the location of your catalog file to your notebook once that is done and take the external with you on your travels.
I have my lightroom catalog and pictures on my desktop currently. I am taking a trip and wanted to be able to work with the entire catalog on my laptop on the road: organize, make collections, edit pictures, etc.
What is the best way of doing this? Can I simply copy the catalog, preview, and smart preview files to my laptop (leaving all the pictures on my desktop), work on it, and then copy it back to my desktop overwriting the original files? Will that work or is there a better way to do this?
Yes., you can do this - and it's also the method I prefer. But I only copy the catalogue and the smart previews, not the regular previews folder. I have smart previews for about 20% of all my photos - they are roughly 1mb per photo.
Thank you both for your responses.
So just to clarify, it is only the catalog and smart previews that are necessary to do work without the original image files?
Is the only value to bringing the standard previews how quickly the images will load when scrolling through them?
If i only bring the catalog and build smart previews for a subset of images, I will only be able to edit that subset of images I presume, but will I be able to organized the rest of the images in the catalog or do I need standard previews to do that?
Yes and yes. But smart previews display very quickly.
If i only bring the catalog and build smart previews for a subset of images,... but will I be able to organized the rest of the images in the catalog or do I need standard previews to do that?
You will be able to do things to the rest, but without seeing what those pictures look like....
I manage the process by keeping a smart collection of images I want to take on the road. For example, all images >4 stars, all taken in the last year, all in the part of the country where I am going, etc. The last condition is "without smart previews". So this smart collection finds anything that should have a smart preview but doesn't - it should always be 0.
I do this all the time but my main machine is a laptop. I store most of my images on a RAID array and have the main catalog and most recent images on my internal (a 1TB SSD). So I just unplug and go. I can do almost everything I need this way and even edit the ones that have smart previews. You can't edit as fully as deeply as when you have the real file (sharpening is not correct for example and lifting shadows too much will get you terrible artifacts) but it is more than good enough. For extra storage, if I expect to be generating more than a few 100 GB of data (can happen with video), I take a small credit card sized external SSD with me. You can get them for very reasonably little money and they are super fast over USB 3 and you can just tape it to the back of your laptop screen and leave it attached.
Do you have a good SSD you recommend? I think what I may do is get a small external SSD and keep the catalog, preview, and smart preview files on that with all my catalog backups. Then I can just grab that drive when I am going mobile and leave all my images on my desktop.
Do you think its a bad idea to have a catalog that doesnt stay with the images for most of the time? Seems like it shouldnt matter to me...
I've used the samsung external ssds and the U32 brand ones. Both work well. I recently upgraded the internal sad in my MacBookPro with a Transcend ssd that came with a little housing to put the old one in. That worked really well and was very easy. I generally check the reviews on amazon for some idea how well these work.
It doesn't really matter whether the catalog is right next to the images or not. You sometimes might have to reconnect the images when you plug in the hard drive if the drive letter has changed (windows) or it mounts at a different point on a Mac.
Just picked up a Samsung T3 portable SSD. Very sleek little item.
However, I am a Mac user so apple has made connectivity very complicated in the short term. Because I have an iMac with thunderbolt 2 and USB-A 3.0 ports and a Macbook pro with only USB-C ports, and because the SSD only comes with a USB-C to USB-A 3.0 cable, I would have to purchase the following if I wanted to take advantage of the transfer rates:
Thunderbolt 2 Male/Male cable
Thunderbolt 2 (female) to USBC (male) cable
USBC Female/Female cable
Is it worth it considering the SSD max read/write is 450MB/s and USB 3.0 provides 625MB/s? Would I even be able to take advantage of the speed afforded by USBC connectivity?
SSD for photos? Waste of money and disk space. The speed benefit you get from putting photos on an SSD is so small you will never notice the difference.
SSD for catalog file and previews? That's a good idea, then you will notice a speed improvement compared to catalog file and previews on a regular HD. But your connection via thunderbolt may hamper the speed improvement (or not, I don't know, I don't use Thunderbolt).
I'm using it for catalog and previews. But if my conversions are correct, the portable SSD maxes out at 450MB/s. USB 3.0 provides transfer rates that already exceed that, so what advantage is there to using thunderbolt 2 or 3 or USB 3.1?
However, I am a Mac user so apple has made connectivity very complicated in the short term. Because I have an iMac with thunderbolt 2 and USB-A 3.0 ports and a Macbook pro with only USB-C ports, and because the SSD only comes with a USB-C to USB-A 3.0 cable, I would have to purchase the following if I wanted to take advantage of the transfer rates
You don't need all of that. It will max out at speeds below USB 3.0's limit as you correctly note and in my experience with these kinds of SSDs, it gets close to the rated speeds as long as it is directly attached and not going through a hub. Also, it wouldn't even work as Apple's thunderbolt2 to Thunderbolt3/USB-C cable does not support USB-C only devices! On the iMac, I would just plug it into the USB-A ports and I would simply get a standard USB C cable to connect to your USB-C MBP and be done with it. Look carefully at the offerings because I have read that there are many bad USB-C cables on amazon. It's surprising that the new Samsung drive comes only with a USB-C to USB-A cable otherwise you would be done already.
dj, the point of the ssd is not so much speed but that it is so small and portable. These are credit-card sized and on trips if I need extra storage, I simply attach one to the back of my screen and leave it plugged in. Much more convenient than carrying a standard external hard disk, even the ultraportable ones which are still way bigger than these tiny SSDs. Also, in my experience there is a slight but noticeable speed advantage in having images on a SSD. Stepping through images in Develop for example is a lot faster when the source images are on the internal SSD or on an external one vs my RAID array. Also roundtrips into Photoshop are much faster using images on SSD for obvious reasons. This is not as big a difference as having the catalog on SSD but it is still there.