My wife and I are a photog team that has traditionally just used Photoshop and Bridge for our photo editing, sorting, etc. We are currently considering LR for some of this process, but I have thus far steered clear of LR for the simple reason that it uses the catalog paradigm for managing non-destructive edits. This makes pipeline workflow between two or more editors/machines a challenge that can only be accomplished by some less-than attractive workarounds (sharing libraries in Dropbox, etc.). To my knowledge, LR is the only application in Adobe's toolkit that is tailored for the individual (which is odd for a professional application), whereas pretty much all the other applications are easily used in a multi-user workflow. It would have been preferable to me if LR simply used a project file like After Effects or Premiere for cataloging image location and non-destructive edits rather than an internal catalog like the consumer iPhoto (now Photos) product that Apple gives away with its OS.
Having said that, I'm now trying to export a catalog we started working on recently in LR when we were on site using my wife's laptop. Ultimately, we want to get our workflow down so that we don't experience these setbacks, but I am still skeptical of LR and the efficiency of using such an internal catalog with multiple users and machines. We shoot architecture primarily when we are sent on assignment, and so we often do a fair amount of image stacking with the Enfuse plugin. We tend to blend these images as soon as possible on site so we're certain we've got the shot we need... in addition to reviewing everything else. Something everyone does, I imagine. But because LR makes development so fast and easy we also end up doing a fair bit of development tweaks while on site, as well. I would love to keep all this work we end up doing while on a shoot when I move it to a NAS drive, or external drive for final dev and edits on our 5k monitor once we get back to the studio.
I tried to do this today with our largest collection of images from our latest trip (1500 images) by exporting the catalog from my wife's internal HD to an external HD. We had other folders, one with 59 images, one with 300+, etc. that all exported perfectly fine with edits intact. It's the folder with 1500 images that did not transfer so well. It seems that LR copied them all down to the external drive, complete with catalog into a self contained folder, just like the others, but I am getting error messages. Every single image has the message "The File Cannot Be Opened by Lightroom", and some of them have exclamation points by them. I take great care in using only LR to move stuff around.
My question is this... as with Bridge (despite being a very old application with tons of versions) there are still some very well known bugs when batch processing filename changes, moving a big bunch files from one place to another, etc. Bridge always seems to choke when it's a bunch of something it has to do in a batch. Is this sort of thing a known issue with LR, as well? I ask because it's the folder with 1500 images it can't seem to export cleanly. This same catalog and folder of images performs flawlessly on our laptop's internal HD, where it was originally created.
In the future, we plan to create folders and work from an external drive right from the get go. Still, though, I do eventually have to get any images and corresponding catalogs backed up to a NAS drive for archiving... and for stuff that no longer needs to be on the NAS, I will have to back up projects onto externals for longer term storage. Anyone having issues with doing any of that?
I'm still new to LR, but this is a pivotal point for us as to whether or not we can comfortably use it. I love the speed and power, but hate the catalog paradigm. It seems prosumer, at best, and doesn't support a good multi-user workflow. Great for single photogs, but not so great for teams who need to tag team projects to get them done. I own most of the competing products, but I prefer LR's UI and speed. DXO may be the way forward for us, though.
Any tips on keeping catalogs siloed by project, instead of having everything you've ever shot in one giant database? Not interested in my niece's portrait pics cataloged with pro shoots I go on, for example. I'd like to try to use LR like After Effects, where you open a project file (on ANY machine) when you want to work with it (provided that machine also has access to the same media in the same places), then close it (remove it) when you're not. Can this be done reliably in LR?
Thanks for any tips and info! Sorry to be so negative about LR, but I truly do not understand the reasons that Adobe went with the internal cat vs. the project file paradigm other than for search. I'd give that up in heartbeat for simpler workflow. Another idea would be to make the catalog "subscribable" by invitation... so, via the cloud, any user could be invited to your catalog, or certain portions of it, making a professional workflow between multiple users possible. With gigabytes of space available on most cloud accounts, keeping your catalog there should be well within the realm of possibility (people back them up to the cloud all the time).