I would like to get on board with LR, and to me that means making it work with the system I have already made. I need my file directory to fit in a catalog.
What's OCD about that, you ask? Well it's my multiple-hard-drive-editing and auto-sync process. I'll keep it simple and outline it in just 5 steps.
Maybe it's not much different than some of your processes, I'll love to hear.
1. I have organized my photos for the past 8 years in a file directory structure which, last I checked, was over 9TB of raw and jpg.
2. I load and work on my current project, as well as up to a month of images directly off my desktop's 500GB SSD drive. 75% of my editing happens on this SSD and everything gets deleted roughly a month after it was taken.
3. 20 seconds after anything is saved/updated in the designated folder structure on the SSD Goodsync automatically one-way syncs to my 5TB secondary and then also to my NAS by adding new or updating previous versions only.
4. I keep 9-12 months of work on my 5TB SATA secondary drive. I might continue editing something on this drive after I removed it from my SSD. Then there is another Goodsync auto sync to update changes to the NAS. 20% of editing happens on a secondary internal drive.
5. A complete copy of the photo directory (only RAW/xmp and jpgs) is on a raid-0 4-disk Synology network attached storage. Occasionally I will go back to previous years and re-edit some photos. Only about 5% of editing happens on my NAS.
I have searched endlessly to no avail search queries similar to:
Lightroom use multiple hard drives with the same photos/ same catalog or
Lightroom temporary editing drives separate from main catalog or
Lightroom large NAS catalog and multiple small drives and I see no hope.
Q Is there no hope?
Q Would I have to do a catalog for every month? What would even be the point of that.
Q Is there any way to use LR without a catalog?
Some people say SMART PREVIEWS. 'You can edit from a local drive and keep your catalog on an external drive.' Smart previews are a nice addition to LR but are not a solution to my workflow. It would mean loading new photos directly onto my NAS, not my SSD, importing those, then selecting the photos I wanted to build smart previews from the NAS copies before I am able to "disconnect" my NAS and work from local previews. Not to even mention I lose real-time auto sync if my other drives are disconnected. Someone might want to tell Adobe that not only people with disconnected catalog drives might want to work off of smart previews..?
If there happens to be anyone still reading, I'm now going into my next confusion on migrating to Lightroom:
Will I want to add all copies of past edited photos into my catalog, just the raw, or the raw and final edit jpg?
Past photo projects/shoots usually have 3 stages of edits. This is it's own folder in the month it was taken with 3-4 subfolders. 1- Original camera files and xmps; 2- PS edits; 3- Delivered files (if there is another party involved); 4- specific output with sharpening.
Q If cataloging a large file directory structure, is it possible to exempt sub-directories with a certain name (like "Delivered files")? Or would I just be individually selecting and importing only the subfolders I want in the catalog for all 8 years?
Well thanks in advance for your kind reply,