Lightroom Workflow Question (Desktop <--> Laptop)

Started May 11, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Lightroom Workflow Question (Desktop <--> Laptop)
May 11, 2013

TL; DR: So basically, I’m having trouble integrating a seamless workflow through a laptop to desktop (and vice versa) solution. If you want to get straight to my problem, I added the “***” to the paragraphs that really gets straight to the point without the context. Sorry for such a long post!

I’m not exactly sure if I’m posting this in the right forum as it really applies to all three (PC, Mac & Retouching) given that this is more of a technical question that applies to everyone who uses Lightroom. I apologize if I broke any forum rules as I intend to post this in the 3 forums to garner as much response as I can to see the different ways people handle their workflow.

So to begin, I have a main workstation that is used to edit all my photos in Lightroom. In this collection, there are about 20K worth of photos (a lot that are useless. #1 job is to really clean it out!) that I’m using alongside the Adobe Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator & Indesign) to compliment my work. I have Raid 1 setup for all my work & photos (separate from my boot drive) to ensure that these are backed up real time in case of anything. Now everything on the desktop side of things are golden (knock on wood) but one concern I’ve always had was how I would implement a mobile workflow towards all of this.

I used to have a laptop but since getting the desktop, I have focused mainly on doing everything on this primary workstation. I recently just bought a Microsoft Surface Pro (Yes, overpriced and not as great at the moment but it serves a very specific need for me. Particularly, Inking in illustrator and more fine detailed work on Photoshop documents) and I am looking to implement this mobile device into my workflow. Given the limit of the SSD drive (and Skydrive) in the Surface Pro, I definitely do not plan on putting my entire library on the Surface or Online (Cloud) but instead focus on fine tuning the best images on the Surface or the images that Im editing when I’m mobile.

I am planning to use Skydrive as a bridge for most of my documents through the Desktop & the Surface but here is where I begin to get very confused even through some mild google searching. This is basically pertaining to the Lightroom Catalog and the question of how I can seamlessly integrate my Surface work into my Desktop workflow. This is an area where I’m all confused when thinking about this so forgive me if I’m all over the place here…

***Firstly, I have still have no idea exactly how this Catalog thing really works. As Im not into Wedding photography, I did indeed conclude (through some googling) that I just need one main catalog for all my work. I had initially thought about keeping that catalog on Skydrive as a bridge but given its size (21.6GB) and the fact that all the actual images are on my desktop, it just doesn’t make sense for me to do so. I plan on using Skydrive as a bridge for the individual files I plan to edit or use on my Surface but the Catalog part is always what confuses me.

For example: If I had made changes (Star Rating, Colour Label, Copyright Info, Develop Module Changes, etc.) and I don’t have the catalog on my Surface, then does that mean all changes made to the particular files are NOT moved over as well? On the other hand, any images that I edit on the surface (Newly imported to Surface & Edit on Post-Desktop Editted File) would only apply to that particular catalog so would I need to import this catalog onto my Desktop as well when sending the images back to my workstation? Moreover, does this also mean I would have TWO catalogs instead of ONE? What I’d like of course; is to keep everything seamless within ONE catalog instead of switching between the two as I’d be working on the same images or similar ones within their categories and wouldn’t want to split them up into a “Mobile” catalog and a “Main” catalog per se.

As an additional inquiry, since I wouldn’t be working on THAT many photos on my surface compared to my desktop (still have a fear of growing folder size though!) should I put my catalog in my Skydrive linked folder so that I can use this as part of a seamless workflow in order for desktop to access changes to files and vice versa?

Like I previously stated, I am incredibly sorry if Im not getting straight to the point but I feel that with more information, everyone can understand easier what Im trying to say through my confusion. I know a lot of people have a mobile solution so I really hope they can share with me what they do to keep everything organized and seamless as this is a very important part of any workflow. ***

Again, thank you all for reading and Ill be looking forward to your reply!

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