Lightroom workflow/storage etc

Started Apr 24, 2012 | Discussions thread
Albert de Bruijn Contributing Member • Posts: 724
Re: Lightroom workflow/storage etc

7enderbender wrote:

Hello everyone,

I'm in the process of rethinking my photo editing and storage workflow. I may be buying a new laptop in a few months or so to replace my current main computer, Thinkpad T60.

I like to do most of my work and photo editing on my laptop. It's just convenient to me and the thing has been pretty reliable and delivers good results. My desktop PC is mostly being used for my music and recording applications and I'm ok if all this stays that way.

Not sure yet what my new laptop may look like but other than the challenge finding one with a good hi resolution screen I find storage an issue. I may end up going with another Thinkpad if I can find one with a good screen again or I may consider the Macbook pro route if they really come out with some kind of retina display for a 15" MBP.

One issue with all this is the size of hard drives. SSDs are fast but small. Larger capacities are perhaps 500 or 750 GB in standard HDs. I now have 500GB and I'm starting to run out of space because of photos alone.

So my main question is how people are using Lightroom as a management and database application when using laptops. At the moment I keep original copies in four places: laptop, external hard drive, desktop PC backup drive and a backup server in my house. I use Lightroom really for the most part on my laptop so I have given up trying to sync databases or using a wireless server approach (not really supported by LR3 anyway).

And that's ok but it requires to keep all photos on my laptop and that's where I'm running out of space. And I'm not sure I want to plug in external drives any time I open up LR. Secondary drives in a laptop would be nice - which would be another reason to go with another Thinkpad where this is relatively easy by swapping the optical drive.

So what am I missing? How do professionals with lots and lots of photos maintain their storage on a laptop in conjunction with LR3 or 4? Do you dump older photos and live with the fact that LR complains about not finding them? Do you start new databases all the time? What if you need to go back to an old set? Do you import it again?

I don't think this needs to be too complicated.

When I am on the road, I have my laptop and launch LR with a catalog that I have called "Laptop". I import images into that after a day shooting. They are stored on the laptop's hard drive (but could be a portable disk if you want).

In the hotel room I will edit pictures as needed.

When I get back home and want to move the images, I launch LR with my "regular" catalog and then do a "import from another catalog" and select the "laptop" catalog I mentioned earlier.

The "regular" catalog knows what it has imported on previous occasions so selecting just the new images you shot on your trip is very straight forward. Do the import and LR will import not just your images, but also all the edits and metadata you created when on the road. Easy. During the import, you can of course choose "Move" or "Copy" (just do not select "Add" as that will screw you up when you disconnect the laptop).

I find this works brilliantly and I never have to worry about losing edits I made when away.

The only issue is I do not have my entire catalog on my laptop when I travel. For me that is not an problem.

At home (my main catalog) I rarely delete images and have two 3TB external disk drives for my images (the main one plus backup). So far I am up to about 65,000 images which occupy 2TB. I have a Canon 5D Mark 3 (previously a mark 2) so image size (RAW) lies around 25Mb each.

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Albert (now with free Lightroom presets)

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