From iPhoto to Lightroom 4: Where do you keep your photos?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by M-5, Mar 21, 2013.

  1. M-5, Mar 21, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013

    M-5 macrumors 65816

    M-5

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    #1
    I have been using iPhoto for a few years now, and it has been easy to organize my photos by event (and even tagged faces). But my library has become larger and larger over the past couple of years, and I realized that I want a better way to organize my photos.

    Another reason for wanting to switch over to Lightroom is that it's very cumbersome to have to import and export many photos out of iPhoto if I want to edit in Photoshop.

    I do like the ease of syncing with my iOS devices that iPhoto offers me, but I'm willing to give this up. I also stopped using Photostream a couple of weeks ago when I found out that my mom had been receiving photos that weren't hers in her own photostream on her iPad, and that kind of freaked me out.

    I have a question on where to store my photos (or more specifically, what your practices are) after I have moved them from iPhoto in an effort to stop using iPhoto completely. I understand that Lightroom doesn't actually store photos in the app but instead references them from a location and keeps a record of your edits and metadata in its catalogue. So what I'm wondering is if I want to keep my photos locally on my MacBook's SSD, should I just dump all of my photos into a single folder on my desktop for instance, and then just use Lightroom to sort through them all?

    Thank you for the help in advance!
     
  2. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    #2
    You setup a catalog in Lightroom and there are several options of how it handles photos.

    For me I let Lightroom manage the photos. I setup an external USB 3.0 drive to be my primary photo store. On import LR copies the images to that drive in a folder structure it maintains. In this case the folders are created by the date the image was taken. The images are still sitting on your hard drive and can be opened just like any other file outside of LR.

    Inside of LR you can then display images based on several options like keyword, date, rating, etc. I am still getting used to the sorting options in LR and have found it very powerful.

    One of the reasons I am using the external drive is that it makes backups easier. LR can import images to two locations and I can always mirror the drive if I need to. I can also share it between my desktop PC and Macbook Pro if needed.

    Your edits are stored as a procedural list so the original image is never touched. If you edit an image in PS it keep both the original and the edit. These may be displayed in the catalog as separate photos or stacked - it is your option and may be changed on the fly. You can even have edits of edits if you want. The photos will be marked with 1 of 3, 2 of 4, etc. (It makes more sense than I'm describing.)

    You mention exporting from iPhoto to edit in Photoshop. Well that is really difficult in LR. Right click on the photo in question and select "Edit in Photoshop" from the menu. ;) When you are finished in PS just do a normal save and the edit is saved in your catalog next to the original.

    I'm still getting the hang of LR but so far I have found it an excellent piece of software.
     
  3. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #3
    First, though I am a Lightroom user, I might suggest you look at Aperture. All of your iPhoto Events, Albums, etc is carried over from iPhoto to Aperture. Aperture has more powerful editing features, and you may not need to go to Photoshop nearly as often.

    If you are still interested in Lightroom.... you are correct Lr does not "hide" your photos inside its catalogue. They can either be left in place, wherever they are or they can be moved or copied into Lr's default folder structure, which is by Year, with each day inside (YYYY / YYYY-MM-DD).

    If you are new to Lr I suggest that you allow Lightroom to move your images into its default folder structure. I have a folder called Lightroom Images inside my Pictures folder. I keep my Lr images separate from all other photos because I don't touch my Lr images except through Lr. Lightroom does not ever touch your original images once they are imported, and instead records everything it does to a database. This means that if you muck about with an image outside of Lr the database record for that image may get corrupted.

    If you use Lr to move an image to Photoshop for editing (and back) then a new edited version of the image is placed next to the original.

    Hope this helps.

    Update: I see Laird has beat me to the reply. We are basically saying the same thing. Also, you will find the bunch in this forum generally very helpful and generous with their tips and help.... we photogs is a nice bunch of people, eh?
     
  4. M-5 thread starter macrumors 65816

    M-5

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    #4
    Hmm, I was considering Aperture, but I just feel that Adobe would provide support for Lightroom for a longer period of time than Apple. I also use Photoshop a lot, and I think it makes more sense if I use Lightroom.

    Creating that folder to store the originals under your "Pictures" folder makes sense, since it is right next to the other folder Lightroom created for its catalogue. So if I connect my SD card to my Mac and import photos in the Lightroom app, they will automatically be sent to that folder I created and referenced in my Pictures folder, correct?

    Also, I back up my entire computer on an external hard drive, so I was considering not creating a separate catalogue backup since lightroom and my photos are already being backed up through Time Machine. Is this a bad idea?
     
  5. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #5
    Fair enough... just wanted to point out that the transition to Aperture will be easier. But there are also good reasons to make the transition.
    You can also store the catalogues in the same folder as the images, if that made more sense for various reasons. You can tell Lightroom where to store the catalogues.
    You have to set it up once, and then it remembers where to send the photos.
    More backups are always better. I have my catalogue backed up to a cloned backup nightly plus Time Machine, plus at least once a day it gets copied to a different folder altogether.

    Cheers
     
  6. bking1000 macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 29, 2007
    #6
    I've dropped iPhoto altogether. Lightroom only now. about 12K photos.
     
  7. Mike in Kansas macrumors 6502a

    Mike in Kansas

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    Location:
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    #7
    I started on iPhoto, and when I was ready to grow into something more involved, I looked at both LR and Aperture. Both are equally good, have their strengths and weaknesses, and their supporters and detractors. I went with Aperture back when it was 2.0. As much of a supporter that I am of Aperture, I also recognize that LR has a larger user base, more breadth of plug-ins (although all of the "A" list plug-ins support both) and seems to be more "core" to Adobe than Aperture is to Apple. Having said that, I don't feel I am missing anything in Aperture 3 that I can't get with a plug-in if it isn't core to the application (lens correction being the biggest hole, and some would also argue noise reduction).

    Some of the newer features of Aperture really make it useful for the Apple environment, especially if you are coming from iPhoto. The "unified Library" is a great feature - you can open up your iPhoto library in Aperture and vice versa. All of your Faces will remained tagged. This is VERY useful to me, as I still send my Photostream to iPhoto as I don't want to clutter up Aperture with iPhone and iPad snaps; however, when I have taken a few shots that I really want to work on, I can easily access them in Aperture. I also use iPhoto for web shots and screen shots, so I keep all my non-camera-created organized in iPhoto while using Aperture for my photos and videos.

    If you use iMovie, another nice feature of Aperture is that all of your movies in your Aperture library also show up in your iMovie library WITHOUT having to import them separately into iMovie.

    Both support plug-ins, and both support external editors (like Photoshop or Pixelmator). And both will reduce your dependance on pixel editors as they can do so much more than just organize your photos.

    When moving from iPhoto to LR, if you want to move your existing shots into LR, you'll have to export both your originals and your edits if you want to keep your edits (crops, rotate, level adjustments, etc.). It will take a bit of work to keep these organized, and now you have both an original and possibly multiple edited versions with the edits "baked in". If you go to Aperture, both the originals and the non-destructive edits you made in iPhoto are already there in your library. If you did minimal editing and/or have a small collection of edits, then this isn't a big issue. However, if you have thousands of shots with most of them having edits, the issue is no longer trivial. I was faced with this when I moved from a PC to a Mac and went from Photoshop Elements to iPhoto - I have duplicates and multiple versions all over the place and it took me forever to clean them up.

    Both allow for you to organize your "originals" in a hierarchical structure.
     
  8. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #8
    I'm using your comment as a spring board....

    One of the things I like (in theory) about Lightroom is that you can create your own lense profiles. I say 'in theory' because I've only built a couple of generic profiles.... but I have plans to build a whole library. For people with a number of non-standard lenses (like myself) you need to build your own profiles to use the lense correction tool, and Adobe has an easy-ish tool to do so. If you are really picky you can replace the built-in profile with your own. In fact, you can profile your lense for each f/stop (though in practice just doing the ends and the middle value should be close enough).
     
  9. trs0722 macrumors member

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    Oct 29, 2011
    Location:
    Newark, DE
    #9
    Same boat here...at least with my new pics. I loved iPhoto until I got a DSLR, started shooting RAW, and needed better editing options than iPhoto had. I left my older pics in iPhoto and decided to import all my new pics only into LR4. After editing the keepers, I export them to iPhoto as a smaller file. This way I can have access to them through my iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. The RAWs are still in my pictures folder and I eventually go back through to delete most of them as they take up a lot of space. Having the ability to set up a preset in LR4 makes it so easy. Just another option...hope this helps.
     
  10. nburwell macrumors 68040

    nburwell

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    PHL
    #10
    For my iPhone photos, I usually sync them up with iPhoto so they are stored not only on my cameral roll on my phone, but my MBP as well.

    For my DSLR work, I create catalogs in LR to sort my RAW files by date (or subject). For me, it makes it extremely easy if I want to go back and re-process an image. I just have to look up the folder by date and the RAW file is right there for me to process again. I work exclusively in LR and PS, so by creating a catalog in LR, it simplifies my workflow between both programs.
     
  11. B.A.T macrumors 6502

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    #11
  12. Kurwenal, Mar 24, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013

    Kurwenal macrumors 6502a

    Kurwenal

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    Jun 27, 2012
    #12
    You don't have to give this up. There are several (easy) ways to sync LR photos to your iOS devices. One simple way that works well is to use the "sync photos from selected folder" option in iTunes (find your iPad or iPhone in the device list, go to the photos tab). Create a regular OSX folder (mine is called iDevices Sync) somewhere, then select that folder in iTunes and whatever pics you put into that folder will be synced to your device. You can create sub-folders in your main folder and each sub-folder will show up as a separate album on your device.

    To make it even more convenient, you can put your iDevices Sync folder inside of your Dropbox folder. And, once you get the whole thing up and running, you can automate it using smart collections in LR. For example, whenever I set a photo's color to Red, that photo automatically goes into my Red smart collection, and that smart collection folder sits inside my iDevices Sync folder. So, I select Red and (when published) that photo ends up on my iPhone and iPad. I also sync this way onto my Apple TVs.
     
  13. Caliber26 macrumors 68000

    Caliber26

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    #13

    I am kinda new to Lr so I have to ask... will the synced photos be the originals or the edited versions?
     
  14. Kurwenal macrumors 6502a

    Kurwenal

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    Jun 27, 2012
    #14
    You can do it either way, actually, but the simplest (and default) way to do it, using smart collections as described above, will sync the edited version -- whatever the most current version of a picture is, the smart collection filter will mirror that version into the smart collection, and, when you publish that smart collection, that version is exported into the iDevices Sync folder, and then synced by iTunes onto your device.
     
  15. Caliber26 macrumors 68000

    Caliber26

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    #15
    Thank you! :)

    That's been one thing I've been struggling with...editing images and then exporting JPEGs to iPhoto and syncing that way. Seems like too much work.
     
  16. Kurwenal macrumors 6502a

    Kurwenal

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    #16
    I agree. The system I describe above, using smart collections and iTunes, solves, most, but not all of the syncing issues created by moving away from iPhoto and/or Aperture. You still have to tweak your workflow a bit (e.g., importing everything into LR instead of iPhoto) but overall the system works well and I am happy with it, until something better comes along.
     
  17. trs0722 macrumors member

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    #17
    Thanks, I may give smart collections a try. However, if the original photos are shot in RAW, won't they still be RAW when synced through iTunes? I thought it best to keep the files smaller, that's why I convert to JPG when sending to iPhoto. This is especially the case if you're using Apple TV wirelessly.
     
  18. Lightning Bolt macrumors member

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    #18
    Along the same lines as the OP, I have a new Macbook Pro that I will be using as my primary machine and I'm not sure exactly where I'm going to keep my photos. I don't have yet but plan to buy Lightroom 4.

    The images (now saved) are mostly 3-6MB JPGs but I now (since I have a new Mac) plan to start shooting RAW with my 5D Mark II so the image files will be 25MB+

    Therefore, I'd rather store them on an external HD and I planned on getting a 1TB USB3/Thunderbolt drive to store them.

    The problem is... I had planned on setting up the external as my "Time Machine" back up drive.

    Should I split the drive into 2 partitions (1 for my Lightroom images and 1 for Time Machine to backup all other files)?

    -Dave
     
  19. jaewon macrumors member

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    #19
    I would suggest two separate drives. There is always that chance of hardware failure and losing both your backups and your RAW's at the same time can be quite devastating.
     
  20. woodlandtrek macrumors member

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    Jan 21, 2008
    #20
    The smart collections he is referring to are the ones you can create inside a Publish Service (most likely "Hard Drive"). When you set up the Publish service, you have options for filetype, dimensions, renaming, metadata, sharpening, watermark, etc.
     
  21. Kurwenal macrumors 6502a

    Kurwenal

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    #21
    Yes, exactly. I use the Publish Service setup to export JPGs and limit the file size.
     
  22. trs0722 macrumors member

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    Newark, DE
    #22
    Ok, yes I did experiment with that before but didn't follow through with it. I still have the publish service (Apple TV) but never changed the direction path in itunes. I tried again tonight...much faster than exporting. Thanks!
     
  23. Lightning Bolt macrumors member

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    #23
    Thanks.

    That's probably the best way but a second external drive is not in the budget yet. The first one is barely in the budget.

    My new MacBook will have a 1TB HD and I originally planned keep all the photos on there until I get an external HD in a year or so.

    Then I decided (since I had the first brand new MBP HD go bad) that I should start backing up to a smaller external from the get-go. It took me several hours to transfer my G4 Power Mac files to the new MacBook and now I have to do it all over again.

    I'm sure down the road I will get a 3 or 4 TB Thunderbolt drive for backup.

     
  24. M-5 thread starter macrumors 65816

    M-5

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    Jan 4, 2008
    #24
    I manually moved all of my iPhoto "original" files (inside iPhoto package contents to a folder in my "Pictures" folder that I created titled "Photo Library." Then I deleted everything from inside the iPhoto app, and then I imported everything from my newly created "Photo Library" folder into the Lightroom catalog.

    What's weird is that while I've been going through the photos in Lightroom, I've come across a bunch of photos that I had deleted inside iPhoto a long time ago (and emptied the trash). I don't know why they weren't deleted from those folders hidden inside the iPhoto Package contents.

    If I go back to the package contents in iPhoto, I can still see old videos that I have deleted years ago in folders titled "iMovieSpeedConversion." I don't know why they're there taking up space on my hard drive when they don't even show up within the iPhoto or iMovie interface!

    There's also still one event with one image that is still on my iPhone and I don't know how to remove it. All of my events and photos were removed from the Photo app on my iPhone when I deleted everything from iPhoto and then synced my phone to my mac with iTunes, but there's still one photo in an event on my phone, and I don't know why it's there if the iPhoto app on my mac is completely empty.

    This is driving me crazy.
     

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