Keeping photo library for Lightroom 5 on an external HD

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by pilotkid, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. pilotkid macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Hello. I have a question about keeping my portable external hard drive as the home folder for all of my photographs in Lightroom 5. I don't have enough space to keep them on my computer. I know that Lightroom makes it easy to keep your pictures on an external hard drive by allowing you to edit pictures and then it transfers the edits to the original file once the hard drive is connected. What about when I'm on the go and don't have my portable hard drive. Can I upload new pictures to the computer and they automatically transfer to the external HD once its connected? Or do I have to manually transfer them to the external and then delete them from my computer?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
     
  2. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #2
    You'll need to move them yourself, but it's really easy to do.

    Lightroom works by maintaining a catalog which references the original files (you cannot actually edit a raw file).

    When you're on the move, you can simply create a temporary folder & edit your photos. Then, when you get home again, you can move the folder from your internal drive onto your external drive.

    The important thing to remember is that you must use lightroom to move the folder - don't try & do it in the finder or you'll break the referenced link (so lightroom will be looking in the wrong place for your photos).

    Hope that makes sense and answers your question.
     
  3. pilotkid thread starter macrumors 6502a

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  4. Elbert C, Jan 11, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2014

    Elbert C macrumors 6502

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    #4
  5. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #5
    Both the wife and I have rMBPs. Our libraries (LR photos, music, documents) all sit on external RAID 1 drives that are backed up by TC units.

    When we are in the field we use LR to import the raw files to Photo folder on our rMBPs. There we cull and edit as needed in the field. When we get home, we connect the rMBPs to calibrated ATDs to finalize the culling and editing. Once photos are processed, we use LR to move them from the internal SSD to the external drives. All of that is one in one catalog. A LR catalog can handle multiple drives. That is how we always at least 500GB of free space on the SSDs to collect photos during the next field trip.

    If you have some photos you want to carry in the field to show them to folks, export from LR as jpg and put them on your iPhone or iPad via iTunes.
     
  6. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #6
    This is not correct. A new catalog will only be created if Lightroom cannot find the catalog it's looking for (ie, if the catalog was saved on the external drive that isn't connected).

    If the catalog is stored on the internal drive, and only the referenced images are on an external, then he will be able to import new photos to the same library while on the move. These new photos will be referenced files on the internal disk, which can be simply be moved to the external disk when he returns home. No copying, deleting, or merging required.

    Cheers
     
  7. Elbert C macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Yes, I know that. My mistake for not going into more detail. Thanks.
     
  8. pilotkid thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Thanks for this. I was just about to ask about what your talking about. When I go to open Lightroom I get a message saying it can't find the catalog(when my external hd isn't connected) and I have no choice but to close the program.
    To make sure I'm reading this correctly, your saying to just create a new catalog when my external hd isn't connected and then when I reconnect it just merge the two? If I do this 2,3,4 times will I then have that many catalogs? Or can I delete them once there all merged to my main catalog on my external hd?
    Also from what I understand I MUST merge the catalogs within the Lightroom program. I don't simply go to finder and drag the folders to my main catalog. Otherwise I'll "break the link" between the files or something like that. Correct?
     
  9. Elbert C macrumors 6502

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    #9
    If you have sorted, tagged, edited etc. your photos, yes.

    You can delete the catalog on your Macs HDD after merging it to the one on the external. Just make sure that the merge is successful and everything is the way you want it before deleting the catalog from your Mac.

    Correct. There is an option to move the photos from the Mac to the external during the merge that you could use if you want to keep all the photos on the external.
     
  10. trewyn15 macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I personally keep an external 500GB HDD for my photos and videos while keeping them on my laptop as well (500GB as well).

    I manually transfer and maintain them solely because then it's easiest to organize them the way I like.

    In this case I believe you'll have to do the same as well.
     
  11. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #11
    If you move your catalog onto your internal drive it will make everything much simpler for you. You ca have your catalog on the internal drive & still keep all your referenced photographs on an external drive.

    This would mean you could import new photographs to your main catalog when out & about - no need to merge or delete catalogs later.

    Saving your catalog on your internal drive would also mean you can look at the preview images of all your photographs even when your external drive isn't connected. And if you're using Lr5, it would even let you edit them.

    Based on what you're trying to do, I think keeping your catalog on your internal drive and importing new files to that would be a much smoother workflow for you. You could also backup that catalog to your external drive so you have a copy in case of emergencies.

    Hope that helps.
     
  12. Kelmon macrumors 6502a

    Kelmon

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    #12
    I'd agree with this statement and confirm that this is how I've set myself up. As best as I can see there really isn't much benefit to trying to maintain multiple Catalogs unless you really want to keep some photos separated or you really have so many pictures that you are experiencing performance issues. If you want to keep your photos together then use a single Catalog that knows your pictures are stored on multiple drives and then move them around, as needed, within Lightroom itself (just drag 'n' drop).
     
  13. pilotkid thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    I've been thinking about doing it this way. I'm just worried about filling up my hard drive. I only have about 200GB to play with and I shoot in RAW. And I need to keep space for other things as well.
     
  14. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #14
    200GB will be more than enough.

    It's your raw files that eat up all the drive space. But you'd only be moving the catalog file itself to the internal drive - your images would still be on the external drive.

    Even if you have thousands of images in Lightroom, your catalog file will probably only be 4 or 5GB.
     
  15. Razeus, Jan 14, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014

    Razeus macrumors 601

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    #15
    Just be sure, whatever you decided to do, that you keep your LR catalog on your faster drive. The catalog is where LR is generating all the previews and logging all the edits to the photo.

    For me that's my Fusion Drive, which I'm hoping OS X has on the 128GB SSD portion of it (I assume OS X is has this on the SSD since I use it all the time and I have no control over where it gets stored). I keep my photo files (Raw, jpeg, tiff) on my G-Drive External.
     
  16. pilotkid thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    My internal drive is a 250gb SSD and my external is a USB 3.0 WD My Passport Ultra. So I'm pretty sure either one is fast enough?
     
  17. Razeus macrumors 601

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    #17
    Then keep the catalog files on the SSD and the camera files on the Passport.
     
  18. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #18
    Exactly. The catalog is on the SSD along with the LR app. It points to folders on the SSD (for importing photos) and on the external HDs (for storing photos after they are edited.

    Both the SSD and external HDs are backed up b Time Machine.
     
  19. pilotkid thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    I think for simplicity reasons I am going to follow your guys advice and keep my catalog on my internal hard drive. I'm getting too confused trying to keep the catalog on the external and merging things over. I'll deal with the space issue later.
     
  20. Kurrgo macrumors member

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    #20
    If I may ask, what kind of G-Drive external do you have? Do you have any wait time when opening files? Thanks!
     
  21. Razeus macrumors 601

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    #21
    Just your basic G-Drive in 4TB with USB 3.0. I don't have any wait time other than it loading into my Mac's memory. I don't notice enough to make it a difference.
     
  22. Kurrgo macrumors member

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    #22
    So that's a 7200 RPM HHD drive right?
     
  23. Razeus macrumors 601

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    #23
    Yep. Because it's a 7200RPM drive, I opted for the USB 3 instead of the Thunderbolt. There's no point in Thunderbolt with spinning type hard disks.

    I am looking to gain a SSD based drive in which Thunderbolt would be superior. The prices though...:eek:
     
  24. Kurrgo macrumors member

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    #24
    Yes - it looks like $500GB is $500. Do you anticipate that the speed increase will be worth that loot? Outside of transfers, I can't imaging it impacting editing speed that much. Am I right?
     
  25. Razeus macrumors 601

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    #25
    Might make more sense for video editing folks at those prices. I'd do 512GB for <$250, but not at a $1 per GB.
     

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