Lightroom setup help/Tips

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by maflynn, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #1
    If some of the Lightroom folks could chime in on providing some advise on what I'm looking to do, I'd really appreciate it.
    First off, I used to create in Aperture multiple Libraries, mostly by year, so right now I have a 2014 library on my laptop and the 2013 is sitting on my DAS. This helps manage my drive space the best.

    With that said, I'm looking for something similar with LR.
    First question can/should I use one catalog or multiple ones, i.e., one per year?

    Secondly I read somewhere doing some research that I can keep all of my images on a DAS and just maintain the catalog on my local drive - all I have to do is use smart previews - I'm not sure what this buys me.

    I'm thinking of going to multiple catalogs, one for each year and store the current year on my laptop. Once I move the images from my local drive to the DAS, how will I ensure the catalog will be able to find them, i.e., not looking for it on my local drive?
     
  2. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #2
    These aren't things that I do (I create a separate library for each 'shoot' and that suits me well), so I can't really guide.

    What I wanted to recommend was the Luminous Lightroom video training. It's the most comprehensive I've seen... it's very well produced and it does down to a great level of detail. Jeff Schewe is employed as a consultant to Adobe, so he really knows his stuff when it comes to the low level details.

    Unfortunately they produced an enormous video series for LR 4, but only a 'delta' for LR 5 (4 was a significant change however). If you're interested in this, the basic+advanced LR4 pack is the one to go for.

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/videos/lr4_combo.shtml

    I have no link to these guys - just found their material to be the most efficient way to lear what the software is actually doing!
     
  3. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #3
    I have one catalog sitting on the rMBP SSD that manages over 100,000 raw images now. On the SSD under Pictures I have a 2014 folder for importing files from memory cards. The import process makes subfolders per day on the SSD.. My long term storage library drive is an external LaCie 2Big 6TB with folders for Pictures, Movies, Music, Documents..etc. Under the Pictures folder are folders per year. Each of those yearly folders have subfolders per day.

    After the images are imported to the SSD, culled, and at least initially edited, I use LR to move the daily subfolders to my external library drive Pictures/2014 folder. That frees up the rMBP's SSD space for the next photo shoot.

    I had been using an older 3TB Time Capsule for Time Machine backups. Now I am out of backup room on it. Tomorrow morning I should receive a LaCie 2d 6TB drive. It will be my new Time Machine drive. So I will have a totally of 6TB of external storage plus 6TB for TM backups.

    I use LR Collections to create logical collections (like Aperture logical albums) for special events, trips, etc. For example, to put a set of photos on my iPad, I create a Collection. On my external library drive I have a Pictures/iPad_Collections folder. I use LR to export the Collection using jpg format with no reduction in size or quality. I point the export to the external library drive Pictures/iPad_Collections folder. In the export dialog box I check the box that will create a new subfolder. There I use the same name as I used for the Collection in LR. After the export is done, I can close LR. I open iTunes and connect my iPad. I set up the Photos synch to add the external library drive's Pictures/iPad_Collections/(new subfolder) to the synch list. Then I synch my iPad.

    I hope some of that is useful.
     
  4. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #4
    So do you use LR to move the files, or the Finder?
     
  5. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #5
  6. MCAsan, Jun 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014

    MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #6
    Always. That way LR knows where stuff is located. Remember the folders and files are referenced external sources....not inside a managed database package. So LR has to know where you put stuff or where you moved it to. If you move files or folders using Finder, LR will you a bunch of ? when you look at the library view. There are tools to help find the new location and reestablish the links. But it just much easier to always use LR to move the images.

    BTW, when I import I stay with the native raw format. I do NOT convert to DNG. Unless you do the big DNG version, you can't get your raw file back out of it. So I stayed with the CR2 format for Canons, and now ORF raw format for my Olympus E-M1..
     
  7. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Bookmark Lightroom Killer Tips. Also, Scott Kelby's book "Lightroom 5 for Digital Photographers" can be a big help in learning Lr.
     
  8. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #8
    Awesome thanks

    Yeah, as I move to creating my file structure that thought occurred to me. I agree avoiding DNG is probably in my best bet, just for simplicity sake.

    Awesome, I'm going through that right now.

    ----------

    Interesting, thanks. I can see that its a powerful tool, but not the way I thought about it. How I'm planning on using LR, I don't see too much benefit. Thanks for the link to help clarify things.
     
  9. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #9
    LR has tools to split selected images off into a new catalogue, and to merge separate catalogues into one catalogue (Library). I have just one workflow suggestion. One catalogue for the Current Year on your SSD, and then just one (different) catalogue for all Past Years on your DAS. I would think the searches would be easier if you weren't trying to remember if a shoot was 2008 or 2009, for instance.

    Every 3 months (or so) you could split the oldest 3 months of photos off the Current Year catalogue into a new catalogue, and then merge that into the Past Years catalogue on the DAS. That way you'd always have the most current 9 months stored locally. Obviously, modify the time period to suit your needs.

    Luck
     
  10. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

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    #10
    One difference in Lightroom that you may not realise is that edit information does not have to (just) live in the catalog. When using .dng files, all edits can be saved into the dng files themselves - so when opened in a different app (eg Photoshop) all the edits are recognised.

    For non-DNG fies (which is a reasonable route to take for the reason you give), it's possible to write these instructions into a .xmp 'sidecar' file in addition to the catalog. Go to Lightroom->Catalog Settings->Metadata->Automatically Write Changes to XMP. These are text files of edit instructions, very compact, held in the same location as and with the same filename as (apart from .xmp) the original.

    The advantage of this is that if you had a catalog database corruption, if you wanted to just send some files+edits to a friend with LR, or if you want to pull files out of a folder into PS, you don't need the catalog - the individual sidecars have all the edits you made.
     
  11. fa8362 macrumors 65816

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    #11
    Don't use multiple catalogs. Lightroom can only see one catalog at a time, so you lose access to most of your photos at any given time.

    Just create a structure with folders, and folders within folders.

    That way you can have access to everything at the same time.
     
  12. ocabj macrumors 6502a

    ocabj

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    #12
    I use multiple catalogs for speed and to keep specific projects isolated from one another. The more photos (even in a reference catalog) the slower it loads. Granted, I've found that between LR4 and LR5, the speed issues have pretty much been resolved.
     
  13. pezdaddy macrumors member

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    #13
    I've been evaluating LR on the 30 day trail, and one thing that I cannot get past is the that as a DAM it is not as powerful as Aperture. Maybe I am using it wrong.

    As we know, in Aperture everything is at a project level (I can accept that in LR the equivalent would be the folder level). However, you can't do anything with these until you create a collection on the images - which to me are more like Aperture albums.

    If I could do more with LR at the folder level, it would be great. But I can't figure out how to half-way duplicate what I've done in Aperture without creating a collection and sub collections. I like the editing I can do in LR, but as a DAM I cannot get it to work.

    What am I doing wrong?
     
  14. robgendreau macrumors 68030

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    #14
    I agree with MCAsan about the structure.

    I'd start with one catalog though. Especially if new to LR. You'll find as you get used to it you may change catalog specific settings, make changes in structure, etc. You may set up naming conventions for files, types of collections, keywords, and so on and being able to access ALL photos during that setting up period will probably be the most efficient way to go, rather than doing it again in another catalog. Once everything settles down, then you can export a catalog if you need to. You may not. I feel that if you are doing anything similar to all your photos (say a new keyword, IPTC data, file name convention, etc) then use one, with occasional exports/imports for traveling, etc.

    I don't feel that having more photos in the catalog per se slows it down much at all, and certainly not compared to "oops, maybe it's in the other catalog, guess I close this one and open that one." A SQLite db is pretty quick; you'll probably only notice the slowness of a big catalog when you close and back up. I've noticed it when I've done a big change in metadata across tons of photos, like changing a frequently used keyword hierarchy. But it would have been immensely longer if I had to open other catalogs one by one and do the same change over and over. My impression is that one big is smaller in size than two small, given total amount of photos. Makes a diff if you're tight in space on an SSD.

    Also, the filtering/keyword thing is pretty awesome. I care less and less about collections and even folders (which in LR are your Finder folders) and find the metadata more powerful. I can always find photos in a date range; they are guaranteed to have that data without much intervention from me. A smart collection, which is a saved search more or less, can turn those into events: trips, shoots, even night shots.

    Here's a tip that really helped me: I used keywords in lieu of collections or folders for some things, partly because they are stored in photos and sidecars, and so available other places. So you don't necessarily have to commit a folder or even collection to say "2008" photos; you can keyword them with that. And then "2008>Nov" or whatever. LR has this really cool keyword panel; you can just click the arrow and bingo all the photos with that keyword are displayed. And like the folders in the other sidebar, you can drag keywords around to put them in other hierarchies, so they function sorta like a virtual folder structure. Rather analogous to Gmail's labels (which you probably love or hate).
     
  15. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #15
    Thanks for the tips everyone.

    I'm re-working my workflow.
    Instead of having a library for 2012, 2013, etc. I've created folder structures by year on my external drive. I'm keeping 2014 on my laptop, and I'm using a single catalog.

    I agree using keywords instead of collections is a plus. I have more work to be done, but overall, I'm liking how this is fleshing out. I've used keywords in Aperture and so its a natural to keep them here.

    I'm importing my 2014 images now and categorizing them.
     
  16. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #16
    Regarding speed, I just checking my system. With 105,000+ files LR opens and is ready in approximately in 6 seconds on my 2012 rMBP. It is faster to open and close than Aperture.
     
  17. fa8362 macrumors 65816

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    #17
    What are you specifically trying to do?
     
  18. pezdaddy macrumors member

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    #18
    Conform LR to how I work in Aperture, which is probably mistake no. 1.

    In Aperture, everything is contained to a project. Smart searches, albums, folders with sub-items, etc can all be at the project level. To duplicate that in LR, I have to create a collection. You can't do it at the folder level since those are finder folders. It just seems like extra work to first import into LR, but than also make a collection set to create a project.

    But I concede that I am trying to force aperture way into LR.

    I'm also giving up faces. My wife loves that on our apple TV.
     
  19. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #19
    There can be two very different structures. The first is the physical storage of photo files. LR expects you to decide on a set of folders and subfolders to contain your images. LR then references those master files. Note that versions created within LR or by a plugin (PSD, TIF, JPG) all go into the folder that contains the original master. This physical view of the file system is how LR works. You can build logical collections and smart collections.

    Aperture was far more flexible. First you had the option of a managed library where the originals were tucked away inside the Aperture library database package. As an option, Aperture let you reference the file locations in the file system. Separate from the physical view, Aperture let you build logical Projects, folders, and albums that let you sort photos in all sorts of manner without regard to where and how the underlying master files are really stored.

    If LR users had only seen the benefits of the Aperture approach and pushed that to Adobe for LR. Oh well, that is water over the DAM now.
     
  20. robgendreau, Jun 30, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014

    robgendreau macrumors 68030

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    #20
    You have to sorta forget the Aperture way. But LR isn't so bad, cuz it's more like the Finder, which has pros and cons.

    Aperture imports into projects and albums, depending on how you do it. None of these correspond to what's in the Finder: the project XYZ might have the same name and contents of the Finder folder XYZ, but it's completely different. Ditto for albums within. Note that a photo can only go in one project. And moving all these around has no effect on XYZ in the Finder.

    LR doesn't so much as import (although it calls it that) as point to Finder folders. And when you see a Finder folder after import in LR, that IS the Finder folder. So folder XYZ in LR can be renamed right in LR to folder ABC, and now if you go back to the Finder folder XYZ is now ABC. Like the Finder, only one folder for a file.

    So when you are looking at the sidebar in Aperture you are looking at a bunch of containers that have little or nothing to do with your Finder folders. Move a photo to a new project and it only moves in Aperture. In LR's sidebar under "folders" you are looking at your hard drive; it's more like what you see in the IMPORT tab of Aperture, only it shows already imported folders (and ignore folders in the Finder you didn't want, like ones full of email or whatever).

    So once you've imported/pointed/referenced your Finder folders of photos in LR, you now need to do more work and use collections, which are basically albums, and sets, which are basically Aperture folders (NOT Finder folders). Like albums and folders in Aperture, a photo in LR can be in more than one collection and set.

    So once your photo file structure is import/referenced in LR you can easily make collections by just dragging the folders to collections. The problem is for an Aperture user that has a project/folder/album structure that is massively different from your Finder file system. Especially if you don't wanna change that filesystem and mess up all of Aperture's links to it (although over time I think moving stuff in the Finder is a real advantage of LR).

    A work around is to take advantage of keywords. Basically I assigned keywords to photos in Aperture that were the same as the projects/albums, say XYZ>beach; they can be hierarchical. Then once I had those in LR (which is a whole other issue) I just clicked the keyword to find XYZ>beach, selected them and added them to a collection set by that name, then did the same within just for "beach." That works only, AFAIK, if you export your images first since Aperture can't write to existing photos.



    ----------

    I agreed with this when I was transitioning, since it's difficult if not impossible to import "into" collections with LR.

    But once I had converted over, and was starting with new non-Aperture imports, I began to see Aperture's structure as illogical. The more I go back to Aperture now the more it bugs me.

    Once you are in either, constructing collections & sets/albums&folders is too similar to even worry about...it's the getting from one to the other that's a pain.

    I do wish, however, that LR had an import preset that let you "add imported photos to collection..." And allowed an option drag of folders into the Collections tab to create a collection set/collection structure instead of flattening it. Maybe there's a plugin; I'll post if I find one.
     
  21. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #21
    That's my biggest adjustment. I'm not there yet, but I'm looking my organization from a pure logical perspective and that's helping.

    So far LR is working well with what I think I want to do.

    I have a bunch of plug-ins that I need to load into LR, I need to see if I need them now as well, since LR has more editing capability, i.e., noise reduction and what not.
     
  22. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    #22
    LR noise reduction in version 5 is much improved over the past. However, Nik's Dfine still does a better job. Nothing in LR replaces Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, HDR Pro....etc. LR has good basic editing tools.
     
  23. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #23
    I'll have to dig out my installs for Efex plugins and NIK. I'm not ready to dig into the nitty gritty of using them quite yet anyways. I'm just about done with my overall structure. I'll swing around next to using plugins.

    My other question is to go the creative cloud purchase option, i.e., spend 10 bucks a month or buy the stand alone box. I have an old version of LR that Ive not used in years but at the very least it qualifies me to the upgrade pricing.

    I have PS 5.5 on my Mac, so I'm down a version or two on PS though I'm a light user at this point - I barely go in there so I'm not sure its worth locking myself into a subscription plan.
     
  24. pezdaddy macrumors member

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    #24

    Mike, do you mind sharing the structure you are setting up? I am looking for ideas.
     
  25. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #25
    Here's what I have fleshed out so far

    On my Das I have
    /Lightroom/<year>/Events
    /Lightroom/<year>/Twins
    /Lightroom/<year>/Vacations

    On my local drive I have
    ~/Pictures/2014/Events
    ~/Pictures/2014/Twins
    ~/Pictures/2014/Vacations

    At the end of the year, I'll drag/drop the 2014 folder from my Macintosh HD to my Drobo under the /Lightroom folder.

    I was toying with changing things along these lines
    /Lightroom/Events/<year>
    /Lightroom/Twins/<year>
    /Lightroom/vacations/<year>

    I may push the Vacation folder under the Event's folder instead of having it on its own - I'm still undecided at the moment.

    I have twin girls, so most of my photography is geared towards them, so I have their stuff broken completely out.

    I'm liking the ability to categorize, and search on prior years for images, something that I couldn't do with Aperture just bcause I broke up my libraries by year. I had to do that because I was running out of space on my local drive and I let aperture manage the images, instead of going the reference route.

    I'm also going to set up a workflow of renaming images on import. It seems to make a lot of sense to use yyyymmdd_unique_sequencer, since camera file names will roll over themselves, i.e., the sequence number rolls over back to 0001 at some point.
     

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