Two Computer Setup for Image Editing...???

Discussion in 'iMac' started by myanroser, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. myanroser macrumors newbie


    Jul 20, 2015
    Kill Devil Hills, NC
    Hello Everyone!

    Through my extensive searching the MacRumors threads and various google searching I have yet to find a solution to my setup. So here goes...

    What I would like to do is have my 2 iMacs (both 2013 models, 27" and 21.5") running Lightroom 5 and sharing a single external hard drive. This would allow one iMac to cull/rank photos, and the other iMac to be the main editing station.

    I'd like to know what the fastest solution would be, either a external thunderbolt hard drive, NAS setup, or something someone might recommend. Kind of in the dark on this type of situation, any help is greatly appreciated! Thanks!!
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    The Lr catalog itself would run fastest on the boot drive of either computer.

    The images, however, could be on a NAS (which sometimes results in issues depending on the details). Or you could have the images on a DAS HDD attached to say the 21.5" and share that via your network.

    It would be more complicated if this were more than one user.

    NAS is slower if you have to copy around files than the DAS to computer USB 3 connection. That DAS connection would be marginally faster with Thunderbolt, but probably not huge. And of course if you had to move files from the 21.5"+HDD that would be slower too, since like the NAS it goes over your network.

    But your issue isn't so much a hardware issue as a workflow issue. If it's just a one user setup, then I don't see what you'd gain by using two computers, since Lr is designed as a single user application. If the machines aren't proximate, then perhaps one of the many workflow recommendations for desktop/laptop Lr use would apply to you.
  3. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601


    Feb 27, 2005
    I'd use one station if you can get away with it, because of the aforementioned workflow issues with LR.

    Are you processing that many photos to benefit from the power of a dual computer setup?
  4. myanroser thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jul 20, 2015
    Kill Devil Hills, NC
    Thank you for your replies @robgendreau and @Plymouthbreezer! I just ran a test with a 500gb WD passport external hard drive attached to my airport extreme. Speeds were not that bad at all and both machines were able to access the files.

    The reason for a two setup system is the ability for my wife to cull/rank photos on one system while I am on another system editing. We photograph 20-30 weddings a year which result in a ton of images.
  5. chrfr macrumors 604

    Jul 11, 2009
    Be careful doing this. The Lightroom database isn't designed to be accessed by multiple computers concurrently, and you'll end up corrupting the database if you do.
  6. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008

    This might go beyond your original question, but perhaps using something instead of Lr to cull/rate would be a better idea than trying to coordinate using one Lr catalog, or synching one. One area where I think Lr lags is culling/rating/importing. And the ingestion phase is one place where there are some good alternatives. Photo Mechanic, for example, although I'd think it would be better for journalists than weddings, unless keywording is a big part of your workflow. It can use say a guest list or relative names and so on and variables so as to add metadata that might be much harder to do photo by photo.

    Another good alternative is ImageIngester An advantage of this, or like applications, is that they are really fast at copying and doing batch stuff between card and computer storage, so you can rid of stuff before importing into Lr and creating previews, etc. And it might help if you have a folder structure that is more complex than what Lr allows for at import. Even something like PhotoSweeper or Snapselect might work.

    Using something besides Lr at ingestion would mean no duplication of Lr catalogs. Since only one person can use Lr at a time, you'd have to have separate catalogs with a process of export/importing or something. But with say Image Ingester you'd be using a separate program, and all the needed info gets written to XMP as metadata, even IIRC Lr presets. So it could add a bunch of captions, keywords, ratings, etc and just copy the picks to the HDD. Then the editor, using Lr, would import those and Lr would pick up the ingester's info.

    Another way to go is use Lr for the culling, rating, metadata, etc on the 21". Then the editor uses Bridge and Ps to edit the photos. Using smart objects can make this easier. You could use a second catalog to reference the same photos, and use the "synchonize..." command and such to update metadata. But both users would have to be very disciplined about not overwriting each other's work. Maybe if afte culling/rating/etc at ingestion the first worker deleted them from her catalog. Again, you could export that catalog, but then you'd have to wait till the first person completed work.

    Or maybe try posting over in areas where pro photogs hang out; this must be a common problem.
  7. WilPhoto macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2012
    I'd recommend using PhotoMechanic to cull jobs like weddings and portrait sessions. It's much faster than Lightroom, and a lot of photographers use it only because of the enhanced performance for culling. It will give you back a few minutes per job, and that will add up to several hours of saved time at the end of each season.

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