Lightroom on 2 computer question

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I have been using NX2 for conversion and then PS for processing tiffs. I do not rename images and simple put them in folders on external hard drives (3 copies of nef and tiff) based on year, with subfolders for month and then for subject. If I take images of piping plovers 4 times during this month I process them at different times but eventually put all nefs in a subfolder called pp within a folder called June. If I shoot 4 types of birds today, I would process them this afternoon but eventually move the nefs and tiffs into 4 subfolders within the June folder. Oh, I often start the process on my laptop - convert to tiff and then move the folder with subfolders for nef and tiff to my desktop when I get home.

I would like to try LR but only if it does not get in the way of how I do things now.

1. When I import the files into a catalog on my laptop how do I get this catalog to merge with my desktop catalog when I move the files to the desktop of my Mac's hard drive?
2. I am guessing that I will not have nef and tiffs on my laptop - just the nefs and catalog. Is that correct.
3. When I am done in LR I probably will export the files as tiffs so I can work more in PS. Can I move the nefs and tiffs into the file system as I do now or do I have to keep them a "certain way" to go with my catalog. Or, if I can move them to the system I now use do I have to do some sort of update to the catalog so that LR can find the images?

Thanks a lot. Please don't tell me to look at tutorials or videos as they seem to show me how to do things a certain way which is different from what I do now. If I cannot keep my images as I organize them now I won't bother trying LR.

Thanks.
 

Growltiger

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I will be interested to see the answers.

It is exactly this kind of problem that has kept me from using Lightroom. When I ask Lightroom experts they tell me that I have the wrong attitude and need to learn how to do it the Lightroom way. Like you I have a complex structure of folders which I like and trust.
 
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I know that you do not want to hear this but you really do need to study LR in some detail to get the best out of it either from videos or invest in the Digital Negative book by Jeff Schewe or the Lightroom book by Martin Evening. In the process you may find that you do have to adopt a different strategy with LR - or stay as you are.

I am not sure that a complex folder structure is a problem for LR but if you decide to organise your existing LR catalogue structure outside LR you will find it problematica as the SQL database that is LR will not get updated.

To try and at least partially answer your question :
1. When I import the files into a catalog on my laptop how do I get this catalog to merge with my desktop catalog when I move the files to the desktop of my Mac's hard drive?
IMO it is probably simplest to have just one LR catalogue stored on an external drive including the images this way you can share the catalgoue between your laptop and desktop as required. You could of course have several different catalogues if required but again stored along with the images on an external drive

You could also import images onto your laptop then select and use Export as Catalogue then Import as catalogue to bring your laptop images into your main desktop catalogue - I think that this may be a little more prone to error?

2. I am guessing that I will not have nef and tiffs on my laptop - just the nefs and catalog. Is that correct.
It is possible that you could have both nef and tiff within your catalogue. ACR will handle Tiff Jpeg quite efficiently and as long as they are in the LR folder structure and correctly imported will be available as required

3. When I am done in LR I probably will export the files as tiffs so I can work more in PS. Can I move the nefs and tiffs into the file system as I do now or do I have to keep them a "certain way" to go with my catalog. Or, if I can move them to the system I now use do I have to do some sort of update to the catalog so that LR can find the images?

If it is important to keep the integrity of the catalogue any movement of files or the file structure must be kept within the LR catalogue. Should you try to organise your files e.g. moving renaming etc outside of LR then the LR database will loose them i.e. it will loose the location (not the files) and you will have to locate them manually

EDIT:Doug wrote a good intro to LR management which may be of some help https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=317726
 
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Tony, your answer was complete - thanks a lot.

I do feel I would have to spend time watching the videos I have, articles, books. As I age I learn better by seeing so maybe I would even take a course.

Since it doesn't seem like I could use the system I now use with LR I will skip on LR. It would be too "different" to learn especially since I want to just try it, not commit myself too it.

Long live NX2 and PS CS6. :)
 
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Tony, your answer was complete - thanks a lot.

I do feel I would have to spend time watching the videos I have, articles, books. As I age I learn better by seeing so maybe I would even take a course.

Since it doesn't seem like I could use the system I now use with LR I will skip on LR. It would be too "different" to learn especially since I want to just try it, not commit myself too it.

Long live NX2 and PS CS6. :)

Don't give up quite yet. I have been procrastinating on updating my sticky on Lightroom to include how to use it on two computers. Your question has motivated me to "git 'er done". Hope to post something by tomorrow (or even this evening if other chores allow). IMO, there are a couple of strategies that would work for you without straying too far with your current practices.
 
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This discussion is timely for me too. Fearing the Nikon won't pick up with updating NX2 and that program will flounder or fall behind, I have decided to "again" try LR. I was with RawShooter when it got bought out by Adobe and was in on LR right from the beginning but never stuck with it as the file structure stinks but I probably don't understand how or what LR is trying to do. Anyway, I have decided to give this another try to see if I can pick up some pointers for what I don't understand.

Thanks for those links on file structure, I will look them over.
 

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I also use a "custom" folder structure on my HDs. Since my main reason for using LR is for the cataloging and search features, here's what I am doing.

I import my images from the CF card to my desktop HD, using the folder structure I want.

I then process the nef's using Bridge/ACR for raw processing. ACR (for now) uses the same raw processing engine as LR. I add keywords and ratings at this point. You can continue to use NX2.

I then post process using CS6, using adjustment layers. I may then create separate jpg's for use on my website, emails, etc.

I then "clean up" the folder, deleting many images and only keeping the good ones.

When finished with the images, I import all the files into LR. My folder structure is visible in LR, and I have all nefs, psds, jpgs now in LR. I use only one catalogue.

If I decide I need to work on a psd once it is in LR, I use Edit in PS, do my changes, and then re-save it back to LR.

I've found it really nice to sort through images by my folder structure, ratings, keywords, focal length, etc using my one catalogue in LR.

I am slowly getting my files imported into LR. Remember that you need to have "maximize compatibility" turned on in order for LR to accept the psds.

I found and used an action which enabled me to identify which files did not have this feature and to re-save them with the feature turned on.
 
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I would have to be able to move my files as I described in my third question. I will look at your updates. Thanks Doug.

The short answer is that you can move your files as you wish and LR will track them just fine as long as you move them from within LR. If you import your files into LR using your current file structure, that will be exactly how LR sees them. Subsequently, the proper way to edit LR-managed images in PS is to simply click the Edit-in button in LR (you can choose TIFF or PSD as the format used), complete your editing in PS, Save the image and presto it is now known to and managed by LR. If you wish to change the location of the "returned" image, simply do so from within LR. Subsequent edits of the image will return to the location you moved it to.

You can copy, move, and delete image files and folders inside LR identically to the way you would do so within Windows Explorer or Mac Finder. So the two primary changes you would have to get used to would be doing your copy/move/deletes within LR and round-tripping images-to-be-edited-in-PS from LR to PS. This and setting up your Import pre-sets within LR to make sure that newly imported images from your camera/card honor your preferred file-folder structure should allow you to use LR and PS without too much cognitive dissonance. :biggrin:

Moral of the story: if you get used to doing your file and folder maintenance of your images from within LR instead of using the OS file manager, most other things fall into place.
 
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I also use a "custom" folder structure on my HDs. Since my main reason for using LR is for the cataloging and search features, here's what I am doing.

I import my images from the CF card to my desktop HD, using the folder structure I want.

I then process the nef's using Bridge/ACR for raw processing. ACR (for now) uses the same raw processing engine as LR. I add keywords and ratings at this point. You can continue to use NX2.

I then post process using CS6, using adjustment layers. I may then create separate jpg's for use on my website, emails, etc.

I then "clean up" the folder, deleting many images and only keeping the good ones.

When finished with the images, I import all the files into LR. My folder structure is visible in LR, and I have all nefs, psds, jpgs now in LR. I use only one catalogue.

If I decide I need to work on a psd once it is in LR, I use Edit in PS, do my changes, and then re-save it back to LR.

I've found it really nice to sort through images by my folder structure, ratings, keywords, focal length, etc using my one catalogue in LR.

I am slowly getting my files imported into LR. Remember that you need to have "maximize compatibility" turned on in order for LR to accept the psds.

I found and used an action which enabled me to identify which files did not have this feature and to re-save them with the feature turned on.

Karen, you could accomplish the same and skip a couple of steps by setting up the Import pre-sets in LR to mirror your chosen file folder structure, assuming your "custom" set up can be accommodated by the LR options. This is not always the case but if it is date-time based or folder-name based it may be possible.
 

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The important part of my process for me is that I can use ACR/CS6 just like I always do. I find it MUCH easier to compare similar images @ 100% using the slide show feature in Bridge. I like the hierarchial structure of the keywords better in Bridge, etc. Then I can go directly to CS6, using plug-in's on a separate layer in CS6. In LR, using plug-ins can result in numerous files/versions.

Once I am done, I simply import the files into LR mirroring my file structure. It is not the importing that I'm avoiding. I am avoiding working in LR when I prefer ACR/CS6.
 
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Moral of the story: if you get used to doing your file and folder maintenance of your images from within LR instead of using the OS file manager, most other things fall into place.
+1, this is key to gaining the benefits of the LR experience :biggrin:.

At this time I cannot see that you would not be able to use your existing folder structure as you will just import the whole folder and image structure into LR, and worth once more stressing you must then perform any maintenance including renaming, moving etc. within the LR catalogue to maintain the relationship of image to folder within the LR database

It is also important to realise that LR will not delete your images or folders from disk they will always reside in the place where you placed them in the first import either by making your own folders and putting images there or by direct import to a folder of your choice straight from camera. You can delete a folder from the catalogue, but that folder will remain on HDD but just not be seen by LR anymore. It is possible to delete an individual or series of images from within a folder in LR and remove them completely from HDD if required.
 

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Agreed. File/folder structure is not an issue using LR.

Workflow preferences are the reason I prefer to work outside of LR, then import.

And Tony makes an important point "...and worth once more stressing you must then perform any maintenance including renaming, moving etc. within the LR catalogue to maintain the relationship of image to folder within the LR database"

Another reason I like working outside of LR.....'cause I invariably decide to "tweak" a processed image by opening it up immediately in PS instead of going to LR and then choosing Edit in PS...... LOL!
 
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+1, this is key to gaining the benefits of the LR experience :biggrin:.

At this time I cannot see that you would not be able to use your existing folder structure as you will just import the whole folder and image structure into LR, and worth once more stressing you must then perform any maintenance including renaming, moving etc. within the LR catalogue to maintain the relationship of image to folder within the LR database

It is also important to realise that LR will not delete your images or folders from disk they will always reside in the place where you placed them in the first import either by making your own folders and putting images there or by direct import to a folder of your choice straight from camera. You can delete a folder from the catalogue, but that folder will remain on HDD but just not be seen by LR anymore. It is possible to delete an individual or series of images from within a folder in LR and remove them completely from HDD if required.

One correction: within LR, if you delete the images from a folder, a subsequent "remove" of the folder will delete it from the hard drive. LR prevents you from deleting a folder and the files within it in a single action. However, deleting the files and then removing the folder does result in the folder being deleted from the drive. So, it is possible to do all relevant file system maintenance from within LR. It is just that, occasionally, it takes an extra step.
 
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Agreed. File/folder structure is not an issue using LR.

Workflow preferences are the reason I prefer to work outside of LR, then import.

And Tony makes an important point "...and worth once more stressing you must then perform any maintenance including renaming, moving etc. within the LR catalogue to maintain the relationship of image to folder within the LR database"

Another reason I like working outside of LR.....'cause I invariably decide to "tweak" a processed image by opening it up immediately in PS instead of going to LR and then choosing Edit in PS...... LOL!

Everyone has their own unique way of dealing with the image clutter that comes with our hobby. So long as you realize the need to be disciplined about importing modified images if you wish to manage them with LR and understand the likelihood of inconsistencies between the images on disk and the images that LR knows about, your method is as good as any other.
 

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Thanks! I just get more inconsistencies if I start out in LR! I know it's me!

I just really like comparing multiple images using the slideshow feature in normal or 100% view in Bridge. Something I cannot do in LR. And, as I indicated, I already have a hierarchical keyword structure in Bridge that is convenient to use.

I've taken advanced courses on LR... from Tim Grey, Ben Willmore and others! So I'm pretty comfortable with how it works and what it can do.
 

Growltiger

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You can copy, move, and delete image files and folders inside LR identically to the way you would do so within Windows Explorer or Mac Finder.

How - I have never found a way to copy a photo inside LR?

(When I have asked for this in the past I was told that I shouldn't want to, as one can have virtual copies. But suppose I really do want a copy, for example one version in one folder and a quite different version for another purpose in a different project folder. You have to go to Explorer, copy the file, and then import the copy.)
 
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How - I have never found a way to copy a photo inside LR?

(When I have asked for this in the past I was told that I shouldn't want to, as one can have virtual copies. But suppose I really do want a copy, for example one version in one folder and a quite different version for another purpose in a different project folder. You have to go to Explorer, copy the file, and then import the copy.)

You are correct that a copy, in the file system sense, cannot be done within LR. The closest you can come is to export the version of the image that you want to "copy", tick "Add to this catalog", and specify the location that the file will be exported to. If you specify "Original" as the export file format it will export a copy with LR metadata (including editing steps) intact. (It will prompt you with the warning that a file of the same name exists at that location and you will have to select "Use unique names".)

Using the example of a file named xyz1.nef, if we edit the image (tweak exposure and white balance for instance) and then do an export, add to this catalog, same folder as original photo, original (file format), and click Use unique names when prompted, a file named xyz1-2 will be created in the same location as the original. If we wanted the copy to be located somewhere else, instead of the same folder as the original, just choose specific folder and specify a new location.

The beauty of this method is that you now have a copy of the raw image WITH the LR edit steps intact. :biggrin:

The method you describe using the OS file manager works but is a bit of a PITA and, of course, cannot copy the edit steps since it has no visibility into the database metadata.

I have not found a need for a copy function within LR but, as the varied expositions of approach and workflow in the replies here show, my experiences, needs and preferences are mine and mine alone and mileage WILL vary.:wink:
 

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Doug - thanks for that explanation of how to make a copy within LR. I suppose the file manager method could copy the edit steps if you made and copied a sidecar file too.
 

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