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Lightroom Catalogue

Scratch

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Although I use Lightroom Classic to import my photos onto my hard drive and backup the catalogue each time I close Lightroom I don’t really understand the catalogue function. I have all of my photos and a catalogue on my pc. If I copy some of my photo’s from my pc to my laptop will I need to create another catalogue on my laptop?
 

Mj224

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As I understand and use it , yes.

Note that importing processed folders, ie the folder has a processed sub folder (f2 in my case) Lightroom will import those as well...
 

Southern Gent

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@Scratch Okay LR Catalog simplified is nothing more than a collection of editing commands that apply to "SPECIFIC IMAGE FILES, it doesn't "INCLUDE" your Image files. LR doesn't give a diddidly "WHERE" your image files are so long as it "KNOWS" where to find them. That's why it's possible to have only "ONE" catalog but multiple drives with image files under that one catalog. However if you "MOVE" an image without using Bridge or LR, it loses track of where those images are.

Your LR catalog needs to be on your primary or C drive, preferably an SSD for speed. I have an internal SSD C:drive that holds my Adobe software. I use an external SSD connected via Thunderbolt port as a scratch disk for PS. My working images are stored on an internal HD D:. When I'm done with editing images are moved to an external HD F:. All images are available for editing under one master catalog.

I mirror my directory tree on each drive to keep confusion to a minimum
 
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Southern Gent

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If I copy some of my photo’s from my pc to my laptop will I need to create another catalogue on my laptop?
The answer requires some clarification. I'm assuming you're asking if you can use LR to edit photos on your laptop. The answer is probably not one you want to hear. You can run LR on multiple machines but using the same catalog between machines isn't possible as LR isn't designed for a multiuser environment. There are some workarounds, but they come with a price. Here's a good read https://www.lightroomqueen.com/how-to-lightroom-catalog-multiple-computers/
 

Scratch

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Hi Southern Gent. Yes, I want to use Lightroom to import photos and edit them on my laptop. I have just bought a MacBook Pro for this purpose. Thanks for the link, I will have a read. I would also want to use Photoshop for editing on my laptop. I am a relative beginner but want to learn both programs.
 

Southern Gent

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I want to use Lightroom to import photos
Breaking down the "import" function. You first have to bring them from the SD card or other device to your computer. For this I highly recommend using Bridge (It comes with your Adobe subscription). Bridge is more like a file management software. You can view the files on your SD card, and rapidly view them full screen by taping the space bar. This is where I do my first round of editing. When you're ready to transfer them, Go Tools>Batch/rename to move them from your card to your HDD. From LR you don't have to import them, just right click on the file folder where you placed them and hit synchronize.

I can tell you that it's a PITA to try and edit photos on two different computers, with two different catalogs, and try to merge/sync them into a master. There's no such problem with PS as it's a destructive process so all the changes are right there in the image. PS loaded on two different computers will open a PSD file with no issues, and once you save the file, those changes go with the file.
 

Scratch

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My plan is to keep my main library on my pc which I manage through Lightroom. I am also learning how to use Photoshop for editing. My thinking behind getting the laptop was so that I could spend more time learning to edit as I can practice in different rooms without being isolated on my pc in my study. I’ve put a collection of photo’s on an external hard drive and want to edit them on my laptop and then transfer them back to my pc. Am I right in thinking i would be best using Bridge to copy the original files from pc to laptop and Photoshop to edit before importing them back onto the pc using Lightroom in order to keep the catalogue up to date on the pc?

Hope this makes sense!
 

Southern Gent

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@Scratch you seem to still be confused about how LR works. LR is a "nondestructive" editor. Your images have no editing on them. "LR Catalog" does not contain your images. When you import images into LR you're telling it that your image is over there in such and such file. LR "renders a "preview" of your image that you see when editing, and stores the editing commands in the catalog. Your image file is still untouched. Any transfer to another computer and your edits made in LR will not show. Now there is a way to instruct LR on your PC to write the editing changes to a image side car so that if you open the image in another catalog, all the previous edits will be there, but I don't recommend it because it will slow LR to a crawl.

PS in contrast to LR is "destructive". Any changes you make to the image become a part of the image at the pixel level. Now if you want to practice editing in PS on your laptop using the edits you've done in LR. Then in LR export the image as a PSD. Now copy that to your laptop with whatever method you want it doesn't matter. Open PS on your laptop and open the PSD file, when you're done save it. If you want to send it back to LR on your PC you'll need to import it again into your catalog.
 

Scratch

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Thanks Southern Gent, I think l’ve finally got it. In most cases I will be editing a copy of the original on my laptop using Photoshop then when finished I can re-import it back to my pc through Lightroom and it will update my catalogue on my pc. Is that correct?
 

Southern Gent

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@Scratch I think you have it!!!!! I had problems wrapping my mind around the process as well. To me when you "import" something you bring it in, but in LR's case the act of "importing" is nothing more than telling LR where the image is.

It will also be easier if you set up your image files using a tree down system. On each drive I have a Master Photo file. I add 1,2,3 after the name to remind me which drive it's in. Under that are major sub folders- IE: Creative, Architecture & Landscapes, Family, Work, Travel......broad general categories. Then come more narrow categories,. IE: under "Creative" you'll find Macro, or "Family" you'll find Grandkids, etc. Next are even more narrowly defined categories. IE: Under Grandkids comes the individual names. The point is to drill down to the minimum common denominator. Once you have that minimum category, there are three files in each one - 1-Raw, 2-Photoshop, 3-Finished (JEPGS).

Using this method if you click on the Master Photo you'll see all the images below. As you click on each file below that the images are automatically sorted for you. Making it easy to find a specific image. Each drive has exactly the same file structure (just different images), so I don't have to know the different names of files. All of these drives and files are in one master catalog in LR, and are available at a click of the mouse. With all the advances in LR you can literally manage millions of images in one catalog.

Using your example above of a PSD file and my file structure. I would save the the PSD on the PC, in the correct category, in the file 2-Photoshop. Then open LR, in the file directory on the left, "Right Click" on the file 2-Photoshop, and choose "Synchronize" from the drop down. LR automatically imports any files it finds in that folder into the catalog.
 

DonS

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It the the use of the term "import" that always has confused people with LR.
 

Southern Gent

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It the the use of the term "import" that always has confused people with LR.
That and the fact that LR creates a "preview" of the image, makes you think it's really the image.
 

DonS

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That and the fact that LR creates a "preview" of the image, makes you think it's really the image.
And Smart Previews, that you can actually use the edit.
 

Southern Gent

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@DonS Adding more confusion is the fact that there are 6 types of previews in LR, and your choice in the Library Module isn't necessarily the one used in the Develop Module. Its important to understand the types and uses and manage wisely, as they can really become space hogs. A good explanation https://digital-photography-school.com/6-types-lightroom-previews/#:~:text=Smart previews save space and can be built later as well&text=The only difference is that,selecting the preview type required.
 
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