A way to share 1TB of photos with family

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  • Updated 1 year ago
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As a keen photographer for 30 years, have millions of photos (1TB worth).  All are in LR, most are tagged with keywords, some are processed, many are not (no time).

The problem I want to address is that if my wife wants to make a photo album, or my my daughters want to look through photos of their lives, there is no tenable way to do this.

Yes, I could spend man years go through all the photos, processing the good ones, and uploading them by event to a sharing site like smugmug, zenfolio etc.   This doesn't work for 3 reasons:
  1. it looses all the keywords and search ability.
  2. I have no time to do this (it will take man years)
  3. If I upload an album of unedited (bad) photos, then later edit them, i have to find and update the web version, which is very manual and time consuming.
I tried this for a year, and gave up.

The problem is that photos are "locked" in lightroom, and light room is single user.

One solution is to for LR to use a multi user database (this is easy to implement with say mysql or similar), and then offer a read only LR viewer application which can access the lrcat file and photos on a shared drive or similar.

This will allow my family to search, view, download and make photo albums. Currently they have no way to do this, so none of my pics get seen by anyone except the 1% or less which I have time to publish to my zenfolio account.  In zenfolio, manually re-create the hierarchy in lue of keywords, e.g.:
  1. people
  2. holidays
  3. weddings
  4. events
Adobe have spent a lot of money making a tablet version of lightroom, but it is utterly useless for me and my family needs as:
  1. There is no read only mode.  So I cant give it to my kinds in case they accidentally delete or edit the pics.  PLEASE MAKE A READ ONLY VERSION OF LIGHTROOM TABLE FOR FAMILY VIEWING!
  2. It has no option to make photo albums.  In theory, it might be possible to download photos in LRM onto the ipad, them use them in a separate photo album SW, due to point 1 we have not tried this.
  3. 1TB of photos would have to be uploaded to the web, then downloaded to the device, which is on the same network as the photos. This is crazy.
  4. Only highly compressed version of the files are synced, not the originals (which would be needed for printing etc.
In fact, I cant see the use case for lr mobile in its current form, as I use my laptop for all editing, viewing and displaying on TV via HDMI as it has all my photos, the full lrcat, and all the features.  In its current form it has no use for me as the "owner/photographer", and no use for my family as I cant give them read only access.

My suggestions are:`
  1. Add a paid-for integrate a web album, exactly like zenfolio. I.e. it allows you to mirror your collections folder hierarchy, preserves your key words, and allows hierarchical folder based permissions and inheritance.  This would make it FAR easier to publish pictures in a searchable manner, to a website, and auto-update pics when I later edit/process them.  My wife could make photo albums by downloading the pics she wants and using a 3rd party photobook SW.  Kinds could brows the web to see their pics (and share them as they wish).  Downside is having to upload 1TB of images, and having to groom them, but at least the process as a whole would be better than what is available now.
  2. Make a read only version of lightroom mobile. This is a poor solution for family, but at least they can view some of the photos.
  3. Make lrcat multi-user + read only versions of LR. One master, many readers would do for the family case.  But DB on a server would be awesome for two of us to work on the same photo library (e.g My wife and I)
  4. Have a read only LR license. I could them give my wife a copy of the LR cat file and an external HD of the photos, and she could search, view, create photobooks etc from this.  
Each of the above are partial solutions, but any of them would help.

I love LR for the speed of editing, but HATE it for the fact that my 1TB of photos are locked in it, and my family only can see 1% i have had time to manually upload to my zenfolio account.

NOTE: the way I did it before LR was to have my photos and lrcat file on an external iSCSI mounted NAS. I named the photoshopped version of files the same thing with "a" at the end. I gave read only access to the dirs on the NAS to my family.   They then used google picassa to do their own keywording and management.

Now I have all the photos and lrcat file on a 2TB M.2 MVMe 960 pro internal SSD, and its far faster, but noone can search, browse or view the 1TB of pics.  Sadly, the pics are spread across 3 lrcat files, as 1 lrcate file grinds to a halt after about 300GB of pics are imported, but thats another issue.
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Simon Hobbs

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Posted 1 year ago

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Roelof Moorlag

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That are a lot of questions in one post. My experience is that you have more change of better feedback on single-question postings. As i do not know where to begin...

Ok, let me pick out one item. Your last statement. I'm managing 100 K+ photo's (over 2 TB) in one single catalog (version CC 2015.12) so there must be something else going one. (I do have another catalog but that is for work of others).

And how do i have to interprer your earlier statement "I love LR for the speed of editing", is this not a contradiction with your last sentence?
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Simon Hobbs

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Thanks for the reply. Editing and tagging photos in LR is much faster than the old days in PS.  My suggestions are around ways to allow the family access to the complete searchable catalogue. The separate issue of LR being slow for large catalogues is something which may have been more recently fixed, but a few years ago, LR got slower and slower in most operations the bigger the catalogue got, requiring multiple cats.  If this is fixed, I might try combining my 4x 250GB cats into one and see if it grinds to a halt....  Since day 1 with LR I have been using twin local SSDs, the fastest money can buy, one for the lrcat file, one for the images.  Now I just got a new laptop with a single 2TB 3500MB/s VNMe with both the lrcat and images on it to see how usable this is.  So far its fast.
(Edited)
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Roelof Moorlag

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Did you try to publish collections and share the public link? that way others can not alter your images and there are some other advantages: 
  • Changes you make on the images on your LR-desktop are automaticaly synchronized to the published version
  • The published photo's are smart previews. They are a lot smaller than the RAW files so they do not fill up your mobile devices. However, you (or someone else with your adobe credentials) can develop these images on mobile devices. These edits are synchronized back to the catalog on your desktop-LR
When i read your usecase i realy think LR-desktop + LRmobile can support your workflow. Give it a try.
(Edited)
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Simon Hobbs

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Thanks for the reply.

I have about 1000 such links I would need to share, some requiring permissions (e.g. pics of our kids). How would I publish these links?   Every few weeks send out an updated list in an email?   Or manually create a website with a thumbnail, description and link for each one? The missing piece, which is one of my suggestions, is a photo sharing site with the same functionality as zenfolio, but integrated with LR.  This should be relatively easy for Adobe to do.

The use case for the publish link is just a one off to send to a customer or similar - it does not solve the family sharing problem outlined here, there is no search or browse option for example, and only covers pics explicitly uploaded.
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Jao van de Lagemaat

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This is all stuff that is easy to do in Google Photos or in Apple Photos if you are a Mac user. Lightroom is not really set up for this sort of live sharing of images. It's a great raw editor and organization tool but not really a social platform.
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Roelof Moorlag

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I have a collection 'kids' shared with my parents. They look frequently on their ipad at this collection and than they see all the new stuff we have placed in there. Very easy, I do not have to share every single image, i just add them to the shared collection. 

At the basketball club of my son i do the same. After a match, i put the nice shots in a collection and publish the public link to a whatsapp group. They can not alter the images but they can leave a message (that i can see in my desktop LR). Very easy and not time consuming at all. I can choose if i want them to download the images or not and after a while i stop publishing the collection.
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Simon Hobbs

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Thanks roelofMoorlag for the reply. This works well for sharing one-off albums, but does not allow my wife or child to search/browse back 30 years of photos, which is the missing killer feature for which I have made suggestions for Adobe to hopefully one day see.  Also doesnt support different levels of permissions (some public, some requiring a simple login).  Presumably the shared fotos are the compressed versions, not the origingals also, so not ideal for printing.
(Edited)
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Selondon

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Sounds like a future iteration of Lightroom CC (the new Cloud version) may suit some of your needs.

There are downsides, cost of storage, keyword flattening to name two of many but it’s pretty spot on for sharing, viewing and creating new Albums etc.

I have added a feature request for collaborative working with different permissions:

https://feedback.photoshop.com/photos...

Who knows if anything like this will come, but keeping up the pressure on Adobe with requests will surely help mould this new product into what customers require.