Lightroom Classic: How do I migrate to Lightroom Classic from Apple Photos on Catalina?

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 2 months ago
  • (Edited)
I used to work with Apple's Aperture, and elected to switch over to Apple Photos in order to allow for upgrading my OS to Catalina.  Now I wish that I had chosen the more capable Lightroom Classic instead of Photos.  I am running a trial of Lightroom Classic currently, and I can find no method for migrating  from an Apple Photos library (only options available are for Aperture or iPhoto libraries).  What options do I have for using Lightroom Classic?
Photo of John Bell

John Bell

  • 4 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
  • sad but hopeful

Posted 8 months ago

  • 1
Photo of Laura Shoe

Laura Shoe, Champion

  • 147 Posts
  • 94 Reply Likes
Hi John, there are a couple of manual routes:
1. In Finder right-click on the Photos library, Show Package Contents, and copy the Masters folder out of the library. Then in Lightroom Classic, in the Source panel in the Import dialog choose that Masters folder.2. In Finder, right-click on the Photos Library and make an alias. In Lightroom's Import dialog, in the Source panel, choose that alias.
Photo of avinash kar

avinash kar

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
Hi Laura, I followed #2 above and was able to import my 15K+ photos into Lightroom Classic by using the "add" function in Lightroom. Everything seemed to be working fine. Then I shut down the programs and the computers. Now, when I open Lightroom, it says it can't find the originals (which are still in Apple Photos and stored on an external device, which I am connected to). Any tips on what I need to do to reconnect the photos? I had thought that the Add function would have taken care of this.
Photo of Paul Grant

Paul Grant

  • 56 Posts
  • 18 Reply Likes
I do not believe there is any import function that will directly import photos to Lightroom.   You have a couple of options.    If you want to retain your Albums (Collections in Lightroom) then you wil have to export each Album individually and then import to Lightroom.   Otherwise just export all your images and import to Lightroom.   I strongly suggest exporter "Original Files" rather than the edited version.   Yes you will loose any edits.   Another option is to create an Alias of your Photos Library File.   You should now be able to import directly from that Alias file.   It will import all images as well as your edits in Jpeg form.   Personally I prefer the first version better.    I am also aware that there are some Lightroom Plugins that may be more efficient but I have not tried them.   

Good Luck
Paul

Photo of John Bell

John Bell

  • 4 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Hi Laura!
Thanks so much for your clear and FAST response.  Unfortunately, I'm not able to get either method to work.  Here are the details:
Method 1.  Using Finder, I copied the folder named "Masters.legacy" that is within my Photos library.  Size of Masters.legacy is 6.9 GB, and Photos library size is 315 GB.  Within Lightroom Classic 9.0, I am able to go to Import dialog, and in Source panel, I can select the copied folder "Masters.legacy".  However, Lightroom displays "No photos found."
Method 2. Using Finder, I created an alias of my Photos library.  Within Lightroom Classic, in the Source panel for Import, I can select the alias "Photos on iMac alias", however, I get the same message "No photos found."
Running Apple Photos is still working fine with the Photos library, and there are about 43,000 photos.
Any other suggestions are most welcome!
Best,
John
Photo of Paul Grant

Paul Grant

  • 56 Posts
  • 18 Reply Likes
By chance are your Photos images in the iCloud?  Do you have Optimze turned on in your iCloud settings?

Photo of Laura Shoe

Laura Shoe, Champion

  • 147 Posts
  • 94 Reply Likes
I'm not sure what to tell you, John. On #1 mine is Masters, not Masters.legacy. On #2, why is the alias "Photos on iMac alias" - did you rename it? If you created an alias of the correct file I would expect it to be "Photos Library alias".
Photo of John Bell

John Bell

  • 4 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Hi Paul,
Thanks for your ideas!  Yes, I do have iCloud enabled for Photos, and "Optimize Mac Storage" box is checked.  However, there is a ton of free space on my hard drive, and the full Photos library is present on the hard drive.  

I'm hoping to avoid exporting each separate folder from Photos since that would take weeks.  Also, I do not want to delete all my edits to existing photos.
I am open for any other ideas certainly!
Photo of Paul Grant

Paul Grant

  • 56 Posts
  • 18 Reply Likes
John,   You might try forcing a download of all your iCloud images via preferences on your Mac.   Other than that I don't know of any simple solutions.   I do know that in the latest version of Photos (Catalina) and the latest Lightroom Classic that the previous Migrate from Apple Photos is not there or was broke.   Adobe says they are trying to work with Apple to fix.    I do know there are plugins out there that used to do everything you want to do but I would be suspicious that they may not work with the latest Catalina snd Lightroom.

Good Luck
Paul
Photo of John Bell

John Bell

  • 4 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Thanks again to both of you Laura and Paul!
I'm debating my best path forward.  I may simply hold off on this until Adobe comes through with a direct migrate solution.
Photo of Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen

Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

  • 5664 Posts
  • 2261 Reply Likes
You could potentially go via the cloudy version of Lightroom, which does have a migrate from Photos option. It's not quite as clean as you'd like, but it would transfer the metadata edits. It wouldn't transfer the image edits themselves, but nor would a direct migration to Classic. 
Photo of Johan Elzenga

Johan Elzenga, Champion

  • 2924 Posts
  • 1257 Reply Likes
AFAIK, Apple Photos has an ‘Export (As) Original’ option. That allows you to copy all the images to a folder outside the Photos library. I think there is an option in that dialog to include metadata in an xmp file.
Photo of Johan Elzenga

Johan Elzenga, Champion

  • 2924 Posts
  • 1257 Reply Likes
UPDATE: the menu is called 'Export Unmodified Original' and the option to include metadata is called 'Export IPTC as XMP'.
Photo of Kath

Kath

  • 10 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
You might encounter this bug with "Export IPTC as XMP" if you have GPS coords in your photos: https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/lightroom-losing-gps-direction-hemisphere-ass...