Lightroom and classic, co-ordinated original folders

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We current workflow is to use Lightroom as an import application, because Lightroom "classic" lacks the ability to sync full-quality images to the CC cloud - and I want to be able to work with my images on both machines where I have CC installed and to be confident that they're backed up.

Beyond this, I then use classic almost exclusively for working with the images.

Given this primary role of unclassic Lightroom as an import tool, and given the time (often hours) that it takes to upload a full photo shoot, I'd like to be able to work with original quality images in classic even as they're being uploaded.

As both applications allow for configuration of the originals folder, it would be ideal if there were a simple checkbox in classic to say "use the exact same folder as unclassic lightroom", and if unclassic lightroom could be configured to copy images to this originals folder as the first part of the import so that they become immediately available for editing in classic.

As a fringe benefit, this also means I could return SD cards to my camera almost immediately, instead of having to leave them in the reader for potentially hours whilst upload is happening.
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Kevin Wright

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Posted 5 months ago

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Harrison Clark

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Just a thought, I don't touch my SD cards until my images are 100% secure elsewhere.  That means they are on my computer and backed up in the cloud or on an external NAS or SSD.  It sounds like you are thinking to re-use the SD after just transfer to your local drive.
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Kevin Wright

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It's a number of things.

Yes, I want to be able to turn around the SD card rapidly, but that's only part of the problem and relatively easy to solve by first copying images to my local drive and then importing from there.

The other half of the equation - and the main problem that this feedback addresses - is that I then want to be able to work with those original quality images in Lightroom classic ASAP.

If I have, say, 1000 images from a photo shoot, then under the current arrangement Adobe seems to be pushing me towards a workflow where I must first upload those images to the cloud via unclassic Lightroom (taking approx. 6 hours) before syncing them back to Lightroom Classic.

This is an unacceptable delay when considering that I already have those exact same original images on my local drive!  The other possibility is that I could import images to both apps in parallel, but it makes me incredibly nervous to imagine how that might mess up synchronisation of any resulting edits.

Of course... This would all be irrelevant if Adobe had simply added proper cloud integration to the original lightroom in the first place.  Then I wouldn't need unclassic Lightroom as an upload client at all and the problem simply wouldn't exist.
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Andy Beales

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Hi, a lot of teams now have left Lr and use Exposure by Alian Skin. As it does not have a single catalog file its ideal for team or multi-machine editing. It has almost all features of Lr so if that's a business critical workflow might be worth checking that out. It basically creates 1 tiny file in the directory of the raw file you worked on, so that's how many people can edit at once. Because there is no central catalog of edits it imports and works way quicker. 
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Harrison Clark

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Right after I installed CC and opened it I was asked if I wanted to upload my existing photos to the Cloud.  I think this suggests that I could import my images to Classic as I always have, and later open CC and upload them to the Cloud.  Worth a try. 
(Edited)
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Kevin Wright

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It's a bit trickier.

You're permitted to migrate any given catalogue exactly once.  So once you've done the migration you can't then import more pictures into the same classic catalogue and migrate those too.

I guess I could create a fresh catalogue for every import, start a migration of that, then continue working in it whilst the migration is ongoing... But that's a frankly ridiculous level of mucking about, simply to be able to:
  1. Publish an album of smart previews almost immediately
  2. Eventually get full quality (not preview) images in the cloud
  3. Continue to work on the images in classic, even as the full upload progresses
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Jim Wilde, Champion

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A couple of things:

The migration tool is operating exactly as intended, i.e. it's the tool for those users who want to switch totally from Classic to LRCC, so it should be no surprise that it's a one-time operation per Classic catalog.

And Adobe have also said that they do not recommend a combined Classic and LRCC workflow, so it's perhaps also not surprising that it's not immediately clear how to achieve that. However, that last comment ignores the fact that desktop-centric Lightroom has been working with their cloud for some 4 years now, so arguably the introduction of the new cloud-centric LRCC app for desktops actually makes little difference to the limited workflows that some people have been operating for a longer time.

My own workflow currently is as follows:

1. Import into Classic as normal, proceed to cull, then add metadata (keywords and location data first). Once I've added the metadata I'll Ctrl-S to write those changes to XMP to start syncing those images to the cloud. Although the keyword and location data does not sync between Classic and the cloud, if it exists in XMP at the time of first upload there is (currently) a one-time, one-way transfer of the XMP data to the cloud. Subsequent changes to keywords/location data do not sync, so I take pains to get it as nearly complete as possible before I enable those files to sync.
Note that if the keyword and location data isn't important, you could sync the new images as soon as they have been imported into Classic as other subsequent changes DO sync (edits, title, caption, GPS co-ordinates, copyright).

2. Once the Smart Previews have been synced, I then start LRCC on the same desktop (or use LRCC Web in a browser on the same system) and add/import those newly imported images into it. That causes LRCC to recognise that it already has those images in the cloud, but only as Smart Previews, so it imports them and uploads the full image to replace the Smart Previews. There's no impact on Classic, only that it becomes aware that an original is now held in the cloud instead of the Smart Preview.

Alternatively one could, in theory, import to LR Classic but not bother uploading Smart Previews. Instead go straight to the stage of importing the originals into LRCC, and that "should" also work without impact on the existing images in Classic. However, in my testing sometimes the duplicates detection didn't fully work correctly and Classic started downloading the images from the cloud as they were added from LRCC....and in Classic they were added as VCs to the originals that had been imported into Classic. So I avoid that.

There are others ways as well, which I have used in the past, though they are not without dangers so I'm not willing to elaborate further. All I wanted to do here is show how you CAN do your three step desired workflow today, without any changes to Classic's sync capabilities from Adobe (which I don't think we'll get!).

Hope that helps.
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Kevin Wright

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That sounds  much closer to what I want, save for one aspect.  By starting with classic you're still having to retain a local copy of all images.

What I'm aiming for is the "managed space" ideal, where I don't have to keep all those original quality images on my 500Gb local laptop drive when I could downloaded them on demand as needed from my 1Tb cloud storage plan.

More and more it's looking like I'm going to have to start by creating and migrating a fresh catalog for every single import and a separate catalogue for working against the cloud.  It's a major pain, but if I'm resigned to accept it then I'll have to look into some form of scripting.
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Jim Wilde, Champion

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To be honest, I was surprised to read this. If I'm understanding correctly, it sounds as though you're prepared to entrust your "master copy" of your images to the Adobe Cloud. If that's correct, then you're a braver man that me....I don't even consider the Cloud be an adequate backup solution yet, let alone be robust enough to be the holder of my "masters". I use it purely so that I can access and share my albums from wherever I happen to be.

But if it works for you, that's OK. Just be aware that there's currently no versioning, or even a trash can feature, in the current Cloud offering.

From a technical perspective, whilst you can certainly upload all your original images to the cloud, "download on demand" isn't terribly flexible yet. Yes, you could use the "Store a Copy of All Originals" option in LRCC (many LRCC users are already doing that), but that rather defeats your "On demand" requirement. The latter can currently only be done by downloading individual files as there's not, for example, a per album download option.
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Kevin Wright

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I do that, but I do that to my NAS via my desktop machine. But I'm always wary that I could potentially lose everything in a fire, theft, or similar catastrophe and so insist on cloud backup as well.

Either way, the model that Adobe has pushed (if you want originals and not just previews to be backed up) is that one MUST first upload to the cloud and then back-sync locally.

Just to add insult to injury, the machine I mostly work on is my laptop, which doesn't have the capacity for my full collection and yet is the machine which must necessarily hold the sole lightroom catalogue that adobe permits to be synced to the cloud. It's also frequently away from my home network (with access to the NAS) and often without any connection at all. This is also typically the machine that I'll upload from - perhaps from a client site/hotel/whatever - and the machine that needs on-demand access.