Lightroom mobile: Multiple catalog syncing

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When can we expect to see lightroom mobile able to handle sync'ing multiple catalogs? As it is with the limitation to a single catalog it is very limited in a real business case scenario...
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David MacPherson

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Posted 5 years ago

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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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I am not hopeful here, David.

Lightroom was always designed around and recommended as a single-catalog workflow solution. While many people use multiple catalogs and Lightroom can function moderately well in that environ, that isn't its first design criteria. I am changing your question to a feature request to see if others will vote for it.
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Confirming what Victoria said.  The information provided by support was inaccurate. 

Personal anecdote and FWIW my 380K image catalog performs similarly to my 300 image test catalog. Both are quite speedy.

Additionally, Twitter, while useful for some support interactions isn't the best place to go when you have a detailed performance-related question. Those things are better expressed and solved in more than a couple of hundred characters...
(Edited)
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LM

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Hi Rikk,

Thank you for confirming that LR is speedy for you in the develop module. Much appreciated. Can you also help me with the system config that you are using, so that I can compare with mine?

Ps: i May have mentioned it on my earlier response, but In case it helps anyone else, when I spoke about Twitter support, Adobe’s own support site has a banner on top saying that their regular support channel has long wait periods and users should DM them at the @AdobeCare handle. Once a person connects via DM they are taken through a menu and connected to an exec and there’s no character limit on that interaction.

Thanks
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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I can willingly confirm that LR works at a speedy pace even with 100K+ catalog on a standard resolution monitor. Some things get a bit slower on my 5K monitor, which is to be expected as it's processing a lot more pixels to service a high res monitor. I'm currently using a 2014 5K iMac as my primary machine, but even my old MacBook Pro is serviceable. My business partner is using a 2010 Mac Pro and equally has no complaints. Decent performance is possible.

Regarding Twitter, I should be telling you that Adobe Corporate has all the answers and the official support channels are all equally comparable but... there's a notable difference between the "support staff" that man the usual channels (like Twitter, phone/chat support, etc.) and the "real" people who hang out here. There's a reason I spend my time supporting this forum instead of the primary user to user forums... and guys like Rikk and some of the main LR engineers hanging out here are the primary reasons. This is where you get it "from the horses mouth", as it were.
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LM

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Hi Victoria, thanks for the clarification about the hardware. I’m using a 15” Retina MBP for LR as I’m mostly on the move. Do you think that’s the reason why I’m facing these performance issues with the develop module? As soon as I go to the develop module and make any edit, the CPU spikes to 150-200-400-600% with each edit that I make.
Should LR only be used on desktop Mac OS systems?

I’ve tried various steps such as disabling GPU, not upgrading to Mojave, reinstalling LR, disabling writing edits to XMP and so on, to no avail. That’s when I went down this tangent of splitting my catalog.
(Edited)
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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The Retina display certainly requires a lot more processing power, because it's having to process a lot more pixels in order to show them on the screen. That's true of retina desktop computers as well as laptops. I'd leave GPU enabled when using a retina screen, as that's an issue the GPU is designed to help with. 

Have you started that new thread yet? Let's troubleshoot there, rather than cluttering up in inboxes of people who are interested in multiple catalog syncing.
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David MacPherson

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Thanks for changing this to a feature request - that's effectively what I wanted it to be, but obviously missed that option!

I hear what you are saying about the single-catalog workflow solution, but interestingly in the 3 or so years since I have been using lightroom I have never seen anything official about that, or in any of the marketing/setup instruction etc. Not saying that I went through everything with a fine tooth comb, but my approach to technology has always been to explore the capabilities of a system and see how it can be best adapted to suit the local requirements. So when a feature is provided in software, you would expect that you should realistically be able to use it. I would have thought if they were so adamant about the single catalog workflow issue, then they should have removed the ability to have multiple catalogs in the first place? Why put a feature in there that you are just going to restrict people on down the track.

I say all this with some experience as a software developer for over 20 years, so it's not like I am not aware of the issues and considerations that need to be taken when designing and developing software packages. And I'm not lost on the gap that exists between the design intentions and the end-user usage scenarios that constantly plague developers, but bridging that gap has always been the sign of great software packages.

In fact the main reason I went to the effort of even posting such a question is due to the fact that I have been positively impressed with the shift in responsiveness of Adobe since the rollout of creative cloud and the fact that they can, and often do, react quickly to feature requests and new technologies and implement those changes in a very timely fashion (well in comparison to the historical software lifecycle anyway!)

So I hope other that may be interested in this feature can raise their voices and be heard so that Adobe may look at what they can do to make this happen :-)
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john beardsworth

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There's nothing official. However, while you can use Lightroom with multiple catalogues, it works best as a single catalogue, as you see when you examine the features. For example, there is no cross-catalogue searching or other cross-catalogue functions, while multi-catalogue features are designed around the need to move work around computers (eg the Export as Catalag and Import from Another Catalog features).

But LR does allow multiple catalogues, so how do you expect a multi-catalogue LrM to operate? Do you expect a sort of one-to-one relationship, so you'd open catalogue A in LrM, then catalogue B etc? Or do you expect LrM to be a single overarching interface, so the same picture may exist in both a laptop and a desktop catalogue and LrM edits will propagate to each?

Also, rather than claiming there is a real business case scenario (which there may be), it's better to outline what it is.
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madison bond

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I also use multiple catalogs in Lightroom. I have over 30,000 photos and maintenance as a single catalog was cumbersome. Load and save times are long, and I had to carry around a dedicated external hard drive to work with that catalog, as it exceeded 500 gb. adobe revel allowed multi catalog support and this should be a feature in Lightroom mobile...I wish adobe revel was still supported.

In addition, Lightroom mobile does not support sharing of albums, only single photos, which is another limitation related to adobe revel.
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def

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i am using lr only as an amateur, but use multiple catalogs.

i shoot a lot when travelling and i have a notebook with me so i start out every journey with a fresh catalog. i get up to 10-20k raw images per trip. added to that are timelapses and thousands of gopro joegs.

merging all this into a single catalog is just madness. it becomes impossible to move around on mobile disks or backup into cloud storage. thumbnails/smart previews are all in one gigantic folder eating diskspace like there is no tomorrow.

so i am going to stick to multi catalog.

my main reason for getting lr mobile was rating/sorting on the go, i hoped i could crowdsource the rating and sorting with friends and family. that becomes impossible if i can only have one catalog at a time in mobile.

as for implementation, i think lr mobile should just be able to store multiple catalogs. add one more hierachy level on top. make them visible in the mobile apps? i don't really care. i'd be fine with a warning if my collection names collide and being forced to keep them unique across catalogs.
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Cosmin Tartan

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I started using multiple catalogs after reading this The Art of Lightroom Catalog Management on Fstoppers

For those reasons, I now have different catalogs and sometime events (resulting in separate catalogs) overlap and of course I would like to send customers links so that they can make their selections.
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Stephane

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Reading the original question and having just installed Lightroom CC I agree with most comments: there is definitely a compelling need to allow syncing with more than one catalog.

As most comments make the point: I have a travelling Macbook and a big powerful desktop and use generally two catalogs. If I am travelling, I would like to push some photos via syncing to iOS devices. When back, I work on more photos on my desktop and would like to push some of them as well on my iOS devices. Putting one catalog on a NAS drive is not practical as when travelling I will need a local copy.

Call me cynical, but from the point of view of Adobe, allowing only single catalog syncing is an interesting deal. They may think I will put it in their Cloud so that I can access it from both computers. Then the volume will increase and I probably will have to pay extra for more space?. But then, even though I have not tried it, I have reservations as to whether the performances will be good enough. And if travelling to a location where internet access is slow or inexistant, I would still need a local catalog. Merging catalog is a feature I have not yet fully mastered in particular if vertual copies of photos are involved.

So, after this long argument, we definitely need multiple catalog syncing!
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john beardsworth

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" If I am travelling, I would like to push some photos via syncing to iOS devices. "

Then log into https://lightroom.adobe.com/ and you can drag photos from their folders and drop into your browser window. The photos will upload to Adobe's server, and previews will sync down to iOS devices. The original will appear in your catalogue at home.

More generally, since smart previews were introduced it is more practical to take your main catalogue on trips. The catalogue itself is not big, and you don't need to take the original pictures if you want to work on any existing pictures - you can do a lot of work with just the smart previews.
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Jamie Fang

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Is there anyway to push a collection of photos to Lightroom Mobile without using the web interface? Should I be able to do this in Lightroom on desktop/laptop?

Let's I have a collection of travel photos on desktop at home AND a collection of wedding photos on laptop in the office. And I want to use Lightroom Mobile to show these photos to my friends and clients. Right now I cannot do this easily with the desktop version of Lightroom.

Ideally I can push these collections to the cloud from desktop and laptop simultaneously. And the my friends and clients can rate and comment on these photos with their phones. I can choose to "mount" the wedding collection on my desktop at home, but I am not forced to do so if I really just want to use my work laptop to edit these photos.
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Korbinian Seifert

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I work as photographer and create a new catalogue for each job. Simple reason is, that on a job you make 10000 pictures for example, the next job again and so on.
With so many pictures altogether, you have in one year several hundred thousand pictures. After a job is finished, with selection, editing and all that stuff, I save them twice external and put them away on archive. And when i need it again, I get the HD with all the file, including the lightroom catalogue. I open the catalogue and have everything in place very fast. My thinking is that in seperating the projects catalogues, you keep a better overview of all the work you have done. Also when sharing a project with an external editor you hand over the catalogue and thats it.
The sync on a cloud would be interesting for me only if i could sync for example my
selection or finished editing collection on the phone or pad and show different jobs on occasion.
So I would vote for multiple catalogue sync

thanks
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Bruno Vieira

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Looking forward for this feature too!!
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Ann Shelbourne

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It would help a lot if Lr could work from a Catalogue stored on an external HD.

Then one could simply connect that drive to whichever computer one was using at the time and also use a Sync operation to copy only newer files or metadata to update the resident catalogue on the other computer.
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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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Feel free to disagree. You are entitled to your opinion.

My experience with 3-4 dozen 250K catalogs on which I've consulted regarding speed issues is that in very isolated areas, performance may improve i.e. launch time, backup time and large scale metadata writing.  Catalog size will not typically have an effect on Grid scrolling, Grid/Loupe switch, Develop/Grid switch, Loupe/Develop walking, Develop slider performance, Import/Export processing. 

If you are seeing improved performance, I am happy for you but not convinced it is due to catalog size. The real world does not all seem to agree that monolithic catalogs cause performance issue. I see the question asked a lot and the answer from those who work with large catalogs regularly seems pretty consistent.

Regardless, this thread is concerned with multi syncing and we should return to that discussion. Feel free to start a new thread about single vs multi catalog performance perceptions if you like.  

The name is spelled "Rikk" by the way - unless you are speaking about someone else. 
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dmeephd

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Rikk, some of your "...very isolated areas..." are frankly more common than what you listed; e.g., importing, preview building, keywording, Smart Collection building, editing Smart Collections, etc.  In short, just about everything one does in Library is impacted by the size of the catalog.

Hardware is, of course, very important.  I started using LR with 3.0 on a Toshiba with 8GB, moved to a MacBook Pro with 16GB from LR 4 to LR 6, and then to a MacPro with 128GB.

As my catalog progressed from a couple MB to—as of this morning—3,919,530 images (a whopping 29.4GB catalog) I have seen performance degrade unless and until the hardware was upgraded.

Sometimes, the performance degraded after an upgrade of LR; LR 7.5 was a pig compared to LR 6; LR 8 was a marked improvement over 7.5.  Sometimes the OS improved the performance; Mojave was a Godsend for LR 7.5 and 8 (unless you owned an iMac).

I recently upgraded the 1TB SSD in the MacPro to a 2TB SSD from QWC—four times the read/write speed of the OEM drive.   Now my catalog loads in less than two minutes, down from over 20 minutes.  (My LR application is on the internal SSD, the catalog and all other files are on a dedicated external G-Tech 8TB RAID with Thunderbolt.  All images are on another dedicated external G-Tech 20TB Raid with Thunderbolt.)

Moving to multiple catalogs is simply a non-starter.  Presets, Smart Collections, Keyword Sets, keywords—no way to sync them easily across multiple catalogs.

As for syncing to the mobiles apps or the cloud—I never water down my whisky and I do not use LR on a bloody iphone (except for a synced collection to show clients as a portfolio).

However, I am still concerned and still hope that Adobe would change the underlying database to increase performance, referential integrity, and keyword accuracy.  I am also pretty much at the end of the line in available hardware upgrades at least until 2020 as Apple has indicated no next-gen MacPro in 2019.

I am in Botswana through the end of the first week of January.  The lions are tripping over themselves for a photo op; the cheetahs are sitting on the roof of the Land Rover.  My catalog will definitely be over 4 million images before December ends.

Then what?
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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FWIW, millions is the exception when I'd start thinking about using a smaller working catalog for active photos and a big archive catalog for searching.

Most of the people I hear talking about splitting their catalog are thinking that 40k is big.
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dmeephd

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I hear you Victoira, and I respect your opinion—otherwise I wouldn't have bought your FAQ books year in and year out.

However, in the day job (pharmaceuticals and medical devices) that has supported my photography since I gave up on F1 back in 186, I routinely see programs able to handle tens of millions of images without a performance issue on Windoze boxes no where near as powerful as some of the computers I possess or the users on this forum possess.

The different explain this divergence in performance, you ask?  In the real world of medical and pharmaceutical science we do not use open source freebie crap such as SQLite.  Our systems are built on Oracle, DB2, or MS SQL.

I have used systems built on full referential database platforms with 4th- or 5th-level referential integrity (so as NOT to create duplicate or triplicate images as LR still does with 8.1) which handle upwards of 60 million images for a Phase III Clinical Trial oncology drug with instant response and no crashing.

How much would it cost...really!...for Adobe to build Lightroom on a firm foundation instead of some garbage they downloaded for free off of the internet?

I for one, would gladly pay at least double what Adobe lifts from my checkbook each month just ot have something which I could use.

This holiday week, in the quiet of the Okavango Delta, I am going to try ON1 Photo Raw 2019 migration facility.  If it works, good-bye Adobe.  (ON1 is using MS SQL...not SQLite.)
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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I don't claim to be an expert on systems managing 60 million images, and there's a reason why not... Lightroom isn't targeted at that audience. And while you'd be happy to pay double, most Lightroom users wouldn't.  So if you can find a ready-built system that is targeted at that audience, go for it! Use what works for you.

The Lightroom groundwork was laid more than 12 years ago when Adobe was breaking new ground, so it is certainly possible they'd make different decisions based on the information that's now available. On1 clearly has a lot to thank Adobe for in that regard, as they've been able to base their decisions on concrete information, rather than guesswork. 

Let us know how you get on with the migration tools. In my experience, they rarely live up to the hype, but I live in hope that someday I'll be proven wrong. Maybe this is the year!
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Frans van Velzen

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I like LR for its beautiful design and functionality. The only thing that needs Adobe's attention for LR now is PERFORMANCE (sorry for screaming) and for that reason I concur with all the above contributors. Performance is not on PAR with other photo editors.
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serpicolugnut

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+1 on this feature request. it's a pain that LrM only syncs with one catalog. Since it's only syncing collections, it really shouldn't matter what catalog makes the sync request. And I'd venture to say that anyone who uses Lr for professional work is using multiple catalogs.
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Rikk Flohr, Champion

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I am aware of many professionals who use a single-catalog strategy. 
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Sid Phadnis

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Yes - different strokes for different folks I guess. I recently started some commercial photoshoots and putting those in the same catalog didn't completely make sense. I am aware that Lightroom does give you enough options to separate things within one catalog, but I guess it just makes sense when you can cut down on distractions (family photos, dog photos, the photos from the last trip that your auntie made and things of that nature!)
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James Dong

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I agree with the comment that it really shouldn't matter where the shared collection comes from. The cloud storage should function just like OneDrive and can be accessed and synced by any catalog from any device.
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Jessica Tincopa

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom mobile: Ability to sync multiple catalogs.

Lightroom Mobile: Please add the ability to Sync multiple CATALOGS at the same time. Have tiered pricing for larger cloud capacities...er whatever you need to do to justify it. JUST PLEASE add support for multiple catalogs. :)
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David Grooms

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Add me to the list that votes to allow lightroom mobile to sync to different catalogs.  I do portrait, wedding, real estate as well as professional and college sports.  I use a macbook for all my sports photography and then my iMac to process all other types.  I use a Nikon D4 with the WT5 transmitter connecting to an FTP server.  I then have an app that looks for any new photos on the FTP server and brings them into a Watched folder on the HD for either computer.  Then I use a plugin in Lightroom that automatically imports the photo to Lr, applies Metadata and Develop presets and also automatically put the photo in a synced collection.  There by I can view, or tweet or instagram the photo right from my iPhone instantly now matter where in the world I am at the time.  It takes about 3 minutes from the time I take the picture til the time is shows up in Lightroom mobile.  The problem is that is I can only sync one catalog and thus I have to choose to sync the iMac or the macbook and thus shutting out one half of my business model.
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Ken Mendoza

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom Mobile: Want to sync more than one catalog at a time so I can work on m....

LR mobile: need more than one catalog syncing at a time with Adobe Cloud. I often have multiple projects in process at the same time . Inconvenient to combine catalogs just for mobile.
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Brian Wiedeke

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I would LOVE the ability to sync more than one catalog at a time. I keep my family/personal photos in one catalog (and a totally different drive for that matter) and my freelance work related stuff in a totally different catalog. I typically keep the work related stuff synced so I can show it to potential clients right on my Android tablet (yes I said Android, feel free to remember that base of users Adobe and roll out the changes on par with iOS not 9 months later) but it would be nice to be able to access family moments as well. Perhaps when Lightroom launches on my android device you first get a screen with "Catalog A, B C, etc" tap on the catalog you would like to look at and it pulls it up. I don't know much about the programming aspect of it, but it seems that having that "top layer" where you are selecting which catalog you are working with from the start would make it simple enough. I am totally fine with having to close one catalog and open another if need be, just let me access multiple catalogs.
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Timothy Gernert

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My question is can Lr connect and sync with both a mobile catalog and a local  catalog?  For example, I take some photos, download them to my Surface Pro 3 for storage and initial processing, then upload them to Lr Mobile.  When I get back to my desktop, then connect to Lr Mobile and import the photos into my main catalog.  This would save having to export to a catalog on my SP3 and then import into my main catalog.  It saves a step and takes advantage of Lr Mobiles capabilities.

Furthermore, Light Mobile for iOS allows you to take pictures using DNG capture.  The caveat, is you must be running iOS 10 and have a 12MP camera (i.e. iPhone 6s/6s Plus and newer).
(Edited)
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Selondon

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Lightroom Mobile and Web are at heart, cloud based technology. I'd expect that multiple catalogs would also be this way as Adobe have used this before, as Madison Bond points out in an earlier post, within Adobe Revel's high-res cloud storage (albeit they were called Libraries in what was pretty much Lr Mobile's predecessor).

If Adobe could implement this within their cloud based Lightroom options then it will be interesting to see how this integrates within Lightroom Desktop and multiple catalogs there.
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Doug Catiller

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I've been using Lightroom professionally for about 8 years now, and have loved the developments I have seen in it. That said, I found it very hard for me to use Lightroom as a single catalog system because performance and storage become a real problem. I use a fully loaded Surface Pro 4 for all of my photo and video processing, and I'm often mobile. I carry external hard drives and use a separate catalog for each job I do. This gives me the best performance and storage solution.

The thing I miss is the ability to pick up my tablet and work on an edit when using a full computer setup is not practical. My hope is that Adobe finds a way to fully leverage the cloud. It would be awesome if I could publish a catalog or collection to my cloud account, allowing me to seamlessly work on the go. I don't think I'm alone in my crazy start/stop schedule, and this kind of thing would help me to be really productive.  

I love Lightroom, but really don't think it has really leveraged the cloud well. In fact, Lightroom really doesn't point to my Creative Cloud storage very easily. I have to drill down to the location of it on disk, rather than just simply point to Creative Cloud to import images. I hope Lightroom CC 2017 has better ways to leverage the cloud. That is what I need most. 
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Vandy Major

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I work with a Mac desktop and a Mac Book Pro laptop. I use a separate catalog on each computer. I have not found a good way to blend my photos. I was hoping that Lightroom Mobile would be a solution. So far I am only using Lightroom Mobile on my Desktop Catalog. I was going to try adding photos from my laptop so I came to this conversation for advise. 
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Brian Wiedeke

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Here is what I have found works... I have Google Drive, but I hear it works with Dropbox etc. I moved the Lightroom folders that were in my Pictures Folder (PC, mac may put them in a different place) to My Google Drive. I have the Google Drive App installed on my PC, both tower and desktop, so it looks like it is another Windows folder. (That is key) So I point LIghtroom to that folder where the catalog is. I still keep my photos on a totally different networked drive, but everything LIghtroom Catalog related syncs via the cloud. The only hitch I have discovered with Google Drive is you need to "pause" the PC sync tool before you launch Lightroom or you get an error message. Just unpause Google Drive when you close LR and it will sync your catalog. The other thing is don't expect to switch between machines instantly, the files need to sync. But if you are working on the tower for example and want to pick up on your laptop once you drive to your home that is usually enough time and you will find your catalog synced. Google it, there are several articles describing the workflow.
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Vandy Major

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Thank you! Dropbox syncing could be a great solution for me. My photos are there anyway. I use Dropbox to deliver to clients and to keep my online archive.
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Daniel

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Brian, that is a plausible hack, but beware that when I tried that it began corrupting large catalogs because sometimes Google Drive wouldn't write the entire file in one go.  Same problem with Dropbox.

Syncthing seems to do okay, although it requires a lot of setup. This is made easier with SyncTrayzor.

How do you deal with the fact that program preferences aren't stored with the catalog? (Or at least, they're not on a PC.)
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Corey McKenna

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This is not a good workaround I'm sorry. How much money do we have to spend already on cloud storage. I paid a subscription for LR, PS, and CC mobile. I really shouldn't have to use 3rd party cloud services with crazy workarounds. Adobe needs to get off their lazy asses and IMPLEMENT multi-cat syncing. It has been YEARS with complaints!
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lacoL

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Given my work flow I do not find Lightroom stable when opening a catalog with over 10,000 photos. Single catalogs allow me to work this way but the way LR does it now is not beneficial to the end user. I vote for a catalog to be like an album when syncing.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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If you're not finding Lightroom stable when opening a catalog with over 10,000 photos lacoL, post a thread describing the issues and your system specs. That's something worth investigating.
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Corey McKenna

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ADOBE FIX THIS NOW!!! I'M LOSING MONEY AND TIME!!!! 
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felix zolla

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Ability to have more than one catalog in Lightroom CC Mobile.

Im one of those guys who has multiple catalogs trying to keep personal and business separate.  I would like to see in Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC Mobile work together to sync the multiple catalogs so when Im done editing to sync the catalogs to mobile to when Im with family I can show pictures from the family catalog and in business opportunities to show the business catalog...  I don't want to stick them all together in one..