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 6 years ago

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I know this is a very old thread but found it when searching for guidance or suggestions on the net on how to utilize multiple catalogs best because I need to go there. A bit ironic. I too am a long standing LR user. 1.x-2.x. I struggled with the whole single catalog concept since day one and saw it as an expected longer term problem - to be addressed maybe by version 3 or 4 possibly. ;) But...I drank the koolaid, followed guidance and have been dealing with performance issues, struggling how to figure out how to work with it mobile as well as at home base simultaneous now for years. It's just not intuitive or user friendly any way you do it.  And as many people, I have created a mess. I knew this was coming, and it is here, now and ugly. Up til now it has been working acceptably (mostly except all the known performance problems already stated - and sorry -  but they DO exist, I don't understand how anyone can position it otherwise as a user error) using a single catalog.  
I find Adobe's position LR was never meant to be a pro/business class level digital asset management system and 'beyond scope' of application design a bit strange. Didn't they target professional photographers and as a photo management system? It seemed that way to me. It's not like you can just open a file and edit it using LR tools like you can in Photoshop. LR insists on an import and managing files in order to be used. It was the driving force in the design I thought, you have PS over here to do your major editing, we will just help you do common simple stuff here but our goal here is to 'manage' your files and help your workflow, we will even help integrate it with Photoshop. I guess they didn't mean, be 'really successful with it' maybe?

That being the case - you would think dealing with multiple catalogs should have been expected', (as in "We didn't design this to get 'too big' though") so larger customers will certainly need that.   Especially with what you see in the activity to go to subscription based and Cloud services model. But, I guess, just don't get too successful or we can't support you with any products we have. You want to be a full service cloud company or not? Non professional or casual photographers and users don't really need the power of LR and Creative Cloud suite right. Perplexing.

I didn't come here really to bash Adobe or LR. I guess this just hit an old nerve for me as well. I think it's a great product and tool in many ways. But I too have toyed with looking elsewhere and would rather not. It's  what I know and the editing part is awesome.  It gets the job done and the improvements in a lot of functionality really has been great. I just had to deal with the management part headaches and to me that is it's whole purpose for existence I thought. Photoshop has for the most part always had that covered. But if I can't find the plans to support real working workflow issues I just may be forced to move. 

8MB sized images of the past kept the issue from surfacing but now with 50MB RAW files and 4K video, I quickly need to figure out the multiple file location storage/ catalog / mobile use /non mobile syncing, how do I track were things are at problem now cuz it wont fit on one drive anymore.   Not in version 2020 or 21. That will be way too late. Maybe the focus should have been stop spending resources duplicating Photoshop here and more on it's main purpose of file, process and workflow management. Of course not the 'sexy' part and harder to sell. I would be different if you didn't already have the market leader for editing in photoshop.
It seems simple to me, LR isn't it, ok, for you successful people here is Lightroom PRO (Enterprise /Studio whatever), decent real database plugin and performance, one higher level up integration for sycning  multiple data sources and separate offline temp field 'catalogs' and managing the on again and off again connection of mobile workforces which of course their customers have been since 1.X. Sure seems your direction is to try and own the creative/design world workflows. 

Anyway, I would be happy to deal with a one-time catalog conversion to a new database schema if required if you solved that problem. It's not like you have had catalog conversions requirements in the past. I believe that's the beauty of a subscription/Cloud model. All my systems will get updated anyway. Your cloud services would certainly look more attractive to me if you did. At the moment, the model just isn't usable.  Last thing the entrepreneurs  you target want to waste time doing.

Or - do they have a product I'm not familiar with that offers or syncs with other true business class DAM systems for those in need if that isn't this product's target market? Maybe I'm just not informed and this has been solved. Search continues.

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Corey McKenna

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Well stated. I'm sure 90% of pros agree with you. I will move on if this isn't addressed in a few months. It will be ugly creating a new file management system but if competitors are ready to sell us a solution I'll have to take it. Thanks for eloquently laying this out. Best.
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Sarah Nokomis

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Multiple Catalogues in Adobe Lightroom Classic.

I'm a Professional Photographer and Photo-Retoucher. I recently ran into a problem using Adobe Lightroom Classic (Which is still my preferred photo software over cc). 
I shoot concerts of up to fifteen acts in a night, and need to be able to separate all of those acts into different catalogues. But I also need to be able to digitally share those catalogues with clients without syncing to a single catalogue. 
If I tired putting all of my work into one catalogue for a weekend, it would take 3 - 5 hours to sync, and then all my bands get all mixed together. So while I'm searching for this one Indie band I shot this one time who needs some AdMat in studio next week, I'm also having to sift through 15,000 photos of GRWAR. AND THAT IS ANNOYING. Meanwhile My Retouching clients are still waiting for photos, even though I have no way to deliver because this last band is taking over two weeks to figure out which photos they'd like. 
Overall, My life would be a easier if I could sync multiple catalogues from Lightroom classic to Lightroom cc. Also a Big Giant Delete All Button, Would also be cool if it was implemented right, Because I also don't want to have to manually delete 15,000 photos off of my cloud when done with a project. 
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scott moore

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Ever since Adobe created Lightroom CC, and Lightroom CC Classic, I have slowly abandoned Lightroom. I can't use it as a catalog anymore because it's just hopelessly flawed, confusing, and poorly thought out. I hate to say that, because for years I was a huge Lightoom fan and convinced a number of photographer friends to use it. 

Now I use it for editing after a photoshoot, and keep a catalog for that shoot, in the same directory as my raw files in case I ever need to go back to it. But as a way to manage a catalog of my photos, it's just impossible. The editing tools in LR are still fantastic, but Lightroom CC, for me, is an absolute bust, including for the reasons you mention. I really hope Adobe hears this and acts on it, but given the length of time that this has been an issue, I don't think so. 
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Scott, if you ignore the cloudy version, what's become more confusing about LR Classic?
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Walter Thirion

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Have you considered using collections/collection sets and keywording. 
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scott moore

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That's a great question. To be very honest, it's perception. First, I know that Adobe is pushing to make LR CC the new default application. As such all Adobe's energy will go there. a]And having lived through a number of applications that have been discontinued, my experience is to ween myself off of something that I see being End of lifed before it's too late to try different solutions to replace it.

I have a lot invested in LR. Years of catalogs, indexed images etc. I see it coming, and I'm not going to stay invested in application in which Adobe is clearly divesting. And the cloud is the wrong solution for photographers working with raw images. I'm fine with the cloud once images are published and done, but for the editing phase it's just too much file transfer.

A year and a half ago i tried using my ipad and LR CC during a trip to Europe, and I forever regret it. For various reasons I lost images. And I found out the hard way that you can't load the images directly into LR. You have to first copy them to the ipad, then to LR, then delete the copy so you don't have duplicates.

Adobe's poor implementation of LR and my perception that it was cloud ready with the ipad cost me many photos i'll never get back and left such a sour taste in my mouth that I'll never rely on LR cc again. I'm beyond angry about that, and if i ever hear another Adobe employee tell me it's Apple's fault rather than take responsibility as a company for a very poorly planned attempt to push a cloud solution that wasn't ready, i'll lose my sh*t.

I feel like after a decade or more of being an Adobe LR advocate and years of buying SW and subscriptions that i was used as a guinea pig and Adobe took a huge dump on its users. And frankly Ive not seen a change of course since then. So I'm done. If i wake up one day and can't access my own photos anymore because of changes Adobe makes, at this point I'll only have myself to blame.

I'm also angry about the cloud subscription. I don't mind so much with PS and other apps, but now to access my own collection of photos in a catalog i need a monthly subscription forever. I feel like my own photos are being held hostage by Adobe, and I don't like it one bit, especially bow that Adobe has lost my trust.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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I completely get your frustration Scott, but perhaps consider a slightly different perspective?

> First, I know that Adobe is pushing to make LR CC the new default application. 

Honestly... people said that about Adobe Camera Raw when Lightroom was released 13 years ago, and both are still going strong. They're completely different workflows, and at least for the foreseeable future, there's enough photographers in the world to support both. I'm not saying never, because the world of technology changes in ways we don't expect, but there's a lot of photographers who couldn't go to cloud storage anytime soon.

> As such all Adobe's energy will go there.

That's a very common concern, but Lightroom Classic's development team is actually bigger and more enthusiastic than it's been for years. There's separate teams working on the Cloudy apps.

> You have to first copy them to the ipad, then to LR, then delete the copy so you don't have duplicates.

So sorry to hear you lost images. Not being able to import directly was an iOS limitation, but that was lifted a couple of months ago with iOS 13.2, so you can now import directly into Lightroom. Without understanding what happened there, it's impossible to say who or what caused your data loss.

> to access my own collection of photos in a catalog i need a monthly subscription forever. I feel like my own photos are being held hostage by Adobe

Just to reassure you, if you cancel your subscription, most of Lightroom carries on working. You can still view, manage and export all of your photos, complete with their existing edits, and even add new ones to your Lightroom. Just the Develop module and Map module stop working. While I know many people dislike subscriptions, and I'm not a fan myself, photos being held hostage is not an issue.
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scott moore

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Victoria, I do appreciate your thoughtful response and it's nice to know that I can still see my catalogs even if I unsubscribe to the cloud. However, as for my trusting LR, that trust is gone. I've lost photos, I've been burned badly, and I'm fed up. It's like any relationship, there is a point of no return, and Adobe pushed that point for me. 

Adobe could have very easily made collections or directories cloud enabled without creating two separate versions. But Adobe chose to make LR CC the default and separate it from Adobe CC Classic. Their implementation confused many people in their attempt to push people to the cloud. It was a horrible horrible implementation. So much was wrong with it I don't even know where to start, and I got burned badly. I lost data, irrecoverable data. I lost time, and I lost trust in Adobe. Period. 

Currently, in my opinion, LR is a complete mess. It's still great for editing raw photos, there is no doubt about that, but it's overall a mess. The entire LR CC and LC Classic CC thing and all the confusion around it was self serving for Adobe. It was a push to the cloud which benefits Adobe far more than its users. The last time I was burned like this by a SW company it was Microsoft, when I moved from Windows to MAC, and realized that you can't import a windows PST file to outlook for MAC. It was intentional. It was premeditated and an intentional burn to users who tried to migrate off of Windows to MAC. Data loss, years of emails and filed data, gone. 

This is how I feel with LR CC and Classic CC. The push to CC was confusing at best, with no regard at all for users. It was a push that would benefit Adobe that hurt and confused users in the process. The primary value proposition was not for the user, it was for Adobe. 

If Adobe wants to buy me a ticket to Europe to retake photos from Prague and Germany and Spain, I'll reconsider my anger at this whole mess they created. Otherwise it's all cheap talk. 
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Carlos Cardona

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I've imported Windows PST files to Mac Mail several times, there's a utility (I'm an IT guy). To suggest that Microsoft, at 95% of the market then, wasted one second plotting against its users changing to Mac is at best uninformed.

I agree with a lot of what you say about how Adobe has handled the transition, but what I see in you is a person without good IT support. I've not lost any photos, because I recognized Adobe's nomenclature mistake, and stayed FAR away from LR Cloudy. I also haven't upgraded to Catalina yet because I read these threads, as all LR users should. Get a Mac IT guy! It'll save you money!

PS-nowhere does it say that Cloudy is the "default", but maybe it takes us Boomers to not think of anything new as "taking over". LR Classic still works great for me: fast, efficient, cost-effective. You go Adobe!
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Michael Karchner

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Cloud Based: Multiple Catelogs.

Please provide the ability to have multiple catalogs stored on the cloud and accessible through all version of Lightroom and Lightroom Classic. It would be great to be able to open any one of my devices and access my catalogs and not have to carry an external HD and only be able to access from a computer.