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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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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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..
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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.