Lightroom Classic: Sharing catalog to assistants

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Does Adobe have any plans to support photographers that would be helped by allowing more than one user to access a catalog at one time?  Specifically, the ability to keyword and rate photos.

I've heard of "smart previews" so it seems like there should be an option for "Lightroom Professional" where you could have "smart previews" be stored in the cloud where another authorized user can work with the photos.

In addition to keyword and rating, it would be great if the remote users could comment, flag, do other things to help with collaborative work.

Some things like develop settings, it seems like that may be too difficult to "share", so it may be needed to specify which user has priority/preference.

Now, I've heard, but have yet to experiment with, being able to export a catalog and then transmit that (along with the raw files) to a remote user, and then have that person export the catalog when done and the "main" user then import the catalog.. but frankly that seems like a terrible way of doing this. (Plus, would the raw photos need to be stored on the remote user's drives in exactly the same manner and drive shortcuts to keep everything to match up)..  it seems like a mess waiting to happen.

Now, I don't know/had heard that the current cloud-based options don't support anything like this, plus, I'm talking situations of 25,000-50,000 photo catalogs using from 500gb to 1tb in size, so I can't even begin to imagine how long it would take to upload that to a cloud.

Now, I saw another thread/post from like 9 YEARS ago, and it does not seem like Adobe has yet to do anything to move on supporting something like this, which not only could be helpful to professionals, it seems like it would also lay the groundwork for a collaboration system that could allow folks at different computers to work together editing or teaching.. could incorporate options for screen-sharing and instant messaging, which also seems like it would be mega helpful for a new appeal to the educational market.

Meanwhile, ignoring those great opportunities, constructive options/suggestions for dealing with 25,000-50,000 photos from a single event, as I'd hope that most people would understand that such an event with 25-50-100 subjects popping up in the photos would make keywording very time consuming, with 4-5 shots of one subject at a time, then a different subject, each requiring subject keywords to support filtering based on subject.
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Doug Berger

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Posted 5 months ago

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Carlos Cardona

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Dude, dude! This is exactly what Lightroom Desktop (Mobile/Cloudy) is all about! Give your coworker your LR credentials, or create a new account for the both of you (you can be logged into 2 computers, or is it 5?) Then all your originals are in the cloud and you can both work on the same catalog (but not at the same time, that's probably bad!), which you can both access in Dropbox or similar cloud storage.

Yeah, uploading your files will take long, so start now! You will have to get the biggest storage plan from Adobe, the 1TB plan, $20/month.

Just checked, you can buy MORE than 1TB, there's a # to call at the bottom of the Photography Plan page if you want more. Oh, 50K catalogs? Yeah, that's a bit much, but you could use it for your next new shoot.
(Edited)
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Dan Hartford Photo

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I agree to some extent with Doug that Professionals "should" be important to Adobe.  Whether or not we are is another question.  However, IMHO, Adobe has not been doing very much in the "Image Management" sections of LR (i.e. Library Module) to make me feel that they are paying much attention to the needs of pros and serious amateurs.  

In my case I teach photography and one of my offerings is teaching LR/Classic.  In fact each year in my DSLR Camera Classes I steer several dozen non Adobe customers over to LR/Classic where they become paying customers of the Adobe company.  If I get to the point where for my own work I make the leap to some other product, I'm sure I'll start steering future students of mine in that other direction instead of Adobe's direction.  If Adobe doesn't care, or doesn't think there are enough folks like me, well that's a business decision. 
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Doug Berger

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+1,000 on the teaching.. professionals and teachers lead and the mass market follows us.. the impact will be exponential.. professionals (and teachers) who change to other vendors cascades across the entire market, students, teachers, novices.. with a far greater influence than social media.  It is foolish for a company to ignore the needs of those that lead the flock, unless Adobe wants to become the next Kodak, wondering where all their customers went.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Doug, just to clarify, I am not Adobe. I'm just a volunteer here. 
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john beardsworth

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Let's not confuse professional needs with your multi-user requirements. There's overlap, but you're talking about the latter, and for a slick multi-user workflow, you're usually looking at enterprise level costs. Anyway, in 2020, I'd expect it to be a cloud-dependent system, which you seem to rule out.

On a small team scale, say you and an assistant or two, why don't you trust the export/import as catalog method? It's designed for varying ways in which small teams concoct their workflows and allows for differing geographical setups with the choice of including negatives or smart previews,  and the import side is smarter than you may imagine at marrying up the work done in different catalogues.

If you want to keep everything on your local network, you can always have 2+ catalogues pointing to the same photos and rely on xmp saved back to the files. You then have to institute your own multi-user procedures. For example, I saw one where the photographer saved the shoot to the network and was deleting files and making odd edits even while the assistant was working on those same pictures in their own catalogue for that job, both saving work back to the files' xmp (and avoiding stuff that doesn't get into xmp). At the end, the photographer synchronized that folder. It worked, but mainly because of good communication between the two - "hey, I've just worked on the pics with the work colleagues, update your catalogue".

The newer cloud-based Lightroom service might be the way Adobe would go if they thought there was a multi-user market for them. But so far the multi-user features are lightweight and are really ways of two different people using the same user account. But you rule the cloud out, so the import/export catalog method is intended for small team workflows, or you can institute your own based on xmp and lots of communication.

(Edited)
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Doug Berger

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I didn't rule out anything cloud-based, I indicated that uploading the raw files would require about 30 days, which seems like a rather large handicap for trying to get deadline work completed ASAP.

I already run into issues with XMP conflicts and the program seems to require clicking on each photo individually to select the XMP..  as mentioned, working on 30,000 photos, adding additional clicks on those photos again isn't going to speed up the process.

As for the import/export... every time I have used the export catalog function for the past 5 years, the resulting catalog was corrupt or crashed the system.. this was from many different catalogs over the years..   I'm glad you have confidence in it, but based on my personal experiences, I do not have such confidence.
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Dan Hartford Photo

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You work in LR/Classic on a desktop.  Place images you want your assistants to help with in synced collections in classic.  Smart Previews of these will be uploaded to the cloud and will not consume any or your paid storage allocation in the cloud.  Your assistants - working on desktops, laptops, or mobile devices -  can rate (stars), flag (pick/reject flags), edit (develop module in Classic but called Light in cloudy apps), set titles and captions, move images to albums (collections) and a few other things.  These all sync back to Classic.  In your list one big thing that they can do that do not sync back to Classic is keywords.  So, with the exception of keywords this is pretty much what you asked for. 

Both Classic and cloudy support face recognition, but as that makes use of keywords to store the names, it falls into the "doesn't sync" category, but could speed your workflow within Classic.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Filenaming in Classic, yes, syncs to Cloudy. 
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Doug Berger

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Can someone run Classic for their local files but also install and use a cloud-based version to accomplish the remote access of the shared smart previews?

Sorry, that may be confusing...  imagine running LR Classic on my desktop and sharing smart previews from that.

Then, for texting/debugging purposes, instead of trying to walk an assistant from figuring out/troubleshooting... using my Win 10 laptop to remotely access those shared and mimic the work I'd have an assistant doing.

However, the laptop already has LR Classic on it for when I need to use that on the road for on-site processing, though I suppose I could uninstall LR Classic and test.

Regardless and meanwhile though, anyone I'd use as assistants would already have LR classic running on their own computers... so I'd want them using some sort of cloud app to remotely access my 30k shared...

Sorry, this is rather confusing, but I hope it illustrates that this type of thing should be more user-friendly.  As a computer science minor, if I don't find things straight-forward, they may not be as obvious or as simple as programmers think they are.
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Yes, confusing post.  However here's what I think you're getting at, and this was discussed earlier in this thread.  

  1. you can run Classic on your desktop or laptop
  2. you can sync selected collections of images to the Adobe Cloud
  3. Anyone knowing your Adobe id and PW can run any of the LR/Cloudy apps and access those synced images.
  4. he LR/Cloudy apps include ones for smart phones & tablets,  Windows and Mac Computers, and a browser based app.
  5. Any of the Cloudy apps can adjust the look of the image, change star ratings, change pick flags, manage what "albums" images are in, add/edit titles and captions among other things and those edits/changes will migrate to all the other Cloudy apps as well as your desktop Classic
  6. Any of the Cloudy apps can add/edit keywords but those keywords only migrate to the other cloudy apps and not to Classic on your desktop.
  7. If you change any of these things in Classic (not keywords) those changes migrate to the Cloudy Apps.
  8. on the same computer you can run LR/Classic,  LR/Cloudy desktop app, and LR/Cloudy Web app simultaneously to test all of this.  You can also test by running one or more of the LR/Cloudy apps on other devices.

Seeing as how you already seem to have a License that includes LR/Classic and all such licenses for versions beyond LR6 include LR/Cloudy for free, your best bet at this point is to just try it and see if it will serve your purpose.  If it does, great. 

If it doesn't then you'll have to pass an LR/Classic catalog back and forth between people which is a formula for disaster - guaranteed.  
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Doug Berger

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I'm still trying to finish up my current batch of 30,000 pics from Dec, which took forever because I could not get anyone to help with keywording so I could focus on develop.. but I nearly have all of the subjects/galleries done, so can start moving towards testing for solutions for this issue in the future.

Now, thinking about "8", the issue I'm seeing is that while I could put both classic and LR Cloudy desktop on the same laptop, what would be "easy" for me to test is because they would have the same apple ID..

meanwhile, for the assistant, they would have classic with their ID but cloudy desktop with mine.. which I suspect would run into login ping-pong, as I doubt she could have her ID in classic and mine in cloudy desktop.. I'm guessing having it in one will push it onto the other automagically..  I'd suspect the same for the web based...

as I doubt they permit being in more than one adobe ID on a given computer at the same time.
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Dan Hartford Photo

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I don't know the issues with two adobe login's on the same computer, one for Classic and one for Cloudy.  
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David Converse

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If its just ratings and keywords, use Bridge or Photo Mechanic and don't even involve the catalog. Lightroom can sync any metadata changes- in fact, it will prompt the user for whether the catalog or file data should be used.
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Doug Berger

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and how does the assistant in a different physical location access the 750 gigs of data to run either of those programs on the photos?

Are you then suggesting that when they finish keywording, they collect all the XMP files and send them back to me...  where I try ti match them up here.

that only leaves the catalog or file data prompting, which I've never seen that permit me to select each photo individually to choose disk or catalog.

as previously mentioned, with each of these gigs running about 30,000 photos, requiring additional clicks through that many photos isn't a time saver, and that does not begin to discuss the issue with time for original upload.

Now, if either of those could export only the keywords and ratings with some way to blend them into my LR database, otherwise any photos I'd worked on would need to be a choice between my edits or their keywords as a mutually exclusive choice.

Thus, what I need is something that allows them to add keywords without that wiping out any develop/edits I've done, do your suggestions permit that, or if there is a conflict/choice offered, no way to bring in just the keywords but keep my edits
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David Converse

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They would need remote access to the actual files. Note that Bridge wouldn't know anything about your catalog, its a file browser and would just see the files in their folders.

This would work much better with your assistant in a the same location; otherwise you are at the mercy of Internet speed.
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Doug Berger

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Thus the problem.   

Sounds like I may be able to cross my fingers and find a way to get some of it to work in LR, but it would be much more trustworthy if I could import from catalog with selecting specific metadata fields only instead of the all-or-nothing option of metadata AND develop settings.
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Doug Berger

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Playing/testing some more, it looks like one EASY thing that could help, is in the "import photos from catalog" to add an additional choice:

Instead of only Replace: metadata and develop settings only.’

add "Replace: Metadata only" (keywords, ratings, captions, etc)

even better, would be if selecting "Replace: Metadata", it would then let you select which metadata fields you want to permit replacement of.
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Doug Berger

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BTW, if Adobe really wants to Lightroom Classic to be for the masses then why have they not added a shake-reduction tool like they have in PS
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john beardsworth

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If they wanted Classic Lightroom to be for the "masses", why have they added stuff like IPTC metadata, soft proofing, profiles etc etc and not added stuff like "artistic" filters etc etc? Its market is "aspirational" which covers people who are professional in their own fields as well as those who make their living from photography. There are mechanisms for small teams, but it's never been promoted as a multi-user app.
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Dan Hartford Photo

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One can never answer "why" questions but things like soft proofing and IPTC Metadata have been there quite a long time and from a different "era" so to speak.  Since around LR5, we have seen very few, if any, Pro only sort of features added.  Maybe revamping profiles could be an exception but Profiles were there all along. 

The entire LR/Cloudy eco system is quite blatantly aimed at the consumer market and has been gobbling up the bulk of Adobe LR resources at the expense of LR Classic (opinion) leaving scant little left for important issues in Classic.

So, to me, it seems quite apparent that their current focus is the consumer rather than the professional market.  Maybe when LR/Cloudy reaches some target level of features they'll re-balance things.  One can only hope.
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Doug Berger

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My fear is that Adobe is becoming more like Nikon, as their profits are suffering, imho, for many of the same reasons we are frustrated with Adobe..  too much focus on consumers and neglecting professionals, or claiming things are still professional grade but their development standards seem like welp, that's good enough/close enough, and not really striving to really nail it/get it right.

I'm afraid it may be too late for Nikon to realize the error of their ways, and unless Adobe gets their act together and re-calibrates their focus, I think we may suffer the same fate within a few years.
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"The entire LR/Cloudy eco system is quite blatantly aimed at the consumer market and has been gobbling up the bulk of Adobe LR resources at the expense of LR Classic (opinion) leaving scant little left for important issues in Classic."

I have similar feelings about the Cloudy desktop app, though I feel Adobe are a bit confused with the ecosystem, adding "serious" features like proofing and collaboration but in dumbed-down Instagrammy form. Its keywording is arguably like that too.

But I was responding directly to a post citing Classic Lightroom. Its target remains the aspirational photographer, and the lawyer/accountant/banker... in their day job is often more professional or demanding than the user who makes a living from photography. It's too easy, for instance, to trivialize the recent addition of folder and collection labels, but these can be exploited by "serious" photographers - from whatever profession. There can never be enough serious features for some, myself included, but I don't see the absence of multi-user functionality as being critical.
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