Synchronize with Lightroom on laptop

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  • Updated 1 year ago
Here's an idea for you: 

I mainly work with images in Lightroom Classic CC, but on the go, I'll often bring my laptop. Wouldn't it be nice if I could keep my keyword hierarchy from Lightroom Classic In sync with my laptop, so that I don't have to jump through hoops when transferring from the laptop to my home SAN?

This implies of course, that you store the keywords in the image files themselves, turns out, IPTC is ideal for this (not sure how far you've come with embedded XMP on RAW images?). 

Metadata sync between my laptop and my desktop through Lightroom Classic CC is something that should already be in place. Most people I know will have the same setup as I: One beefy computer at home to do the bulk of the work on, and one laptop on the go for vacations and other travel. 

In short: 
- Sync Metadata between two instances of LR Classic from the same account (maybe throug the cloud?)
- Transfer images from laptop to desktop by extending the import wizard with a function to connect to a LR Classic instance on another computer (or an agent of sorts). 
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Pedro G. Dias

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Posted 1 year ago

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Michael J. Narlock

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Yes! However, I fear that the route taken by Adobe in relegating LR to LR Classic is the first step in the inevitable journey to cease supporting LR Classic entirely.
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Dan Hartford Photo

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I have same need (robust desktop at home, laptop on the road) and have resolved it this way

1)  Put your images and the Catalog on an External Hard drive (I use a 4TB Western Digital Passport)

2)  When at home, plug that hard drive into desktop.  let your standard BU software make bakups of this EHD to some other drive (SAN?) and/or some cloud based backup destination.

3)  Just before leaving on a trip, make sure I have an exact copy of the EHD on some device which I leave home (in my case I use a 2nd identical EHD and use my BU Software to keep it synced).  If your backups in step 2 do this automatically you can skip this step.

4)  Take the EHD with me on the trip and plug it into the laptop for use on the road.  It will have all my images, all my collections, all my keywords in their proper hierarchy, etc. And, if you store your presets with the catalog, you'll have those as well.  The only thing you won't have unless you copy them to the laptop separately are 3rd party plug-in's.  (best if the drive has the same drive letter on both computers)

5)  When I return home, just plug the EHD back into the desktop (at which point my 3rd party Backup programs start backing up anything new or changed to my backup disk and to the cloud (not the Adobe Cloud, but rather the cloud associated with my backup program - Crash Plan in my case, but could also be GoodSync, Carbonite, Mozy, or any number of others)

By using this methodology, other than assuring I have backups, there is no copying catalogs, no copying image files, no exporting or importing keywords, etc.  Just plug and play.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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What you request is already available. It just takes a few steps to setup. Start with your main catalog and export your keywords list. Transfer this list to your laptop. Start Lightroom on the laptop, create a new catalog if needed, and import that keyword list. Now you can import images in that laptop catalog and use your existing keyword hierarchy to tag them. When you get home, start Lightroom on the laptop and export all the images as catalog to an external drive. Make sure you check the option to export the negatives as well. Then start Lightroom on your main computer, connect that external drive to your main computer and use ‘Import from Another Catalog’ to import this catalog.

Using an external drive to store your catalog and your images also works fine, but the size of your main catalog and image archive may become too large to still make that practical one day.
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Dan Hartford Photo

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What Johan suggests will work but there is a glitch which as far as I know has not been corrected by Adobe.  While an exported and subsequently imported keyword list will retain the Keywords, synonyms, and hierarchy it only retains SOME (but not all) of the check box settings on those keywords.  The last time I checked it knows if the KW was marked to export but it does not bring over the "Export Containing" or "Export Synonyms" check box settings nor does it bring over the "Person" checkbox.  

The other "issue" with using this method is that if you already have keywords in the destination catalog (e.g. left over from the previous trip) re-importing a fresh copy of ALL your keywords is a a hit and miss proposition.  I don't recall the exact issues I had with this but my fuzzy recollection was that in some cases it recognized that the KW was already in the destination catalog and ignored it and sometimes it re-added (duplicated) the KW.  I do remember that it was messy.

However,  If you take one image and assign every keyword to that image and export just that one image using "Export as catalog" and copy that catalog to the laptop you should get all your KW's with all the check boxes intact.  I haven't tried this recently but see no reason is shouldn't work.

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Dan Hartford Photo

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BTW, the exported KW list is a text file with these rules:
  1. There is one line for each KW
  2. There is an additional line for each Synonym
  3. Tab’s are used to indent the list to mimic the hierarchy structure
  4. Square brackets ( [ and ]) surround KW’s that have “do not export keyword” set
  5. Braces ({ and }) surround Synonyms
You'll notice that there are no symbols or markings to denote "Export Containing", "Export Synonyms" or "Person"