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Lightroom on Two Computers

Travis McGee , Apr 21, 2010; 12:21 p.m.

Hi All,

What’s the best way to run Lightroom on two computers? I have all my photos in a single catalog on my desktop and I’d like to have some or all of them on a laptop too and have the edits transfer back and forth. Lightroom doesn’t seem very user-friendly for that kind of thing, but I’ll bet there’s a way.

I know this has been discussed before, but I didn’t follow the discussion because I wasn’t planning to do it. Now I am. Sorry for the redundancy and many thanks for any suggestions you might have.

Cheers,
Dave

Responses

Alan Peed , Apr 21, 2010; 04:26 p.m.

The first idea that comes to my mind is to install two standalone copies of lightroom, same version & level, so they are exactly alike. Install one copy on the desktop, and a second copy on the laptop. Then get yourself a a high capacity external USB hard-drive and put all the picture files and folders on the USB hard drive. Use the USB hard drive as a shared file storage device that can be used on either system. That might work. That would save you from having to transfer pic files from one computer to another, because the pic files are being saved to the shared HD all the time. However, keep all the CFG Files required by Lightroom saved to the C drive on the computer where LR is installed. That way LR will keep on running even when you move the USB HD to the other system.

Patrick Lavoie , Apr 21, 2010; 07:41 p.m.

not so long ago a post really similar was here.. let me find the link.. some really good info for you to follow.

here you go;

http://photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00W8fX

Marios Forsos , Apr 22, 2010; 04:53 a.m.

Actually, there are two very simple and easy ways to do what you suggest:

(a) store your library into one network shared drive (i.e. an external drive with an ethernet connection) and have both machines point to the same catalogue. That way both machines will access the same files without a problem and you will not have an issue with image duplication. What I don't know however is how LR might react if two people on the two machines attempt to access the same image file at the same time...to the best of my knowledge, LR does not have access protection.

(b) if you read the LR manual, you will see that whenever you want a remote machine to work on certain files which you then expect to have to incorporate back into the main library, the best way to do this is to select the images you want to "send" to the remote machine and export them as a catalogue. The remote machine can then open that catalogue, make any edits it wants and then send that catalogue back to the main machine. Upon importing this catalogue into the main catalogue, any edits on those images are maintained and fully incorporated in the main catalogue.

Both these approaches are very fast and almost foolproof - I've used both of them again and again and they are excellent.

Frank Gary , Apr 22, 2010; 10:59 a.m.

Personally I use a Western Digital USB drive to share my lightroom catalog between two computers. For me one of the nicest features of this is that it keeps my photos from filling up my laptop HD, space is cheap but my photo folder with catalog takes up 100Gb and would kill my laptop. But the best part of this approach though is that right now I have the other computer generating 15K 1:1 previews and my computer isn't slowed down at all :)
The main downside to this system is the obvious slowdown in write time. If I had it to do over I would go for a firewire or eSATA drive to address this. The other problem is because I have everything on one drive and nothing except the program on my laptop I have to take the drive with me (and that means it's power cord as well) if I want to edit photos (see exporting portions of catalog for a solution).
If I was in a office situation I would be very tempted to put the catalog and photos on a network share with a master catalog that exported "mini" catalogs for use on other computers. Of course I would start getting worried about concurrently edited images and version issues.

Sasvata (Shash) Chatterjee , Apr 24, 2010; 10:10 a.m.

Marios Forsos , Apr 22, 2010; 04:53 a.m.
Actually, there are two very simple and easy ways to do what you suggest:
(a) store your library into one network shared drive (i.e. an external drive with an ethernet connection) and have both machines point to the same catalogue. That way both machines will access the same files without a problem and you will not have an issue with image duplication. What I don't know however is how LR might react if two people on the two machines attempt to access the same image file at the same time...to the best of my knowledge, LR does not have access protection.

Marios, have you actually tried this? As far as I know, LR does not allow you to create a catalog on a network drive, likely for the exact same reason you mention, i.e. they do not have support for network locking of the catalog. The images can be on a network drive, just not the catalog.

Travis McGee , Apr 25, 2010; 07:04 p.m.

Many thanks!

Jim Ducey , Apr 27, 2010; 06:43 p.m.

There is a program free from Microsoft that is still beta but it work well for this type of thing, the program name is live mesh. It is easy to use it to copy files (photos) on more than one computer or actually synchronize them so the files copy automatically to the identical folder on each computer
Jim Ducey

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