Switching from iPhoto to Lightroom
February 20, 2009 7:16 AM   Subscribe

I'm a photographer, switching from iPhoto, to Lightroom. I only want one copy of my (original) photos. How can I make the switch, and clean my computer up, without deleting any photos/shoots accidentally?

So, I suppose I'm not exactly sure what my question is. I'll start with some information:

-I have been primarily using iPhoto for the past couple years, mostly for cropping, but I currently have 1,000 photos imported into the program.

-For two separate periods of time, I used 30 day trials of both Adobe Photoshop, and Lightroom, for my photo editing. I did pretty extensive retouching in LR, and my "catalog" or whatever it's called in LR, has about... oh, 150-250 photos in it.

-I have many other 1,000's of photos in neither program, just organized well in folders in "Finder".

-I finally purchased the full version of LR today, and plan on using it virtually exclusively, and migrating everything over.

Basically, I want make sure I'm not wasting space by having redundant duplicates on my harddrive. I never import directly from camera>iPhoto. I always import my (99% of the time RAW) photos into Finder, using Camera Utility, and then import my favourites into iPhoto from finder. Does this mean all my iPhoto photos are duplicates? If so, I'm likely to delete most of them from iPhoto. Is this safe? Will it leave the originals in Finder untouched?

Secondly, how do I handle Lightroom? (workflow-wise, I mean... I know how to use the program) I'd prefer not to use 2x the space for every photo (by storing one in Lightroom, and one in Finder), but I love the easy navigation of just clicking through Finder....

BTW, I'm already burning and deleting as many old shoots as I can. There are still many, however, that I work with too regularly to delete off my hard drive just yet.

*If it matters, some of my photos were for paid assignments, some for paid stock, others for portfolio development, or travel photography...
posted by hasna to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you delete your iPhoto library, it will leave your finder photos untouched assuming you left iPhoto at the default and told it to make new copies when you import (preferences->advanced). When you imported to iPhoto did you have it create a copy in a new location or just link back to the original file?

I imagine you can tell Lightroom not to copy the file while importing if you want to avoid duplicates. Shouldn't be a big deal.

If you want to keep your iPhoto metadata, it looks like PictureSync would do the job. But if you do that and also want the finder photos, it would be tough to figure out what you haven't already imported over from iPhoto.

I would make this a good time to backup your iPhoto library on an external hard drive before you delete it.
posted by starman at 9:49 AM on February 20, 2009

I have my Lightroom setup to keep the library on an external drive, which makes my life easier in a few ways. If you want to be sure your photos are organized the way you like (I configured mine to nest into year directories and then dated directories below that) you might consider doing an import and then getting rid of resulting dupes.

Lifehacker posted this item with a link to a python script that finds duplicates.
posted by phearlez at 1:15 PM on February 20, 2009

If your images are well organized in folders, then I'm not sure what you're concerned about. LR doesn't make duplicate copies of your images. Just leave the originals where they are, import them into LR to work on them when you need to and you're good to go.

Just don't delete anything manually! :) 1TB external drives are only about $100 so hard drive space is becoming a non-issue. There's really no need to be deleting anything except in the most extreme cases.
posted by jcmilton at 1:17 PM on February 20, 2009

LR doesn't make duplicate copies of your images.

When you choose "import photos" there's an option in the upper left of the dialog box "File Handling." You can choose "add to catalog without moving," which is apparently what jcmilton does.

You can ALSO pick options "copy photos to a new location and add to catalog" which is how I typically bring in my photos after I'm done shooting, but there's also a "move photos to a new location and add to catalog" which perhaps you'll want to use in this case.

If you opt to move you can choose how it organizes them. As I said, I do it by date such that they are organized by EXIF data into YEAR/YEAR-MM-DD

But it most certainly WILL duplicate your images if you elect to use that option.
posted by phearlez at 2:28 PM on February 20, 2009

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