Adobe Lightroom workflow on a laptop
October 1, 2012 5:48 PM   Subscribe

How do I work with Adobe Lightroom, massive amounts of images, a modest laptop, and a simple backup scheme?

I've been using Adobe Lightroom for the last couple years, and the last year or so have been shooting a lot, with an accumulation of RAW files ready to hit 500 gigs. The problem is my laptop is constantly packed full. I backup to an external drive, but need a solution that allows me to continue to use the laptop for my digital darkroom with access to my selected images. I'm confused about splitting up libraries and such, so hoping some Lightroom gurus can help me out with workflow.
posted by klinefelter to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
If you must use the laptop as the only computer, I'd suggest getting a large external hard drive (here's a 3TB for $150), and store the whole catalog on that. The down side is that you'll always need your external drive attached, but I think your options are pretty limited. Here's a link from Adobe on using an external drive to store the catalog and/or image files.
posted by jhs at 6:46 PM on October 1, 2012

Best answer: You should take your RAW files as you import them from your camera and move them directly to your external hard drive and have Lightroom catalog them there. I'm not sure why you're asking about splitting catalogs. Most photographers these days use one catalog. (Some use one catalog per shoot, but I think that's unusual.)

If the digital preservation of your photos is important, I recommend saving a second set locally (this doesn't have to be connected to Lightroom) as well as a third set off-site. You can use an online service or simply keep some hard drives at someone else's house or at the bank. The online thing is constantly fluctuating - right now, I am a happy CrashPlan customer and think it's good for photographers, but I also hear that Canon is working on something as well.

I'm not sure if you use Photoshop, but I do.. If you do, you could take your edited photographs and create new project folders for them instead of saving them along with the originals. That way you can take a chunk of pictures you want to work on, copy them over to your local drive in a new project folder, and once you're finished with them, move them to the external.
posted by phaedon at 7:30 PM on October 1, 2012

btw, for managing catalogs, I normally create one catalog per year and each year normally goes between 5k-8k pics, probably about 50-80 gigs.
posted by bbyboi at 4:55 AM on October 26, 2012

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