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Author Topic: The Lightroom Catalogue  (Read 9348 times)
John R Smith
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« on: April 05, 2010, 02:09:55 AM »
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Just a quick question, which will reveal not only the depths of my ignorance but also the wierd way I work -

Is there any way to turn off the cataloguing function in Lightroom? What I would like it to do is just to be able to read the contents of my HD folders and edit and print the images, without having to import them and add them to this catalogue. But it seems to insist on creating the catalogue whatever I do.

John
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2010, 03:10:55 AM »
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Quote from: John R Smith
Just a quick question, which will reveal not only the depths of my ignorance but also the wierd way I work -

Is there any way to turn off the cataloguing function in Lightroom? What I would like it to do is just to be able to read the contents of my HD folders and edit and print the images, without having to import them and add them to this catalogue. But it seems to insist on creating the catalogue whatever I do.

John
John,
I don't think it is possible...
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2010, 03:13:09 AM »
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No - remember the concept is cataloguing as well as processing your pictures, so the catalogue is fundamental to Lightroom. With your existing catalogue open, import those folders and choose the option Add Photos to Catalog without Moving. You may as well add all your picture folders, so you're controlling all your work with a single tool.

John
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John R Smith
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2010, 03:25:05 AM »
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Quote from: johnbeardy
No - remember the concept is cataloguing as well as processing your pictures, so the catalogue is fundamental to Lightroom. With your existing catalogue open, import those folders and choose the option Add Photos to Catalog without Moving. You may as well add all your picture folders, so you're controlling all your work with a single tool.

John

Thanks Francois and John, I thought that it probably was not possible. It is just that I do not want to use LR as a DAM (I have my own system for that which I don't want to change), and I find it very irritating that I have to remember to do all my file management inside LR (deleting, re-naming, etc) otherwise it gets out of sync. Then I have to synchronise the folder to put things right. But even if I do remeber to use LR for file management rather than XP Explorer, LR does not seem to be able to move files from one folder to another, which is something I often do (or perhaps I am missing something).

John
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2010, 03:31:10 AM »
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You can drag files between folders - grid view, select the items, drag on the thumbnails (not the frames). But if you often do this, it's a sign you probably need to make more use of collections and keywords.

Why don't you want to use Lightroom for DAM? What system are you using?

John
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2010, 04:02:38 AM »
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Hi,

I don't think so. The way LR works it just save recipes of how the images are processed and that info is saved in the catalogue.

Best regards
Erik



Quote from: John R Smith
Just a quick question, which will reveal not only the depths of my ignorance but also the wierd way I work -

Is there any way to turn off the cataloguing function in Lightroom? What I would like it to do is just to be able to read the contents of my HD folders and edit and print the images, without having to import them and add them to this catalogue. But it seems to insist on creating the catalogue whatever I do.

John
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John R Smith
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2010, 04:09:17 AM »
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Quote from: johnbeardy
You can drag files between folders - grid view, select the items, drag on the thumbnails (not the frames). But if you often do this, it's a sign you probably need to make more use of collections and keywords.

John

Right, John, I had missed that. At work we used Extensis Portfolio for some time, and that seemd to be able to keep an eye on folders and automatically update its catalogue if there were any changes. I sort of expected LR to do the same.

Quote from: johnbeardy
Why don't you want to use Lightroom for DAM? What system are you using?

Er . . . Well, if I tell you, I am going to lay myself open to ridicule, that's the trouble. It's the Smith System. It works exactly the same as for my film collection. All my digital images are first downloaded into a scratch area where I sort out the keepers from the rubbish. Then the good 'uns are organised into PC folders of twelve images, just the same as 120 film, and given a film number and a neg number for each frame. Off the computer, the images are filed into A4 four-ring binders with a twelve image A4 contact sheet, behind that a handwritten shooting data sheet which lists subject / location / lens / ASA / speed and aperture /date for each frame, and behind that again an A4 pocket with two CD-Rs, one for the RAW files, another for the finished TIFFs. From my eccentric point of view, it means that I can look through the whole of my photographic collection without having to turn on the computer at all, and everything is together in one place, including work from thirty or forty years ago which uses exactly the same system except that there are film negatives rather than CDs.

The stuff I keep live on the PC is just the most recent shots, say four to six "films" back. But once I have archived the finished work to CD-R, I clear off the folders from the PC. Every print I make has the film and neg number pencilled on the back, so I can quickly find it again if I want to reprint it.

Now I know that if one had literally thousands of pictures this would be hopeless. But I will often go out for an afternoon and come back with five shots. I fact, I shoot so few pictures (simply because I don't see many good ones) that I know most of my frames like old friends and I can find 'em very quickly.

Yesterday I spent all afternoon in some of the most beautiful places in Cornwall and came back with 17 frames (which is a lot for me), of which I kept nine. And that would usually be just once a week, weather permitting.

So there we are. What hope is there for me in this digital age  

John
« Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 04:12:01 AM by John R Smith » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2010, 04:14:07 AM »
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Well, we successfully moved you (forgive me if I've confused the names) on from some of your initial ideas about how to do black and white, so I'm sure you're open to persuasion!

John
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John R Smith
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2010, 04:35:19 AM »
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Quote from: johnbeardy
Well, we successfully moved you (forgive me if I've confused the names) on from some of your initial ideas about how to do black and white, so I'm sure you're open to persuasion!

John

Well, that's true John, you did indeed. And you were tremendously helpful (well everyone here was) at pointing me in new and challenging directions.

John
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2010, 07:23:24 AM »
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Of course, as usual the answer to my question occurred to me after I had posted the topic and while I was doing something else entirely (in this case washing the car). Lightroom has to import the files and create a catalogue because that is where it keeps its previews (amongst other things), I think. So if there were no catalogue it would have to re-create the previews from scratch every time you worked on a file. The development settings and snapshots are stored in the XMP files, though, because they transfer to LR3 just fine without any catalogue import.

All this is completely aside from metadata and keywords, of course.

There seems to be something called "watched folders", which might do what I would wish in terms of getting LR to update folders which have changed content, but I can't figure out how to make it work. Martin Evening refers to it, but only as part of a Bridge - Lightroom hookup.

John
« Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 07:24:16 AM by John R Smith » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2010, 08:42:54 AM »
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Quote from: John R Smith
Of course, as usual the answer to my question occurred to me after I had posted the topic and while I was doing something else entirely (in this case washing the car). Lightroom has to import the files and create a catalogue because that is where it keeps its previews (amongst other things), I think. So if there were no catalogue it would have to re-create the previews from scratch every time you worked on a file. The development settings and snapshots are stored in the XMP files, though, because they transfer to LR3 just fine without any catalogue import.

All this is completely aside from metadata and keywords, of course.

There seems to be something called "watched folders", which might do what I would wish in terms of getting LR to update folders which have changed content, but I can't figure out how to make it work. Martin Evening refers to it, but only as part of a Bridge - Lightroom hookup.

John

John,


I'll see your heresy and raise you one.  

The way I use LR is very simple and lets me run my own DAM system, completely outside of LR. Whenever I want to work on some files in LR, I import them (of course), and they go into the LR catalog, which I completely ignore (except when I'm in LR).

Once I've imported a few raw files to work on, I go into the Develop module and do as many adjustments on them as I want to do in LR. Then I go back into Library and export them as Tiffs into a subdirectory called LRTiffs of whatever directory I was working in. Then I exit LR and usually do further work on them in PS.

The LR purists here will now scream that I have hardened the LightRoom adjustments into the tiffs, which is a Bad Thing. I say: So what? I can always go back into LR and continue working, or even go back to the original raw file and start over.

The advantage of my system for me is that I know just where all my files are, in any processed or unprocessed state, without having to learn a proprietary DAM system. This works well for me, since I always have to go into PS for printing, at least until LR includes soft-proofing. Once LR does have soft-proofing, I will give some serious consideration to learning how to use LR's DAM system. But not until then.

Eric

P.S. When importing to LR I do add a good assortment of keywords so that I will have a fighting chance of finding images if I'm ever forced to use LR's DAM system.

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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2010, 12:58:22 PM »
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Quote from: Eric Myrvaagnes
John,


I'll see your heresy and raise you one.  

The way I use LR is very simple and lets me run my own DAM system, completely outside of LR. Whenever I want to work on some files in LR, I import them (of course), and they go into the LR catalog, which I completely ignore (except when I'm in LR).

Once I've imported a few raw files to work on, I go into the Develop module and do as many adjustments on them as I want to do in LR. Then I go back into Library and export them as Tiffs into a subdirectory called LRTiffs of whatever directory I was working in. Then I exit LR and usually do further work on them in PS.

The LR purists here will now scream that I have hardened the LightRoom adjustments into the tiffs, which is a Bad Thing. I say: So what? I can always go back into LR and continue working, or even go back to the original raw file and start over.

The advantage of my system for me is that I know just where all my files are, in any processed or unprocessed state, without having to learn a proprietary DAM system. This works well for me, since I always have to go into PS for printing, at least until LR includes soft-proofing. Once LR does have soft-proofing, I will give some serious consideration to learning how to use LR's DAM system. But not until then.

Eric

P.S. When importing to LR I do add a good assortment of keywords so that I will have a fighting chance of finding images if I'm ever forced to use LR's DAM system.

Eric,

Reading your "heretic" work flow ;-) In choosing for a DAM and workflow it is proprietary which ever concept you choose.
Just a question regarding your workflow and DAM out of curiosity: why not entirely in PS using ACR like you use LR?
In other words, what is so special to you about LR to use it to generate tiff's instead of using ACR within PS?
I am curious to know as  i resent having to "steeple chase" through multiple applications (and the OS tools such as explorer in windows) to achieve delivery.
Therefore i concentrate my DAM and workflow entirely within LR, and only when really needed do a round trip into PS or some other pixel based editor. I even try to avoid using my explorer (windows) or Finder (Mac) as much as possible, as i do not want to use two different DAM concept in a mixe fashion.
Don't know if this can be referred to as an "heretic" approach, but it works for me.





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John R Smith
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2010, 01:08:05 PM »
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Right Eric. All that sounds perfectly reasonable.

One thing I don't understand though, is this emphasis on soft-proofing around here. It just doesn't seem such a big deal to me, at any rate. The way I work, as I am editing, I just make small (5x4in or A6) workprints as I go along, to check how things are going - of course you can't trust the display, even thogh it is calibrated. When I have finished editing, I make a final workprint and then, if all is well, roll the big one.

John
« Last Edit: April 05, 2010, 01:10:03 PM by John R Smith » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2010, 02:29:54 PM »
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Quote from: John R Smith
Off the computer, the images are filed into A4 four-ring binders with a twelve image A4 contact sheet, behind that a handwritten shooting data sheet which lists subject / location / lens / ASA / speed and aperture /date for each frame, and behind that again an A4 pocket with two CD-Rs, one for the RAW files, another for the finished TIFFs.


Seems perfectly reasonable. I kept my film filing system for digital images for several years before moving to an all-digital cataloging system. Of course, I'm shooting a little more than you are <grin>.

However, it seems to me that you are missing one of the key benefits of digital imaging, and that is redundancy in your archive. If your CD-R fails (all too common, I'm afraid), you've lost your photos forever. Fire, flood, theft -- all will destroy your entire archive. Of course this was true of a film archive, so you are in the same position as before (though I would submit that film is a much more robust long term storage medium than CD-R.)

With digital files you can keep exact duplicates in many places at once. This, to me, is one of the key advantages to digital archiving. If I were in your position, I would keep redundant copies of my digital files (including my film scans) on hard drives in two separate locations. That's what I do at work (for my work photos) and at home (for my personal work.)

--Ken
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John R Smith
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2010, 03:38:15 PM »
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Quote from: k bennett
However, it seems to me that you are missing one of the key benefits of digital imaging, and that is redundancy in your archive. If your CD-R fails (all too common, I'm afraid), you've lost your photos forever. Fire, flood, theft -- all will destroy your entire archive. Of course this was true of a film archive, so you are in the same position as before (though I would submit that film is a much more robust long term storage medium than CD-R.)

--Ken

Ken

Yes, this has been bothering quite a bit, actually. As you say, if a CD fails, I am stuffed (although there are two copies of each picture, one TIFF and one RAW, on separate CDs). I did a bit of destruction testing on a CD-R (boiling, freezing, exposure to direct sunlight) and it was still readable, so I was hoping for the best, really. The other idea I was thinking of was making more safety copies on SD cards, but I don't know anything about their archival properties either.

John
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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2010, 04:12:12 PM »
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Don't rely on one source, John. Add at least one backup hard drive to your system.

Also, with regard to something you said earlier, I also tend to be heretical when it comes to the importance of soft proofing to LR. In my experience, only a vocal minority of LR users know what soft proofing is and routinely use it. The biggest group know what it's for in theory, but at best pay lip service to its value and never bother with it. And there's another very big group that has no idea what it's for, and they should never need to know. While I would like it, I don't think it needs to be a priority.

John
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« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2010, 07:32:13 PM »
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Quote from: JRSmit
Eric,

Reading your "heretic" work flow ;-) In choosing for a DAM and workflow it is proprietary which ever concept you choose.
Just a question regarding your workflow and DAM out of curiosity: why not entirely in PS using ACR like you use LR?
In other words, what is so special to you about LR to use it to generate tiff's instead of using ACR within PS?
I am curious to know as  i resent having to "steeple chase" through multiple applications (and the OS tools such as explorer in windows) to achieve delivery.
Therefore i concentrate my DAM and workflow entirely within LR, and only when really needed do a round trip into PS or some other pixel based editor. I even try to avoid using my explorer (windows) or Finder (Mac) as much as possible, as i do not want to use two different DAM concept in a mixe fashion.
Don't know if this can be referred to as an "heretic" approach, but it works for me.

Jan,


Most of the reasons I do things the way I do are the results of historical accidents rather than a careful plan.

I started using Lightroom because I got version 1 for free, as an owner of Pixmantic's Raw Shooter. I never really warmed up to LR until I saw Jeff Schewe, Andrew Rodney and John Paul Caponigro using it at the Epson Print Academy in Boston. I then got the LL video and found LR quite nice to use, as far as I currently go with it.

I had once tried a much earlier version of ACR and found it very clunky. My main raw converters have been Capture 1, and then DxO (which I still use some), and now mainly LR. I suppose I could probably do much the same stuff in ACR, but I haven't bothered to try. LR's presets are very powerful, all along the way (I don't even know if ACR has presets. Does it?). I look forward eventually to printing from LR, because the presets will let me save a whole bunch of settings that I have to set each time in PS (but I'm used to that now, so I usually get them set right).

As for my present DAM system, it depends on Windows' file structure and a bunch of very nice utilities that make it very easy for me to find what I'm looking for.

I download everything through Chris Breeze's Downloader Pro, which asks me for a "Job Code" when I run it. This job code is inserted into the filename, which also includes the date and a sequence number. The file is downloaded to a directory for the given date, as a subdirectory of the directory for a given camera, which is a subdirectory of a directory for the current year. So, a photo I shot today with my G10 at the local Edamnds Park ends up in D:\Photos10\G10\2010-04-05\edmands_20100405_0013.cr2.

I use BreezBrowser Pro to select the ones I wish to process and copy them into a subdirectory (of ...\2010-04-05 in my example) called "do". These I then import into LR (or run in DxO if I'm in the mood for it), and play around until I like what I see. Because I am a "soft-proof" junkie (I wasted so much paper on test strips and bad prints in my wet photography days that I prefer to get my image close before I waste any paper on it), these days I do export tiffs to a subdirectory (called LRtiffs for LR2, or LRB3tiffs for LR Beta 3), and than soft-proof and print in PS.

Once LR has soft-proofing, I expect to stay within LR for the entire trip in many photos. For some I will still detour through PS for some modifications that I can't do in LR. At that point I expect that I will start to make use of LR's library more directly. But I still want to keep my raw files where i can find them easily, as I do now. I'll also have to set up multiple automatic backups of the LR library to different hard drives just as I do with my raw files now.

It works for me, and LR's user interface is much smoother than anything in PS, once you get to know it (for which the LL video is absolutely essential, IMHO.)

-Eric

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« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2010, 07:35:37 PM »
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Quote from: johnbeardy
Don't rely on one source, John. Add at least one backup hard drive to your system.

I agree totally! I have all my photo files on my main internal drive and backed up daily to two external hard drives, one of which gets switched out periodically and stored away from the computer. I seem to add another external drive about every month or two, always a bigger drive at a lower price than the previous one.


-Eric

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« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2010, 10:47:09 AM »
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Quote from: John R Smith
Just a quick question, which will reveal not only the depths of my ignorance but also the wierd way I work -

Is there any way to turn off the cataloguing function in Lightroom? What I would like it to do is just to be able to read the contents of my HD folders and edit and print the images, without having to import them and add them to this catalogue. But it seems to insist on creating the catalogue whatever I do.

John

What you want then is a Bridge+ACR workflow - just don't use LR.
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« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2010, 10:58:08 AM »
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Quote from: John R Smith
Right Eric. All that sounds perfectly reasonable.

One thing I don't understand though, is this emphasis on soft-proofing around here. It just doesn't seem such a big deal to me, at any rate. The way I work, as I am editing, I just make small (5x4in or A6) workprints as I go along, to check how things are going - of course you can't trust the display, even thogh it is calibrated. When I have finished editing, I make a final workprint and then, if all is well, roll the big one.

John

Well, if you have a properly configured colour management system and understand how to manage the inherent difference between transmitted and reflected light you CAN trust the display. And if you want the best possible matching between display and paper, you absolutely want to soft-proof, because soft-proofing is what helps you make the display show what the print will come out looking like. It ha always been a fundamental weakness of LR not to include softproofing, but it would appear this is technically challenging and something the Adobe team is working to perfect before releasing.
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