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Author Topic: Yet again - Lightroom 4 and workflow for travel  (Read 6243 times)
charlier
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« on: March 22, 2013, 08:46:23 PM »
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hi all

I've searched the archives, but I am still a bit confused (no surprise here).  I have a macbook air with 250 GB flash HD with only 19 GB of available space. On my laptop, my master photograph folder is about 150GB. I only use this laptop while traveling for photographs, although I still have my master catalog on this computer.  I have two questions:
1) Since the macbook air has a relatively small HD, how would one configure the laptop and external hard drive(s) for LR4.

2) I prefer to have two traveling external HD's, each as a back up - how can I backup my photos and the LR catalog to separate HD's,  if I use a primary HD as my catalog/photo source.

3) Now, when I arrive back home, how can I sync all the photos and LR catalogs, so its not a total mess.  Plus, I want a simple workflow for travel and migrating the photos/catalog in the office.   thanks, car
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digitaldog
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2013, 09:42:40 PM »
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Here's what I do...

I dedicate an external drive for just images and all Lightroom associated data. I clone that to as many other drives as I wish (for back up, for a location drive or two, etc). I use SuperDuper on Mac to do the clone but there are all kinds of similar utilities. In a nutshell, I can plug a drive into any computer, Mac or Windows that can run LR and I have everything I need. Key is saving presets with Catalog (It's a preference). That way, as you create new presets for the modules, they too are saved on the drive and or course cloned onto the others.

If you work in the field, add 200 images and 3 new presets, when you return, you just clone that data to the other drive, perhaps on your desktop machine. And/or another backup. Everything, well almost everything is there after the clone. Not everything because unfortunately there are files LR may need that are scattered elsewhere on the boot drive. Examples would be DNG profiles and lens profiles. DNG profiles are moot IF you work with a DNG workflow as they are embedded into the DNG itself. If you want to get as anal as I am, use DropBox and symbolic links to make sure those scattered files also get backed up to each system.
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Andrew Rodney
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charlier
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2013, 11:40:47 PM »
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Thanks for the help. For my global backups, I use super duper and time machine fir incremental backup.  I have a few more questions:

1) how can I use SD for cloning only my photos, LR catalog, and LR4 (do I need the application).

2) while in the traveling, I might go on numerous trips for one project and take 500+ photos. Here, would,it make sense to have a new LR catalog that is project based. ,later, I could merge catalogs on my desktop computer (all Mac).

3) my current situation, does it make sense to remove all photos from my travel MacBook Air laptop and only save project specific images/presets on the travel laptop. Or will I make some fatal mistake with numerous catalogs.

FYI, I work with .dng files.

cmr
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digitaldog
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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2013, 11:12:16 AM »
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1) how can I use SD for cloning only my photos, LR catalog, and LR4 (do I need the application).

2) while in the traveling, I might go on numerous trips for one project and take 500+ photos. Here, would,it make sense to have a new LR catalog that is project based. ,later, I could merge catalogs on my desktop computer (all Mac).

3) my current situation, does it make sense to remove all photos from my travel MacBook Air laptop and only save project specific images/presets on the travel laptop. Or will I make some fatal mistake with numerous catalogs.

1. I haven't used SD drives but I see no reason why they would be any different than a standard HD other than being faster. The key to cloning is having the data you need in one place of course. As you add or delete data, the clone handles all those changes on other drives. It is, a clone. So only put photo's, LR catalog and so forth on the external drive (SD or otherwise). The LR application doesn't need to be there, it can be on the boot disk. You plug in the cloned drive, launch LR (maybe first time point to the external drive), you're all set.

2. I'm not a fan of multiple catalogs, it just complicates everything IMHO. Only when you end up with so much data it can't fit onto a single drive would I even consider more catalogs. But you could do this, the Export as Catalog/Import as Catalog could work....

3. Again, unless space is an issue, it is just simpler and cleaner to work with one catalog and clone back and forth to other drives. I keep all images on the external drive, not the boot disk. So just move the images from the MacBook Air (giving you more space for other files there), to the external drive(s), LR catalog, preview files etc.
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Andrew Rodney
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charlier
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2013, 09:10:08 PM »
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Great, I will use super duper for cloning LR catalog, prefs, and images. In this model, at the end of each day, I will download photos from my cameras (D700 and D800e) to my laptop. A after a week of work and evening editing, i will clone images, cat., prefs to multiple redundant HDrives.

With two external hard drives on travel, how would you deal with the images that are in my LR catalog on my Mac laptop boot disk.  Should I delete the images within LR?  Sorry about all the detailed questions, I want 100% clarity of thought. FYI, I am a scientist, so my team takes numerous high resolution documentary photographs.

Thanks, cmr
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digitaldog
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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2013, 09:18:29 AM »
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With two external hard drives on travel, how would you deal with the images that are in my LR catalog on my Mac laptop boot disk. 

Get all that off the boot drive, onto the external drive(s). After setting the preferences for "Store presets with Catalog", you can use the Export as Catalog command, send that over to the external drive (then Import as Catalog) OR just move those files manually onto the external drive. 
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Andrew Rodney
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JRSmit
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2013, 10:06:58 AM »
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Get all that off the boot drive, onto the external drive(s). After setting the preferences for "Store presets with Catalog", you can use the Export as Catalog command, send that over to the external drive (then Import as Catalog) OR just move those files manually onto the external drive. 
I concur with Andrew, even on my desktop i separated the LR from the boot drive. The only files that remain there are camera profiles an printer profiles. About to make a backup script to copy these as well to the separate LR drive.
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Robert Katz
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2013, 06:27:26 PM »
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George Jardine has a wonderful set of video tutorials on this issue.
You can find it for purchase (24.95) at http://mulita.com/blog/?page_id=4130
He calls it A Workflow Story: 12 New Video Tutorials on the Lightroom Location Workflow & Lightroom Catalog Management
Robert Katz
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Misirlou
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2013, 05:34:45 PM »
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I've been running a nearly identical apporach to Andrew's for years, very happily. The only major difference is that I do my backups via a Windows-based process (through the now-extinct "Windows Home Server" O/S).

As soon as I get my first USB 3 computer, I'll probably switch the external drive h/w to SSD, unless it turns out that SSD are bad for LR catalog file thrashing or something.

Whenever I build a new camera pofile or the like, I just store it on that same outboard disk. Then copy to the appropriate driectory on each system as needed. I keep the latest install copy of each PS and LR plugin on there too. I geotag most of my travel shots, and store all GPS tracks from my phone on that drive as well. Everything in one place.
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John Caldwell
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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2013, 06:21:54 AM »
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I also work like Andrew does. When traveling, all LR data goes to an external buss-powered drive which is cloned daily to a duplicate external buss-powered drive. I happen to use OWC drives like this:

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/on-the-go

Where I might differ, is that I have different LR catalogs for each "travel outing" that are named descriptively by date and topic. If I were visiting you in Grand Rapids this week, the catalog would be called 20130326 Grand Rapids MI, in it would reside on the buss powered drive in: Root Directory>Lightroom>Catalogs. Stored in the 20130326 Grand Rapids MI catalog folder would be the LR Catalog file, the Previews file, the Lightroom Settings folder, and all image files. Nothing other than the LR program and preferences reside on the laptop system drive.

Upon getting home, all of the content from the "portable travel catalogs" is ingested into my much larger Master Catalog. The master catalog is large, and it lives on a separate 4TB drive. To do this, the Master Catalog is opened, Import From Catalog, point to the 20130326 Grand Rapids MI.lrcat file on the portable drive, and Import. It's important that all images files be copied and the destination defined. But this way, all the work that's been done during travel is preserved - Ratings, Keywording, Develop Work, and so on.

For your laptop, I would keep all LR content off the system drive. It's really nice to be able to travel with LR cataologs that are fully intact, in their own right, without needed components that live on a system drive.

John Caldwell
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Hans Kruse
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« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2013, 02:12:17 PM »
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Not a direct answer to the question, but still on hte subject of travelling  Grin

I'm traveling quite a bit and in the past I had a desktop machine and a laptop. I got tired of exporting and importing catalogs and not having my main catalog with me on my travels even though I might not have the actual pictures with me. The nice thing about having the main catalog on the laptop is that you can still see the previews and the data including e.g. GPS data, which is handy if I'm back in the same area. Also since I run photo workshops I was unhappy about the Windows based laptop screen when I was showing editing of photos to one of two participants (general sesssions were done on a projector). So the only good screen on a laptop I could at the time (in 2009) was a 15" non glare screen. When I got it I relaized that except for 1:1 preview generation and massive exports which I seldom do, this machine was as fast as my quad core Windows 7 desktop mashine. And the MBP could drive my 30" HP screen. To cut a long story short (!) I retired the Windows machine and used the MBP as my only machine on travel and in my office. Most pictures (RAW files) was on an external FW drive and the main catalog on the internal drive. Backup of the MBP was via Time Machine and the external drive via synch software to additional drives.

Now I have upgraded to a 2012 MBP and changed the internal drive to a 512GB SSD and the DVD drive to a HD adapter which holds another 512GB SSD. So a total of 1TB SSD. Backup still on multiple 2.5" portable drives which I bring on my travels.If I need to restore a drive if it fails this will be done from the Time Machine backup. For disaster backup I use BackBlaze. The  pictures from the most recent trips are all on the SSD's s they are with me and I can use spare time while travelling cleaning up these folders and continue editing some.

All in all this is a very simple setup which works great and I don't miss power, especially with the 2012 MBP and the SSD's. This machine is super fast.

So my recommendation is to retire the desktop and go with one machine. Yes, the MBP weighs more than a MacBook Air, but it is real joy to have it on the travel and happily carry it since I really work on my pictures while I'm travelling. When I'm back home I just plug in the external 30" monitor and can continue immediately.

This appro ;)ach works extremely well for me. This may not be ideal for all and the miles vary as they say
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2013, 06:17:07 PM »
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Interesting observations Hans.

Tony Jay
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« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2013, 06:38:22 PM »
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With regard to the OP's original query, Andrew Rodney's suggestions are full of wisdom.
Like others have said my setup is very similar to this.

One point though: Although some of us have very large image collections, (I am not in this club yet) that stretch current HD technology as far as storage capacity goes, for most of us if the HD containing your mages and catalog is getting cramped then get bigger ones (for your back ups as well). It should be very rare that a multiple catalog setup is mandated because of storage problems.

On a more subjective note: Is it possible that a lot of your images are of less than stellar quality for one reason or another. Many images that, at the time of shooting, I was not willing to delete on later reflection are clearly not up to scratch and so are deleted. The cream, such that it is, keeps rising and the dross, well, it can be deleted. I understand that there may be reasons other than personal aesthetic considerations for keeping images for some but, in general, over time, a lot of space can be freed up.
Over the last few months I have halved my storage requirements for my images from about one terabyte to 500 gigabytes.
In fact this is an ongoing exercise and not complete.

Having images and catalog on one dedicated physical HD makes backing up and archiving very easy.

Tony Jay
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jjj
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« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2013, 11:47:46 PM »
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I'm not a fan of multiple catalogs, it just complicates everything IMHO. Only when you end up with so much data it can't fit onto a single drive would I even consider more catalogs. But you could do this, the Export as Catalog/Import as Catalog could work....
I have just one catalogue and images on multiple drives.


One point though: Although some of us have very large image collections, (I am not in this club yet) that stretch current HD technology as far as storage capacity goes, for most of us if the HD containing your mages and catalog is getting cramped then get bigger ones (for your back ups as well). It should be very rare that a multiple catalog setup is mandated because of storage problems.
Many professionals or enthusiasts that have been taking pictures for many years have collections that are way to big for any single HD. I filled up a 1TB drive recently with just the LR catalogue and its previews.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2013, 04:03:18 AM »
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I have just one catalogue and images on multiple drives.

 Many professionals or enthusiasts that have been taking pictures for many years have collections that are way to big for any single HD. I filled up a 1TB drive recently with just the LR catalogue and its previews.
And you have managed with a single catalog. Yes.

Tony Jay
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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2013, 02:07:37 PM »
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And you have managed with a single catalog. Yes.
If you are asking do I manage with just the single catalogue on multiple drives, then yes I do. Hard drives do not even need to be turned on all the time - some of my data is on ext drives and if not using that work, the ext drives stay switched off. LR still references them, but you cannot alter or use the images.
Multiple catalogues simply do not work as using more than one catalogue, breaks the fundamental nature of how LR operates. Because then you can't use collections [smart or dumb] which reference all your photos, if images are in different catalogues.
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2013, 06:37:48 PM »
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If you are asking do I manage with just the single catalogue on multiple drives, then yes I do. Hard drives do not even need to be turned on all the time - some of my data is on ext drives and if not using that work, the ext drives stay switched off. LR still references them, but you cannot alter or use the images.
Multiple catalogues simply do not work as using more than one catalogue, breaks the fundamental nature of how LR operates. Because then you can't use collections [smart or dumb] which reference all your photos, if images are in different catalogues.
Indeed - precisely the point that I was making.
There are occasionally situations where multiple catalogs can work but they are very specific and very rare.
I was responding to Andrew Rodney's comment about large collections possibly been an indication for splitting an image collection into multiple catalogs.
Your specific experience indicates that is not necessary.

Tony Jay
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« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2013, 05:49:12 PM »
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I'll throw out a few ideas:

I think two external HD's for travel are excessive, assuming you do what Michael taught us: don't reuse your cards while on a trip. Have enough cards for your entire trip. All the cameras I have now use SD cards. This makes it easy for me to have a couple of nice plastic holders with my cards, and I can always keep the cards on my person. So between my drive (whether internal/external) and my cards, I do have two full sets. You could have 5 external drives, but they will likely all be together, and if they get ripped off, you are done.

I have mostly given up editing/deleting while on the road. Even if you have a killer laptop screen, you don't have the resolution of your large home monitor, right? I prefer to wait until I'm home and review my images on the best equipment I have.

2.5" laptop SSD's make awesome external drives. Many come with USB connectors so that people can clone their existing drive before replacing with the new SSD. Well, just use it as an external drive instead! The size of a deck of cards, half as thick, and you can get 256gb for about $170.

I am a pretty active photographer, my LR catalog has 140k images. (I actually have two other catalogs, seldom used, with another 25k, kid sports, some other projects). The catalog, previews, all my images, some other stuff, takes 2.2gb. I now use usb3 drive docks with regular internal drives poked into them. (I call them toasters). Drive capacities have kept up with my usage, there's no reason for me to have them on multiple drives. I'm now using a 4tb drive for another application and it works fine.  With two of these "toaster" drive docks I can easily back up to other bare drives. With a bare drive, you can plug it into nearly any computer, you don't have to worry about losing a powersupply or whatever. (I'm PC btw, I know things are different in Mac Land.)

By using the drive dock, I can plug this drive into ANY pc type computer that has LR, and get to all my images, my entire catalog. It's super flexible, way better than having all the files on an internal drive (IMHO). With USB 3, there is hardly any speed penalty.

Bob.

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« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2013, 08:11:22 PM »
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I think two external HD's for travel are excessive, assuming you do what Michael taught us: don't reuse your cards while on a trip. Have enough cards for your entire trip. All the cameras I have now use SD cards. This makes it easy for me to have a couple of nice plastic holders with my cards, and I can always keep the cards on my person. So between my drive (whether internal/external) and my cards, I do have two full sets. You could have 5 external drives, but they will likely all be together, and if they get ripped off, you are done.
Not if you keep your HDs in different places as I do.
As for keeping all your data on your cards rather than a hard drive - that's an expensive solution. HDs are very cheap and decent cards are not. A1TB HD can be cheaper than 32GB CF card. I don't use Sandisk or Lexar are they are unreliable crap. Lost a load of data through flakey Sandisk whilst filming a documentary last year and Sandisk UK were not in the slightest bit interested, despite a lot of money spent marketing their product suitable for professional.
And before anyone claims that Sandisk are OK as you've never had an issue with them, I've never been run over either but I wouldn't claim pedestrians don't get hit by cars.  Grin

Quote
I have mostly given up editing/deleting while on the road. Even if you have a killer laptop screen, you don't have the resolution of your large home monitor, right? I prefer to wait until I'm home and review my images on the best equipment I have.
Some people need to work on their pics rather sooner. Also I prefer to name/label/keyword whilst information is fresh in my mind. Actually come to think of it my laptop monitor is same res as my 26" NECs.  Tongue

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bobtowery
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« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2013, 10:50:41 AM »
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As for keeping all your data on your cards rather than a hard drive - that's an expensive solution. HDs are very cheap and decent cards are not. A1TB HD can be cheaper than 32GB CF card. I don't use Sandisk or Lexar are they are unreliable crap. Lost a load of data through flakey Sandisk whilst filming a documentary last year and Sandisk UK were not in the slightest bit interested, despite a lot of money spent marketing their product suitable for professional.

I prefer to travel as light as possible. At the moment, there is not a HD that takes as little room as six SD cards in my cute little plastic holder that stays in a zippered pocket in my pants/shorts. As for cost, given the overall expense of gear/travel, it's not a meaningful difference, to me.

Sorry to hear about the card reliability issues. What have brand have you found to be the best?
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