Lightroom and external hard drive

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by sallymack, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. Hi, I'm bleary-eyed from watching tutorials, want to make sure I do things in the right order. So, I need some advice or a pointer to explicit instructions for what I want to do.

    My photos (660 GB) are on my internal hard drive (Mac 10.11), and two external drives (one 2TB, one 5TB). The internal and the 5TB external drives are backed-up via CrashPlan.

    I've been working solely on my internal hard drive with one LR catalog in the Pictures folder.

    However, since I need more space on my internal hard drive, I copied (rsync'd) my pictures files from the internal drive to the 5TB drive. Both the internal drive and 5TB drive are backed up by CrashPlan and all files (660GB) are on both the internal and external drives. I have not yet done anything with LR regarding the external drive.

    What I want to do is to have older files on the 5TB hard drive and only current, 2017, files on my internal hard drive. It looks as if I'll need to create a catalog for each set of photos, then merge the catalogs.

    I anticipate deleting from the internal drive all the photos EXCEPT the ones from 2017 and deleting from the 5TB external drive the 2017 files. At what point should I do that in regards to LR? It looks like I should create a new catalog on the external drive, importing from the "old" one, then delete the 2017 photos from that drive. Then delete all the photos except 2017 from the internal drive.

    Like I said, I haven't done anything with LR, yet. I've seen references to this kind of working set-up but no detailed instructions.

    Any LR experts out there who can help? Thanks. --Sally
  2. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    You don't need separate catalogs, a catalog can use multiple drives. The catalog keeps track of where things are and they can be on the internal or external drive.

    What you need to do is make sure the internal files are all on the external drive. It might be best if you first have them organized under a single top-level folder name (like "Images.") Then delete everything but 2017 from the internal drive. Launch Lightroom. It won't be able to find most of the files and will have question marks for all the folders. If you click, Lightroom will ask you to locate them, navigate your file system to the external drive and point to the missing folders. If you have a top folder, it will be fine. Now it should be no problem with the 2017 files as they will still be one the internal drive.
  3. Thanks, Spearhead. Your advice makes sense and is in line with what I've read elsewhere.

    The copy of the Pictures folder on the external hard drive includes the LR catalog files so I already have two catalogs of the same name, one on the internal drive, one on the external drive.

    So you recommend deleting files through the Finder rather than through LR?

    Deleting the majority of my photos on the internal hard drive, even though I KNOW they're backed up in three other places, is downright scary. . .
  4. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Sally, I just realized that you don't have to delete them first. Copy the folders before 2017 to the external drive. Then you can right click on the folder name and click on "Update Folder Location." Then point it at the external drive. This is easiest if you have organized into some form of hierarchical structure. For example, you say your top folder on the internal drive is Pictures. Underneath that, if you have year folders, then you only have to locate the folders on the external drive by year. Or you could shift them all at once by naming the top level on the external drive as "Pictures" (having a top level folder is good practice in general as it simplifies moving them all to the 10TB drive you will buy in a few years), right click on Pictures in Lightroom, go through the Update Folder Location process. Then go through it again for just 2017, pointing Lightroom at the internal drive for 2017. Then you can delete everything prior to 2017 on the internal drive.

    However, if you're keeping the 2017 images strictly for performance reasons, consider putting 2017 on the external drive also. On Import, create Smart Previews. Then unmount or turn off the external drive and use the Smart Previews. Performance will be equivalent to having the images on the internal drive. The only drawbacks I have encountered with Smart Previews is that you have to remount/turn on the external drive for Export at larger sizes and for use with external editors including Photoshop.
  5. john_thurston|5

    john_thurston|5 Freelance Photographer who Prints for others.

    Why make things inordinately complicated? One Catalogue, Many disks. No merging, no multiple catalogues, no missed files.
    Keep all your files in one LR Catalog only, otherwise how do you see the "Big Picture" of all your work in a chronological order at one time when searching?

    I store all my Photos by folders created in LR by Year ('16, '17) and then within those folders with a folder for each shoot date and the 3 W's (What
    Who Where) naming convention. (20170413-Event-Trump Tax Returns-Washington DC). Files are also named according to the date using LR's rename files after importing.
    This way everything sorts by date...and thats the way you created them. Extensive Key wording makes finding anything a snap.

    If you want only your 2017 files on the internal drive, then just move them there using LR, NOT doing it behind LR's back in your OS File System...makes it SO MORE COMPLICATED to do it any other way. Leave the files where ever you want them as you can have files spanning across multiple disks. Creating Collections or Smart Collections can pull them into one coherent visual order rather than on the left pane having multiple HDs and dates to open and close.

    Use LR for what it is...a Database and store and move your files using it. NEVER move in your OS and then have to "Find missing Files? " Question mark rat hole chase.
    Its really simple once you get it setup orderly. I know some people who make a fresh catalogue for each shoot they do but hey have no comprehensive way of viewing files or moving them around once isolated in its own "Jail Cell" Catalogue.

    If your system slows down do the the bulk of files, archive off older stuff out of the Catalogue and note the Folder name as such.
    Does that Help any?
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    There have been constant reports of problems with Lightroom's file moving including total loss of files. It's not "behind ... back" which is why they make it very simple to repoint the catalog.
  7. Everything is working, now, and correctly from what I can tell. I have one catalog with 2017 on the internal drive and all photos through 2016 on the external drive. LR reads both. CrashPlan is backing up both.

    I use an organization system similar to John's although I've never attended an event regarding Trump tax returns. Broad categories are more useful for me than solely date-oriented folders, then dated folders with category:
    Abstracts>flowers>bird of paradise>20170312, 20170403
    Abstracts>industrial>rust>20170215, 20170329
    Abstracts>water>20170113, 20170217, etc.

    LR, apparently, isn't the safest way to move files in terms of integrity of the files, depends on who you ask. And LR works well with files moved outside LR. I use "Synchronize Folder" frequently.

    Thanks! --Sally

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