Lightroom on the Road

Ok, I am back from teaching at Chincoteague Island and have some posts to share. Today I wanted to share a workflow for getting your images from Lightroom on your laptop to Lightroom on you main computer..

So someone, maybe me, has convinced you to use Lightroom and now you are using Lightroom also on your laptop during your travels. You use Lightroom to store your images while traveling so you can clear your cards and keep shooting. While traveling, you can add pertinent keywords as the images are ingested. It is easier to keyword while on the road than trying to remember the name of a place or a bird later at home when you are doing keywording.

So you have downloaded your images, renamed, keyworded and backed up (remember, it is not if you will have a hard drive fail, but when). Now how do you get all this work into your main computer at home. Well, you could just take the images and import them again into Lightroom on your main computer from the external drive, but you will have to rename and keyword again. And if your images are just on your laptop’s hardrive (gasp), it will be more work to drag them over to your main computer. Not to worry, Lightroom makes it easy to move your work over to your main computer and save all your renaming, keywording and folder structure… So, let’s walk through the process..

Step one- 

Choose the folder that contains all of your images from your trip.. When downloading from the card, set up any sub folders under one folder, such as trip name or date..

 Step two-

Choose Export as Catalog under File menu.

Step three-

In the dialog box that pops up, create a name for the export catalog to Save As at the top, make sure that Export Negative files and Include available previews options about bottom are checked. Don’t check the Export selected photos only, unless you want to limit your export to just images you have selected. I usually export the catalog straight to an external drive, so when it is finished, I can go straight to my main computer to import.

Creating the catalog doesn’t take much time, but exporting all the images might. My import of 4000 images ( Nikon D3s raw images at 12mp) from my Chincoteague trip took about an hour.

Step four-

Now connect the portable hard drive to your main computer.  Copy the folder to where you want the folder to reside with your other photos. Go to File Menu>Import from Catalog.  Navigate to the folder where you saved the export. In that folder will be your original folder of images ( your negatives), and 2 other files. One will be the Lightroom previews of your files (thumbnail previews created on import into Lightroom) and named folder LR export Previews.lrdata where the folder name is the name of the folder that contains your images. The other file will be folder LR export.lrcat that is the catalog information about your files (keywords, IPTC data, ratings, develop data, etc). Once you have found the .lrcat file, highlight that file and click on Choose.. A dialog box will come up saying Import from Catalog.  Next to the File Handling portion, choose Add New Photos to Catalog Without Moving. Then click on the Import button and your images will be imported into Lightroom with all the Previews and Keywords and IPTC data and any develop settings.

Other people are starting to use DropBox accounts to synchronize catalogs, so I will explore this and let you know how this can work to make life easier..

For step by step, you can refer to Scott Kelby’s Lightroom 3 book for Digital Photographers and look on pages 86-89. Another option is to go to the web at  PeachPit Press  for the same info.

 Lightroom 3 help and tutorials

Lightroom tutorials at Adobe

Matt Kloskowski Lightroom Killer Tips

Adobe Lightroom Evangalist Julieanne Kost 


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