How to retain images in the cloud after deleting locally?

Community Beginner ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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Hi all

Consider this workflow, which I assume to be pretty standard:

  1. I import RAW photos into LR Classic on my workstation and edit them there
  2. I create a collection with these files, and sync it to the cloud. I now have the images available in LR on my iOS devices

 

At some point, I would like to remove the local RAW files my workstations disk. However if I delete them (or just remove the folder from Lightroom), the images will disappear from the synced collection, and accordingly also from all my other devices.

 

So: How can I retain a synced collection in the cloud, after deleting the files locally?

 

All help is greatly appreciated!

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Adobe Community Professional , Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

The basic reason for this is that in Lightroom Classic, originals are stored locally and everything derived from them (collection instances, online galleries) points back to those locally stored originals. Delete the local originals, and everything pointing back to them is also deleted because the originals are gone.

 

If you were using Lightroom (not Classic), it would be the opposite: Originals are stored in the cloud, and everything points to those. With Lightroom (not Classic), you could del

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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“I create a collection with these files, and sync it to the cloud. I now have the images available in LR on my iOS devices”

There are no actual images in LrC they are all in a folder on your computer disk. Collections are just data stored in the Catalog file. So if you delete the original files from the disk all the data for those files will be removed from the Lightroom Catalog file. If you you choose to remove the originals from Lightroom the data in the Catalog will be removed including the collection data.

The smart previews that are in your Cloud Storage will get removed section of the storage as deleted images and will no longer be available to your mobile devices. You can recover the smart previews for something like 30 or 60 days as far as I know.

 

Regards, Denis: iMac mid-2015, 5K 27”, GPU 2GB, Ram 24GB, HDD 3TB, macOS 11.6.8,; LrC 11.4.1, Lr 5.4.1, Ps 23.3.2-ACR 14.4,; Camera OM-D E-M1.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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So the short answer is: you can't. Lightroom Classic is the king. If you delete an image from the Lightroom Classic catalog, then you'll delete it from the cloud as well.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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The basic reason for this is that in Lightroom Classic, originals are stored locally and everything derived from them (collection instances, online galleries) points back to those locally stored originals. Delete the local originals, and everything pointing back to them is also deleted because the originals are gone.

 

If you were using Lightroom (not Classic), it would be the opposite: Originals are stored in the cloud, and everything points to those. With Lightroom (not Classic), you could delete locally stored raw files without affecting anything else, because the system was not considering those local raw files to be originals. They are more like locally cached raw files, since the originals are stored in the cloud only.

 


@Agresvig wrote:

So: How can I retain a synced collection in the cloud, after deleting the files locally?



Based on the descriptions above, one way to get what you want is to switch away from Lightroom Classic to Lightroom. But that might not be what you want, because it would mean uploading all originals to the Adobe cloud and paying for that storage, and all local folder organization is not preserved in the cloud.

 

If you need to continue with Lightroom Classic with cloud syncing on, there is no way for you to retain a synced collection in the cloud after deleting the raw files locally. It’s a contradiction — you can’t possibly have a synced collection where the originals are no longer available to sync with.

 

One possible way is, first, turn off sync in Lightroom Classic, then upload to and manage just those online albums from any non-Classic version of Lightroom, including the web or mobile versions. With Classic syncing off, you can put whatever you want in the Lightroom cloud, and Lightroom Classic will not try to take it over and download all the images to a local folder.

 

Now, if what you really want is an online album — without original raw files —  synced to Lightroom Classic so that you can control the album from there, then export the raw files to JPEG versions, in a local folder, which you add to the Lightroom Classic catalog. Then create a collection from that, and sync that to the Lightroom Photos cloud. That sounds like a lot of steps, but it can be streamlined by taking advantage of features such as the “Add to This Catalog” option and “Added by Previous Export” collection when you export the JPEG versions. But you would still need to keep those local JPEG images; this still does not let you keep images only in the cloud and not locally.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 04, 2021 Mar 04, 2021

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Thanks Conrad and others for very useful information.

 

Some more backgorund: I have gotten used to a workflow where I import original RAWs into LR (non-C), and do some basic editing there, usually on my iPad. I have Sync enabled in LRC, so that these files automatically will be available for editing in LRC, which I use for more fine-grained editing (such as the use of luminocity masked gradients). I also use LRC as my primary "engine" for exporting the finished images as JPEGs to various folders stored locally, since exporting presets are much more configurable in LRC.

 

Now, for large shoots, where Ive shot 100s of images, I prefer importing directly into LRC for a faster workflow. Then I do culling and deleting, and apply some edit presets to all images - generally leveraging some LRC-only features. But as stated originally, I want these images available in LR (non-C) on my other devices for more casual editing, on-the go viewing etc. 

 

So in short, I was under the impression I could use this as a two-way sync solution, where it doesnt really matter where the images originally were imported because they will be backed up in the cloud anyway. It appears that won't be possible.

 

After reading your responses, I understand that files imported to LRC will use the local file as source-of-truth for all manipulations, including file deletions.

 

What I am thinking right now is to create a preset in LRC that exports the files as DNG, and then manually import these files into LR (non-C) for keeping around in the cloud. Then I can safely delete the original RAWs, as well as the exported DNGs, and still retain the images in the cloud, retaining the flexibility of editing RAWs. The other alternative is keeping the original RAWs in LRC indefinitely, by moving them to my NAS where space is not a concern.

 

Thanks again!

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New Here ,
Mar 08, 2022 Mar 08, 2022

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Hello there

What about pictures that have been imported in Lr on mobile (hence, "originals are in the cloud"), and end up in my Lr Classic catalogue, because it is syncing with my account ? 

 

Those pictures should be "cloud first", so I should be able to delete locally stored images on my Desktop without losing them on the cloud. Yet, LrC keeps warning me that deleting theses pics will also delete them from the cloud ?

 

thanks again for your insights.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 09, 2022 Mar 09, 2022

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@Sacha Listel wrote:

Hello there

What about pictures that have been imported in Lr on mobile (hence, "originals are in the cloud"), and end up in my Lr Classic catalogue, because it is syncing with my account ? 

 

Those pictures should be "cloud first", so I should be able to delete locally stored images on my Desktop without losing them on the cloud. Yet, LrC keeps warning me that deleting theses pics will also delete them from the cloud ?

 

thanks again for your insights.


 

The warning is correct. If you sync a Lightroom Classic catalog, then Lightroom Classic becomes the master of everything. That means that the downloaded copies are the true originals, and if you delete them from Lightroom Classic they will also be deleted from the cloud.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 09, 2022 Mar 09, 2022

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Johan is correct, the only way to keep originals in the cloud is to not sync Lightroom Classic to that account. Or put another way, “original always in cloud” is 100% true only when someone works 100% in any of the apps in the cloud Lightroom system…and never connects Lightroom Classic.

 

When someone connects Lightroom Classic to an account, Adobe assumes that the intention is no longer “original in cloud” but “original local.” That might not be what everyone wants, but it is how they make it work.

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New Here ,
Mar 10, 2022 Mar 10, 2022

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Very interesting, thank you for that concise and very useful answer.

How do you work ? I need to do very fast on field mobile retouch jobs in
high profil events for them to be published on Twitter and the press
immediately. I also need to find the same work the week after for some more
indepth reporting.
Should I switch to Lr entirely and stop with LrC altogether ?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 10, 2022 Mar 10, 2022

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@Conrad C wrote:

Johan is correct, the only way to keep originals in the cloud is to not sync Lightroom Classic to that account. Or put another way, “original always in cloud” is 100% true only when someone works 100% in any of the apps in the cloud Lightroom system…and never connects Lightroom Classic.

.



No, that is not entirely correct. You can keep originals in the cloud and still sync them with Lightroom Classic just fine. Just do not remove the images from 'All Synced Photographs' and certainly do not remove them from the catalog. That is all. Lightroom Classic will not replace them by smart previews, if that is what you fear. The only thing you can not do is what the original question was: keeping originals in the cloud while deleting them locally.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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New Here ,
May 01, 2022 May 01, 2022

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What happens when you start a new catalog, for instance when you travel and want a to work on new images only when you are away from home?  If you turn on synch, does this replace all other synched images from the previous catalog?  Is it then best to not turn the synch on until the files are merged with the master catalog later?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 02, 2022 May 02, 2022

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@clifh73979704 wrote:

What happens when you start a new catalog, for instance when you travel and want a to work on new images only when you are away from home?  If you turn on synch, does this replace all other synched images from the previous catalog?  Is it then best to not turn the synch on until the files are merged with the master catalog later?



You'll break sync of the main catalog, leading to all the cloud images being imported in your travel catalog as new images, so don't do this! Do not sync your travel catalog. Merge it into the main (synced) catalog when you are home again via 'Import from Another Catalog'.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 03, 2021 Mar 03, 2021

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Thanks, Conrad for that informative post.

One important point to consider is storage space for original files costs $ and storage of smart previews does not utilize your storage allocation. The original poster indicated he wished to dispose of the original files raw files and still retain the mobile access and sharing options.

He thinks he has 3 image files one on the disk, another in Lr and one in cloud storage.

He actually has the original on disk and a smart-preview in Cloud storage.

 

 

Regards, Denis: iMac mid-2015, 5K 27”, GPU 2GB, Ram 24GB, HDD 3TB, macOS 11.6.8,; LrC 11.4.1, Lr 5.4.1, Ps 23.3.2-ACR 14.4,; Camera OM-D E-M1.

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