This is a bit of solidifying bits and pieces from lots of threads so hope it's just a duplication! I'm using LR Classic. To me, the key thing is to have a traditional folder structure. Moving to Lightroom (LR) (vs Classic LRC) isn’t an option as I want a long term robust, portable structure – viewable in Windows explorer, OneDrive app – whatever it might be.
My planned workflow to use LR on my phone is as below. It'd be good to hear if my assumptions are correct:
Import photos from camera into windows folder using LRC. My local folder structure contains all my originals (and always does).
Pull desired photos into collections. (This is really just a set of links to the originals?)
Sync selected LRC collections to LR. This now uploads some smart previews into LR / Cloud – which doesn’t use up my 20GB allowance. (I’m not creating copies of my originals – just previews?)
I can edit the photos in Lightroom and I’m really editing the smart previews. These edits reflect back to my originals in the collection and folder structure - as if I’d done them in LRC in the usual non-destructive way.
If I decide I don’t need a collection available on the cloud / LR anymore, I’ll just unsync that collection. Those previews will “disappear” from LR but the originals and the most recent edits stay intact in LRC / my folders. (I.e., all the data in LR / Cloud is essentially disposable as my LRC folders are untouched?)
The syncd photos will appear in the “Syncd Photos” section in my catalog. How does this tie in with the collections / folder etc? Is this basically again, just links to originals and their edits – like another version of a collection?
Finally, if I have photos on my phone that didn;t go through LRC (eg my phone camera) does it sync full originals to LRC on laptop? Does it distinguish between the photos syncd to LR from LRC and the photos imported from LR?
Ok so, some updates in case someone reads this....
The above workflow works as expected.
Point 4 - yes the edits reflect back to LRC.
Point 5 - if I unsync the collection, the collection disappears from my phone - but the photos remain on my phone and in LRC - All Syncd Photos. If I delete it from all syncd photos in LRC, it then deletes the photo from my phone - but leaves it in my LRC catalog and in the unsync'd collection. Also, the photos on LR / LRC stay as they were before the sync was ended.
On the final point, it does copy the images to my LRC catalog. I can then move the photo from all sync'd photos to a "proper" folder in LRC and delete from my phone.
The whole LRC / mobile thing does work but the relationship between LR and LRC is a bit clunky. Plenty of scope for getting tangled up I think...