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I have a bit of a problem. I recently switched over to Lightroom Classic from Lightroom due to a recommendation for a more professional program. While I enjoy the added features, LRC seems to be a much more complicated program than I had originally thought.
When I was using LR CC (about 8 months just as a hobbyist) I didn't run into any problems with storage even on an old HP laptop with probably hardly any disk space. I bought a 512GB 2021 Macbook M1 Pro in February of this year and continued to use LR CC up until April of this year when I switched to LRC. I synced all of the photos from the cloud into LRC before a weekend that I had multiple family photoshoots, then after the shoots, I imported all the photos (about 4,000) and synced them with no problem ending up at around 7,600 photos synced and 250GB used of my 1TB cloud storage.
This weekend I was the photographer at a wedding, and as I'm trying to import all the photos into LRC (just using the Copy option and not paying attention to the import destination as this is what I did before thinking it wasn't a problem) it stops at around 2,900 out of around 4,000, and I get a pop up saying I have no more disk space on my laptop's internal drive. I checked the breakdown of what's taking up storage on my Macbook and the "Documents" category is taking up 407GB with the vast majority of it being Lightroom/picture related, and in the LR related folders, I don't know what any of the files are/mean (see attached screenshots).
Not only that, but the ones that imported won't sync to the cloud. I tried to rebuild the sync data, and it didn't work. I deleted about 1,000 of my old photos I didn't care about (I think mainly JPEGs) from LRC and the catalog which cleared up about 25GB of disk space and tried to rebuild the sync data again, and it still didn't work.
I was under the assumption that importing photos into LRC just uploads them to the cloud and doesn't use the actual storage on my computer. Obviously, I was wrong, so I tried to Google a little bit, and I read that LR CC is a cloud-based application while LRC is a desktop-based application, and I'm guessing this is why I ran out of space.
The same friend that recommended I use LRC told me I should buy an external hard drive, move my LR catalog to the hard drive along with all of my photos, and just start importing future photos to the hard drive and only put what I need to edit into LRC until I finish, then move them back to the hard drive.
Even after this recommendation, I still don't know why the photos aren't syncing and don't know the best way to go about trying to consolidate files (if that's even possible), what to delete, or anything that would allow me to be able to import the remaining wedding photos and edit what I need.
I apologize for the very lengthy post, but I am desperate for help and figured coming straight to this community would probably be better than trying to look through a sea of Google search results that are probably mostly unrelated and unhelpful. I provided everything I thought was necessary for full context, but would gladly answer any questions to clear up anything I missed.
If anyone could help and give me some solutions or tips to solve these inconvenient issues, I would greatly, greatly appreciate it as I am just starting to get photography jobs and want to learn all the ins, outs, and tricks of Lightroom to help me become a better artist and creator.
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LrC does NOT store your master images in the cloud. If you create collections, and choose to share that collection in the cloud, then Lightroom will send smart previews to the cloud but not the full-sized images. If you are working on a laptop you would be wise to have an external hard drive and import your master images to that external hard drive. Otherwise, you are simply not going to have enough disk space to function. It's unfortunate that you didn't understand the difference in how Lightroom Classic functions. You cannot send full-sized master images to the cloud using Lightroom Classic.
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Buy an External drive, and then import your photos to the External drive. From now on, do not import to the Internal hard drive (unless you are traveling and don't have the external drive with you). When you have time, you can move the photos that are currently on your Internal drive to the External drive following these instructions (scroll down to "Part 2 — Updating Folder Location").