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Migrating from apple photos to Lightroom (105,000 photos!) Please Help

Community Beginner ,
Aug 14, 2021 Aug 14, 2021

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Hi,

So I would really appreciate some help and advice getting this correct. I'm aware that this migration might not be the best option.
I have 105,000 photos in my apple photos (1.2TB)

Hardware:

Mac mini (2TB)

Lacie External harddrive (20TB) attached to mac mini (10TB acting as extra HD and the onther 10TB as Time Machine for Macbook Por and Mac Mini)

MacBook Pro (4TB)

iphone

 

My apple photos library is stored on my Lacie connected to my mac mini. I would like to move it all over to LRC in order to store, view, organise and edit my library. I need to do a huge cleanup and know that LRC is brilliant for that too.

I use LRC and PS a lot - mainly for photos taken with my SLR etc.

I need to be able to access my photos in LR mobile on my iphone. 

Sorry, but after watching 100s of youtube videos I'm just ending up with more questions like what previews I should select etc.(standard with smart previews?)

 

I'm thinking I should use Creative Cloud or my icloud drive to store my LRC catalog so I can work on it on my macbook Pro and Mac Mini.

(most day to day usage & editing is on my Macbook Pro) 

I also think that I should use my Macbook Pro to store the original photos on and then backup it up on the Lacie at night.

Over 10+ years I have come to see that apple photos is terrible for organisation, editing etc and I want to start rectifying this.

 

I hope someone can help. Sorry if I've missed anything

James 

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LEGEND ,
Aug 14, 2021 Aug 14, 2021

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A couple of issues: You can't store your LrC catalog using the Creative Cloud, and I think iCloud is a bad place for it as well.

 

Photos can be stored on any local or network drive, so not need to use your Macbook Pro to store the photos, but I don't know what other storage you have available.

 

"I need to do a huge cleanup and know that LRC is brilliant for that too." Depends on what you mean by "cleanup". Depends on what you mean by "brilliant". Cleanup (at least the way I understand the concept) depends on human effort.

 

Please spend some time learning ths basics of how Lightroom Classic works. See the free e-book from lightroomqueen.com.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 14, 2021 Aug 14, 2021

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Thank you for the advice about not being able to store the catalog in Creative Cloud and that icloud drive isn't great either.

Thank you for also telling me to learn the basics. I've been using LRC for many many years so believe that I know the basics. However, as I'm here I've clearly not been able to find the answers when it comes to my questions above. As I mentioned I have spent a vast amount of time googleing and watching "100s of youtube videos" but thought that I may get some helpful advice here having not founds the answers.

 

"I need to do a huge cleanup and know that LRC is brilliant for that too." Depends on what you mean by "cleanup". Depends on what you mean by "brilliant". Cleanup (at least the way I understand the concept) depends on human effort.:

 

I don't think we should get too bogged down in semantics - LRC with it's plethora of tag, filters, flags, colour labels, ratings, collections and smart collection - to name but a few - help me to organise, sort and clean up my photos. I would say that system is brilliant.

Yes cleanup depends partly on human effort but I'm sure you'd prefer to walk in a beautifully archived library to cleanup the books rather than a room with 105,000 books on the floor. 

Lets not focus on my use of "brilliant or Cleanup"

Thank you very much for your advice

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 15, 2021 Aug 15, 2021

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This is not a trivial undertaking as you have found out. First thing to understand is that there are two main approaches to photo organization.

 

Classical approach: organize all your images on local hard disks. Use a cataloguing program to keep track of them. This is the approach of Lightroom Classic and Adobe Bridge. Typically you will need to have the catalogue locally attached (i.e. not on a network or cloud drive) but you can have your images spread out and even on network drives. Usually the catalog will only work on a single computer that it is attached to on a local drive. Only solution to use multiple computers is to put the catalog on a removable disk and shuttle that between computers.

 

Cloud approach. Store your images in a curated cloud solution. This is how Apple Photos works if you have iCloud photo library enabled and how Lightroom Desktop works. All your originals are stored in the cloud and are downloaded on demand when needed. Usually you have no control over how your image files are filed and named but you can organize them in albums and such. Big advantage of this solution is that the images will be the same and are accessible on any device. Lightroom Desktop for example (often derided by us on this forum as Lightroom Cloudy) is identical to what you will see if you open Lightroom on an iPad, or an iPhone or a similar Android device. The same is true for Apple Photos when using the iCloud Photo Library feature.

 

There are two major problems.

 

You can't (at least not in an easy or sustainable way) have control over your image files and how they are stored if you want all your devices to have access to them. 

 

Lightroom Desktop is far less full featured than Lightroom Classic (it can't even print for example!). If you want to use the much more mature and full featured Lightroom Classic, you can't easily access all your images on all your devices. 

 

So if you go the classic route, forget about accessing your entire catalog of images from the other devices. You can sync a subset of images to the cloud from Classic but you will only have smaller "smart previews" in the cloud and keywords don't sync. Many have begged Adobe to fix Classic cloud syncing to do both full raw upload and keywords but they haven't budged: https://feedback.photoshop.com/conversations/lightroom-classic/lightroom-classic-should-be-able-to-s... 

 

Now for your problem. I think I am correct in assuming you are NOT using icloud photo library but are using a local library for your images? There are major issues in trying to get the images into Lightroom Classic. One is that the originals (which you can find by right clicking on the photos library file and selecting show package contents) do not contain any keywords or any editing changes.  So you can simply drag the orginals folder from the package file onto Classic and it should import all of the images but you'll get them in unedited and without keywords, titles, ratings, etc. If you want the titles and ratings, you have to export all the images from Photos and then import from the exported to location. Needless to say this is a major undertaking and you lose quality. That is especially true if your originals are raw images.

 

Those are your options. Get all your originals untouched into Classic by importing from the (normally hidden) storage location. Or export from Photos and import from that but you'll lose edits and other metadata.

 

You can actually migrate into Lightroom Cloudy from an Apple Photos library. You will need an internal harddisk that can hold all your images as Lightroom Cloudy will first copy all your images to the local hard disk and only then upload them into the cloud. I am also pretty sure that it imports the edited images and not the originals but I could be wrong. Needless to say with 1.2 TB of images this will never work as there is no way any of your machines have enough local disk space.

 

A last option is to use Apple's iCloud Photo Library thing. If you have it turned on, you can use an iOS device to import images into Lightroom which then will get synced to the cloud. You would do this in batches as for sure this process will break if you try to do this with the entire library. Lightroom on the iOS device will upload it all to the cloud and Lightroom Classic on your computer will download all your originals into it's own folder structure (look at the options in preferences -> Lightroom Sync to set where cloud downloads are stored. This option will only work if you have enough cloud storage so you'd have to pay for upgraded storage on both iCloud and Creative cloud. You can unsync the images you don't want in the cloud from Classic and they will disappear from the cloud freeing up storage but you'll have to do it all in batches for it to work.

 

There is a reason why you couldn't find answers easily online. They don't make this easy at all.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 23, 2021 Aug 23, 2021

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Dear Jao,
Thank you so much for your incredibly in-depth and helpful reply. I believe I have just about got my head around all of it!
A couple of things to add as I’m not sure if they make a difference:
I am using iPhoto which I believe has been renamed to Photos. This means that I have all the photos stored in icloud as well as a hard copy on my Lacie external hard drive within (Apple) Photos.
My Mackbook Pro has an internal storage of 4TB so should allow me to migrate into Lightroom Cloudy as you suggest although this will require me to upgrade my Adobe cloud storage briefly.
Storage of my photos and the location of the LR catalog need to be addressed and I believe that should be done on an external hard drive which I will have connected either to my Mac mini or Macbook Pro. This will allow it to stay up to date and offer me the ability to travel with it.
I would only be using Lightroom Cloudy to view a select number of images on my phone and would not require editing as this would be done in LR Classic.

Thank you again for your time and help.

James

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