Problems with external hard drive and lightroom

Community Beginner ,
Aug 31, 2017 Aug 31, 2017

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Hi....I'm quite new to Lightroom and I'm hoping someone can help me. I use an external hard drive as I normally use a iMac desktop computer but occasionally need to use laptops. I thought this was the best way to create my workflow. I'm having trouble getting Lightroom to find my images on the external hard drive even though the hard drive is listed in library module. I'm not sure if i need to import the images from the hard drive to my laptop first - would appreciate any help.

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Adobe Community Professional , Aug 31, 2017 Aug 31, 2017

You need the same Lightroom program installed on both computers. (allowed)

To facilitate use on both computers-

You should have your catalog on the External Drive.

And all your images should be on the External Drive.

Now you can easily swap the Drive from one computer to the other and 'open' the Catalog to work with Lightroom.

You will only ever Import the photos once, using the "ADD" option so they stay in the existing folders of the external drive.

Problems can arise swapping the drive but they can

...

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LEGEND ,
Aug 31, 2017 Aug 31, 2017

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Are you wishing to edit the same images on laptop and iMac – that would require a shared catalog.

If you are simply using the laptop for photos that you shoot when travelling you could use a travel catalog for each trip and then “import as a catalog” from the File menu to combine with your master catalog on the iMac when you get home.

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Community Beginner ,
Aug 31, 2017 Aug 31, 2017

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Thanks for your response. I'm using the desktop to edit and the laptop to show the images when I'm out and about.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 31, 2017 Aug 31, 2017

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OK Gareth, I understand. What I usually do when I finish editing is to export jpeg copies (approx. 2500 px on long edge) of my best photos to an SD card or thumb drive. I can then put them in the Photos app for display purposes. I sometimes create events for each batch and I find the Apple software is great for showing images to family and friends. It also means I don’t need to carry around an external hard drive.

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New Here ,
Sep 10, 2017 Sep 10, 2017

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jon, i had asked this question on another chat.....but you look like you can help......  

I am trying to import photos from my SD  card directly to the big External HD that I use for all of my video and photo.    An error message says "the following files were not imported because they cannot be read or the destination folder is not writeable.

This only happens when I try to import photos from an SD card directly to the external harddrive.

Any advice would be welcomed!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 11, 2017 Sep 11, 2017

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  • check the destination carefully. sometimes the destination is not what you think it is.
  • check the permissions on the destination drive. Can you create folders/files at the destination? You should use a simple text editor and finder/explorer for this. You can delete your test files immediately afterwards.
ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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Community Beginner ,
Nov 27, 2021 Nov 27, 2021

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It is my understanding that you can create smart previews for any photos that you wish to view or show while you're out and about, obviating the need to have your EHD attached. You can always remove the smart previews later to save space. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 31, 2017 Aug 31, 2017

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You need the same Lightroom program installed on both computers. (allowed)

To facilitate use on both computers-

You should have your catalog on the External Drive.

And all your images should be on the External Drive.

Now you can easily swap the Drive from one computer to the other and 'open' the Catalog to work with Lightroom.

You will only ever Import the photos once, using the "ADD" option so they stay in the existing folders of the external drive.

Problems can arise swapping the drive but they can be overcome with advice.

Read the Chapter "Self-Contained Catalog" at this link-

https://www.lightroomqueen.com/how-to-lightroom-catalog-multiple-computers/

And I highly recommend you 'Sign up' for the free e-Book on the same page link.

Regards. My System: Lr-Classic 11.4.1 Photoshop 23.4.1, ACR 14.4.2, Lightroom 5.3, Lr-iOS 7.0.2, Bridge 12.0.2, Windows-10.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 31, 2017 Aug 31, 2017

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wobertc​'s instructions are quite complete.

I would like to add only the following: Do not forget to backup your (external or internal) drive regularly. Your photos are probably very valuable...

Please note also, that importing does mean "letting know Lightroom where to find the images" and not copying the images into the Lightroom database.As a courtesy, Lightroom can copy picture files during the import to a destination. There is also the possibility to rename the pictures during that import option.

But do not try to move pictures outside of Lightroom to a new destination, as this will result in Lightroom loosing the connection to the picture (remember: Lightroom knows where to find your picture, but does not store the picture in its database).

If you follow these easy rules, you will find that Lightroom is a powerful, non-destructive editing and administrating tool for your images.

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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