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Save Lightroom Catalog .lrcat on network drive so others can edit

Participant ,
May 25, 2016 May 25, 2016

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I have a Lightroom Catalog that I want to put on a network drive so that my co-worker can work on it while I'm out. I tried moving the files and folders to the network drive from C:\Users\PJ\Pictures\Lightroom to a network drive. But it merely created shortcuts back to the C drive. Any ideas?

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

LEGEND , May 25, 2016 May 25, 2016

The catalog CANNOT be on a network drive. Your images can, but the catalog must be on a drive that is local to the computer. Some users try to put the catalog in Dropbox. But you must allow time for updates to complete. The Dropbox approach is prone to becoming corrupted rather easily. The better approach would be to put the catalog on an external hard drive that can be switched between computers.

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LEGEND ,
May 25, 2016 May 25, 2016

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The catalog CANNOT be on a network drive. Your images can, but the catalog must be on a drive that is local to the computer. Some users try to put the catalog in Dropbox. But you must allow time for updates to complete. The Dropbox approach is prone to becoming corrupted rather easily. The better approach would be to put the catalog on an external hard drive that can be switched between computers.

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LEGEND ,
May 25, 2016 May 25, 2016

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The catalog can't be on a network drive in Lightroom.  Its a very "asked for" feature.

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New Here ,
Jun 19, 2023 Jun 19, 2023

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This is what really grinds my gears about Adobe. This comment was posted in 2016 and it's 2023 and we STILL DONT HAVE THIS FEATURE!

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Community Expert ,
Jun 19, 2023 Jun 19, 2023

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STILL DONT HAVE THIS FEATURE!

 

While shouting may help ease your irritation it won't change things.

 

I've proivided a link below that explains why Adobe don't support placing the catalog (an SQLite database) on a local or remote network drive.

 

https://www.sqlite.org/useovernet.html

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LEGEND ,
May 25, 2016 May 25, 2016

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The catalog cannot be USED from a network drive. However, you can easily transfer it from your computer to your coworker's computer via the network drive.

Your photos can be located anywhere: internal local drive, external local drive, network drive.

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Explorer ,
Jun 15, 2016 Jun 15, 2016

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A question about the catalog. If i create an catalog on a external drive.. but my photos are on the NAS. Can i arrange al my photo's on the NAS, but they will not be copied to the external drive, right? The external drive will only be the host for the catalog file. Do I understand it?

i have thousands and thousands of photos that need to re-ordered. They are spread over on my NAS. I would like to youse Lightroom to manage it.

If i connect the external drive to a other machine with Lightroom on it, can i continue in the catalog file like i was doing on a different machine?

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LEGEND ,
Jun 15, 2016 Jun 15, 2016

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yoRR-nl wrote:

A question about the catalog. If i create an catalog on a external drive.. but my photos are on the NAS. Can i arrange al my photo's on the NAS, but they will not be copied to the external drive, right? The external drive will only be the host for the catalog file. Do I understand it?

If you import the photos using the ADD option, the photos remain on the NAS and will not exist on the external drive. However, the way Lightroom works, small preview files of your images are created, these are created on the same disk as your catalog, which would be the external drive.

i have thousands and thousands of photos that need to re-ordered. They are spread over on my NAS. I would like to youse Lightroom to manage it.

Suggestion: if the photos have not been imported into Lightroom at this time, use your operating system to rearrange the photos/folders. Better suggestion: don't move files around on the NAS, instead import them into Lightroom using the ADD option and then use keywords and other metadata to organize, this is a more powerful and flexible method of organizing, and overcomes many of the limitations of using folders to organize.

If i connect the external drive to a other machine with Lightroom on it, can i continue in the catalog file like i was doing on a different machine?

Yes, assuming the NAS has the same name on the other computer.

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Explorer ,
Jun 15, 2016 Jun 15, 2016

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Thank you for your very fast and quality reply!

We have several folders where we dumped our photo's in. The photos are from all kind of moments in life (3 kids, fun in the park, a small vacation here, a beach walk there). We started to sort them out on the NAS by just using Finder / This computer on OSX and Windows.

It works, but it goes slow and you miss an relaxed environment. Like the dark tone in the Lightroom looks.

So, some parts are organized, a lot are not and need to be organized. These photos are coming from different camera's, phones and a iPad. Its a mess haha!

So, to print your workflow in my head i need to:

- Go for a external drive and start a catalog with Lightroom on it

- Connect all my Photos on the NAS with this catalog by using the ADD option

- Only thumbnails will be saved on the external drive, which will be for speed too i guess

I think we would like to move photos around and file them into maps. It will make it a bit easier to see what is cleared out, and what not when you are on the drive not using Lightroom.

Any thoughts?

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LEGEND ,
Jun 15, 2016 Jun 15, 2016

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- Connect all my Photos on the NAS with this catalog by using the ADD option

Just to use the proper Lightroom terminology, you Import (not connect) using the ADD option. (Connect means something else in Lightroom)

I think we would like to move photos around and file them into maps. It will make it a bit easier to see what is cleared out, and what not when you are on the drive not using Lightroom.

Again, you can indeed do this, but I recommend you not bother moving things around into different folders, as this is not the optimal way to organize. I think it is a mistake in your case to move photos and folders to new locations to organize them. You will spend time on a sub-optimal method of organizing. Since your photos are "all kind of moments in life", this is the type of organization that is not easily fit into folders, and this is the type of organization that keywords and other metadata work extremely well on. Use Lightroom's strengths! Spend time using the proper tools!

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Explorer ,
Jun 15, 2016 Jun 15, 2016

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Good comment. And i think you are right. Its maybe better to "dump" all the images in a folder, and do the organizing with a tool like Lightroom. The proces of creating maps and moments started many years ago.. when the pile of Photos was not so big. You know how it goes anno 2016. In a silly moment you snap 20 photo's easily with your phone. And you do that couple of times a week.

I need to convince my wife to drop the map file structure haha! I have you to have my back right?

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LEGEND ,
Jun 15, 2016 Jun 15, 2016

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Nowhere have I suggested putting all the images into a single HUGE folder. I have consistently advocated leaving the photos where they are now.

So, I am not a fan of dumping all photos into one huge folder, as this can have cause speed slowdowns in some actions. It is unnecessary work that you would do that solves nothing and creates problems.

An alternative is to import the photos using the MOVE option, and you tell Lightroom to move photos into folders that are named by the capture date of the photo under some parent folder on the NAS. This avoids putting all photos into a single HUGE folder. So now, you have a folder hierarchy that looks like this:

My Photos

        10-14-2013

         11-30-2013

         12-1-2013

If you are going to do this, please make sure you look up some tutorials on importing so you get this right the first time.

As I said above, another alternative is to simply leave the photos where they are and import using ADD.

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Explorer ,
Jun 15, 2016 Jun 15, 2016

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Sorry that it looked like i am going to throw it all in one map. That was not what i was going for haha

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 03, 2017 Jun 03, 2017

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Hi

It is possible to have a Lightroom Catalogue on a NAS Network drive.

To do this, you have to create on your NAS a iSCSI LUN partition which then can be configured on your PC as if it would be a local drive on your PC.

It worked perfectly for my.

See detailed instructions for ASUSTOR : http://download.asustor.com/college/en/NAS_308_Introduction_to_iSCSI.pdf

Basically this is possible with any NAS.

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Explorer ,
Aug 14, 2018 Aug 14, 2018

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Good to hear.

Did someone try this on a Mac?

Thanks

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Explorer ,
Jul 11, 2019 Jul 11, 2019

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So I just discovered a workaround for this.

My company utilizes a network and our creative team has 10gb connections to it. We store all of our media here and I've been looking to share my lightroom edits with my team, but I didn't want a lot of versions running around, so I looked into Adobe's Creative Cloud files. I know I don't have to install it on individual team computers as I would with Google Drive or Dropbox because it is already on their computers if they use Adobe.

I started a catalog for my specific project and then I exported only the catalog to a folder in my CC file. I then right clicked the folder and choose "collaborate." Once it brought up the web view, I shared the folder with everyone on my team. Since they all have access to the network and the path to the original folders is the same for each computer, it works like a charm.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 11, 2019 Jul 11, 2019

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"it works like a charm"

Note that there have been reports that catalogs can get corrupted when you do this. If the CC/Dropbox/Google Drive etc. decide to sync the catalog folder while one instance of LR is updating it, all the synced copies of the catalog could be left in an inconsistent state from which it could be hard to recover. Someone reported exactly recently: Lightroom Classic destroys LRCAT file when rebuilding | Photoshop Family Customer Community

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New Here ,
Jun 10, 2020 Jun 10, 2020

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Can anyone tell me if this is still the case? Different resources have got me spinning in circles on this. I've just initiated an "Add" (vs. "Move") import from our studio's NAS. It seems to be running fine, a visit from a friend and fellow photographer has sort of got me nervous about the whole thing. That's when I came upon this article...

 

Have I made a terrible mistake? Over 100,000 images in varying states of completion from RAW, to lightroom-generated .mid-edit TIFF's, to exported PNG's.

 

Any official or experience-based input is welcome.

 

THanks,

Dennis

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LEGEND ,
Jun 11, 2020 Jun 11, 2020

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"Can anyone tell me if this is still the case?"

 

This has been a long thread. Please tell us what you are referring to: If WHAT is still the case?

 

"I've just initiated an "Add" (vs. "Move") import from our studio's NAS."

 

Photos can be on a NAS. Catalog cannot be on a NAS.

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New Here ,
Jun 11, 2020 Jun 11, 2020

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 Thanks DJ_Paige. You intuited my questions perfectly.

 

Apologies for the confusion. On my phone it appeared as though my comment would be connected to the "correct answer".

 

I've gone ahead and reinitiated the import and all seems to be going great.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 11, 2020 Jun 11, 2020

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Just for a different view. I have all of my photos organized by decade, year, month. I created this structure years ago and it took me a long time - the organization is never done. I did this all outside of LR. BRIDGE is your best friend here. You can have multiple bridge windows open and easily move stuff around - BEFORE you add them to LR classic. All photos live on my Mac desktop and are backed up. 

 

Catalogue number 2 is for graphics - I'm using LR classic as a DAM. No edits are made to any of the images, I literally just use LR to search, browser and drag and drop the graphics into PS. All graphics files live in One Drive.

 

Bought a new Macbook Pro. Decided I need access to all my photos and graphics in LR Classic. Graphics are fine, not a problem. Photos - problem. I moved all of my photos to Dropbox. My catalogues are in Dropbox. So far, so good. Took days and lots of bandwith to get everything moved over but now I can jump and back and forth between computers.

 

Melissa Piccone | Adobe Trainer | Online Courses Author | Fine Artist

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Explorer ,
Jul 20, 2020 Jul 20, 2020

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Lightroom catalogs on network drives can be mounted for use by single instances of Lightroom Classic with the Windows subst command.  Adobe decided to prohibit this in 2007 when implementations of SMB and SQLite had file locking bugs, and they have apparently not reconsidered removing this restriction.  There is greater risk because there's more hardware and software (e.g. network router, file server) involved in accessing a catalog, but there's also risk in inadvertently disconnecting an external hard drive while Lightroom is running or in synchronizing with Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, etc. See https://github.com/kgorlen/lightroom for details.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 20, 2020 Jul 20, 2020

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Keg415 describes the risk here: https://community.adobe.com/t5/lightroom-classic/lightroom-classic-catalog-on-a-network-drive-onedri..., so you don't have to go to a web site and click on a link that has an unknown file extension (you should never click on files with unknown extensions). Read it carefully if you are worried about the risks of doing this (which you should be).


Keg415: you might still want to be a good member of the community and post the text directly in your message instead of having people go to a web site and open a file with an unknown extension, as I asked you to do earlier.

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Explorer ,
Jul 20, 2020 Jul 20, 2020

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Sorry, I don't understand the problem. Clicking on the link displays the README markdown file without needing to open another file. This is standard practice on github. I update the software and README on github, not on the posts.

Thanks.

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Participant ,
Dec 30, 2023 Dec 30, 2023

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That's awesome but why not just use iSCSI since you are on a QNAP?  Or is this mainly for dealing with multiple editors to ensure access while catalogs are open do not cause corruption? 

 

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