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Why can't we copy settings from "missing" photos?

Explorer ,
Oct 28, 2023 Oct 28, 2023

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I have most of my files stored on external hard drives in my office. I work on the road frequently, so most of the time, most of my photos are considered by LrC to be missing. Fair enough.

 

The develop settings are stored in the catalog though, so those details are present with me always. Why can't I go to one of those missing photos and copy the settings in order to apply to another image I do have with me?

 

The information is there, but Lightroom doesn't allow it. It seems like an unnecessary block and it's frustrating to me. As far as I know, there's one way to do it, which is to create a dummy file, trick Lightroom into thinking the file is on a local drive, and then copy to settings. But then I have to remove the fake file and remember to find the real one when I get back to my archive drives. So this requires a bunch of steps and ends up with Lightroom pointing to files on separate drives apart from the folder they actually belong in. It's doable, but seems like we should be able to copy them directly without the end-around.

 

I regularly find myself in a position to want to take settings from old photos to apply to new ones, and it isn't always predictable enough to have created a preset ahead of time. I'd love it if that restriction were removed.

 

It's definitely not a new thought, but rather something I've had in the back of my mind for years and years. Since I've only recently become active in this forum, I bring it up now. I'm curious if this would be useful to other folks or if I'm missing another workaround.

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LEGEND ,
Oct 28, 2023 Oct 28, 2023

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Smart Previews

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Explorer ,
Oct 28, 2023 Oct 28, 2023

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I do have some of those, and those are useful, but it runs into the same idea of having to predict which images I'll want to copy settings from again in the future. With 1.2 million photos in my catalog, I'd rather not be generating smart previews for everything and I'm pretty sure that would be too much data to store on my laptop's hard drive. I'd much prefer to be able to copy the settings from the missing photos.

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LEGEND ,
Oct 29, 2023 Oct 29, 2023

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"With 1.2 million photos in my catalog, I'd rather not be generating smart previews for everything and I'm pretty sure that would be too much data to store on my laptop's hard drive."

 

In my LR 13.0.1, a smart preview is about 650K bytes, so 1.2 million would take about 782 MB.

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Explorer ,
Oct 29, 2023 Oct 29, 2023

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Did you do anything special? I created them for one particular collection I knew I might want previews of while away from my office, and I had them made by going through Library -> Previews -> Build Smart Previews. Right now I have 42,471 files in my Smart Preview folder and it's 36.2GB.

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LEGEND ,
Oct 29, 2023 Oct 29, 2023

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Oops, did my arithmetic wrong, sorry about that  :-< 

 

1.2e6 photos * 650e3 bytes/photo = 780 GB (not MB)

 

For your smart previews:

 

32.2e9 bytes / 42,471 photos = 760 KB/photo (not hugely different from what I observed)

 

 

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Explorer ,
Nov 05, 2023 Nov 05, 2023

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Ah, ok. That makes more sense. Significant difference, that! So it would be great if we could simply copy settings from missing photos, yeah? Any idea why it's not allowed, anyway?

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LEGEND ,
Nov 05, 2023 Nov 05, 2023

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"Any idea why it's not allowed, anyway?"

 

Not a clue.

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Community Expert ,
Nov 06, 2023 Nov 06, 2023

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In theory you could even paste settings onto missing images. After all, the settings are in the catalog, so you can theoretically change them without having the image available. Obviously that would lead to confusion and errors, because Lightroom won't be able to update the preview in that case. So I assume that Adobe decided to simply block all access to the settings if the image is missing, just to make sure.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Explorer ,
Nov 08, 2023 Nov 08, 2023

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Yeah, that has a certain logic to it. I could see that being the case.

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LEGEND ,
Oct 29, 2023 Oct 29, 2023

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Good question -- I never thought about it before and just verified that Copy and Sync silently ignore missing files.

 

You could use the Copy Settings plugin to copy/sync from missing files. I haven't tested it extensively, but a quick test just now suggests it will work without any problems.

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Explorer ,
Nov 05, 2023 Nov 05, 2023

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Good option to know about, thanks!

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