Publish to Hard Drive as Backup

New Here ,
Feb 21, 2021 Feb 21, 2021

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Does it make sense to Publish-To-Hard-Drive all of my photos to a cloud drive as an image backup? 

 

- Assuming I kept up on publishing, this would be an instant recovery tool for my images in the event my external image HD died. 

- It seems I'd also have access to all my image files (as saved, so maybe not all versions/presets of an image) from anywhere I can access this cloud storage-without the need to be at my laptop, or my copy of Lighroom. 

 

Is there an error in this thinking? 

Thanks

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LEGEND ,
Feb 21, 2021 Feb 21, 2021

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Does it make sense to Publish-To-Hard-Drive all of my photos to a cloud drive as an image backup? 


By @jpilote

 

NO!

 

It won't work. To make backups of your photo for the purposes of Lightroom Classic, you must make backups of your original photos, not exported photos. You also need a backup of the Lightroom Classic Catalog. Then you have everything you need in case your originals get destroyed.

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New Here ,
Feb 21, 2021 Feb 21, 2021

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Thanks for fast response. 

I hear the answer is no, but I'm not clear on why. 

I don't really make any changes to photos in Lightroom Classic, except I re-name them and add meta-data.

- I understand that a Catalog backup is of the data, and that is separate from an image backup.

- When I publish a photo, it doesn't send the original file? What does it export? 

 

So, are you saying, the only way to backup the images from my external HD is a separate backup process outside of Lightroom? If so, it means I have to buy a separate program to do that, because drag and drop won't help me track only things that have changed? 

 

Thank you!

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 21, 2021 Feb 21, 2021

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There's only one way to make a proper backup: copy the original files, preferably in the same folder structure.

 

There's a lot of software available (not particularly expensive either) that lets you do this incrementally, so that only new and altered files are added to the backup. This can be run manually, or automatically run at set intervals.

 

My own backup regime is three copies of every file, one copy always off-site.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 21, 2021 Feb 21, 2021

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As far as I know, when you use the Publish feature the original file is rendered and is reduced to the size determined by the host service.

I am not sure the size is allowed by the individual services, since the Lightroom creative cloud release I use that to share images but I do not think it's anything greater than the smart previews size.

 

Regards, Denis: iMac mid-2015, 5K 27”, GPU 2GB, Ram 24GB, HDD 3TB, macOS 11.2.3, LrC 10.2, Lr 4.1, Ps 22.3, Pr 14.8.0; Camera OM-D E-M1.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 21, 2021 Feb 21, 2021

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You should be doing a full backup of all your media files (picture, video, music) and documents, etc. Lot's of free file synchronization apps available.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_file_synchronization_software

 

In addition to your pictures and LrC catalog file(s) there are other files you should be backing up.

 

https://www.lightroomqueen.com/backup-lightroom-files/

 

 

 

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 21, 2021 Feb 21, 2021

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On the surface your idea looks like it could work. There are objections in this thread based on the correct idea that you should back up originals and not edited exports, but Publish Service can do that: Just as in the Export dialog, the Format menu in Publish Services does offer an Original option, which means literally the original file, as imported, with no edits. As long as you also back up the Lightroom Classic catalog so that you have the edits, you could in theory use the Hard Drive Publish Service to maintain a second copy of all originals.

 

However, it looks like there is another potentially fatal flaw that is the real reason the Publish Service probably won’t help you: The Publish Service does not preserve the original folder hierarchy. I tested adding images from different folders to the Publish Service, and just as I suspected, it dumps them all in the single destination folder that you set up for it. This would make it impractical to restore from the Publish Service backup, because all images would be in one incredibly large folder, and you would have to reconstruct and name every subfolder in the tree by hand before letting Lightroom Classic relink to them.

 

Another idea would be to export originals using a Lightroom Classic plug-in that preserves the original folder hierarchy. I think there is one, although I can’t remember the name. But that would require regular manual exporting, so you probably don’t want to pursue that avenue either.

 

Hopefully you understand that the Hard Drive Publish Service can export only to a locally mounted volume. In other words, the cloud drive folder you are thinking of must exist locally, like the Dropbox folder, because the Hard Drive Publish Service will not be able to connect to any file servers that don’t appear on the desktop. What that means is if you have 3TB of photos, you’d better have another 3TB free locally for the backup copies that aren’t uploaded yet, sitting in the local cloud sync folder.

 

In the end, what the rest of us in this thread do probably turns out to be the easiest, fastest way: Use a good local backup sync utility to copy the originals, preserving their complete current folder hierarchy, to another local backup location. This still works if you want to back up to a local folder synced to a cloud service, because using a robust sync utility to back up your original folder hierarchy will preserve that folder hierarchy, and can be fully automatic (no need to remember to hit Publish). It could be set up to run itself on a regular schedule. A good sync utility is really the better way to go, compared to trying to do it from inside Lightroom Classic itself.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 22, 2021 Feb 22, 2021

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You're probably thinking of this plugin Conrad:

 

http://regex.info/blog/lightroom-goodies/folder-publisher

Sean McCormack http://seanmccormack.com

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 22, 2021 Feb 22, 2021

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Yes, Sean, I think you are right, that's probably the one.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 21, 2021 Feb 21, 2021

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You have recevied some excellent answers and solutions in the responses.

People normally back up using the  3-2-1 rule : duplication on 3 separate drives, stored in two separate locations for every important file.

The cloud storage also becomes expensive when you are talking about storing image files.

External drives are relatively inexpensive these days, and there  is excellent and affordable software for cloning and incremental back ups.

I personally have used both CarbonCopyCloner from Bombich software and Personal Back UP from Intego, and never had an issue regarding cloning or syncing.

And like the others said, maintain duplicates of not only the original photo files, but also the complete Lightroom Catalog file and its associated files, basically back up the entire Lightroom folder as well as the original photo files.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 22, 2021 Feb 22, 2021

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And like the others said, maintain duplicates of not only the original photo files, but also the complete Lightroom Catalog file and its associated files, basically back up the entire Lightroom folder as well as the original photo files.

 

The Previews.lrdata and Smart Previews.lrdata folders can become quite large and will increase the amount of backup storage space and transfer time required. They are redundant and can be easily rebuilt after a backup restoration of the orignal picture and catalog(s) files. You may want to exclude these two folders as "exceptions" in your backup software settings.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 22, 2021 Feb 22, 2021

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That's right. Include only the .lrcat file itself in the backup.

 

Unnecessary space is one thing, but the biggest annoyance with the preview folder is that it takes an incredibly long time just to scan, let alone copy. Apparently it has something to do with how those previews are written/encoded, I don't know. But I do know I don't have time to wait for it, since they get rebuilt in any case.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 22, 2021 Feb 22, 2021

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@ D Fosse Very very true!  Your recommendation is absolutely spot on!

Still if someone is new to LR, then I usually suggest they back up everything in the folder until they get familiar with how LR works. 

I used to tell people just back up the image files and the .lrcat file, until one person came for help having backed up only the previews.lrdata, thinking that the preveiws were what they needed in LR!!! 

SO it is out of caution that I said back up the whole LR folder in the beginnging.

Thank you for refining the answer so well!!!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 22, 2021 Feb 22, 2021

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@Todd Shaner wrote:

The Previews.lrdata and Smart Previews.lrdata folders can become quite large and will increase the amount of backup storage space and transfer time required. They are redundant and can be easily rebuilt after a backup restoration of the orignal picture and catalog(s) files.


 

I would recommend being more mindful about the Smart Previews. The reason is that they are arbitrarily chosen by the user, and NOT auto-regenerated. I just used a test catalog to find out what happens if Smart Previews are deleted. What happens on the next launch of Lightroom Classic with that catalog is:

  • The Smart Previews are not regenerated. 
  • Selecting a photo that used to have a Smart Preview indicates that there is no Smart Preview. 

 

So, if you arbitrarily selected 483 discontiguous photos from several different dates to have Smart Previews, and you delete the Smart Previews file, it looks like you have to go back and try to remember exactly which 483 photos used to have Smart Previews, because they aren’t going to come back on their own.

 

For this reason I don’t delete the Smart Previews file. If I no longer need Smart Previews for certain images, then I select those images and delete their Smart Previews, but leave the ones I still need. (In my case, I use Smart Previews when I want to work with images on my laptop at times when the originals’ external hard drive is disconnected. So I maintain Smart Previews only for some recent projects I’m still working on, and when done, delete those Smart Previews to free up storage space on the laptop.)

 

Of course it’s OK to delete the Smart Previews file if you realize you don’t need any of them anymore and want to remove all of them.

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New Here ,
Feb 22, 2021 Feb 22, 2021

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The issue of needing the HD space to at least upload a mirrored version to Google Drive or Pcloud was what I was trying to get around.  Any time I try to backup an external HD or copy to the cloud it either times out or I run out of space. 

 

I'll investigate the many options for backup/sync you've all suggested. 

 

Thanks so much for the help everyone. 

 

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