So I really only use the cloud version of Lightroom now. Moved most of my workflow to my iPad Pro as its much faster than my older Macbook Air, and I really enjoy editing on it. I am mostly a hobbyist/part time. I do occasional family sessions, weddings, etc., but mostly just do street/city/landscape/pictures of my kids for fun.
I import my photos directly from the SD card to my iPad. It syncs to the cloud. I edit the photos on the iPad. Export the finished files to Dropbox and eventually move them to an external drive. All of this is cool, but I still like to back up my RAW files to an external drive as well rather than just leaving them in Adobe cloud.
This is where I have trouble. I can pull up Lightroom for Desktop (the cloud one, not classic) on my crappy laptop and everything that is synced from my iPad is there. Cool! I can then change the save location to my external drive. Everything syncs to the external drive. Also cool! However, now that drive is close to full. I got a new SSD for 2021 and I'd only like to sync new originals from 2021 to the new drive. Is this possible? When I connect the new drive it tries to sync everything again. I dont really want to delete *everything* pre-2021 out of Adobe cloud as I do like having quick access to some of my older photos.
Someone recommended I sync my Cloud version to Classic, and use classic *just* for storage/file management. So I synced everything from the Cloud version to Lightroom classic, but I am still unsure how to sync only new stuff from this year to the new drive. I actually used my new SSD for this, and its pulling everything down to the drive. But again, I dont want everything as I already have older stuff already backed up. So I'll need to remove everything pre-2021 from this new drive. I am just looking for an easy way to only back up my new originals from this year.
The only solution that will work for this is indeed to use Classic. To only get the new stuff to sync to the new external is to change the storage location for synced images in Classic to the new drive. This is done in Preferences->Lightroom Sync->Specify location for Lightroom's synced images. Only newly added images to Lightroom on your iPad will sync to this location. Already synced images will remain where they are.
I'm wondering if it would be easier for my purposes to not even bother with Classic and simply export the originals from my iPad directly to the external drive after each shoot. Or just switch back to Classic... ugh. I don't know why this is so complicated in my head.
I would think backing up directly from the iPad to an attached hard drive would be the simplest process. The problem with using the Lightroom desktop's "Store a copy of all originals locally" as a backup is that it isn't really what that option is intended for. It's purpose is to allow the user to store a local copy of the cloud images in order to facilitate working offline (e.g. on a laptop with no internet connection), so it makes sense that there's only a single local location that has to be remembered. I personally wouldn't regard it as a true backup...delete an image from the cloud, and when the 60-day trash-can period expires (or the user permanently deletes it manually from the trash can) the deleted image is also immediately deleted from the local store.
If you don't want to trust Adobe to look after your images in their cloud, making a proper backup outside the Adobe applications makes more sense, and doing it at the point of ingestion makes even more sense.
Using Classic is also a very feasible approach, though more expensive if you're currently using the Lightroom-only subscription plan. Used purely as a local storage solution, it has the advantage of effectively backing up not just the images but also the editing work that you do on your iPad, plus some (but not all) of the metadata that you might also add. That's the sort of the approach I currently take, though at some point in the future I can see myself leaving Classic behind....just need a few more tweaks to Lightroom to enable that to happen.