Sorry, this is a long post but this seems to be a complicated subject!
I'm a long time user of LrC but considering a move to LR (cloud), for a few reasons:
To have original files (rather than smart previews) stored in Adobe cloud and available on all devices.
To simplify everything for multi-device use.
To remove reliance on a single LrC catalogue on my one PC and avoid headaches of rebuilding/recovering the catalogue in the event of a problem with my laptop, and make life easier when moving to a new machine.
I like the idea of being in the cloud and the flexibility it provides, and don't mind paying for the capacity I need but having worked in IT for over 20 years, it's a big leap of faith to rely solely on Adobe to secure and protect my data. I would feel much more comfortable if it was possible to maintain a local copy of my files (which I could also then backup elsewhere, if I chose), including flags, ratings, edits and tags.
From reading articles online and other (very helpful) posts on this forum, it seems I have three options...
Configure LR (cloud desktop) to store copies of originals locally on my PC but if I understand it correctly, these will be the files only and they won't include or be updated with edits, tags, ratings etc. So not really what I'm looking for.
After migrating to LR, I could keep LrC running and keep this synced to the cloud, which will result in copies of original files being stored on my PC. I have tested this and it appears edits, ratings and flags are synced from LR to LrC and I can use "Ctrl + S" in LrC to save the meta data to the files (something I've always done, just in case). This would also enable me to use LrC features that don't exist in the cloud, like printing. So this almost achieves what I want but tags are missing, which isn't ideal. Another issue appears to be that file deletions don't seem to populate down to the local copies which have been stored by LrC. Eg if i delete files in LR (which I will be doing after review and edit, to optimise cloud storage usage), the files disappear from LrC but they still exist in the folder on disk, which isn't great as I'll be consuming a lot of disk space unnecessarily. So this option isn't ideal either.
Finally, I could add each import set to an Album in LR (cloud). Then manually export the contents of the album, when I've finished editing/curating. I can export as DNG or Original + Settings, which I believe should give me local files on my PC with all edits, ratings, flags and tags, exactly as they are in the cloud? I've always converted Sony ARW raw files to DNG before import and plan to continue doing this with LR, so I didn't think there would be any difference between exporting as DNG or Original + Settings but having done some testing, it seems "Original + Settings" results in a file that seems to have everything excpt flags (which is fine); but strangely an export to "DNG" has everything except flags and the star rating, I'm not sure if this is expected behaviour or why that would be. Anyway, I have also now switched on camera upload from LR Mobile on my iPhone (to replace Google Photos, iCloud photos etc), so I'd want to get original copies of these on my PC as well. I imagine I could just search/filter by iphone in LR, then add the photos to albums and export them periodically as well.
So my questions are...
Is the above all correct? Am I missing anything that I should be aware of or should be considering?
Do other LR Cloud users worry about keeping local copies or are people happy trusting Adobe to look after their data?
As for the rest, you are fairly spot on. Last year when I was considering making the jump from Classic to Cloudy, the recovery aspect was an import point for me. I was all in at the time that I needed the original images plus all non-destructive edits and this was going to be a hard failure point. My possible solutions at the time boiled down to three choices:
1. Stay with Classic only
2. Get into some hybrid of Classic and Cloudy as many others have.
3. Change my requirements.
When I considered th third point, I had to ask. Why do I need originals? Using a SQLLite tool, I opened my classic catalog and started to muck around in the data. I could not find a single instance of history where I ctaully edited the image after I assigned it my final edit status. So I changed the requirement, I need to be able to recover the meta data and 100% quality image of the final version. The result, on my primary desktop I run an export of all images I care about at 100% quality with all meta-data that has two or more stars.
This "export" of 10K images takes a couple days to run 🙂 but this is now my primary backup in case Adobe is compromised.
I do have "keep originals" enabled on my primary desktop. More for performance reasons; however it is also a good ultimate backup concept or peace of mind.
Absolutely agree with your idea and I've just upvoted it. Although I can't help getting the impression that Adobe don't want to make it easy for users to exit the cloud ecosystem.
I think I'm very much in the same position as you, in that once I've finished curating and editing a set of photos, I never edit them again. That's why I was thinking I could move a set of edited photos to an album in LR, then export the contents of that album to a folder on disk. I could create a high level album folder in LR called "exported" or "archived" or similar and move the album there once I have it safely on disk. A similar approach to what you're doing with exports I think 👍