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Lightroom Ecosystem: Selective Sync

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Engaged ,
Oct 19, 2017 Oct 19, 2017

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I'm not a professional and have only used Lightroom for less than a year. I do love the redesign and I want to use it but I don't like the auto-sync. How hard would it be to implement an option that prevents auto sync and instead enables manual sync? 

My idea is to add a manual sync option in the settings and when you want a photo to be uploaded to the cloud you should be able to click on the cloud button and hit "Sync" or "Upload". Taking away people's ability to choose doesn't just scare away the pros but also the beginners. 
Also, some advanced features from the original Lightroom need to be added. One of them is the export function. The new export function is terrible. I only see "Small, Full Size, and Custom". The original Lightroom has a lot more export functions.
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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 21, 2019 Jul 21, 2019

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Sebastian, I'm asking because this is thread is tagged as a LR Desktop (aka CC desktop) thread, and many of the requests in this thread are for LR Desktop to do selective sync.

Lightroom Classic already has selective sync with the cloud (albeit more limited than we'd like) and is designed for large quantities of photos, so I'm asking questions to clearly understand the specific reasons people want LR Desktop for selective sync, rather than Classic. There are valid reasons for doing so, but there's also a lot of misunderstandings.
-------------------------------------
The Lightroom Queen - Author of Adobe Lightroom Classic - The Missing FAQ and Adobe Lightroom - Edit Like a Pro books.

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Explorer ,
Jul 21, 2019 Jul 21, 2019

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There don't seem to be any "misunderstandings" other than yourself not being able to get why people want 1) uniformity across application versions and 2) file syncing which is actually user-friendly. This really isn't complicated and doesn't need questioning; these are the sorts of design points which other developers of comparable software put in from day 1.
And given that this topic was first raised two years ago, in which time the many versions of Lightroom have traded names back-and-forth, I don't think it's much surprise that people may want to include versions of Lightroom in the topic other than the one explicitly tagged years ago; especially when, as pointed out already, some platforms have limited options as to which version of the software they can use and so we're expected to use all of them together anyway. (After all, using Lightroom's built-in syncing inherently implies you're trying to keep files consistent across multiple different devices, as syncing if you only use one version of Lightroom on one single device is pretty pointless; again, as Jon Anscher highlighted, if you're going to do that you may as well save money and backup to any other cloud storage service instead.)

I appreciate not everyone works/has worked in software development and/or plain isn't as deep into these things as some of us, but there's no need to be patronising. This is an extremely straight-forward topic and request.

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 21, 2019 Jul 21, 2019

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I think that Adobe addresses this issue just fine on the desktop. If you don't want or need syncing, use the classic version. In terms of the phone app, however, I would imagine that most people would not want syncing for a number of reasons. I did not notice that somehow this thread got a 'desktop' tag. It didn't start that way, so, as you say, the thread seems to have blossomed at some point. And my comments have been completely inapplicable to the desktop software. I just want to be able to use LR to organize pictures on the phone without putting all of my personal photos on the cloud. It seemed to me that that was an extremely straight-forward topic and request, but somehow it seems to have morphed into something much bigger and more complicated. Sigh ...

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Engaged ,
Jul 21, 2019 Jul 21, 2019

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I think users have some use cases, which have been shared here and elsewhere throughout these forums. Adobe has already said they are not making any further changes to the sync functionality of Lightroom Classic, so some of us are hoping Lr CC Desktop might someday meet our syncing needs. And honestly, most probably don’t care about Lr Classic vs. Lr Desktop. Either one could meet the need if it were adjusted in one way or another.

I actually don’t think this is going to happen. So personally, I continue to remind Adobe of this use case. But I anticipate in the end, someone else will offer a solution to that use case and I’ll end up leaving Lightroom. Alas.

That said, personally, sync or no sync, all I really want is complete access to my photos on my iPad. It could be a new Lightroom Classic companion app that accesses my Lr Classic library off an external drive, for all I care. I just have this really cool and really powerful device, and I’d like to use it in something other than fringe cases :-P.

All that said, Victoria has always been nothing but helpful, and I’m sure she had no intention to make light of any of your use cases. In fact, she’s agreed with the desire for better syncing with Lr Classic in the past.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 22, 2019 Jul 22, 2019

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I apologize if you felt I appeared patronizing Sebastian, that is never my intention. 

There's a lot of different levels of understanding in this thread, and when people have only posted once or twice, it's impossible to know how much experience they already have. 

As you note, this thread has indeed gone in multiple different directions over the course of the last couple of years. There's multiple different requests and needs in this thread now. 

Many photographers asking for features in LR Cloudy don't realize that they can already accomplish their intended task using LR Classic workflows. That doesn't take away from the longer term feature request, but at least solves some issues in the meantime.

An explanation of people's workflows does impact on the feature request itself, for example, Adobe may decide that they don't want to add selective sync to Cloudy but with enough votes, they might change their mind on not improving Classic sync. Or requests on Classic sync improvements may turn into a Cloudy improvement that would answer the same need. That's why I ask for specifics.
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The Lightroom Queen - Author of Adobe Lightroom Classic - The Missing FAQ and Adobe Lightroom - Edit Like a Pro books.

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Engaged ,
Jul 29, 2019 Jul 29, 2019

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Hi Victoria - sorry for the late reply.

Work is always super busy and there’s very little time to be on forums.

Easy answer to your question, though Sebastian got the essence of it.

Adobe’s dev direction right now is Lightroom CC (Cloud)/Lightroom Mobile.

Which is fine — our work does demand a fully mobile-cloud integrated workflow and all the benefits that go with it, details of which I won’t bore everyone with here. 

But mandatory “all-cloud all-the-time” is a pretty klunky and rudimentary approach to cloud mobile integration and will make Lightroom CC an absolute non-starter for many professionals — including us.

Selective upstream sync is essential for us — and this issue has been noted by many working and teaching professionals in the field.

As you note, Lr Classic does have some upstream sync control — though there are significant gaps, and the interface is.... well ...(awkward silence).

With Lr CC/Mobile being Adobe’s current direction, don’t be surprised if that situation doesn’t improve much before the inevitable retirement of Classic at some time in the future.

Adobe may indeed make changes as they go (and robust community discussion is an important part of that process). Effortless and fluid selective sync is one of a number of features to enhance user control that will determine if we adopt it over other solutions.

Cheers

T.

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New Here ,
Jul 29, 2019 Jul 29, 2019

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Very well put threesixty. The only thing I would like to add is that ‘selective downstream sync’ (ie cloud to physical storage) is also of fundamental importance to my workflow and practices. The ‘all or nothing’ approach has broken an otherwise robust functionality in forcing a choice between 2 fantastic functions and operational benefits, ie the use of mobile/remote editing/display of Classic locally stored images with CC, OR cloud storage.

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Engaged ,
Sep 18, 2019 Sep 18, 2019

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Hey there,

it would be nice, if there would be the option to only upload pictures which has been tagged beforehand into the cloud. Till now its only possible to upload every picture in the library. But I only want specific (thus tagged) ones to be uploaded.

best regards

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Engaged ,
Feb 19, 2020 Feb 19, 2020

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I would love to be able to select which albums, folders, or individual photos get synced to all my devices. i usually only work on one project at a time and don’t need to sync all my photos all the time; this feature would improve my experience as a user by allowing me to customize my library I take with me on my phone, and allows me to leave all my other photos stored locally on my desktop. Thank you!

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Engaged ,
Jun 26, 2020 Jun 26, 2020

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I'm late to this thread but completely agree with Peter.  I use cloud storage as my PRIMARY storage, but occasionally need Lightroom Classic functionality and plugins that do not exist in Lightroom (cloud).  Right now, the only way to sync one photo DOWN to the desktop is to sync ALL photos from the cloud, which for me is tens of thousands of files.  I only occasionally want a handful of photos/files.

I can export to a compressed format and then manually import into classic, but then I'm not working on a raw file any longer.  I can download the original raw file, but then I don't get the metadata for edits made in Lightroom (maybe there's a way to do this?)

If you want Lightroom and Lightroom classic to interact, the entire process is based on the premise that you keep 100% of your photos on local storage and the cloud is just a nice way to see photos on your phone.  That feels completely backwards to me.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 29, 2020 Jun 29, 2020

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Until you get your wish, try export as Original + Settings and then import that file into Classic.
-------------------------------------
The Lightroom Queen - Author of Adobe Lightroom Classic - The Missing FAQ and Adobe Lightroom - Edit Like a Pro books.

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New Here ,
Jun 29, 2020 Jun 29, 2020

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Thanks Victoria, this is a good suggestion when working with a single, or small number of images. However I am still hopeful the developers can recognise the need to download/sync a defined selection of many images to work on and use in the desktop application and modules.

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Engaged ,
Oct 01, 2020 Oct 01, 2020

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I would like to be able to choose certain albums and folders to "Not Sync".  Letting them just be stored locally and not on the cloud.  Similar to drop box "smart sync" function. This would allow me to use LR for my entire workflow. 

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Engaged ,
Oct 02, 2020 Oct 02, 2020

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Anyone know a way to have certain things not sync to the cloud?

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Engaged ,
Oct 04, 2020 Oct 04, 2020

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Currently it is a very bad idea to implement a selective sync, because you are in big trouble when you lost your local app or the mobile device, like it happen recently after a buggy LR mobile update. 

Adobe need to implement a foolproof method in LR Cloud/Mobile to have all originals AND edits stored locally inclusive a backup. On mobile devices this is an issue because a separation of app and data is not existing and a selective restore is not existing as well, which Adobe cannot easily change. On a PC or Mac it is possible for Adobe to implement it, but there are a lot of users with mobile devices only. When traveling you do not have this desktop backup anyway. 

And what happen when you loose your mobile device or destroy it, without synced pictures?

 

For professionals it would be a better idea to implement a real two way sync including ALL meta data in LR Classic. When you add pictures in LR Classic on a desktop you can select the pictures for sync and when you add pictures on your mobile these pictures are automatically synced until you are back on your desktop and change the sync flag, after your backup has finished.

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Engaged ,
Oct 07, 2020 Oct 07, 2020

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I only infrequently edit images taken on a mobile device using LightRoom desktop, and rarely if ever sync images from desktop to edit using the inferior controls and colour accuracy of my mobile. It makes no sense to have to sync every image to Adobe when all I want is one or two images at a time. Most people use other cloud storage and backup services to backup photos because Adobe's storage limit is tiny compared to the bundled huge storage limits of Microsoft and Google, and we don't want our professional image libraries cluttered with pictures of our pet duck. It makes no sense to duplicate the functionality of these better apps, particularly given how little control there is, and how dumb the features of lightroom's file organisation is comparatively. Even if it just synced library data and metadata and left the file management to us, that would be an improvement.

Selective sync on mobile is being requested for valid reasons, because it fits our use case.

Users should have choice, not be treated like idiots.

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 08, 2020 Oct 08, 2020

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There needs to be a way to archive or otherwise offline albums/photos to free up cloud space easily. Right now there is no good answer other than exporting everything, installing Lightroom “classic,” and managing it all there which makes Lightroom CC just a glorified Dropbox.

 

Especially  when you consider that I’m paying $30+ dollars a month for the apps that I use for personal projects, but don’t make money from, and the only upgrade options I found was to pay an extra $30 a month for 2TB of cloud storage (which is pretty steep - even Apple only charges $10 a month for that)

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Engaged ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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Please please please can we have selective sync for Lightroom CC on my mobile. I don't want to post process many of the photos on my phone in Lightroom but there are a few. To do that, I don't want to sync all the photos on my camera roll to Lightroom. 

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Adobe Employee ,
Jan 29, 2021 Jan 29, 2021

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This thread is being merged into an existing authoritative thread for better tracking and response. 

Rikk Flohr - Customer Advocacy: Adobe Photography Products

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 30, 2021 Jan 30, 2021

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I'm not sure this selective sync topic is exactly what you're asking for *Steve64 . Could you clarify a little more... is it that you don't want to sync them to the cloud, or you simply want to pick and choose which camera roll photos get added to the Lightroom app for editing? The latter is already possible by turning off Auto Add in Preferences and adding selected photos manually.

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The Lightroom Queen - Author of Adobe Lightroom Classic - The Missing FAQ and Adobe Lightroom - Edit Like a Pro books.

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Engaged ,
Jan 30, 2021 Jan 30, 2021

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Thanks Victoria. Just what I wanted to know. All good now. Most grateful to you. 

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 09, 2021 Feb 09, 2021

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This is quite an old thread, and i think i've seen it somewhere else, but could not find any other.

I believe if Lightroom CC has the ability to store files locally, the "great migration" would finally happen, and Adobe could drop the horrible Lightroom Classic CC.

I would hope this is implemented in a way that you could easily define which photos/albums sync to the cloud and which don't, having the option to then delete that album from the cloud and keep it local.

This would allow the Lightroom CC to be fully appreciated in it's several mobile apps and avoid the storage of huge data in cloud servers. I mean, the workflow would be:

1. Import photos from hard drive to new album or previously created one.

2. Sync to the cloud (or not)

3. Edit (if you synced to the cloud, you could edit in the tablet, web or phone through your awesome apps)

4. Export to wherever

5. Un-sync the album

6. Delete cloud data from the album.

This would result in having your catalog organized in Lightroom CC, photos stored locally and everyone happy.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 10, 2021 Feb 10, 2021

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I did not know this post existed.

I guess it's the same as this one:

https://feedback.photoshop.com/conversations/lightroom-desktop-cloudbased/lightroom-cc-ability-to-sp...

Although this has more upvotes.

I think this feature would allow for "the great migration" to happen, form Classic to CC. We already pay monthly for the software... If we don't need the Cloud, why should we have to buy it? Also, i'm sure Adobe doesn't really want to keep two softwares for the same thing... and one of them with old code. If they find a way to solve this, it's better for them as well.

With this, we could use Lightroom in all it's glory. The photos that you select to sync you can edit in your phone or tablet. The others stay in your local drive. I'd use it all the time, for a new session... send them all to the cloud, edit wherever and when i'm done, un-sync (and delete data from cloud -- important step).

Catalog would remain organized with all our photos and the cloud fature would be for editing on the go.

It would also be good if this was the default behaviour, or one could change in the settings to this being the default.

But this thread is already over 2 years old.... C'mon Adobe

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Participant ,
Feb 10, 2021 Feb 10, 2021

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This would be a huge benefit as people grow their libraries. Done in conjunction with the ability to save or archive photos to an external drive only (on both desktop and iPad versions!) would mean that we could make decisions such as  keep active projects synced to the cloud, and archive older projects to external storage exclusively. Or to choose to have some projects synced and others not. For those that aren't, a Smart Preview is still generated, but the original resides on the storage option of our choice.

This does lead to the question of syncing and prioritization. Lightroom should sync to the fastest source available:

Source Cloud Archive
Image is only stored in the cloud (eg. taken from a phone) Always saves to cloud unless added to an album set to archive. Save to archive if in an album set to archive, when archive drive becomes available.
Image set to cloud only Smart Preview and Original are saved to cloud catalog and storage. Nothing is saved to archive.
Image set to Archive Only Smart Preview is saved to the cloud catalog. Original is saved to archive. Edits made when drive is disconnected are saved to catalog and copied to archive drive when available. 
Image set to save to Cloud and Archive. Smart Preview and Original are synced to cloud. Changes made when offline are synced to cloud when internet access is available. Smart Preview and Original are synced to Archive. Changes made when offline are synced to cloud when drive is available.

I am certain there are other permutations and details I am neglecting, such as if an image is in two albums with conflicting settings (which I would argue should give a warning and allow the user to decide).

Nevertheless, this would be a basic outline of the options. This also gives people flexibility in the event they are either without their drive, or without internet (without either is just stored locally). 

IMPORTANT: This should work on the iPad as well! the iPad has gotten to the point where the hardware and OS can support such functionality and is growing in terms of popularity for content creation. I'd love to just take an iPad Pro with an SSD drive out in the field. 

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 10, 2021 Feb 10, 2021

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@michael_brodt

If smart previews were possible without taking up much cloud storage, this solution seems perfect.

Otherwise, we could just have Lightroom fetch either from archive (local storage) or cloud, so no smart previews on the cloud needed. Of course that i do not know the technical difficulty of this, but i would hope there is an option to allow the catalog to exist without touching the cloud at all. 

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