I have just purchased Lightroom 4, and taking advantage of Adobe's enlightened two system licensing policy, I have it installed on a laptop and desktop PC. I take the laptop with me on trips and often edit photos while away. To save space, I usually transfer the raw files to a large external hard drive when I return home.
Naturally I would like to synchronise the photos (and thus the LR catalog file) between the two systems. When importing photos, I believe LR gives you the choice of copying them into the catalog, or merely referencing them. If I do the latter, I assume the catalog itself remains fairly small in size.
Assuming that's correct, what I plan on doing is keep the catalog on a USB stick (regularly backed up), and keep the photos on the external drive, which I can access either locally or over my home network. I can then use the catalog file merely as an 'index', and just plug in the stick in whichever of the two systems I happen to be working on.
My questions are:
- Is my assumption that using referenced photos keeps the LR catalog relatively small (i.e. small enough to fit on a USB stick) correct?
- If I edit photos on my laptop while I'm away, then transfer them to my external HDD when I get back, is it easy to update the location in the LR catalog so that both systems access them on the HDD?
- Is there a better way to do this without going through the rigmarole outlined in the top answer to this question?
EDIT: I should point out that my external HDD is a PITA to move because of how it is plugged in, so I'd rather not have to move it through to my desktop PC each time, hence my USB stick idea.