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My current development workflow is the following:

  • Import pictures from the SD card to my Mac in Lightroom 4
  • Select and develop my RAW pictures
  • Export my selected pictures as JPG
  • Move the whole directory (RAW + exported JPG) to my NAS

The rationale behind this workflow was to be able to work faster under development with locally stored image, while archiving the data on my NAS.

My problem is the following: I just realised today that moving the pictures from my Mac to my NAS actually made Lightroom "forget" all development settings. I was pretty sure that the development impacted the actual RAW files, while it apparently only exists in the LR catalog.

What would you recommend to preserve my development work while moving my pictures to the NAS?

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  1. Move the files within Lightroom's interface, rather than from the operating system.

  2. After you've moved the files, open Lightroom, right click on the folder you moved in the catalog (should have a question mark) and select Update Folder Location.

  3. You can also save edits to RAW files to XMP sidecar files or use DNG/TIFF files and have the edits stored in the file metadata.

  • Thank you! I didn't know you could move from the Lightroom interface. I ended up choosing this solution rather than the XMP files because it allows me to preserve some LR specific information (such as the flag state). – icecrime Aug 21 '14 at 7:51
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    You may want to think of using XMP files or DNG/TIFF metadata as a backup for your edits in case of a corrupt Lr database. – inkista Aug 26 '14 at 1:03
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You can have your original Image stored on your NAS Location, while your catalogue is on your local harddrive. If your NAS is not available, you can still search for your pictures, and if you have created Smart Previes, also edit them. The key is, you should have both locations available inside Lightroom and move the files within the application. That way Lightroom doesn't loose track of your images and the development settings are preserved.

Another option you should enable the option "Automatically write changes into XMP" and "Include Development settings in metadata inside JPEG, TIFF, PNG and PSD" files. The background is: As default Lightroom stores all development settings only in the catalogue, to get a better performance. But: If you move the files outside lightroom and then re-import them, the development history is still lost.

PS: Also this answer could help you set up your workflow.

  • Thank you! Apparently Smart Previews are a LR5 feature, but it's interesting to learn about. – icecrime Aug 21 '14 at 7:52

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