I want to work with photos, like in Lightroom, but I want to save my changes to the files directly. Even with RAW I want to adjust settings and save as jpg. It is enough for my private photos and after my fixing I want to have quick access without any additional software from my network drive.

I'm editing photos on two different computers. The main computer is a desktop with Lightroom, and the second is my Ultrabook.

Can you recommend what kind of workflow and software will be most efficient to, for example, copy files from my SD card on the Ultrabook, edit photos, and save changes directly onto a shared drive?

Currently after I edit in Lightroom, I export all my photos. But I'm looking for a more efficient solution.

  • 1
    What's the specific problem you're trying to solve? The import and export is to cumbersome or time-consuming?
    – MikeW
    Jul 13, 2015 at 19:37
  • 2
    there are a lot of previous questions about lightroom workflow between two computers, sharing catalogues, saving/syncing to external drives. Have you read through those?
    – MikeW
    Jul 13, 2015 at 19:40
  • Are the two devices going to be used only at the same location? I mean like would you be changing back and forth between desktop and notebook at home or you will be carrying the notebook around and editing, then once you get home you like to continue working on it on the desktop? Nov 9, 2016 at 21:02

5 Answers 5


This is exactly why Adobe made smart previews; they aren't just for local network drives.

Save you RAW files to a portable hard drive, and have lightroom generate smart previews with each new import. You can then use Adobe CC to sync you catalog between computers, or something like Dropbox, SpiderOak, OneDrive, Google Drive, etc.

With this, you can edit the photos on either machine (or even your phone or a tablet), and the edits will be applied next time lightroom sees the portable hard drive.


Personally, I'm a big Lightroom user. I sync my workflow by having my working catalog on a Dropbox folder (though any similar service, e.g., Google Drive, will work). The only downside is that the catalog can grow to be quite large, and you may end up needing a Dropbox subscription, especially if you're working with a large catalog of RAWs. Previews/Smart Previews can also take up a non-negligible amount of space, depending on what you have set, though it's possible to move them to a different path independent of the catalog folder.


I use Lightroom across two Macs (a laptop and a desktop) by keeping the Lightroom catalog and the image files in a Dropbox folder. Because of the size of all the files, it makes a paid subscription to Dropbox necessary in my case. The only disadvantage I have found is that you have to remember to shut down Lightroom when you're not using it as if you keep it open it creates file version conflicts when opened on the other computer. I am also careful after importing a batch of images or doing some editing to allow Dropbox to finish syncing, and ensure it is synced before opening Lightroom.


Two alternatives comes to mind.

  • Use an external network drive and edit it locally (won't work if you're not home but I'm unsure if you edit a lot on the go)
  • Use a laptop sized external hard drive and move it between systems. It is how I'm editing images on the go while updating the system.

The DropBox solution above is valid but I prefer to be closer to the machines.

As stated by Hugo, Adobe does not support network drives. My original assumption is that they can be mounted but I'm not sure how well Lightroom will work, so experimentation may be required there.

  • Note that Lightroom does not support running the catalog from a network share. It can be hacked but it would be a rather poor solution.
    – Hugo
    Sep 15, 2015 at 5:44
  • I was imaging mounting it as a local drive on each machine so it's "native." Sep 15, 2015 at 14:23
  • Sure you can do that but since it neither is possible to use a network share directly, nor is storing it on a mounted share supported by Adobe it should at least be described in the answer. Otherwise it's good and informative!
    – Hugo
    Sep 15, 2015 at 15:04
  • I didn't know about that. Thanks for the tip. Sep 16, 2015 at 5:54

I synchronize my RAWs with a self-written script. On modern Windows there is a command called robocopy I use for much synch jobs I need. So I transfer from a PC to an external drive on which the script is found.

Then I synchronize on any other machine I want to. If both the machines are powered on on the same time I can either adapt the script to work over the network or use SyncToy (Microsoft free app) which is more user-friendly. There is a bit of configuration but no additional software. Everything is embedded in Windows.

I don't know if it is fine to post links in here but I made a demo video on YT though it is in French you might guess what's going on seeing it.

Should you use Apple products even-though I don't know what is possible I guess you could use rsync scripts instead.

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