I'm struggling to find a workflow that accommodates my needs and was hoping someone might recommend improvements. I've mentioned the software and apps I use but am open to changing them if there are recommendations.

My most frustrating bottlenecks at the moment are; Lightroom falling out of sync, my main media storage being a HDD in my desktop that is separate from my OneDrive volume so that I manually have to copy and paste media files to have them backed up and the fact that if I import on my Laptop I then need to re-import onto my desktop at a later date to keep all files together.

My main issues are two-fold:

  • I frequently jump between a desktop and laptop when using Lightroom. I've tried uploading the catalog to my OneDrive account and having it sync so that Lightroom appears synced across the two devices but this does not work well and invariably one falls out of sync.

  • I need access to my large image collection on both devices (over 1TB), also sometimes I import on my desktop and at others on my laptop. I need all of these imports to go to a central place but at the same time I want to retain simple online back-ups to OneDrive. I'm happy to use an external HDD for the photos however having OneDrive located on the external HDD does not make sense as both computers needs to be able to back-up non-image files to OneDrive at all time too.

I would also ideally like all my photos to be stored in the cloud (maybe OneDrive or another app) and have Lightroom utilise smart previews when browsing but pull down full files when editing - is this possible?

I want to jump between computers keeping my Lightroom and image collection in sync as much as possible. Are there technologies or workflows that already do this that I am missing?

To put it more simply - how are users navigating having large image collections whilst working over 2 or 3 different machines, whilst at the sametime retaining an online backup?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Would a NAS be an option for you? \$\endgroup\$
    – Nico Harms
    Nov 25, 2016 at 13:55

1 Answer 1


It's all about personal preference, but I can tell you about my setup.

In my case I have got a desktop and a laptop at home and on desktop in the studio. All these devices should have access to the same files and be in sync.

AT home I have got a NAS, where the photos get stored on. Additionally the Lightroom catalog is stored on this NAS and synced to all my devices, so that I always have a local copy of it. In Lightroom l set the folder destination to the network drive.

In Lightroom I generated Smart Previews for all photos. That way I have access to all my photos, even if I am offline, on a train or something like that. This also saves plenty of space on my notebook as the Smart Previews are only a fraction of the size compared to RAW files.

In my studio or on the road I can connect to my NAS via VPN and always access the RAW files if I really need to.

My NAS is also configured to clone a copy of the photos to the home desktop as a fallback and it backups everything in the cloud.


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