My wife is an intermediate photographer that uses the latest Lightroom license package. The program is installed on our main hard drive. I have a new SSD for her to do her processing and a large standard hard drive for longer term storage.

Is there a way to have the program manage this automatically or do I need to load photos from her card to the SSD then manually move them post- processing to the large drive?

  • it sounds like an XY problem. What is the final goal? Why can't you store all data on SSD or on HDD alone? as far as i know, 250GB SSD can fit a lot of images, and HDD is usually fast enough for processing at low-medium throughput Jan 3 '18 at 0:28
  • I do not use lightroom ( i use CS6 and keep all my files on external drives ) so i will not post this as an answer as i do not know the specifics of lightroom. you can, here is a link to an adobe discussion forums.adobe.com/thread/1101194 in my case the photos are on an external drive , my main drive, CPU, and ram do the work.
    – Alaska Man
    Jan 3 '18 at 0:47
  • @aaaaaa basically the goal is to follow the 3 2 1 data protection strategy.
    – salisboss
    Jan 3 '18 at 0:53

I use 3 2 1 for my workflow:

I keep my photos on a mirrored NAS but store my actual catalog on an SSD. Lightroom generates and caches previews of photos and stores them alongside the catalog on the SSD in this workflow.

Lightroom is designed to accomodate photo storage being attached and detached. You can cache previews on the SSD and work with them without the main storage being attached.

You could also have multiple external devices for storage and Lightroom will just show the path as missing until reconnected.

This accomodates a workflow where perhaps you have a laptop with the catalog and your photos are stored on an external USB HDD. You can take your laptop away to do editing and reattach the original photos for final rendering to jpg.

I use crashplan to keep my photos and catalog backed up, but Lightroom can also be configured to copy photos to two places during imports. The feature is called "Make a Second Copy to".

The copies won't be included in the catalog metadata, but it is a way to keep the 2nd copies stored somewhere, but unmanaged by Lightroom. Some people use this method to have a backup immediately on a multiple devices while the traditional backup strategy works in the background (like a cloud based offsite backup.) Some people also don't reformat their camera storage card until they are sure backup processes have completed.

I also turn on XMP sidecars to store photo editing metadata alongside the original photos just in case my catalog were to get lost or corrupted.

(You'll notice the Lightroom catalog isn't exactly described as 3 2 1, but I do keep it on a Dropbox synced to multiple workstations...)

This answer only covers Lightroom Classic - Lightroom also has a new cloud version where your photos are stored online. I'm not as familiar with that version.

  • If you screw up the catalog, it is synched to all other machines as well, isn't it?
    – Gerhardh
    Jan 4 '18 at 14:20
  • @Gerhardh That's my 3 and 2. My 1 is off-site at crashplan with backup versioning. Lightroom also optionally makes backups periodically to a zip file at exit.
    – rrauenza
    Jan 4 '18 at 15:18
  • 1
    How is Dropbox 2 versions? It is only 1 version spread over multiple devices. If you delete or corrupt on one device, all copies will be synched/deleted on the other devices as well. This only leaves the automatic copy done by LR once a week. Not much benefit from Drobo.
    – Gerhardh
    Jan 4 '18 at 15:24
  • @Gerhardh The zip provides the local versioning, which I have set to daily. Dropbox also has versioning, but I don't count on it. Keeping the XMP with the raw file is also a fallback.
    – rrauenza
    Jan 4 '18 at 15:36

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