Lightroom Catalogs are great to send and share. Because of the way Lightroom works, as long as our friend has the same source images, it’s easy to send just the catalogs. Even if we have 40 gigabytes of images, we need only to send the catalog, assuming they have the images stored on their computer. They can pick up with our edits and work with them just as easily.
First of all, a bit of a story here. The fact that I can swap catalogs allowed me to maintain a successful business. I was doing outsourced editing (and still do so) for one of the top regional pro’s in my area. They would feed me 3-4 weddings at a time, and I would edit them. I could pick up a hard drive with copies of their images, and then return just the catalog. Although they weren’t within a day’s driving distance, I would digitally send them the catalogs using the steps I will show you today.
If you need to send a catalog, here are the steps that I follow:
One of the things that I do to save filesize is get rid of the previews that Lightroom builds. It can help us save a lot of space depending upon your catalog. That means it will be quicker to load and transfer; our receiver can rebuild the previews on their own after receiving the catalog.
To do this, I make sure that I am first in the Library module. Then, choose Previews and then Discard 1:1 Previews. After confirming that you want to discard previews for all of the images, we’ve probably slimmed down the size of our catalog pretty significantly.
How will you send it?
Lightroom catalogs are usually going to be too big for email, so we have to figure out how to get it online so our friend can download the catalog.
Enter Dropbox, an amazing program. that I love almost as much as Lightroom. Dropbox is file sharing made easy, and it’s one of the cloud services you’ve probably heard so much about. Here’s some of the cool things Dropbox does for free:
- Gives you 5 gigs of online storage for free!
- Backs up your files online
- Can help you keep your computers in sync
- Lets you browse your files through ANY web browser from anywhere (never carry a flash drive again)
- Has mobile apps that let you use your files on the go from your iPhone or Android phone
When we transfer files online, we don’t want to just send someone a folder. Uploading and transferring lots of tiny files is slower and less efficient than a single large file. Therefore, we will zip our Lightroom catalogs to make them easy to send.
On my Mac, I simply find the Lightroom catalog folder. Next, I hold control on the keyboard and click it to bring up a menu. Choose “Compress (Folder Name)”. In just a few seconds, it will create a Zip file of the Lightroom catalog. On Windows, right click and choose “Send to” and choose “Compressed (zipped) Folder”. This will do exactly the same on Windows.
Okay, great – now we’ve got zipped Lightroom catalogs. They’re much easier to send and share now. All we need to do now is drop them in our Dropbox folder. After spending a few minutes letting it sync, you can open your Dropbox folder Right clicking and choosing to get a shareable link is all that it takes.
– image for watching for sync.
For our friend: Relinking Images
Going back to our introduction, the key to sending and sharing catalogs is that the person on the receiving end has the same source images that were a part of the edit. When we send a catalog, we are sending only the edit information that comes along, not the images themselves. Once our friend downloads and unzips the catalog, they have to tell Lightroom where the images are stored.
From the Library module, my typical plan is to
(add relink info here)
With the tutorial above, you can