There are 2 different versions of Lightroom. This tutorial explains why there are 2 versions and shows you how to make them talk to each other. You will learn how to selectively sync certain images between Lightroom and Lightroom Classic. All your settings will also be synced. I’ll also show you how to create a smart folder. When you drop an image into this smart folder, it will be placed in your local library and synced across the whole shebang.
Why 2 versions of Lightroom?
There are 2 versions of Lightroom. Lightroom and Lightroom Classic.
is the latest version of Lightroom that we’ve always had. It is a desktop application, with all modules such as book, maps, printing, etc. (learn Lightroom in 15 minutes here)
all our photos are stored on a hard drive. You can selectively sync collections to the cloud, but you don’t need to have images in the cloud if you don’t want them.
Lightroom was called, Project Lightroom, then Lightroom 1-6, Lightroom CC, then Lightroom Classic.
What is Lightroom now.
In what might be the most confusing marketing move ever (with the unnecessary addition of the name Photoshop to Lightroom), there is another Lightroom, simply called Lightroom. Let me explain.
While photographers were happily using Lightroom (insert version number here), Adobe launched a new beta version. It was called Project Nimbus.
The Nimbus project was a faster, lighter version of Lightroom, which was mobile-first. Its main attraction was a phone application. As Nimbus matured, it came to be known as Lightroom Mobile. Everyone understood Lightroom mobile and desktop.
Then Adobe added a new desktop app to work with the phone app and the iPad version. They decided to call it all Lightroom CC and now it’s just Lightroom.
The 4 parts of Lightroom are
1. The desktop app: Function very similar to Lightroom Classic, most of the features but without the additional modules and it is synchronized with the cloud. When you import the photos, they are synced to the cloud.
2. Phone app (iOS and Android) sync images, you can edit them and edits sync as well. Also has a camera as part of the app, which lets you take RAW photos and sync photos.
3. iPad version (arguably the best iPad photo app on the planet, that’s really good). just like the phone app, has a camera, sync, etc., but the interface is more like the desktop app. They really understood.
4. Lightroom web. Access your Lightroom library through a web browser and make edits, etc.
These 4 apps sync images and edits to the cloud. No matter on which device you make the change, add the photo, delete and photo, edit, etc., they all stay in perfect sync.
Then there’s Lightroom Classic, which I’ve already explained. (I personally think they should have kept the Lightroom name and called the other, Lightroom Cloud.)
So how does Classic fit in?
It seems like most pros and long-time users are using Lightroom Classic these days. Classic lets you store your images (and videos) on your local hard drive, external drivers, RAIDs, and more. You can have your images on a server, but you can’t keep your catalog on a server.
Personally, I keep most of my images locally on Lightroom Classic. I just have way too many images to sync to the cloud (I easily take over 1000 raw files in a typical session) and I have clients that won’t allow images to be on the cloud no matter what. he is coming. (Privacy and security issues).
However, I like to take photos with my phone and I would like some of my photos to be available everywhere and to be able to synchronize the changes. I also like to relax on the beach or in my airplane seat with my iPad and edit photos. (I know, I’m weird). That’s where this tutorial comes in. You can create a bridge between the 2 Lightrooms and synchronize the images and modifications that you choose, without adding your entire Lightroom Classic library. I will also show you how to create a watch folder and you just drop images into the folder and everything else is automated.
We will create a collection and use it as a synchronization gateway. It will be a shared collection.
Click on the + by collections in the Library module and choose create a collection. Name it what you want, I’ll call it LR Sync
In the settings you have the option to enable synchronization with Lightroom. You can turn it on and off at any time, but we’ll turn it on. This means that all images in this collection will be synced to the cloud. They will also stay in their local location, so you’re sharing them, not sending them back.
I chose to set as the target collection for this tutorial, it’s not necessary. All a target collection does is replace the quick collection with the targeted collection. When you click the circle on the image thumbnail or press the B key, the image is placed in the target collection rather than the quick collection.
You will see our collection appear in collections.
The lightning bolt on the left means it’s synced. You can sync/unsync any collection by clicking the box and turning the lightning on or off.
The + sign means it is a target collection. Click on any collection and press the T key and it will become the new target collection.
Tap the dots on certain images to add them to the collection (you can also drag thumbnails if you prefer.)
I added 3 images, see number 3?
Sync is on
Go to the top right and click on the cloud icon. This is where you set up synchronization by logging into your Creative Cloud account. Make sure it’s not paused.
The images will be uploaded to the cloud and appear in the other Lightroom desktop. (You don’t need to have the other Lightroom desktop installed BTW)
If you go to your phone or tablet apps and log in, you’ll see that the images are now there too. Add images to the collection to share across devices.
Let’s look at another image that is shared. Make some adjustments to it.
You’ll see the adjustments trickle down to all apps.
Even mobile apps will sync adjustments.
Make changes to the mobile apps and they will reflect as well. Take a photo on mobile and it will be shared with the entire Lightroom ecosystem. It will only be shared with Lightroom Classic if you add the image to the shared collection.
Create a watch folder to automatically import images into Lightroom
Let’s set up a watch folder. This means that when you drop images into this folder, they will be sucked into Lightroom and the original will be moved to a location you choose on your hard drive (usually your photo library) and the image will be uploaded to the cloud and shared with all your devices. This will all happen automatically.
Create a folder on your desktop and name it.
Choose File > Auto Import > Auto Import Settings
Click Choose under Watched Folder and navigate to the folder you just created on the desktop.
Choose Destination, usually the location where you keep all your main photos. This is where the photo will be stored after it is imported. (Optional: Enable Enable Auto Import at the top)
It is important! Click Add to Collection and choose LR Sync, as this is a shared collection, it will send the photos to the cloud. If you don’t choose a shared collection, it won’t be synced to the cloud.
If you didn’t enable automatic import in the previous step, you can do so here.
Choose File > Auto Import > Enable Auto Import.
To import images into this new system, simply drag into the folder.
The image will be moved to the destination and uploaded to the cloud This image will now be available everywhere.
Share photos from Lightroom with Lightroom Classic
I hear people say. “I don’t want to be hostage to Adobe’s cloud, and if I want to terminate my account, I will lose all my images!” (Insert panicked voice).
You can sync all your photos from Lightroom to Lightroom Classic if you want and download them locally.
Drag the photo(s) into the shared folder from Lightroom Desktop.
They will appear in Lightroom Classic.
You can now export the photos as Lightroom Classic originals if you wish.
I hope you found this week’s tutorial interesting. Don’t forget you can always take my full Lightroom Classic course to learn more.
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