Today’s Question: Are multiple catalogs acceptable if you have the main catalog on a desktop computer and a laptop computer that you use when traveling?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, having a “temporary” catalog for use while traveling, and then merging that catalog with your primary catalog upon your return is a perfectly good reason to have more than one catalog for Lightroom Classic.
More Detail: One of the top recommendations I give photographers when it comes to using Lightroom Classic to manage your photos is that you use only one catalog to manage all of your photos. This helps to streamline your overall workflow and enables you to search for photos among your entire catalog, rather than having to first figure out which catalog might contain the particular photo you’re looking for.
One of the biggest frustrations I’ve found many photographers run into with Lightroom Classic is that they create multiple catalogs and then their workflow becomes confusing.
Of course, there are some exceptions in certain situations where I feel that having more than one catalog is necessary or preferential.
If you store your Lightroom Classic catalog on a desktop computer, that catalog won’t be available to you when you are traveling for photography. You could keep your catalog on an eternal hard drive or use a laptop as your primary computer, but you can also simply use a temporary catalog when traveling, and then merge that catalog with your primary catalog on your return.
This approach enables you to manage the photos you capture during your travels with your normal workflow. When you return home you can merge the traveling catalog with your primary catalog, preserving all updates you made to the photos during your travels, and consolidating your photos once again to the primary catalog.
To learn more about streamlining your overall workflow, cleaning up problems in Lightroom Classic, and merging catalogs into a single primary catalog, check out my “Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom Classic” video course, available on my GreyLearning website here: