Today’s Question: You have recommended creating a separate catalog for Lightroom Classic while traveling and then merging that catalog with your main catalog when you get home. When traveling recently I wanted to share a collection of wedding photos with guests the day after. However, I couldn’t sync the collection with Adobe Cloud unless I disabled sync for my main catalog. I used my SmugMug plugin instead. Are there any other methods you would suggest? Also, any collections I create while on the road are not copied over to my main catalog. Do you have any suggestions for how to re-create those collections?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Both issues can be avoided if you bring your main catalog with you when you travel, but there are other options available as well.
More Detail: While it is indeed possible to use a separate catalog when traveling and then merge that catalog with your primary catalog when you return home, it can be helpful and convenient to instead travel with your primary catalog.
For example, a laptop has been my primary computer for about twenty years, (I don’t even own a desktop computer). Therefore, I keep my Lightroom Classic catalog on my laptop, so that the catalog is always with me. This eliminates the need to merge catalogs later, and also means that all features are readily available, including cloud-based synchronization that can only be enabled for a single catalog at a time.
If you want to be able to work from a desktop computer at home and a laptop computer when traveling, you can also keep your catalog on an external hard drive. You can then connect that hard drive to whichever computer you’re using at the time and open the catalog directly from the external drive.
If you prefer to use a separate catalog when traveling, the cloud-based synchronization will still be an issue. I don’t recommend switching between different catalogs for synchronization, because that can lead to confusion and duplication of images that are synchronized. In this scenario I would suggest using an online service such as SmugMug when you need to share images online from your traveling catalog.
If you’re working with a traveling catalog, you can absolutely bring collections and all other features of Lightroom Classic into your primary catalog when you return home. You just need to be sure to use the “Import from Another Catalog” command to merge the catalogs, so that all information about your photos will be reflected in the primary catalog.