: Photography management question

Feb 3rd, 2007, 12:29 AM
Hi, I got a question in the form of a problem that needs to be resolved.
I got loads of photographs and most of them are stored on an external hard drive because I can't keep up on my current system with all the photos so I archive them. BTW system is a 2ghz core duo macbook.

So I got the two apps for managing photos which are Aperture and Lightroom, I tested them and am prepared to work with either of these programs, depending if they are able to suit my needs.

Now here's the actual question: I want to know if it's possible to have a library in a form of virtual library that would not take any place on my Macbook hard drive, but instead, it would have all the files referenced on my external HD. That way, I would not be able to work on the photographs when I'm not plugged on my HD but when I am, Aperture or Lightroom would automaticly recognize that my HD is plugged in and I would be able to work on these photographs. Also I'd like to have a normal library on my HD (that's not really a problem with either programs) that I would use as a primary editing base and when I would be done with the photos, I would send them to the secondary, backup, library and they would be transfered to the external HD.

Now that's my problem, having an "onsite" library and an "offsite" library, but having both in the same program and having a program that manages the "offsite" one without taking (too much) space on the primary HD.

I know there is some way to do this because that's how real professionals with lots of FW external HDs and lots of mac pros ;) work

Thanks to everyone who took the time to answer my question and if there is something not quite clear in my current situation, I'll be glad to answer some questions myself.

Feb 3rd, 2007, 01:06 PM
The definite choice for this would be Aperture. Lightroom is a great post-processing application, but lacks any good actual project or library-management features in comparison to Aperture.

As of v1.5, Aperture now allows you to manage files by reference, so you could actually have several repositories of photos on various external hard drives or other media but keep the library details linked into a central library. The "masters" live on the external storage, and therefore take up no space on your own hard drive, but they essentially "belong" to the same library as the rest of your working photos.

In fact, it was this ability to work with references files that was probably the biggest change in v1.5 in terms of making Aperture a useful product.

You can check out some good Aperture tutorials on Apple's web site at http://www.apple.com/aperture/resources/tutorial/ The one on "Acquiring Images" covers the basic photo project management concepts fairly well as an intro to what Aperture can do for you in this regard.

Feb 3rd, 2007, 04:21 PM
Thanks a lot for the link! somehow I knew a complete software would overthrow the beta one ;)

Mar 10th, 2008, 08:00 PM
jhollington's reply may be true for Aperture but is not accurate for Lightroom. With LR, there are basically two equally valid strategies: keep the library on your laptop and the photos on the external HD, or create a separate library for each HD. When the HD is not connected, LR knows it and the photo names turn red. You can still do lots of stuff with the organisation of the photos as previews are still available, but you cannot do detailed editing (of course)