Where should I store my Lightroom catalog?

okay so my I have all of my photos stored on an external hard drive so that my mac's hard drive doesn't get filled with pretty much only photos. 

Obviously, Lightroom automatically stores catalogs in the Lightroom folder on the internal drive?

Is it worth moving the catalog to the external drive, with my photos themselves, to keep the catalog with the photos that it refers to, or am I okay to just leave my photos stored externally and the catalog on the mac's drive?

5 Answers

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  • 1 month ago

    yes I agree completely

  • keerok
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Obviously isn't obvious. You can change settings to save wherever you want.

  • Sumi
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    I think it does not matter if you have a backup of the catalog on a different drive.  It's not a matter of if, but when when your Mac's drive is going to fail.  The benefit of having the catalog on the external drive is that you can use that drive on any other computer which one of the selling points of having an external drive in the first place.

    So with this in mind, I'd say put the catalog on the drive containing the photos especially if that is the faster of the drives.  But you should also have your catalog backed up for when your Mac or drive dies.

  • qrk
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Keep the catalog on your computer. It makes life easier. At some point, you will run out of space on your external drive and will need to maintain multiple catalogs if you move the catalog to the external drive with your photos. You should also save your catalog backup zip archive to another disk. The catalog, in its compressed state, is not that large. Preview directories can be moderately large, but will easily fit on a backup drive.

    External drives are unreliable, get lost, or damaged unintentionally . Hopefully, you have a backup of all your photos on a separate external drive. That backup drive should be located in another location or in a fire/water resistant box like a safe.

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  • Speed
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    I'm a writer, not a photographer, but I've known too many people who lost computer and external hard drive in the same incident, losing entire novels that were not saved anywhere else.

    Consider the natural gas explosion yesterday in Baltimore, or the hurricane-force winds that dropped multiple trees on houses in the upper Midwest. If you want to be sure your Lightroom catalogue survives the worst calamity, you need to store it somewhere that isn't your home.

    The cloud is the easiest, but depending on the size of the catalogue, you may not be able to fit it in the free level of storage sites like DropBox. (I have the lowest paid level, $10 a month.)

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