...Like most photographers, I have two computers: a laptop and a desktop. Alternately working on both is complicated, since it is not possible to put your Lightroom catalog on a network-attached storage (NAS). If your catalog is stored on your desktop but you want to edit on your laptop, one possible solution is to use Lightroom’s “Import and Export as Catalog” tool. But be aware: this is neither quick nor easy.
This implies exporting your photos as a catalog to an external hard drive, connecting this hard drive to your laptop, opening the exported catalog on the laptop, editing the photos, and then importing the modified catalog back into the main catalog on your desktop. If this sounds complicated, that is because it is. Decidedly something for more advanced users and not something you want to do a few times a day.
Another solution, although again not a favorable one: store your catalog on one or more external drives and connect these to the device you want to work on at that moment. Downside: lugging along a large external drive is not always convenient.
Smart Previews to the rescue!
Smart Previews, introduced in Lightroom 5, provides a solution. It allows you to — once and for all — transfer your Catalog folder (the one with Catalog, Previews and Smart Previews) to a fast-paced external hard drive.
Make sure this drive is as fast as possible — preferably a fast 7,200 RPM hard drive, or a Solid State Drive (SSD) such as the LaCie Thunderbolt SSD I discuss in this article — and that it has a fast interface: USB 3, Thunderbolt or USB-C.
You store your originals on the internal drive of your desktop or on yet another external disk, and plug in the external hard drive with the Smart Previews to the computer you want to work with at that time. On the desktop you work on the originals, on your laptop you work on the Smart Previews.
LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt SSD
When I went to India with Fujifilm GFX earlier this year, LaCie gave me the opportunity to test the 1TB LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt SSD. I have been using this drive ever since. The LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt are the only drives I know of that have both a USB 3.0 and a Thunderbolt connector. By the way: they also exist in 256 and 512GB SSD versions and in a classic 1 and 2TB rotating disk version...[continue reading]