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Using 'alias' folders on Mac to catalogue from?

Discussion in 'Lightroom 1-6 for Windows & Mac (perpetual)' started by Pollok Shields, May 19, 2017.

  1. Pollok Shields

    Pollok Shields Active Member

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    I have pictures stored on a few different hard drives (because they fill up, not because I'm disorganised!) My Lightroom 'Folders' panel shows these in a list and I find myself having to close one to go to another hard drive. So I thought having all my hard drive folders in a single Lightroom Folder would be a better way.

    Can I create aliases of my hard drives, add those to another drive and have LR think they're all in the same place so creating a single 'Folder' list?

    If that makes any sense...

    Thanks
     
  2. clee01l

    clee01l Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    I don't understand "having to close one to go to another hard drive". In my folder panel (below) covering two volumes what needs to be closed?
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Pollok Shields

    Pollok Shields Active Member

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    You only have your internal and single external drive. I have a few more externals. I keep 'closing' (collapsing) volumes so I can see another volume without having to scroll. So I'm trying to make it appear that all my folders are on a single volume. Question is will Lightroom be happy about that?
     
  4. JohanElzenga

    JohanElzenga Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    I don't think you can use an alias. You might be able to use a symbolic link, but I'm not sure how that would come up in the folders panel: as the disk where the link is located, or as the disk the link points at.
     
  5. rob211

    rob211 Senior Member

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    Hmm. Instead of an alias or other link, maybe collections? You could drag folders there and replicate the folder structure, and submerge it all in a collection set. More flexible, and you'd be able to make separate groupings (like a large bunch of folders from separate volumes into one fake volume/collection set. Sorta like how some of use use meta-hierarchies like "People" to hold a bunch of keywords in a more easily accessible manner.
     
  6. clee01l

    clee01l Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    I think I set up a alias once one my Mac and (in spite of Johan's comment) I recall that it worked. However this is not the solution to your problem. If you link additional folders via an alias or via a separate volume mount, you still have the scrolling issue If you can only display 40 lines in the folder panel, it does not really matter where your 60 folders are located as a separate volume list or as an alias folder with many sub folders.

    If you would like, you can use my workflow. I hide the folder panel. This gives me more room to display the collection panel. Through a series of Smart Collections, I can quickly locate the images of interest using g a modified version of John Beardsworth's Workflow smart collections. You never need to open the Folder panel since all of your organization is via keywords and other metadata.
     
  7. JohanElzenga

    JohanElzenga Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    I agree that collections are a much better way. If you use smart collections, then you can make a smart collection for each (top) folder, that automatically updates itself when new images are added. Normal collections -created by dragging a folder into the collection panel, for example- don't do that.
     
  8. Pollok Shields

    Pollok Shields Active Member

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    Thanks for all your input. To answer my own question; No, Lightroom doesn't work with aliases.

    I added aliases for three folders (containing folders of images) which were located on three volumes to my "Pictures" folder on my Mac hard drive. In a new catalogue I had LR import the "Test Alias" folder and all contained folders. What I hoped for was that each of the three folders on the three different volumes would be listed under the single "Test Alias" folder. But they weren't. Instead LR has re-created the "original" volume and folder structure. Its exactly as if I had imported each volume/folder directly. LR does show my "Test Alias" folder but it appears empty.

    I appreciate the advice on creating collection but that involves another step in my workflow and keeping it up to date.
     
  9. JohanElzenga

    JohanElzenga Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    It doesn't have to be. Lightroom can add images to a collection on import, so you can do this without having to take an extra step. Collections are a much better way to organise your images. They are like virtual folders, with the great advantage over real folders that an image can be in multiple collections. Most advanced Lightroom users have a workflow that is entirely based on collections and smart collections, not on folders. They often keep their folders panel closed, because folders don't serve any other purpose than being the physical storage place. Once you learn how to use collections this way, you'll wonder how you ever managed without them.
     
  10. clee01l

    clee01l Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    Actually, its can replace the cumbersome and inefficient folder manipulating time that you now spend trying to force images into restrictive folder constraints.

    As seen by my folder panel above, I import using one of the default date named folder schemes. On import, I assign some keywords and a collection assignment. My import workflow consists of inserting the camera card, choosing an import preset and pressing the {Import} button. Smart collections defined by keywords and other image metadata get populated with my new imported images automatically. I spend the rest of my workflow, culling images, adding Titles, Captions and appropriate keywords. In the develop module, I define a crop and apply any necessary develop adjustments on the images that show promise. When the workflow steps are done, I press the {Publish} button in my Publish Services. The idea behind a Data asset manager like Lightroom is to work smarter not harder.
     
  11. Pollok Shields

    Pollok Shields Active Member

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    Okay, thanks, I've tried that. I should say I wouldn't usually copy from card to Mac using LR to import. That may have a bearing on my results. But in any case, I used LR to import and copy the files into dated folders. As it happens this card had pictures taken over two days so they went into two folders on my hard drive. So far so perfect. As suggested I added them to a Collection. But all the pictures from the import are aded to a single collection. So that doesn't automatically recreate my dated folder structure.

    But I'm not spending time fiddling with folders! My pictures are stored on my drives in dated folders. They are automatically imported there using a Photo Mechanic workflow - because its fast and efficient. If I want to see all of the pictures shot on one day at one location I can quickly go to them using my system. If your books are sorted alphabetically on your shelves its going to be quicker to put your hand on the one you want than having first to consult your card index...

    I think our difference is also because I'm moving pictures through my workflow quickly at times. I don't always need to carefully keyword each picture - sometimes there's either no time or no need. So when I come back to Lightroom to make sure everything's in order - maybe add keywords at that point - I find Lightroom gets in the way due to its - what I see as - unhelpful user interface.

    I do find Lightroom frustrating because it does what it does very well. But its not an application I look forward to and enjoy using.
     
  12. JohanElzenga

    JohanElzenga Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    Why would you want to recreate a dated folder structure as collections? The date that an image was taken is usually totally irrelevant. Use places, events and things like that to build a logical collection hierarchy. Take your vacation to Spain, for example. When importing the pictures, Lightroom may store these in as many as 14 different dated folders (if your vacation was two weeks). But when you create a collection hierarchy, just one collection called 'Spain', or 'Vacation 2017' or 'Vacation Spain 2017' makes a lot more sense than 14 collections by date.
     
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  13. clee01l

    clee01l Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    Are you physically moving pictures from one folder to another? This is not only tedious but very in efficient. Assigning images to static collections or better still letting LR assign images automatically to a Smart Collection based upon the image workflow state involves no file I/O and no waiting.
     
  14. Pollok Shields

    Pollok Shields Active Member

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    I was taking advice, it seemed to be "use collections"! Dated folders are where my files live. Its easier for me to find last Wednesdays pictures by a single click on a folder than a search or be forced to keyword each frame on import.

    For sure, I'd file all my Spanish holiday pictures in a single folder. Maybe, depending, I'd have subfolders by day...

    No, when I say I'm moving pictures I mean through my workflow; from camera to my hard drive using Photo Mechanic which adds basic metadata. I'm using PM to edit the set down them import those pictures into LR for processing. Back to PM for emailing to clients. Then I'll clean up by importing the 'reject' pictures to LR and at that point may add some keywords. Pictures have to be in and out quickly. I may not immediately need keywords. Having to add keywords and create a smart collection at this point wastes time.
     
  15. clee01l

    clee01l Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    Everything that you describe using complex folder names and processes outside of LR can be handled using collections, keywords and Smart Collections entirely in LR without the performance overhead of file I/O moving files around in the filesystem. If you learn to use LR as efficiently as you say that you do PhotoMechanic, then you will quickly realize that managing your images in one DAM tool instead of two DAM tools is infinitely more efficient and improves overall performance.
    I don't really care which DAM tool you use, you should only manage your image inventory with one. The biggest shortcoming to your workflow IMO is using too many DAM tools.
     
  16. JohanElzenga

    JohanElzenga Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    You wouldn't have to do that to get last Wednesdays pictures. Just filter on 'Metadata' in the filter bar. That's basically also one click (especially if you make presets for often used filters). I agree it's easier to find images of last Wednesday by clicking a dated folder. But what a about some images you shot last year or three years ago? Do you still know their specific shooting day by heart? I'd guess not...

    Dated folders are where most people store their files. But that doesn't mean you should use the same structure in your collections. If that's what you would do, then it does indeed make more sense to simply open the folder panel and click on a folder. Collections are like virtual folders. It doesn't make sense to create a virtual hierarchy that is identical to the real hierarchy.

    Adding some general keywords (like 'Spain' when you are on vacation in Spain) to all images on import is a breeze. And again you can save presets to make it even easier. Selecting an import preset can set the destination folder, add the images to a collection and add some general keywords. All in one click.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
  17. Pollok Shields

    Pollok Shields Active Member

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    I'm not moving files around. I'm copying pictures form my camera cards to my Mac hard drive. That stay on that drive while being processed. It's not until they are finished with that I'll move them to an external archive hard drive. That's a move that LR is very good at making.

    I'm only using a single DAM! Photo Mechanic is not a DAM application. Its a file browser, like Adobe Bridge. Except its fast and has a powerful set of metadata tools. Its the industry standard for my kind of work. I can have Photo Mechanic copy file from my camera cards to my hard drive - and another location - with basic copyright, caption and location metadata attached then rate the pictures to edit down a set of selected images before Lightroom has finished loading the "import" window. I'll pass the selected pictures to Lightroom for processing but once they're there no other DAM is involved. I'll use Photo Mechanic for the thing it does better and faster than Lightroom but never to manage the files.

    You'll find Photo Mechanic at Tour Photo Mechanic | Camera Bits, Inc.
     
  18. Pollok Shields

    Pollok Shields Active Member

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    I agree, I don't really want to have to recreate my folder structure. Which if you think about it are already "collections". At the top of the thread I was asking how I could see all my folders in a single list rather than have each hard drive show up separately. I was frustrated by having to open the folder list for one drive, close it to go to another external drive. It makes sense to me to have a single list of folders. Recreating that list as collections is indeed senseless.
     
  19. JohanElzenga

    JohanElzenga Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    True, but it would still make more sense to use collections rather than folders, just not a collection hierarchy that is identical to those folders. The advantage of using collections is first of all that you don't have this split over physical drives that triggered your question in the first place. Images can be in one single collection, even if they are physically spread over several dated folders and several external drives. The second advantage is that an image can be in multiple collections, so you don't have to ask yourself whether an image of your family on vaction should be stored under 'Family' or under 'Vacations' or 'Travel'. The third advantage is that you can use smart collections that populate themselves, based on criteria such as 'edited/not yet edited'. All of that gives you a much more powerful DAM system than folders can ever be.
     
  20. clee01l

    clee01l Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    Photo Mechanic, Bridge, Finder, Explorer etc are all file Management tools. (The "M" part of DAM). All I'm saying is that any file manager that is solely restricted to the filesystem is not as efficient as a fully functional DAM tool like LR.
     
  21. Pollok Shields

    Pollok Shields Active Member

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    I do use both Collections and Smart Collections. I'm working on a large set of pictures taken over a few years and using both types of Collections to manage them.

    Why can't I have both? Its whatever works for you and having a single 'definitive' list of folders at my fingertips works best for me.
     
  22. JohanElzenga

    JohanElzenga Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    Of course you can have both. But you asked a question because it didn't work well enough for you, and people are trying to be helpful and suggest answers.
     
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  23. rob211

    rob211 Senior Member

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    Maybe you tried it, so I apologize for repeating it.

    After images are imported into any given folder structure, I can just drag those folder icons onto say a collection set called "Folder Hierarchy" and bingo, there they are, with the same names as the folder. It would then list ALL your folders, no matter what volume they were on. Obviously if you start moving them about in folders you might have to change things. But I used this for sort of the opposite of your needs: I wanted to preserve a dated folder-type structure, but the client wanted all in one folder. Using collections by date served basically the same purpose. Yes, I could have set up smart collections, filtered, etc, but it was just easier to drag and drop the lot.
     
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  24. Pollok Shields

    Pollok Shields Active Member

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    Yes, thank you, this is probably the best solution. Seems to be working for me. As you say, the only downside is if I ad or remove a picture from the original folder the collection won't update. But I don't expect that to be a big problem. Thanks again, very helpful.
     
  25. clee01l

    clee01l Lightroom Guru Staff Member Lightroom Guru

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    If you want Collections to automatically update, then you need to use Smart Collections. The criteria: {Folder}{Contains}{[folder name]} will update your smart collection automatically when the contents of the source folder change.
     

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