I recently got a Dell Precision M6500 for various tasks. While I still use my Macbook Pro primarily, I have to say the Dell is more and more tempting because it knocks the socks off my Mac when it comes to speed. Anyway, I was testing a PC-only Lightroom plug-in and I stumbled across (what I feel at least) is a great way to share your catalogs if you use multiple computers.

First, it requires that you store your photos on an external hard drive (which I already do).

Now, let’s say I’m working on my Mac and I’m working on a bunch of photos. I add keywords, Develop module changes, new Collections, etc… Well when I’m done, I close Lightroom. Then I go to where the actual catalog file is stored (You can see the location under the Lightroom > Catalog Preferences menu on a Mac / Edit > Catalog Preferences menu on a PC). I copy the .LRCAT file on to my external drive.

Next, I attach the external drive to my other computer, copy the .LRCAT file over and open Lightroom. I have to say, it sure beats doing the File > Export as Catalog and File > Import as catalog “thing”. I mean, either way, I need to copy something to a drive to get it over to my other computer right? This way just feels much cleaner to me and since my photos are all stored on the external drive.

If you’re wondering why not just work on the catalog directly from the external drive, it’s because that will significantly slow down Lightroom as it needs to write to that catalog file pretty often. Anyway, I’ll keep you posted as time goes on to let you know how this method works for me in the long run. But for now, I’m really digging it. Thoughts? Comments?