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Using Photos app masters folder as Lightroom masters folder #1
Ben's picture
by Ben
April 19, 2015 - 1:44pm


Im a Lightroom user but really like the idea of having my library in the cloud. One way to do this is to put all my images in Photos and turn on iCloud Photos.

However, I don’t want duplicate files to manage and take up a lot of space on my hard drive. So I was think I could have Lightroom reference the masters folder used by Photos (which is within the app’s package contents). That way the masters will upload to iCloud, but I can still use Lightroom to manage and develop images.

Workflow would be to add images via Photos app, then synchronise the folder in lightroom to bring the images in there.

I’m wondering if this would stuff up either of the libraries (since they are both non-destructive editors, the only problems I can foresee relate to file locations. But something tells me it’s not that simple.)

Has anyone tried this or have any thoughts?


Ben's picture
by Ben
May 3, 2015 - 12:08pm

Guess no one else is wondering about this…

Anyway, I’ve been doing some testing. Obvious note: I’m testing using test catalgue/library files. The below is based on my experience only. Be careful trying any of this as it may stuff up your library/catalogue!

To get Lightroom to include the Photos App masters folder, I opened the Photos App package contents, then dragged and dropped the masters folder into the Lightroom Library view. Lightroom will then add the folder in the left pane. Now all you need to do is right-click and synchronise the folder to get all the photos to appear in Lightroom.

So far, everything seems to work fine, except for:

  1. Deleting files through Lightroom doesn’t work. Whilst you can actually get Lightroom to remove the file from your disk, Photos App doesn’t seem to register this at all. It still seems to think the file is there, even after restarting the app. I had to “delete” the photo through Photos App (and permanently delete from “Recently Deleted”) for it to actually disappear from Finder.
  2. Whilst Photos App file structure is by YYYY/MM/DD, this is based on the import session, rather than the photo capture date. This is unlike Lightroom, where on import I get Lightroom to put the imported photos into YYYY/MM/DD folders based on capture date. The issue this raises (for me anyway) is that I like to browse the folders in Lightroom to find photos. However, since I am synchronising to Photos App master folder, I can only see photos based on their import date into Photos App. Bit annoying.

Apart from the above two issues, it seems to work ok. I can manage my photos through Lightroom, but still have them sync to iCloud.

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