Sharing a Lightroom Database Revisited

by Johann Gudbjargarson

My last week's post about using Lightroom on multiple computers has received some excellent comments, and not everyone agrees about the need for this. My challenge is that both my girlfriend and I share the same camera in many situations, so our pictures are not separated.

We we return home, we empty the cards to our iMac and one of us starts to work on the pictures from the trip. Since we also have a MacBook Pro computer, it would be incredible to be able to work on the pictures simultaneously to save time. My guess is that studios with multiple photographers would also like this functionality.

I agree that it will probably be few versions of Lightroom before we will see true multi-user environment for Lightroom because it's not really what the program is trying to do, and its architecture probably isn't built to to support such functionality.

More important to me is the ability to open up the same Library from different computers, even though it wouldn't support two or more simultaneous users on the same Library. This is because we each have our own computers and having access to all of our photos is crucial.

Both Richard and PECourtejole pointed out in comments in last post that it is possible saving the library on external file with the pictures and then it is possible to open it up with different computers by connecting the drive. I think that is a route I will be going with for the time being. I have a decent Firewire 800 drive, so the speed should be pretty good in Lightroom.

Thank you all for your good comments, and please email me or post here if you want me to discuss any specific parts of my Lightroom set up.


2007-05-22 21:24:45
This is exactly what I'm doing : saving the Library with the photo files on an external FW 800 hardrive.
It works flawlessly and I don't have performance issues.


Gilles ( France )

2007-05-22 23:20:24
It is normal, Gilles, I pointed to your blog post about it ;)
Geoff Wilson
2007-05-23 00:30:25
This thread on flickr implies that there should be some changes for Lightroom 1.1 that help with multi-user/multi-machine.

Catalogs sound like it would replicate some of the functionality from products like iView Media Pro, and may help with DAM as well.

Brian Excarnate
2007-05-30 11:26:01
I found a product that does shared library for photos. For a small work group it starts at around $5000 and goes up as you add users, ending up north of 10K for basically unlimited users. I don't recall the name as I need a new car more than I need that product.

What I want is similar to what you want. I want to have a server (Mac Mini) that stores the catalog, and use gig ethernet to access the library (to my more powerful machine and my wife's more powerful machine). We do not need concurrent access, I would like to have locking on the database to avoid corruption issues, though. Network accessible non-concurrent access shouldn't be too hard to implement, and if sub-libraries were implemented it might allow concurrent access to different sub-libraries (though I'd rather have smart folders and sub-libraries that were definable as smart folders).

2007-06-13 20:47:00
I do also have a need to share data from one computer to another in lightroom. I would think that if you can tell lightroom to put the data onto a server drive, we would be able to access it from any computer with lightroom looking to that same drive. I just don't know how to tell lightroom where to look. any info would be helpful!
2007-07-08 14:35:55
I have been using a product called Slingshot by Martian Technology - - to synchronize files between my Mac desktop & laptop for a while now. In my particular case, I would never update my Lightroom catalog simultaneously on both machines, so simply syncing the most recent version works well.

I generally have the laptop in the field, then sync back to the desktop. It was only a $30 investment, but serves me well.