Tracking Your Photos Outside of Lightroom

by David Miller

In my quest to track my photos out in the wild, I’ve settled upon an efficient but slightly–less–than–ideal solution: drag the photos in question from Lightroom (both the filmstrip and grid will work as drag sources) to my destination of choice. I’ve settled upon a VoodooPad document with one page for each publication; dragging photos from Lightroom into VoodooPad will result in a link back to the file, wherever it happens to be located on my computer. I include any relevant publication information that I wish to catalog alongside the link back to the file. Here’s one page that illustrates my simple solution:



Bruce McL
2007-12-12 09:14:52
When you drag a file from Lightroom to the desktop you get an unedited copy of the original image. When you drag an image from the desktop to VoodooPad you get a link to the image.
You're not just experiencing problems with Lightroom's behavior. You are experiencing problems with the interaction of Lightroom and Finder. I don't think that Lightroom can or should be fixed to change this behavior. You are just using drag and drop for something that it isn't really appropriate for.

I think the answer is a new command in Lightroom, something like, "Copy link to edited image to clipboard." Once you do that you could paste the link into VoodooPad. Adding this feature might not be trivial. Remember the image you are looking at in Lightroom may not exist physically on your hard drive. It might be that Lightroom is creating the image on the fly from the original and your editing instructions. How do you make a link to something that doesn't exist?

2007-12-12 11:54:43
But dragging an image straight into VoodooPad results in a link to the image on your filesystem being created; this can be confirmed by control-clicking on the link and viewing its properties. Clicking on the link is equivalent to double-clicking the linked-to file from the Finder.

The you method recommend is similar to Yojimbo's (and many other applications that make use of a "master library") "Copy Item Link" feature outlined here by John Gruber for Leopard's Mail application. Even if the linked-to image doesn't exist on your hard drive when the link is opened, Lightroom should be able to determine which master file is being referred to based on the link that was opened and open its preview (in the same way that Mail can resolve the link "message: " to the original item that it refers to).

And as for triviality, Lightroom's got some mojo that makes this feature seem pretty basic :).

Thomas Pickard
2007-12-12 12:56:46
I might be missing something with this, but why would you want to do something so counter intuitive given the capabilities of LR?

For images that have been tweaked and submitted to magazines as TIFF or JPEG why don't you just save them in the same directory path as the original and in LR, stack them together?

The advantages of this include:
1. You have all versions of a photo with the original image
2. Because it is in the same directory path, it gets backed up when you back up your photos

As for keeping track of what photos go where - how about creating a Collection called Magazine Name here - Submission Month here?

Honestly, I can not see why you would add those steps into your workflow which is actually outside of LR.

2007-12-12 15:41:45
That's perfect! Not sure why I didn't think of using stacks for this; so far I've only been using stacks for virtual copies of the same photo. Thanks Thomas!