Peter Krogh is well known for his expertise in Digital Asset Management, and is the author of The DAM Book, considered by many to be the definitive look at managing digital images. This places him well to write a book about managing Lightroom Catalogs, and more specifically using more than one catalog in a workflow. That said, the book goes in-depth on working with a single catalog. Hence the title ‘Multi-Catalog Workflow for Lightroom 5’.
Let me start by saying that I really like this book. If you want the TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) version: Get it. This 114 page book also comes with over 3 1/2 hours of video, getting deep in to catalogs in the time others cover the entirety of Lightroom. Straight off the bat Peter gives names to the different types of Catalog one could have: Master, Project, Transfer, etc. Names for things I do and recommend to other in appropriate circumstances. Much better than main, shoot and temporary catalog, which can be confusing.
Where necessary, the ebook also includes videos for visual demonstrations of the text. You can follow along with the text to accomplish anything in the book, but often the video reinforces it, and seeing the process can often make it more intuitive. Sometimes the video is there instead of text, where the text would be too complex or time consuming.
The eBook doesn’t assume you know about catalogs, and has quite a lot of detail on interacting with them, including things like renaming the component parts properly, how preview size affects the total catalog folder size or even how to use Smart Previews. My current workflow between 2 computers is covered: Catalog & data on an external drive. Of course the limitations are covered too.
One area that sees little talk is Backup. Peter shows how to use external tools for backup, as well as how to use Lightroom’s internal Catalog backup. More importantly we get to see how to restore a catalog, as well as how to find undamaged catalogs.
The next part of the book covers the processes required in working with many catalogs: How to merge & split catalogs, using normal and smart collections to track changes, sharing presets, using dummy catalogs for storing Smart Collections & Keywords etc. These techniques form the basis of the workflows that follow.
The final part of the book are the workflows that cover various situations photographers might come across in a multi Catalog situation. Obviously because this is the heart of the book, and I’m just giving an overview, I’m not going to try and fit the 90+ minutes of video and 40+ pages of text from this section into a paragraph. There are 5 workflows covered, some with more than one option: Multiple Master Catalogs, Project and Master Catalogs, Working and Archive Catalogs, Synchronized Catalogs and finally, Satellite Catalogs. They’re not mutually exclusive either, and work with each other. Peter provides exact settings and steps, as well as warnings of what could go wrong, and how to avoid it.
This is a solid book, and a worthy investment of those with an interest in managing Catalogs in Lightroom 5. It covers everything from basic Catalog work to full multi Catalog workflows in a down to earth, but comprehensive, manner. Full book details, including Table of Contents and video list are on The DAM Book website, while the book can her purchased directly from their bookshop. Peter has kindly given me a discount code which offers 10% off:
It’s good until Oct 10th. Enjoy.
(And in this case it isn’t an affiliate code-the lack or presence of such a thing is not a reason for me to choose or reject reviewing a book)