Archive Lightroom Cloud Originals

This article would have helped me when I began using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC. It describes how to use Lightroom CC with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC to export original photos from the cloud. I am writing it with the hope that you find it useful.

Since Lightroom CC added the ability to capture images in the HDR-DNG format I have started using it more. I use it to capture images for articles on my phone. The photography plan is a good value. It comes with enough cloud storage to hold around four hundred HDR-DNG photos.

I maintain a master archive of all my original photographs on a disk array. How I manage the array is a topic for another post, but I want every picture stored in the archive.

I export the photographs after every shoot. I could buy more cloud storage, but I am frugal, and it forces me to keep the archive updated.

I should add that only the photographs I make on mobile devices go into Lightroom CC. All others go straight from the memory card or film scan to disk.

Steps to archive Lightroom CC cloud originals

The following descriptions are for a macOS® computer. The steps are the same on a Windows® computer, so they are still useful there. Lightroom CC as used here refers to the desktop application. The details are different if you use the online or mobile app.

1) Check that the cloud contains all the photos.

  • A quick way to do this is to open the By Date folder in Lightroom CC and check for the photos.
  • If you can’t find the photos go to the device that captured them captured.
  • Open the Lightroom CC application and let it finish syncing to the cloud.

2) Create an album from the images.

  • While you are in Lightroom CC select the photos and create an album from them.
  • You do that by clicking the + on the ALBUMS line and selecting Create Album.
  • Fill in the album name in the popup and make sure Include the selected photos is checked.
  • Then click Create.

3) Open your Lightroom Classic catalog that syncs to Lightroom CC.

  • If you don’t have one yet, open one that you want to start syncing. I use a catalog dedicated to archiving.
  • You can have only one classic catalog synced to Lightroom CC.
  • Click on the Lr badge in the upper left corner of Lightroom Classic.
  • Choose Sync with Lightroom CC.

4) Wait for the images to download to the desktop.

  • The new album is under Collections -> From Lightroom CC in the left panel.
  • It may take some time for the photos to download so be patient.
  • Frequent archiving make the waiting less painful.

5) Export the collection as a catalog.

  • Right-click the collection and select Export this Collection as a Catalog.
  • In the popup select the folder where you want to create the catalog. I usually create it in Pictures.
  • Enter the name for the new collection in the Save As box.
  • Click Export Catalog. Lightroom creates a new folder with the new name underneath the directory you choose.

6) Copy the photos to your archive.

  • Open the new catalog’s folder.
  • The folder contains one or more folders that have a very long name.
  • The long-named folders hold your original photos from the album.
  • Now copy those photos to your archive.
  • You could archive the new catalog if you want to keep the Lightroom® metadata and edits with the photos.

I don’t archive the entire catalog because I try to keep the master archive pure and free of tool specifics. How I manage Lightroom® data outside of the archive is a topic for another article.

I hope you found some parts of this article helpful in your workflow. I would love to hear how you used it.

Donald R Anderson


Adobe product screenshot(s) reprinted with permission from Adobe Systems Incorporated

Posted by Donald R Anderson

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