Using projects on two different computers / external USB drive

Hello everybody
I’d like to split my photo workflow to two computers using one external hard drive:
1.) Import photos from my camera to the usb drive, sort the new phosot into projects, and let my wife select which photos to process using the red/green tags on her MacBook air.
2.) Swap the usb drive to my other Mac and do the editing and export on this machine (it is 4x faster than the MacBook air…)
Unfortunately, the projects created on the MacBook do not appear on the other machine. Is there a way to store this information on the external drive, too?
Thanks a lot

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Not really. Projects are only stored in the database on each machine.

Why not simply sort them into folders on the USB drive?

Is it possible to tag the photos red/green, then grab all “green” photos and move them to a new folder on the USB? If not the sorting would have to be done outside Photolab. This is very inconvenient in the Finder.


Could’t it work having both the database and the files copied on the disc that is passed from the main machine after finishing a project / session?

If they have two discs and the first computer always is upstream and master and always is used solely on the first computer and both the files and the database are copied after the session on the first is finished and the second computer is configured too to use the database on the external drive?

When the second computer is ready with the images they could just be copied back to the first computer with dop-files and all. Couldn´t that work? The database on the first computer will still be master and if a new Session / Project is prepared on the master that database will also have the new Project in that database ready for the next “transfer” to the second computer.

Project association could easily be stored in the sidecar files which would enable better collaboration across multiple devices either via network drives or usb drives or cloud based synchronization.

But it’s not handled that way, unfortunately.

This is a good idea. I added it to the feature request forum, maybe give it a vote:

Unfortunately, this would mean having to search every single DOP file on the hard drive, just to gather all the images for a single project.

Which is why they stored in a relational database.

This allows bi-directional searching and is implementing but using three table linked together like this…

image link project
1 1-1 1
1 1-2 2
2 2-1 1
2 2-2 2
3 3-1 1
3 3-2 2

Without this, everything would become incredibly clunky and slow.

Nope. The info would also be stored in the database for quick access.
However if, when a sidecar file is accessed when a new directory is scanned or a new picture is selected, the sidecar information changed, then the project info in the database could be updated.

Quite easy. Virtually no performance penalty as the sidecars are being opened and read/interpreted to find things like star ratings…

But the same thing applies. PhotoLab’s searching is from the selected directory downwards. Without the database cache, which is not guaranteed to be up to date, especially if more files are added to an, as yet unopened, folder outside of PL.

Who said there is no database cache???

This is getting too technical for me now, sorry.

The way to go for me at the moment is:
Do what I want to do on the first computer, then export the Library to the USB drive. Then connect the USB drive to the other computer and import the library. After finishing work on this computer, do the same again.
Not nice, but works. Especially because the USB drive can be used on one machine at the time, anyway,

FYI for those interested I stumbled across another thread in the form of a feature request which I think helps resolve the original poster’s request… feel free to vote for it if you haven’t already.

Interestingly back then everyone thought it was a great idea!