It took a whole day at the desk but I think Lightroom is straightened out:

  • Everything that exists as the original raw or jpeg is accounted for. Everything that was missing for whatever reason isn’t in the collection anymore.
  • Everything pre-2015 is in its own catalog with its own backup plan to the NAS and cloud.
  • Everything post-2014 is in its own catalog and completely in Adobe’s cloud as well as NAS and public cloud-backed.
  • A few projects I did for other people are in their own catalogs and in a backup plan.
  • There’s an “everything pre-sort” archive up on S3 that’ll just sit there for a while.

I had some worry because Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC and Adobe Creative Cloud all have some ideas about what’s in sync and what’s not that are nerve-wracking if you haven’t paid close attention to how everything was sorted to begin with. With this whole exercise over, I seem to know where everything is: If it’s in Lightroom CC, I know the original is at least in Lightroom Classic, even if it’s only available in CC as a Smart Preview.

The hard part was going through seven years of photos and culling, but I ended up getting rid of close to half of that collection by the time I got rid of duplicate jpegs, stuff that didn’t really do anything for me anymore, and things I realized worked well as just three or four photos of a thing instead of 50.

I had to learn one workaround to make sure everything was syncing to Adobe’s cloud:

You can’t just tell Lightroom “put everything in Classic into the cloud.” Everything has to be in a collection that is set to sync. Until that’s done, you have two running numbers: The total number of photos in your collection and the total number synced.

By the time I was done culling I still had close to 2,000 items that weren’t in sync for whatever reason. My first thought was “sync status is metadata, so I’ll just make a filter, find them, and put them in the right collections.”

Nope. Lightroom knows exactly which ones are synced and which aren’t, but you can’t make a filter for it. You have to:

  1. Go into your “all synced” collection and select all. (Selections persist even as you change between collections, which matters for step 2:)
  2. Go into your “all photos” collection and “invert selection.” That’s everything that was not selected in the “all synced” collection.
  3. Drag the result of that inversion into a collection of its own you can either sync, or use as a way to get things sorted into collections that are in sync.

Now that I know how to do it it’s a one-minute operation. Sure is counter-intuitive, though.