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:
While this home-brew solution isn’t exactly rocket science, it should serve me perfectly. Well… almost perfectly. There’s always a catch, and it happens to be that when clicking on the link to open the image (or by opening it via any another method, such as the Finder) Lightroom thinks you are trying to re-import the image, rather than simply revealing it within Lightroom. It turns out that Lightroom is smart enough to not re-import it, but it chooses to take pre-emptive action to notify you that the photo is not being duplicated with the following dialog:
There are a few snags with the “Problem with Importing Files” dialog, depending on how picky you happen to be:
- first off, it’s not always a “problem”: opening your images from outside of the application shouldn’t be considered a problem;
- from an interface perspective, clicking either the “OK” or “Cancel” button results in the same result (of nothing happening) when only one photo is being “imported”;
- and although clicking the “Show in Library” button doesn’t re-import the photo — which makes sense — it will automatically activate the Library module, thereby disrupting you if you happen to be doing something other than applying metadata to your library.
In choosing to show the image in the Library, Lightroom will take the courtesy to create a temporary collection containing the existing photo(s) for you, as illustrated below:
None of this procedure is broken, per se. But in an ideal world the “re-imported” photo would be loaded into whichever module is active — rather than throwing up a dialog box and then activating the Library — to avoid interrupting your workflow. However, Lightroom is still relatively young and let’s be honest: this behaviour isn’t the end of the world. I am hoping that this behaviour gets tweaked in an upcoming release but until then I’ll be clicking a few more buttons than necessary.