• Welcome to Photography Forum. Our photography community!

    Photography-forum is dedicated to those who have passion, desire and love of photography and want to improve their photographic technique. It doesn't matter what you photograph, landscapes, weddings, portraits or your photographic experience, it's about learning and loving what we do. Photography!

    If you want learn and expand your photography skills then there is one place to do it Photography Forum !!!

    You are viewing photography-forum as a guest which gives you limited access to view most forums and enjoy other features. By joining our free community you will be able to post photographs for critique, join in the monthly photography competitions, respond to polls, upload content and enjoy many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please join Photography Forum.

    If you have any problems please contact us.

    The Photography-Forum Team
    Click here to see Forum Rules

Lightroom Classic CC with OneDrive and small SSD! Help please!


Here a lot
Hi - I've got a Macbook with a fairly small SSD drive... that is running out of storage space. I use Lightroom Classic (the desktop version of CC) and also have a OneDrive cloud storage drive which is currently used for backups.

What I want to achieve is to have my photos 'available' (ie visible at least) on Lightroom, but to minimise the local storage and have the underlying files (once i've finished working on them) sitting on OneDrive in order to free up my SSD. (Backing up is another matter... can ignore that for now as I can just do a simple backup to an external drive once in a while from OneDrive) I've done a bit of online reading and some threads on here and am still confused as to my best set-up. It looks like using Lightroom Previews on my local drive might help?

Can anyone more IT literate than myself give me any guidance as to how to structure my files and use Lightroom in this way? TIA


Stuck in Toronto
Honestly, I would use an external drive and then use OneDrive as a back up solution. You can actively work on photos on an external drive, but you should keep your Catalogue and Previews on the internal drive. This will make a simpler workflow for you, import into Lightroom from memory card and copy them to the external at the same time. I would think having Photos in your catalogue that are on OneDrive would also slow down Lightroom when you try to access them, maybe even slow it on start up.

Look for catalogue backups, you may have many that can be deleted. By default Lightroom wants to back it up every week. This may free up a lot of space.

Minor Problem

Always on
Premium Member
I would use your local SSD drive as storage for the catalogue but use a fast external drive for storage, that way you'll have previews stored on your laptop but all the big files elsewhere.


Ol' Sparky
Honorary Life Member
As the guys said above, just use the SSD for the catalogues; and with that render Smart Previews that way you can keep on working them when the external is disconnected.

I've a 13" Pro and that has only got a 128GB internal SSD and it's still very workable for Lightroom Classic (though it's let down because it could do with more memory and better cooling) and just got an USB 3 caddy and an 512GB SSD and there's nothing to tell the difference between files being on internal or on external.

What @DonS does mention about OneDrive slowing the thing down, it will; that will be constantly looking at if there's anything changed and then reading or writing them changes, as well as the application eating memory and processor whilst it's doing it's thing (and also it'll hog at startup as it compares the last saved local with the last saved remote files).


Here a lot
Thanks for the advice all

So if I used an external drive, I’d just need to have it plugged in when wanting to access the ‘archived’ older photos (ie those I’m not actively working on), but I can save the previews on the SSD so they’re always visible?

Sounds a good solution if so, thank you!

(PS been a member on this forum for 7 years but not logged in for a year or so - forgot how helpful it was... I will be back!)


Ol' Sparky
Honorary Life Member
So if I used an external drive, I’d just need to have it plugged in when wanting to access the ‘archived’ older photos (ie those I’m not actively working on), but I can save the previews on the SSD so they’re always visible?
You can save the images directly to the the external hard drive, and use the smart preview function; the only time you would actually need your external drive plugged in to the computer after the previews have been created is when you export the images.

Have a look through here, it explains it a bit better https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/help/lightroom-smart-previews.html as whilst this video is directed at Lightroom 5 the process is still the same.