3 Steps for Moving from Lightroom to ON1 Photo RAW

3 Steps for Moving from Lightroom to ON1 Photo RAW

Are you ready or thinking about making the switch from Lightroom® to ON1 Photo RAW? If so, we want to make your transition as smooth as possible. There are two common ways to make the switch from Lightroom to ON1 Photo RAW and both depend on how you currently store your photos. I broke the most common method down into 3 steps to make it easier to follow along when making the switch from Lightroom. There is an alternate path (Path 2 below) that is even easier. Let’s begin!

Path 1

Remember, Lightroom is a non-destructive editor so all the metadata changes and the edits you’ve made are in Lightroom’s catalog file, not in the photos themselves. Fear not. We want you to maintain as much as you can from Lightroom so your time is not wasted. Our Lightroom Migration Assistant helps tremendously when you are ready to make the switch from Lightroom to ON1 Photo RAW. There are some key steps in this process to prepare first.

  1. Find your photos – Connect any external drives or shares containing photos you want to migrate. Then use the Sync Folder command in Lightroom to make sure your Lightroom catalog and the actual files are up-to-date. This will add any photos that Lightroom is missing as well as remove broken links.
  2. Pre-organize – Take this opportunity to remove any photos, virtual copies or collections you don’t care about. It’s also a good time to reorganize your folders if necessary. If you have multiple catalogs, rinse and repeat.
  3. Make the Switch – Next install ON1 Photo RAW if you haven’t already. Then open Lightroom and go to the File > Plug-in Extras menu. Then select the Migrate Catalog to ON1 Photo. You will see a dialog that looks like this.

The Migration Assistant will add all of the top-level folders in the Folders pane in Lightroom to Cataloged Folders in ON1 Photo RAW. All of the photos inside of these folders will be cataloged
automatically. Any metadata changes made in Lightroom will be migrated as well.

Things to Note about Path 1

  • What About Collections?
    Any normal collections, the ones you drag and drop photos into, and their contents will be copied over as Albums. Keep in mind that in ON1 Photo RAW, all of the Albums live at the same level. If you have used collection sets, the name of the collection set will be prepended to the album name. Unfortunately Smart Collections will not be migrated, but you can create Smart Albums later on which are similar.
  • What About My Edits from Lightroom?
    Lightroom and ON1 Photo RAW are both non-destructive editors. Again, edits are stored as instructions and not pixels. While both apps do similar things, they also do similar things differently. ON1 can’t take the exact instructions Lightroom creates and produce the same results. This leads us to two additional options to consider when switching from Lightroom.

Option 1:
Make the switch from Lightroom without those edits.

Option 2:
Create copies with the edits applied to them.

If you create copies, the Migration Assistant will find any photos in Lightroom with edits and will create a copy in the format you desire. The copies are stored next to the original photos.

The migration process can take some time especially if you select the copy with Lightroom adjustments option. You can continue to use Lightroom and ON1 Photo during the migration process. The Migration Assistant is intended for one-time migration of catalogs, not continual syncing of changes. However, if you have more than one Lightroom catalog you can use the Migration Assistant again on each catalog to merge them into one ON1 Photo RAW installation.

Path 2

If you store and manage photos in a folder structure and your photos are then organized in sub-folders making the switch is VERY easy. This path also assumes any edits you have made to your photos are stored in the photos themselves, or copies of the original photos. This is the case if you have been using a normal pixel-editor like Adobe® Photoshop® or Photoshop Elements®. Simply open ON1 Photo RAW and browse to the location where your photos are stored. If you have any top-level folders (like your My Pictures folder) set it as a cataloged folder. Go to the File menu and select Add Cataloged Folder. This will add all of your folders and the photos in those folders to ON1 Photo RAW. Cataloging occurs in the background which extracts and catalogs the photos metadata as well as a screen-sized preview for each photo so you can search and move between photos lightning-fast pace. That’s it, you’re done.

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