Traveling Lightroom libraries

A few years ago I made a guide for denniskluytmansfotografie which helped people to take their Lightroom libraries to other PC’s without the use of the cloud or any paid subscriptions. I know, I know; when you buy Lightroom you will get the 20GB for free and you can buy the storage for really cheap. But, do you know what happens with your files in the cloud? The cloud is just someone else his/her computer you know. Why not keep it all to yourself, better be safe than sorry. We’re going to use nextcloud for this.

There are several ways to achieve traveling libraries but they require you to have a NAS (network attached storage, more on that here). So is this way, but since most photographers have some kind of NAS we can proceed.

We will be using NextCloud, a free opensource personal cloud with a dropbox like application. you can synchronize your whole lightroom photo library


Using Synology NAS

There are different ways for this one as well. The fairly easy way and the easier way. When you bought one of those fancy models with multiple bays and intel inside you will be able to use Docker. if you did not, well we will go the other route.


Since I don’t own A Synology NAS with docker but use a storage solution like Freenas / Truenas with enterprise grade features I will explain the other route. Still have that fancy Synology no worries: this guide has you covered.

No docker

To install Nextcloud on a Synology nas without docker you will need to have the following:

  • Web Station
  • Apache HTTP Server 2.4
  • PHP 7.3
  • phpMyAdmin 4.9 / Also install PHP 7.2
  • MariaDB 10.3

When you started the MariaDB installation you will be prompted to create a password. the user for this password is root remember both username and password

MariaDB install

Now we have MariaDB set-up you’ll need to create the database. the easy way to do this is by clicking phpmyadmin within Synology. Then you click this:


When you created the database we need to open up webstation and at “general settings” be sure that “HTTP Back-end server” will be changed to “apache HTTP server 2.4” and “PHP” needs to show “PHP 7.3”

Webstation general settings

Then select the “PHP settings” tab and edit the PHP 7.3 default profile by double clicking it.

Webstation PHP settings

Check “Enable PHP cache” and also check all the extensions. Next click on the Core Tab.

In the core tab you need to change the following values to your needs:

memory_limit= 512M
upload_max_filesize= 128M (Allows uploading maximum file size)
post_max_size= 128M
opcache.enable= 1
opcache.enable_cli= 0
opcache.interned_strings_buffer= 64
opcache.max_accelerated_files= 32531
opcache.memory_consumption= 512
opcache.save_comments= 1
opcache.revalidate_freq= 240
Webstation PHP core settings

After this is done you’ll need to press OK and navigate to file station. There you’ll need to upload the Nextcloud install to “Web” you can download the install here. After the upload you need to change the properties.


For the user SYSTEM you’ll need to check “READ” and “WRITE” and press OK

Filestation folder permissions

After that navigate to your newly created personal cloud, you can do that by going to “http://<your NAS IP>/nextcloud”

It will look like the following

Nextcloud install screen
  • Username: <what ever you like>
  • Password: <what ever you like>
  • data folder can remain as is
  • configure the database: MYSQL/MARIADB
    • User: root
    • Password: <what you specified in step 1>
    • Database name: nextcloud
    • Localhost: localhost

Then press finish setup and the first part is done

Installing Nextcloud client

Now everything is up and running you might want to setup that easy sync method. In order to do that we need to install the sync client which can be downloaded here.

After the download you need to execute the file. Since I already have installed Nextcloud I will proceed from the onboarding.

You need to press sign in:

Nextcloud Sign on

Next enter: http://<your synology address>/nextcloud and press next

Nextcloud server details
Nextcloud authentication

A new screen will pop-up where you need to login and grant access to your “Server”.

Nextcloud Login
Nextcloud grant access

when you did grant access you’re done with the IT stuff!
You need to copy over the Lightroom folder to the Nextcloud folder specified here:

Nextcloud folder setup.

Sync will occur and you now can install the Nextcloud client on multiple devices and your Lightroom library will download by it’s self.
On the new devices you need to choose where the library is (opening the library from the Nextcloud folder).


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