I'm really trying to refine and improve my ability to transition from field to home with Lightroom and I'd love to hear others advice. Currently, I do all my main edits in a single Lightroom catalog that has every picture I ever took in it which currently has about 16,000 files in it, on my desktop computer at home. I back this up regularly to an internal drive as well as an external RAID 5 enclosure.
My problem is that I will go out on a shoot say for a week, download my shots my laptop and process them in a new blank catalog which doesn't have my keywords or presets or anything, and when I get home I want to be able to easily retain all my edits and transition to my desktop.
Now I know I need to do some work here but I don't know what direction I need to go. I've seen others have their entire catalog on an external drive, and just plug that into laptop, desktop, whatever and just do that. I have a 128meg SSD USB 3.0 drive available for this but it won't fit all my images obviously. Do I need to separate my stuff into keepers and archive catalogs, and make my keepers catalog my transient residing on my SSD? I KNOW I don't need all 16,000 images with at all times, but all 16,000 total about 383GB. I've also heard that a catalog with a high number of files like mine causes performance issues.
I guess I'm asking what solution would you recommend, and given that, how would take what I have and transition to that? I've been trying to go and just delete junk shots I don't need but it's very tedious. Where would Smart Previews come into play, if at all? If I had all the images with me, they wouldn't because they're only helpful when I don't have the full image?
Thanks in advance.