I use LR6 stand alone, no Photoshop, on an iMac (El Capitan). It depends what you want to do with your images, I find that LR6 offers sufficient in terms of processing together with the excellent and free Google FX plugins for me. I'm happy with the LR6 stand alone version which I got free when I bought one of my cameras. The online subscription for Photographers which includes Photoshop and LR is excellent value and one day I just might change to it rather than pay for a stand alone upgrade or should Adobe move completely to a subscription model of course. Only issue I have with LR is that it seems a bit slow at times in terms of booting up, that's not an exclusive criticism to me either, nor just OSX and it was like this before I moved my images to an external disc because of capacity issues on the iMac hard drive.. As you say there is a huge knowledge base out there for LR, on Youtube and Social Media and I've found it a great source of information. I'd recommend watching some of the Lightroom basics videos on Youtube like this one -
Lightroom Basic Optimisation I'm not saying this is the best out there but it's somewhere to start !. There are plenty to choose from out there and a lot of the better ones on magazine websites and some hints and tips that come up on their FB feeds are pretty good. I like the stuff on the Fuji Blog, it's simple and inevitably short explanations/tips - useful for all cameras although clearly some info in regards to processing options is specifically related to Fuji cameras The Fuji Blog Tutorials
I shoot mostly in Jpeg, LR6 gets some stick for Fuji RAW processing but it's fine for me. I moved to Lightroom from Aperture and went through the learning curve and I'm still learning. Capture One is well rated by some but I've no desire to start over again, neither my photography or sanity needs it
In terms of workflow the LR6 catalogue is resident on my iMac. Images are resident on a 2tb permanently attached external USB drive exclusively used for images, imports are to that drive but using the copying facility within LR6 import process a copy of the original files are automatically sent to another permanently attached 2tb drive. The iMac and the Image 2tb is backed up using Time Machine to a 3tb USB drive and to a 2 x 4tb NAS.
You must have your images backed up, not just one copy - leaving them on your laptop is a recipe for disaster.
Thx for the backup advice
FWIW I have /(had, grrrr) a NAS (single enclosure) which is currently giving me grief. Looks like th drive will have to recovered by an IT monkey, though my back catalogue of pics, music etc is backed up to some external drives.
Good idea with the off-site backup though
Sort yourself out with a proper means to backup easily before you worry about using LR itself.
I have a second machine in the house with a copy of everything I have worked on or am about to work on, I also take an external drive to work to copy those files to my work PC so that I have an "offsite" back up in case the house burns down.
Get a card reader as peteAllen has said and having an SSD big enough to work on your raw files is nice, but spend the money on a backup solution before a luxury item unless you can afford to do it all in one kit.
boutique supplier is the best, Zen have always been highly regarded, mine is one that you'll have never heard of (BIG clue there), if I have a problem 1st call straight through to an engineer 24x7 usually begins "hi Paul, not heard from you in a while, whatsup?" (I'm probably flagged "don't bullshit" he knows about stuff)
I pay for an odd fibre package (probably bespoked as I've been with them for years), basically full unlimited FTTC so max 65-ish (cabinet a distance away) out of office hours which is fine - so mirror of a business contract
"unlimited" is at all times, I can get slowed down during the day - still pretty fast though, i am guessing around 20-25 min down / 10 up, so IF I am at home I am alone and wouldn't notice
however "unlimited" is key as when the students are home you would not believe how much data they chew through
have a few mates with them, everyone seems happy so you get what you pay for - mine is £36/month, my calls are with them via C&W
anyone interested PM me
PS any supplier with advertising that states "award winning" / "best in class" / "highly rated" / "great customer service" / "industry leading" - well you know what you will actually get don't you? and and