Lightroom on the iPad almost a dream come true

Shoot in the field… Edit on the iPad then sync it all back to your home studio 

I recently took the plunge and tried out Lightroom Mobile. It is a new companion app for Adobe Lightroom, the absolute best photo developing, cataloging tool available today. If you have a decent camera you owe it to your craft to use Lightroom. I’ve been using the desktop version for years and love it… but I had ignored their mobile app when it came out last year. 

 Tried it… but thought there was a deal breaker 

The mobile app is fantastic. It is a real pleasure to develop and edit your photos with your fingers… A very analog and organic experience with digital photographs… I also loved the idea of working in the field… To be able to look at my shots while on location and to develop them then and there. Lightroom Mobile seemed to hold out this very promise…except for one gotcha. Due to the way Lightroom Mobile works, it can only import JPEG files on the iPad for syncing back to the desktop via the cloud. This is a problem for serious photographers who usually shoot in RAW format which is the equivalent to shooting your photos with a digital negative… It was looking like if I wanted to use Lightroom Mobile I would have to forego shooting in RAW format, something I was not willing to do.

I got to thinking about it and I figured out a way to get LightRoom Mobile and Raw working in harmony. I shot with RAW + JPEG. Then imported the images to the iPad and then imported the JPEGs to LIghtroom Mobile. I did my developing on the iPad and let it sync back to the Desktop. Here’s the trick…

You have to then import the same images again to the desktop, but this time the RAW version… Then you copy and paste develop settings….from the JPEGs to the RAW files. 

 I wasn’t the first one to figure this out 

So then I got googling around and found other people had already sussed this out… This guy has a good video tutorial of it in action. The whole process is a bit of a clunky work-around, but I am more than happy to put up with it in exchange for developing my photos with my fingers!

I’m pretty sure Adobe will clean this workflow up and make an elegant solution of it. The ability to develop in the field and sync back to the home studio is a pretty compelling sell for the creative cloud solution they want everyone to subscribe to.