Category Archives: iPad

Adobe release Lightroom mobile 2.4 for iOS

lr-mobile-100I normally don’t get too excited when a new version of Adobe Lightroom mobile comes along, but 2.4 is different. Why?

Well, version 2.4 includes two features that I, and I suspect many other photographers, have long been waiting for. These are Raw support  and Local Adjustments. Unfortunately, they’re only available to ‘Adobe Creative Cloud’ subscribers.

Other minor features introduced in version 2.4 that all users can avail of include:

  • support for keyboard shortcuts. This feature requires an external keyboard, and is activated by pressing down on the ‘Cmd’ key,
  • the ability to add your own copyright to photos, and
  • support for the latest Camera Raw version.

New features are all well and good, but unless instructions on how to use them are provided then users will likely struggle to understand how they work. So, taking each of the new features in turn I’ll try to explain the workflow.

Raw Support

Raw support allows you to import and edit Raw photos taken with your digital camera. These photos can then be synced back to ‘Lightroom CC’ on your desktop computer. Of course the Raw photos must first be imported onto your iPad, and it is here that things get a tad complex.

To import your Raw photos on to your iPad you’ll need to use an Apple ‘SD Camera Card Reader’ or ‘iPad Camera Connection Kit’. Depending on which version of the iPad you have you’ll need to import the Raw photos directly from the memory card or directly from your camera into the Apple Photos App ‘Camera Roll’. Either way, the SD Camera Card Reader or Camera Connection kit is essential.

Apple Photo app Import

Apple Photos App Import Camera Roll

When the Apple Photos App import process is complete you then switch to Lightroom mobile. Here you should notice that a ‘Raw’ badge overlays part of the thumbnail for each Raw photo.

Lightroom mobile - Import to 'Camera Roll' complete

Lightroom mobile – Import to ‘Camera Roll’ Complete

Next, make sure that you have enabled support for Raw photo import in Lightroom mobile. Below screen grab shows where this can be done.

Lightroom mobile - Enable Raw Photos

Lightroom mobile – Enable Raw Photos

At this point you can either select all of the imported Raw photos or a smaller number. In below example, I selected all of the Raw photos.

Lightroom mobile - Select All Raw Photos

Lightroom mobile – Select All Raw Photos

When all of the photos have been added to Lightroom mobile you’ll find that an additional badge (Lr) overlays each of the photo thumbnails.

Lightroom mobile - Completed Raw Photo Import

Lightroom mobile – Completed Raw Photo Import

If you’re satisfied that all of the Raw photos have been imported into Lightroom mobile you can delete the originals from Apple Photos App, thus saving some space on your iPad.

When an internet connection becomes available your Raw files will be synced to the Adobe Cloud and ultimately back to Lightroom desktop. If you have any other mobile devices with Lightroom mobile installed smart previews will be synced to these devices.

Local Adjustments

As with Raw support, Local Adjustments has been on my list of must have features for a very long time. In this version Adobe have chosen to include what they call Linear and Radial Selections (in Lightroom desktop these are called Graduated and Radial filters). Personally, I don’t see why Adobe didn’t stick with the names that users already know. If name changes were deemed essential then Linear and Radial Gradients are more meaningful, at least to me.

Okay, so having got my rant about naming conventions out of the way it’s time to look at each local adjustment in turn. I’ll start with the Linear Gradient, uhh, I mean Selection since it’s the default.

To activate Local Adjustments switch to Edit mode and tap on the ‘Local Adjust’ button. A new button appears on the lower left and tapping on this results in a menu popping up. It has two options at present with the top one (Linear Selection) selected by default.

Activating Local Ajustments

Activating Local Adjustments

Next, you tap on the photo where you want the centre of the gradient to be located. The width of the gradient is adjusted by dragging the top or bottom line up/down, and the centre of the gradient can be reposition by dragging the black dot up or down the screen. Additional gradients can be created by tapping on the ‘+‘ button at top left of screen, and the ‘trashcan’ is used to remove a gradient.

Local Adjustments - 'Linear Selection'

Local Adjustments – ‘Linear Selection’ Tool

Next up, the Radial Selection tool. I find this tool is particularly useful for edge burning portraits, although it has its uses in other types of photo.

Radial Selection Tool

Local Adjustments – ‘Radial Selection’ Tool

The Radial Selection tool is activated and the gradient positioned in the same way as the Linear Selection. At top left of screen you’ll see an additional button. This button allows you switch the gradient from inside the selection to outside and vice versa. To increase  the feathering (soften edge) of the gradient drag the larger handle point on the selection counterclockwise, and clockwise to to harden the edge. (Note: in above and below screen grabs the handle point is on top edge of photo.)

Local Adjustments -

Local Adjustments – Reduced Exposure Outside of Selection

Both Linear and Radial  selection tools support the full range of slider adjustments currently available in Lightroom mobile.

So, having described the two new features I was so keen to see introduced I posed myself a question –  Do I think Raw support and Local Adjustments means that Lightroom mobile is now ready for the ‘big time’? Sadly, I don’t believe so, at least not just yet. Sure, both features are very welcome and certainly make Lightroom mobile more useful to me than before. On the other hand, some photographers might have a different workflow or less demanding requirements. For example, if your iPad has sufficient space to store the imported Raw photos then leaving your laptop at home while on a short vacation might be OK. For longer holidays or large professional photo shoots I think many will likely find the iPad short of storage capacity. Also, syncing photos to the ‘Adobe Cloud’ and later Lightroom on your desktop computer means that sufficient bandwidth will be essential both on location and at home/office. This means that if you’re a professional or advanced amateur  photographer you’ll likely find that  taking a laptop on location/holiday still provides a much more productive and efficient workflow than mobile. To be fair, I don’t think the Lightroom mobile development team see it as the ‘laptop killer’ yet, but it’s certainly getting closer.

Disclosure: As an Adobe Community Professional I receive a free subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.

Adobe Announces Lightroom mobile 1.3 for iOS

Lightroom mobile 1.3 for iPhone and iPad is now available as an update in the App Store.  Adobe states that the goal of this update is to provide new features and bug fixes for issues identified in previous versions of Lightroom mobile.

The new Features include:

• Version 1.3 allows you to edit images faster by copying image adjustments and pasting them onto another photo.

• Version 1.3 allows you to easily find your favorite images.  The new Segmented view in Collections gives you a different way to view and engage with your photos.

• Do you like to pass your device around the family and friends to look at your photos, but are concerned that they might accidentally change something?  Not to worry, with Presentation Mode, you can do that without worrying about your flags, ratings and adjustments being inadvertently changed.

Adobe’s RussellBrown has prepared a short video in which he describes the new features. You can find it on Vimeo.

Disclosure: As an Adobe Community Professional I receive a free subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.

Adobe introduce Lightroom mobile

 As mentioned in my earlier post regarding Lightroom 5.4 Adobe have included one new feature. Actually, to suggest one new feature is a tad unfair, especially since it opens the door into a completely new digital photography workflow. This new workflow is made possible by a new free iPad application called Lightroom mobile, which enables you to carry out a small subset of the tasks normally undertaken in Lightroom desktop then sync theses back to your desktop catalog. For example,

  • access images in your main desktop Lightroom catalog
  • make selects or reject photos
  • apply develop presets
  • refine your existing develop adjustments using all your favourite adjustments from the Lightroom desktop Basic panel, including Highlights, Shadows, and Clarity
  • import new photos directly from the camera roll (Note: direct import does not support raw files)

Lightroom mobile utilises Smart Previews (sometimes referred to as proxy files) created within your Lightroom desktop catalog to provide raw editing functionality on your iPad. First introduced in Lightroom 5 beta, Smart Previews are:

  • based on the DNG file format
  • limited to 2560 pixels on the long edge
  • lossy smaller versions original raw files
  • can be used to make develop adjustments even when the original files aren’t available locally
  • develop adjustments made to Smart Previews are applied to the original when the original files are available

Above are the aspects of Lightroom mobile that Adobe and many reviewers will likely highlight, and to be fair, they’re generally deserved of praise. However, there are currently some very significant limitations to Lightroom mobile, which might cause some users to take a less positive view than Adobe would wish for. For example, this initial version doesn’t support rating or labels. Nor does it support any form of metadata editing (i.e. basic metadata can be displayed but not applied or edited). I expect these shortcomings will be addressed in future versions, but for now their absence does limit the usefulness of Lr mobile.

Other limitations or pain points are:

  • Adobe only support iPad 2 and higher. An iPhone version will likely follow later this year. (I’m not aware what Adobe’s future plans might hold for Android devices.)
  • To use Lr mobile it’s necessary to sign up to one of the various Creative Cloud (CC) options. Without Creative Cloud Lr mobile is little more than an ornament. While the cost of the Photoshop Photography program at $10 per month is actually pretty good value many potential customers will likely reject Lr mobile simply because they’re unwilling to enter into any form of software subscription plan.
  • Sync speed between the desktop and iPad is heavily dependent on your internet connection (i.e. there is no peer-to-peer option). So, users with a slower internet connections will find that the sync takes a lot longer than may be prepared to wait. For example, the best I can achieve with about 350kbs upload bandwidth is to sync a collection of 200 images in approximately 1 hour 50 minutes. Users with much faster connections are reporting a similar number of images being synced in 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Lr mobile can only sync with one Lightroom desktop catalog. If you try to sync with a second desktop catalog Lr mobile will warn that the previous synced catalog and images will be removed from the iPad and Creative Cloud.
  • The last pain point I want to mention is one that has the potential to effect everyone. It’s a very basic flaw in the sync workflow that could so easily have been avoided. Alas it wasn’t, and I suspect there will be many angry users as a result. Basically, when you sync a collection, the images are uploaded to the Creative Cloud. However, unless you’ve set Lr mobile on iPad to use offline editing the cloud is as far as they go. Sure the iPad will display the first image from your collection  along with an indication that the collection contains X number of images, but that does not mean the images have actually been downloaded to your iPad. Furthermore, there is no visual warning to let you know that you can do little to nothing when you disconnect or loose the internet connection. Therefore, if you know that you will lose the internet connection when you leave your  home/office then its’ best to activate the ‘Enable Offline Editing’ feature from the collection context menu (i.e. tap on the three dots badge in bottom right corner of collection image). This way the proxy files used by Lr mobile will be downloaded to your iPad. However, for this took work successfully the iPad must be configured to prevent it sleeping when the cover is closed, etc. This particular behaviour only serves to demonstrate how little attention Adobe paid to offline editing. As an alternative to setting offline editing to on you can loupe through the collection while connected to internet thus downloading the proxy files to your iPad. Obviously, this method is a lot more time consuming. So, I recommend you activate offline editing mode

I have laboured the last point because I’ve made the mistake myself on at least two occassions and ended up getting no work done. It was not a pleasant experience the first time, and even less so the second. So, be warned.

How to get started with Lightroom mobile

1. Download Lightroom 5.4 from

Lightroom mobile is a companion to Lightroom desktop, and is the first version of Lightroom desktop that includes the ability to sync images to Lightroom mobile. You can update to the latest version of Lightroom 5 using either the Creative Cloud app on your desktop computer or by clicking on the Lightroom  “Help-> Check for Updates” menu option.

2. Sign In

Lightroom mobile utilises Adobe cloud services to sync Smart Previews and changes between Lightroom desktop and Lightroom mobile. Lightroom mobile requires a qualifying Creative Cloud or Photoshop Photography Plan subscription. These include:

  • Photoshop Photography Program
  • Creative Cloud complete plan
  • Creative Cloud Student and Teacher Edition
  • Creative Cloud for teams complete plan

A free 30-day trial of Lightroom mobile is available.

To sign in you must open the new panel hiding within the Lightroom identity plate. This panel also serves as an indication of sync progress.

3. Sync a collection

Lightroom mobile is organised around Collections. Images within Collections will be synced to your iPad and be available in Lightroom mobile for editing.

To sync a collection – click on badge to left of collection name

4. Download Lightroom mobile

Visit the Apple App Store using your iPad and download Lightroom mobile. Once you login with the same Creative Cloud account as your desktop computer, you’ll see all of your synced Collections.

Lightroom mobile logon screen

Synced collection

In above example, I have synced 50 images from a collection held on my desktop computer. Using the normal iPad gestures (i.e single tap on collection image)  I was able to open into a view that shows all of the images making up the collection (Grid view).

A single tap on any image within the Grid view will open that image into Loupe view. In Loupe view it’s possible to Pick and Reject individual images (sweep finger up is used for Pick and Down for Reject).

In above example, you’ll note the histogram on top right and a row of four buttons along the bottom. The buttons from left to right are: Filmstrip, Develop adjustments, Develop Presets, and Crop. I’ve included a screenshot for the Develop adjustments, presets and crop below.

Develop Adjustments

Develop Presets

Crop image

In addition to the features outlined above it’s also possible to import images directly from the iPad Camera Roll. Unfortunately, due to iOS limitations raw is not currently supported. On a more positive note, it’s possible to present your images as a slideshow.

Lightroom mobile also includes support for sharing your work using social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: As an Adobe Community Professional I receive a free subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.