Adobe recently announced their newest mobile product—Lightroom Mobile for iPad.
What can you do in Lightroom Mobile? You can import and edit images from
your camera roll. You can apply presets and adjustments and crop your
photos. You can flag and rate your photos. And you can share, text or
email them directly from Lightroom. Currently, you cannot sync presets to Lightroom Mobile, but Adobe promises that feature is coming soon.
Lightroom Mobile is a free download, but you will need a Creative Cloud subscription to
run it. Don’t have a Creative Cloud subscription? Adobe has extended
their $10/month Photoshop CC + Lightroom photographer bundle indefinitely, which will
also give you access to Lightroom on iPad.
Install and Setup Lightroom Mobile
Before we get started, here’s what you need to do to install Lightroom Mobile on your iPad and get it syncing with your desktop.
- Download and install the update to Lightroom 5 on your computer. With your catalog open, set it to sync with Lightroom Mobile. In this first version of Lightroom Mobile, you’ll only be able to sync one catalog at a time.
- In Lightroom Desktop, create a new collection for any images you want to sync. Be sure to check the SYNC WITH LIGHTROOM MOBILE option when you create it. If you forget, you can always right+click the collection folder icon and choose it from the download menu.
- Make sure your photos in that folder have smart previews built. (Select images and choose LIBRARY>PREVIEWS>BUILD SMART PREVIEWS).
- Download and install Adobe Lightroom on iPad. You’ll need to log in with your Creative Cloud email address and password.
- Your collection should now show up in Lightroom Mobile!
Navigating Lightroom Mobile
Once you log into Lightroom on the iPad, you’ll see each of your synced folders. Tap at top to sort the folders.
You may have to wait a few minutes while Lightroom loads the photos for you. Tap a folder to see the contents.
Tap an image to see it larger. That will bring up a series of controls on the bottom of the screen. Right now, you’re limited to Lightrooms slider controls and built-in previews. Swipe left to right to change the image to the next one.
Tap the icons along the bottom to switch view from your adjustment sliders, preset sliders and crop options.
To sync back to your computer, simply move to the next photo and Lightroom Mobile automatically syncs to your Creative Cloud account. Some of the controls are easy to miss, so look carefully. There is an undo icon, a rotate one and even a sync one if you want to force a sync on an image.
You can also create new collections on your iPad using images on your camera roll. From the collections thumbnail screen, look for the + in the upper right screen. Tap that and name your new collection. Tap the new collection and give it permission to access your camera roll (if requested). Tap each image you want to add to your collection and tap the check in the upper right to import them. The great thing is that once you import your images into the Lightroom Mobile catalog, they will sync to your computer’s Lightroom as well. They show up as another device in your folders list. Just like that, you’ve sent images from your iPad to your computer!
From what I can tell, you need to maintain an internet connection to
work on your images, unless you enable offline editing. To do that, you
tap on the options icon from the main menu, where you’re find several
collection options including offline editing. This may warn you that you
will be downloading larges files to the ipad, and alert you as to how
much space you have available on your iPad for storage.
One thing to keep in mind as you work on images on your iPad. iPad screens cannot be calibrated, so if you are adjusting for specific color or brightness, you might want to wait until you’re back on your computer. But, if you’re just playing around with your images, flagging and sorting them, cropping them, or syncing to get them to Lightroom, the app has a lot to offer! And, don’t forget the sharing icon! Yes, you can share your newly edited photos to your favorite social networks right from Lightroom Mobile.
Lightroom Mobile is a good first step, but still leaves me wanting a lot of features. A few simple things like importing other presets and keyword tagging will make this program a serious productivity tool. Imagine sitting on the sofa or riding in the car while tagging kit previews. Or, what if we could cull through photos, apply favorite presets, crop and flag them for scrapping later? The ability to edit metadata would mean we could journal into the metadata right on the ipad while on the go. Lightroom Mobile opens up a lot of creative possibilities for future enhancements. Hopefully, Adobe will soon take this initial effort, add a few more options and enable us to make amazing use of a powerful program.