Adobe Working on Adding Metadata Features to Lightroom mobile

Lightroom mobile has been out just a week and already there’s evidence that what we’re using now is very much a 1.0, with new features in the works. This shouldn’t be surprising: the original Lightroom started fairly bare and aggressively added new features after its release.

One of the top surprises I’ve heard from people is the lack of a way to edit metadata for photos in the app—star ratings, keywords, IPTC data, and the like. I suspect those were probably planned for the app but held back so Adobe could ship the first version on the schedule they set for themselves.

Now, it’s clear that star ratings and other probably other metadata features are being worked on, following a tweet posted by Adobe’s Tom Hogarty this morning:

Of course, Hogarty doesn’t offer a timeline, but it’s promising to see them work on features that will beef up the app.

[As a reminder—I know, I know—I've just released an ebook through Peachpit Press about the app called Adobe Lightroom mobile: Your Lightroom on the Go. It's good, and only $8!]

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At 500px: How an iPad Can Improve Your Photography

Premiere photo site 500px has just published an article of mine that takes a high level overview of what an iPad can do for photographers: How an iPad Can Improve Your Photography. Think of it as the ultra-compact version of my iPad for Photographers book, covering the options for using the iPad as a portfolio, importing photos to the iPad and reviewing them in the field, adding all-important metadata, editing the shots, sharing images, and more.

I’m actually quite excited to appear on 500px, not only because I like what the company is doing, but because the people who post and read at the site tend to be extremely talented photographers. It’s fabulous company to be in.

Lightroom mobile! Read my First Look article

Adobe has just released Lightroom mobile, an iPad app that synchronizes with Lightroom on the desktop and provides a great deal of editing capability on the iPad.

I wrote Macworld’s First Look about it. Adobe also wrote about the app on the company blog.

And here’s a first for me: I’m quoted in Adobe’s press release! (Yes, mine is one of the quotes that journalists often skim over, sometimes rolling their eyes as they do so.) The folks working with the development program for Lightroom mobile approached me, since I’m the author of The iPad for Photographers:

“Adobe Lightroom mobile transforms the way I am able to work with my photographs because now I can review and process photos when I’m comfortable and creative, and not just when I’m at my computer,” said Jeff Carlson, educator and author of The iPad for Photographers and Adobe Lightroom mobile: Your Lightroom on the Go. “It also works as a malleable photo portfolio on my iPad. As I add or remove images from a collection in Lightroom mobile or on the computer, the changes stay synchronized. When I need to show my work those photos are already set up to be viewed.”

I’ll definitely have more to say about Lightroom mobile soon, but Adobe’s posts and my First Look article are good places to start.

iOS 7.1 Now Out, Causes Photosmith Hiccup

Apple released iOS 7.1 today, finally conquering the dreaded crashing bug that would force the device into what appeared to be a restart (actually it was the app that lists the applications, internally called Springboard, that was crashing and bringing up the Apple logo screen). Macworld runs down some of the other changes, but as far as I can tell nothing else directly applies to photographers using iPads. The only camera-related improvement is a new Auto HDR setting, but it applies only to the iPhone 5s, not the iPad.

However, the folks over at C2 Enterprises note that iOS 7.1 introduced a bug that crashes Photosmith when importing images from the Camera Roll. The crash doesn’t affect the images you import—everything completes successfully—but you’re kicked back to the applications screen. They write:

This app crash isn’t as catastrophic as it appears – It’s a display-only bug, and your photos and metadata are perfectly safe. No data loss will result from this crash. Restarting Photosmith after the import crash will show all your previously imported photos in Photosmith’s catalog (including the photos imported just prior to the crash). You may continue working as your normally would in Photosmith.

More importantly, Photosmith will continue functioning as it did prior to updating to iOS 7.1. Importing photos via Eye-Fi, FTP, iTunes, or when syncing with Lightroom, isn’t impacted by this issue. This is an issue specific with how we’re handing the import dialog window after the import is completed. Instead of closing the import window and displaying the normal Photosmith interface, the entire Photosmith app shuts down.

Part of the issue is that Apple didn’t release a “final” build to developers before releasing iOS 7.1; the devs discovered the bug in the shipping version.

Nonetheless, iOS 7.1 has been in the works for a while, and I’m glad it’s here.

Rumors of an iPad companion app for Lightroom surface

Last week, 9to5Mac posted an article about a leak on Adobe’s Web site that revealed what appears to be a Lightroom app for the iPad. According to the leak, the app would be a service that costs $99 per year (or may be included in a Creative Cloud subscription).

A Lightroom app for iPad was teased by Adobe’s Tom Hogarty earlier last year when he showed a very early proof-of-concept app that could edit raw files with apparent ease (on an iPad 2, no less).

There’s no indication of whether the app is imminent or still in development (and I wonder if the subscription pricing might be an intentional test balloon to see how people would react to the pricing). But it’s definitely an exciting development.

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Using Cameras’ Built-in Wi-Fi at CES

Derrick Story has an article at Macworld about how he used the built-in Wi-Fi capabilities of the Canon 70D and Olympus OM-D E-1 and their respective iOS apps to share images during the day when he attended CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) early this month. Manufacturers are finally getting the message that built-in Wi-Fi is useful and desired by photographers.

Google Updates Snapseed with New HDR Scape Filter

Google announced improvements to its Google+ service today, with a focus on photography. One of the items mentioned was an update to Snapseed that adds a new HDR Scope filter to the versatile image editor. According to Google, this implementation uses pixel edge detection instead of relying solely on tone mapping. As soon as the iOS app update was available, I had to throw an image at it and see what the results were.

Here’s an original photo, shot with a Nikon D90 and imported to my iPad via Eye-Fi. This is the JPEG portion of the Raw+JPEG pair I shot.

Snapseed HDR before

Here’s the same shot taken into the HDR Scape filter. This is with a setting strength of +83, the default that Snapseed used.

Snapseed HDR after 83

That’s too much HDR effect for me, so I dialed the effect down to +47. Total time editing: about two minutes.

Snapseed HDR after 47

Transfer Photos Wirelessly without the Camera

20131009-153426.jpg

In the “learn something new” department, I ran across an interesting discovery today.

First, some setup. I woke up before dawn to catch the sunrise in the Columbia River Gorge, and for some reason my camera’s battery didn’t last very long—I think it was the combination of the cold weather, composing my shots using Live View, and transferring the images from my Eye-Fi card to my iPad. With a full day of shooting ahead, and only one extra battery available, I was in trouble.

Jump ahead a few hours, I want to transfer my newest photos to the iPad but not kill the spare battery in the camera. So, I attach my iPad Camera Connection SD adapter to copy the photos directly. The problem is that connecting the SD card to the iPad using the adapter means I need to import the raw versions of my photos in addition to the JPEGs. (I’m shooting raw+JPEG so I can edit better-quality photos on the iPad than the previews generated by the camera.) What I want to do is import into ShutterSnitch which includes an option to copy only JPEG images.

That brings me to the surprise: I opened ShutterSnitch to see if it could import directly from the adapter (it can’t; Apple blocks access to the sync port, I believe), but suddenly the photos started importing anyway. The trick is that I’m using an Eye-Fi card. And when the card is connected to the iPad using the camera adapter, the iPad is also supplying the card with power, which in turn activates the Eye-Fi’s wireless hotspot.

So even though the card is physically connected to the iPad, it’s transferring images via Wi-Fi! Pretty cool when you don’t want to tax your camera battery and bypass the Camera Roll.

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Article: Tips for iPad Photo Retouching

iPad RetouchingThe iPad is a great photo viewer, but does it have enough oomph to handle photo retouching? Yes! In my latest article at Peachpit.com, I look at several ways to edit photos on the iPad, including red-eye removal, removing unwanted objects in the image, and compositing: Tips for iPad Photo Retouching

DPReview Compares Wi-Fi SD Cards

Eye Fi ProX2 16GB left view smDPReview compares two wireless SD cards, the Eye-Fi Pro X2 16 GB and the Transcend 32 GB Wi-Fi: Battle of the Wi-Fi Cards: Eye-Fi vs. Transcend. Although the Transcend offers more storage and costs less, the reviewer found that the Eye-Fi trounces it in performance, range, and software features. (The article doesn’t include the Eye-Fi Mobi card, which makes it easier to connect to a tablet or smartphone.)

But perhaps the biggest disadvantage of the Transcend card is its inability to easily transfer files to a laptop or desktop. Technically it can do it, but it’s a painstaking process and one that I wouldn’t consider practical. Basically, the card uses a computer to achieve the same thing it can do on a mobile device, only with twice the steps. Users must find the Transcend Wi-Fi card’s network from the computer. Next, the user launches a browser and enters a lengthy IP address into the url bar. At that point I was better off just plugging the card into the good old card reader. By comparison, the Eye-Fi can connect to a laptop in a matter of seconds and upload images and videos in real time.

[If you're thinking of purchasing an Eye-Fi, please consider buying it using these Amazon links, which helps support my work. Thanks!]

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume mailing list that I use to announce new projects and items that I think my readers would be interested in. (It’s hosted by MailChimp, so if you decide I’ve gotten too chatty in the future, you can unsubscribe easily.)