It’s Coming: Direct Lightroom Import on iPad and iPhone

Since the release of iOS 13/iPadOS 13, the options for importing photos directly from a camera or memory card reader have increased, letting you import to the Files app or the Photos app. Now, Adobe has previewed an upcoming version of Lightroom Mobile that allows you to import photos directly into Lightroom on the iPad or iPhone. Adobe hopes to release this version by the end of the year.

9to5 Mac has the story: Adobe previews direct photo import coming to Lightroom on iPad.

And here’s Adobe’s video:

2019 Guide: Apple iPad Pro for Photographers

Are we there yet? Can an iPad replace a laptop for photographers? I’ve been asking this question since the first iPad was released, and every generation gets a step closer to that ideal. The current iPad Pro is tantalizingly close: the hardware is there, but the software still has some catching up to do.

Over at DPReview, I’ve published an in-depth look at using the iPad Pro for photography. Check it out and let me know if you agree in the comments below.

Read it here: 2019 Guide: Apple iPad Pro for Photographers.

[Photo by Dan Bracaglia]

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PhotoActive Episode 40: Geotagging with HoudahGeo

New PhotoActive episode! We welcome Pierre Bernard, developer of the Mac application HoudahGeo, to talk about geotagging and how it’s beneficial for photographers (or even folks on vacation). Take a listen and subscribe to the podcast here: Episode 40: Location Exploration with HoudahGeo.

Houdah is also the sponsor of this episode, and in the show notes, you can get HoudahGeo for 30% off!

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Lightroom CC Mobile Review

When my editor at Download.com asked if I could write a review of Lightroom CC Mobile, I figured it would be an easy assignment. I’ve used the mobile version of Lightroom since before the first version was released, publishing an ebook that coincided with the software’s introduction, and have written extensively about the software as it’s evolved.

Well, 2700 words later, the review is now available. There was a lot to say, because the software has grown a lot since that initial version. I cover its organization, editing, and sharing features, and point out areas of frustration and suggestions for the future. This review looks at just the iOS version.

Take a look here: Adobe Lightroom for iOS Review: Industrial-strength image-editing tools on your iPhone or iPad.

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Affinity Photo for iPad Review

As someone who’s been using the iPad for editing and working with photos since the very beginning, even I was surprised by how capable Affinity Photo for iPad is. The power of the iPad Pro makes a big difference, yes, but Serif has delivered a full-featured image editor that doesn’t feel compromised.

Over at DPReview, I review Affinity Photo for iPad and give it high marks. Go check it out: Affinity Photo for iPad Review.

We’ve come to expect less from iOS software on the iPad compared to desktop applications because, in most cases, they’re mobile—and “mobile” has traditionally meant “limited.” A lot of that has been due to hardware: even as the iPad’s main processors improved, most models included a minimal amount of RAM that made it difficult to pull off operations expected of a modern image editor, such as smoothly dealing with many layers and real-time effects.

The arrival of the iPad Pro, along with a commitment in iOS to take advantage of the hardware, has opened the door for more powerful applications. One of those apps is Affinity Photo for iPad, a full-fledged image editor that doesn’t feel as if the developers had to remove features from a whiteboard to make the app a reality.

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Lightroom mobile Adds Selective Brush, New iPad Interface, and More

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Recently I needed to grab some screenshots of Lightroom mobile on the iPad and realized that I’d been running a beta for quite a while. I deleted the beta and re-loaded the release version and was momentarily taken aback: it seemed so basic compared to what I’ve been using!

Now everyone gets to experience the reverse of my awe, with today’s release of new versions of Lightroom mobile for iOS (and Android). Highlights that I particularly like include:

  • Selective Brush: When Adobe added gradient masks, Lightroom mobile became much more versatile, especially when editing landscape photos. Now, there’s a brush tool for painting masked areas or removing areas from gradients (like mountains that poke up into a sky you want to darken).
  • Details Pane: At last, you can apply Lightroom’s sharpening and noise-reduction tools to an image or a mask, instead of pounding away at it with the Clarity slider.
  • Redesigned iPad Interface: The editing tools are now accessible by tapping an Edit button, separating it from the Info interface (and the Rate & Review interface on the iPhone). This does have a drawback, though, in that the editing controls take up an awfully large section of the screen at the expense of the image you’re editing.

Lightroom mobile is free to use, although a Creative Cloud subscription is required to sync photos and collections between devices.

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How Lightroom for iOS 2.4 Changes the Mobile Photo Landscape

Birdhouses

Over at TidBITS, I write in more depth about the changes in Lightroom for iOS 2.4, and they’re doozies: Lightroom for iOS 2.4 Changes Mobile Photo Workflow.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, adding native raw file format support to Adobe’s mobile photo editor is a big deal, especially for people who are looking to use just an iPad or iPhone on photo shoots to minimize the gear they carry.

It means you don’t end up with separate edited copies of photos that are synced with Lightroom on the desktop—a raw file editing in Lightroom mobile is synced to your main library with edits intact. And the editing power takes a big leap in quality, pulling detail out of shadows without blocking up sections where JPEGs just don’t hold up.

For example, here’s an underexposed raw photo edited entirely in Lightroom on my iPad:

LRm24 raw before after

There’s a better example in the article that shows extreme pixelation in a JPEG.

I also talk about the new local selection tools, which are great for adjusting selected portions in linear or gradient areas. Here’s another before-and-after, showing the radial tools at work; I was able to bring up the exposure for just the birdhouses without overexposing the background.

Lightroom m24 local original

Lightroom m24 local radial

Overall, this is an exciting release, something I’ve been looking forward to for years. It streamlines the mobile photo workflow and does what I envisioned in 2011 when I wrote the first edition of my iPad for Photographers book.

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Macworld Reviews Adobe Photoshop Fix

As mobile devices continue become more powerful, we can do more with them, and that applies to photo editing. Over at Macworld, J.R. Bookwalter reviews Adobe Photoshop Fix, which brings many of Photoshop’s image manipulation tools—such as distort and liquify—to iOS devices. He likes it, but wonders why Photoshop Fix and Photoshop Mix (ugh, they really couldn’t differentiate better than that?) are two separate tools:

“Together with Mix, Adobe Photoshop Fix is indeed the serious mobile retouching solution the company pledged to deliver. Now it’s time to either consolidate both into a single app or make it easier to move projects between each—and throw in extension support for Apple Photos while we’re at it.”

Survey Results: The State of the iPad for Photographers 2015

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I started September with a question: How are people using the iPad with their photography? Is it really an invaluable addition to one’s camera bag, or is it an occasionally useful item? Is it even being used at all? Sales of iPads have been steadily dropping over the past couple of years, though I think that has more to do with the fact that people aren’t buying new iPads at the same rate as new iPhones. (Any company would kill for even Apple’s “low” sales numbers of iPads, but that’s a rant for another day.)

In 2011, I saw the potential of the iPad as a photographer’s tool and wrote the first edition of The iPad for Photographers, which detailed how you could review photos you capture using other cameras (at the time, the iPad 2 had only just come out, the first model to include an admittedly terrible camera), apply metadata to them to streamline the tagging process, and of course edit and share them—all without using a desktop or laptop computer. I published, in cooperation with my friends at Peachpit Press, two subsequent editions of the book.

So how are you using the iPad in 2015? I created a survey to find out, and the results are in some ways unexpected and other ways surprising. I encourage you to view the full results, but here’s the short version:

  • Most people who import photos to the iPad do so using the wired Camera Connection Kit (older iPads) or Lightning SD Card or USB adapters. Almost as many sync via iCloud, Lightroom mobile, Google Photos, or some other cloud service. The number of folks transferring photos directly from a camera’s built-in Wi-Fi feature was about half of those others, but considering how long it’s taken companies to implement Wi-Fi into cameras, the number is larger than I expected.
  • People rarely assign ratings or favorites to elevate the good photos from the not-so-good. I suspect this is because the process of importing photos onto the iPad is still time-consuming.
  • Most people don’t bother with any additional metadata. The fact that the apps designed for doing so (such as Photosmith and PhotosInfoPro) have all gone dormant bears this out.
  • More effort seems to be going into editing photos, and of the tools available, Snapseed is the leader, followed by Lightroom mobile and Apple’s built-in Photos app.
  • Surprisingly, the iPad Air 2 was the most-used model—the latest model available at the time the survey was posted. I expected that there would be a broader spread of older models. Of those, a little more than half were Wi-Fi–only models. The 64 GB configuration is the sweet spot in terms of storage.

A quick but important caveat: The survey attracted just 132 responses, which is less than I hoped, but it at least provides a window into the preferences of those who chose to take the survey.

Conclusions

The iPad is strong on editing, but the effort needed to get to that point is greater than it should be. That means using an iPad as a field companion—appealing especially for people who don’t want to tote a laptop along—is possible, but it’s hampered by slow ingest and limited storage. Perhaps the iPad Pro, which will offer USB 3 speeds through its Lightning port, may improve this.

I’m not too surprised that the Cloud has turned into a preferred method of moving photos onto the iPad, although of course the usefulness depends entirely on your current Internet connection—likely fine when you’re at home on the couch, but not so great in remote locations.

And, lastly, no one is using the iPad to apply metadata. This is the top request I hear from professional photographers, but I don’t think most regular people are doing it. Perhaps services like Google Photos, which comes up with its own metadata based on automated visual searches of photos, is the future here. I still believe that metadata is a powerful thing for photos, regardless of your photo skill level or interest; in my book Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac, Second Edition, I present a painless way to do it on the Mac.

The big question as I write this is how, or if, the iPad Pro will affect the field. Apple still hasn’t implemented any type of raw format support into iOS, which reduces the Pro’s appeal for many photographers in terms of editing, although perhaps the iPad Pro will be fast and powerful enough to run an app such as PiRAWhna smoothly. We’ll have to see.

The survey results appear below. Thank you to everyone who took the time to take the survey and share their comments!

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Review: Capture One Pro

Captureone raw adjust after

When I wrote the Macworld review of Adobe Lightroom CC 2015, several people in the comments brought up Capture One Pro, another photo manager and editor with a loyal following. Macworld hadn’t ever reviewed it, so I pitched it to my great editors and they said yes.

Read it here: Capture One Pro 8.3 review: Aperture replacement light on library features, strong on editing tools

I last looked at Capture One Pro years ago and wasn’t impressed, but of course software changes over time. With the demise of Apple’s Aperture, people are looking for alternatives. And the truth of the matter is that some people just don’t like Lightroom, or they object to Adobe’s subscription pricing model.

Capture One Pro’s main selling point is that it’s a better raw converter than other software, and my experience with the latest version reflected that. The software also has lots of great editing features. The photo above shows the “after” version of an image I posted the other day (and which was picked up by Flickr’s Explore feature); you can see the “before” version in the Macworld review.

That said, I found the organization features to be frustrating in many areas, so I’m not going to give up Lightroom as my current tool of choice. (Well, it’s not like I get to use just one; I have photos in many applications for a variety of projects, like my Photos for OS X book.)

You can download Capture One Pro for free and use it for 30 days. If you’re at all interested, give it a spin and see if it works for your photos. The price to buy is steeper than others: $299. But if it clicks for you, it may just be worth it.

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