iPad Pro Is Now a True Photographer’s Tool

Has the iPad Pro finally become a true photographer’s tool? A year and a half ago, with the release of the first 12.9-inch iPad Pro, it was so close… but there were still some significant limitations.

Now, with the latest iPad Pro models, I think we’re finally there. Improved hardware is part of the story—USB 3 speeds at import, finally, for both sizes—and software is catching up. And the possibilities that will come with iOS 11 in the fall are still more intriguing.

At Macworld, I explain in more detail: The iPad Pro: Now a true photographer’s tool.

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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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Lightroom for iOS 2.4 Adds Raw and Gradient Selections

Lightroom for iOS 2.4

Adobe just released a significant update for the iOS version of Lightroom, bringing two features mobile photographers are going to love: raw import and editing, and linear and radial graduated adjustments. The first could change how we work with photos in the field, and the second is a feature I use more and more on the desktop and have in the past resorted to interesting workarounds to implement on the iPad.

I need to dig more into this release, but it looks promising. Photos you import using Apple’s Lightning adapters are brought into the Photos app Camera Roll, and then recognized by Lightroom as raw. (Oh, but now I lament Apple’s choice of sticking with USB 2.0 speed for photo import on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.) This could mean no longer needing to shoot in Raw+JPEG just to get a high-resolution JPEG to work with on the device.

(Remember, until now Lightroom wouldn’t even display raw images when importing them from the Camera Roll, and in most apps, the JPEG preview the camera creates to display on its LCD is what’s used for editing.)

Adobe says the app supports all the same raw formats that Lightroom on the desktop supports; I had no trouble opening and editing a handful of raw .RAF files from my Fuji X-T1.

Lightroom ios 2 4 raw badges

I’ll be writing more about this, looking at how Lightroom syncs the raw files back to the desktop, whether it’s practical to import a lot of images or just selected ones, and what this means for Apple’s upcoming raw image support in iOS 10.

For now, here’s more information from Adobe: Lightroom for Mobile July Releases.

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Lightroom Mobile Article Featured in Adobe Mailing

Cc plan email

If you subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography Plan (which includes Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC, plus Creative Cloud syncing and Lightroom mobile for $10 a month), you probably received an email today containing a familiar name: me!

One of the highlights is a pointer (shown above) to the article that I published in Adobe Inspire in June, “Take Lightroom on Your Next Shoot.” If you missed the article when I pointed to it then, it’s all about how I used Lightroom mobile during a photo workshop in May through the California Redwoods.

I love writing articles like this, which point to practical things you can do with your photos in addition to inspiring you to get out and make more images. It was a fun one to write.

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Take Lightroom on Your Next Photo Shoot

Skyward, Redwoods

Knowing that I was away on a photo workshop in Northern California, an editor I’ve worked with for years contacted me with an interesting assignment: to write about how I use Adobe Lightroom in the field.

I’ve spent a lot of time (and three editions of my book The iPad for Photographers) thinking about how best to incorporate mobile technology into photography, and the field keeps moving forward. As a Lightroom CC user, I really like Lightroom mobile and how it syncs photos and adjustments from my iPad to my Mac and vice-versa.

The result is a new article, with a generous helping of photos from the Redwoods, posted today at Adobe Inspire: Take Lightroom on Your Next Shoot.

I outline a workflow for shooting, importing, and reviewing photos within Lightroom and the Creative Cloud ecosystem. One thing that surprised me: I found myself shooting more bracketed photos and side-by-side collections knowing that I could process those easily using the new Photo Merge HDR and Panorama tools in Lightroom CC.

One note, for those of you who have followed this field with me: I bypassed mentions of importing photos to the iPad while out shooting, which leads to special considerations for syncing and loading raw files later. (You can read more about that in my book.) What’s in the article is a streamlined, more sane approach to syncing and reviewing photos that won’t scare away novices.

Check out the article, and feel free to leave feedback here. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Lightroom CC 2015, My Macworld Review

LightroomCC 02 HDR module

Adobe released Lightroom CC today, and you can read my review of it at Macworld right now: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC 2015 review: New features and major performance gains. There are a few very cool features—like in-app HDR merging to create raw DNG files—but what I find most interesting is that Lightroom now takes advantage of the GPU (graphics processing unit) to speed up performance. The amount depends on your hardware, but let me just say that I now desperately wish I had an iMac with 5K Retina Display.

Lightroom CC is part of the $10 per month Creative Cloud Photography plan (the least expensive CC option), which also gets you the latest version of Photoshop CC (still 2014). However, if you don’t want to jump into the subscription model, Adobe is also making a standalone version called Lightroom 6 and selling it for $149.

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Lightroom mobile 1.3 Adds an Unexpected Editing Capability

While everyone was focused on the news of the new Photos for OS X developer preview, Adobe released a very interesting update to Lightroom mobile, its mobile companion to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

In previous versions of the app, there was a truly hidden, super powerful editing feature: not only could you copy adjustments made on the device between images, you could also copy adjustments made in the desktop Lightroom application. So, for example, if you’d applied a graduated filter on the desktop to an image and synced that image to Lightroom mobile, copying its adjustments to another photo also added the graduated filter—even though Lightroom mobile doesn’t offer a graduated filter tool. (See item #4, Copy Adjustments Between Photos, in this article of Lightroom mobile tips published at Peachpit.com a few months ago.)

Lightroom mobile 1.3 takes that one step further by enabling copying of adjustments in a more granular way. You can choose to copy only one type of edit and paste it. And that includes settings like Lens Corrections.

Watch the following video by Adobe’s Russell Brown to see the feature in action. It’s wonderfully cool.

Adobe Lightroom Mobile 1.3.0 from Russell Brown on Vimeo.

Lightroom mobile – Iceland

Adobe’s Russell Brown sent a group of photographers to Iceland to shoot a promotional video for Lightroom mobile, and boy is it wonderful. The visuals are just gorgeous, but the clip also does a great job of explaining some of the editing tools and presets available in Lightroom mobile.

(A reminder: I wrote a Fuel ebook that covers Lightroom mobile: Adobe Lightroom mobile: Your Lightroom on the Go, only $8!)

After you’ve watched the video a couple of times, be sure to take a look at the behind-the-scenes video, especially if you lust after photo drones.

An Impromptu Lightning Photo Opportunity

Seattle experienced a record-setting high temperature of 96 degrees (F) yesterday, and with it came an unexpected lightning and thunder show. We don’t often see lightning here, so I was thrilled to sit in my living room with all the windows open and watch the display. And then I realized I should try to take a photo and see what happens. Here’s the result:

Lightning cropped

How did I make this shot?

First, I set up my Nikon D90 on a tripod and set it up on my deck facing the storm. I already had a Nikon 18-135mm lens on the camera, which was nice and wide to try to capture as much of the sky as I could. (I switched to a Sigma 10-20mm lens later, which gave me more sky but by then the storm had moved north out of my field of view.)

Since lightning happens so quickly, I couldn’t hope to trigger the shutter when a burst happened. Instead, I set the camera to Manual mode and dialed in a shutter speed of 30 seconds. There’s quite a bit of street light in my neighborhood (a major road runs past our house), so I cranked the aperture to f/18 to limit the amount of light that would come through the lens. That way, I hoped the sensor would better capture the flash and strike of lightning without as much ambient light.

Then I stood outside and pressed the shutter button (actually, a remote cable release to minimize camera shake) over and over in hopes of capturing something. This photo was actually the third frame I recorded. Here’s what it looks like unedited:

Lightning original

I imported the photos into Lightroom on my Mac and quickly reviewed and rated the 47 photos (using the techniques I recommend in my book, Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac). Next, I chose this photo as the one to share and cropped it to highlight the lightning.

Other than cropping, I didn’t do too much editing: I brought the white balance down to 4046 to remove the reddish cast in the clouds, and pushed the Clarity up to +57 to bring out more of the lightning. Lastly, as an experiment, I added a Radial Filter over the lightning area and increased the Highlights to 54 and nudged the Clarity just a bit more (to 19) to make the bolts really pop.

Lightning lightroom

The sensor in the Nikon D90 doesn’t compare as well as modern cameras, especially in darkness, so the shot is pretty grainy. I could have tried to remove noise, but I kinda like it.

The final step was to move the photo to a collection that I use for syncing with Lightroom mobile. On my iPhone, I opened the app and saved the image to the Camera Roll. That let me open it in Instagram and share it there.

It’s not a photo that will win any awards, but I had fun shooting (and standing outside as the air cooled from the storm—did I mention it was really warm?) and editing something to share.

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