Adobe has announced Lightroom mobile for the iPad. With Lightroom mobile you can edit and share your images from anywhere, whether shots from your smartphone or RAW images from your camera. The purpose for developing Lightroom mobile is to free photographer from having to bring their laptop computer with them. Instead, you can bring your tablet along to review your images and make preliminary edits while still in the field or review with a client.
This magic is based on the technology of Adobe’s Smart Preview, introduced in Lightroom 5. RAW files from your camera are huge and would take lots of storage space and processing power on an iPad. A Smart Preview is a proxy of the file. It’s this smaller proxy file that Lightroom mobile actually works on. Once you have placed your camera files in a collection, they’re synced with the desktop application using the Creative Cloud and all of your other devices that have access to your account. Yet there’s a catch, to get the most from this workflow, you really need to upload your images onto your desktop computer first. Okay, I know I just said something about not bringing a computer into the field, which is Adobe’s ultimate goal, for this app I believe. However, if you have a Wi-Fi SD card or a Wi-Fi camera adapter, you can send your images into a Lightroom mobile collection so the images can be converted to Smart Preview proxies. But again, using a RAW file will slow the process down. It would be much better to shoot RAW with JPEG and transfer the JPEGs to Lightroom.
So let’s step through the ideal workflow once you've updated your version of Lightroom to version 5.4 and downloaded the Lightroom mobile app from iTunes.
1. Shoot your images and upload them to Lightroom 5.4 on the desktop.
2. Create a Lightroom collection for those images and put them into it.
3. Sync that collection to your Creative Cloud account
4. Sign in to your Lightroom mobile app account
5. Edit your images and re-sync them.
When your back at your desktop version of Lightroom, you’ll be able to open those images and the mobile edits. The desktop Lightroom Develop Module’s sliders will reflect all of your edits, and you will be able to apply them to your RAW files. There are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Lightroom mobile only uses the controls from the Basic Development tab.
2. You can only use the Creative Cloud version of Lightroom, not the stand alone version with Lightroom mobile.
3. Lightroom mobile, for now, only works with the iPad, not the iPhone or Android. The iPhone is coming later this year and the Android version sometime after that.
As with the desktop version of Lightroom. These are only the app's first baby steps. As photographers chime in with their concerns, issues, and ideas, Lightroom mobile will evolve into a tool photographer will embrace with enthusiasm. If you've got an iPad and a Creative Cloud account definitely check it out, right now.