Nearly a year ago, Tom Hogarty gave the first public sneak peek at Lightroom on the iPad on The Grid. Now it’s your turn to play! Adobe has just announced the public release of Lightroom mobile 1.0 for iPad.
Initially released for the iPad (iPad 2 or later, or any iPad mini, must be running iOS7), with additional devices to follow, it allows you to sync your photos from Lightroom 5.4 on your desktop to the Lightroom Sync cloud, and back down to your mobile devices. Using the Smart Preview technology introduced in Lightroom 5, smaller versions of your photos, including raw files, can be synced to your mobile device without taking up too much bandwidth or space.
Viewing your photos on the iPad
Once the photos have downloaded to your iPad, you can browse through them while relaxing on the sofa, traveling on the train, or even sitting on the beach (although you might want to be careful about getting sand in your iPad!) If you know you’re not going to have internet access, you can cache them for offline use. Unlike many other apps, however, you’re not just limited to browsing. Lightroom mobile allows you to refine your photos, marking them with flags and as rejects, and those changes are automatically synced back to your desktop Lightroom catalog.
Editing your photos
It can be difficult to decide whether a photo’s worth keeping without first making some basic Develop adjustments, so Lightroom mobile goes further, allowing you to edit the photos on your iPad. And like the flag status, these non-destructive Develop settings are also synced back to the desktop.
Organizing your photos
Then you can organize the photos, copying or moving them into different collections. These groups of photos appear in the Collections panel when you return to the desktop.
Sharing your photos
Finally, you can share your edited photos with others directly from your iPad, displaying a slideshow, sharing via Facebook, Twitter or email, or by sending them to another app of your choice.
Adding new photos on the iPad
But what if you’ve shot some photos using your iPad, or uploaded them from a camera using the Camera Connection Kit? Lightroom can import any JPEG or PNG files and upload them to your Lightroom desktop catalog automatically, so you don’t even have to wait until you get home to start editing them. Note that you can’t import raw files on the iPad (although there’s a workaround in my book…)
Lightroom for mobile doesn’t offer the same feature-set as Lightroom for desktop. Mobile apps are better for their simplicity, and some tasks are better suited to a touch environment than others.
It’s early days, and the mobile app will grow over time, just like its desktop companion. The first Lightroom public beta for the desktop didn’t even have a crop tool, but look at it now!
What happens if you don’t have your iPad with you, and you want to show someone your photos? That’s no problem either. You can simply visit http://lightroom.adobe.com using any web browser, for example, using your mobile phone, and log into your account. From there you can view your collections of photos, and you can share public links to those collections with friends and family.
So how much does it cost?
The best news is it’s FREE if you have a Creative Cloud subscription, either for the full Creative Cloud or for the $9.99/month Photography Bundle. That bundle is a fantastic deal! The Photography Bundle includes the latest version of Lightroom (so that’ll include LR6, when it’s released), the latest version of Photoshop CC, 20GB of CC cloud space, Behance Portfolio membership, PLUS it now includes an unlimited amount of Lightroom Sync space.
If you’re not keen on subscribing to software, that’s ok. Lightroom mobile does require cloud access, so you would need to sign up for the Photographer’s Bundle if you want to use it, but you can still keep your perpetual license for Lightroom, and just use the Lightroom Sync space part of the cloud subscription. You might even be tempted to play with Photoshop CC. And there’s a 30 day trial, so you can test it for yourself before making a decision.
So how do you get started? Download Lightroom 5.4 from these links – Windows / Mac - and install it, or update from the Creative Cloud system tray/menubar app if you’re already a CC member. Click the Identity Plate to sign in with your Adobe ID, then add a special sync checkmark next to the Collections you want to sync. You can watch the upload progress in the Activity Center.
Then go to the App Store and download the Lightroom app. It may take a short time before it’s available in all countries, so check back later if it’s not available yet.
Curious to learn more?
You could spend a few hours tapping around the app, and figuring it out as you go along, but there are some hidden tricks and workarounds I think you’ll want to know about, so I’ve created a 98 page eBook to save you some time and help you get the best out of it.
For advanced users, there are cheat sheets showing all of the touch commands, including a few hidden tricks, and there are also some geeky workarounds for Lightroom mobile’s limitations.
If you’re more technically challenged, don’t worry, it also covers everything step-by-step using my popular conversational FAQ format.
The Lightroom mobile for iPad book costs just £3.95 GBP – that’s about $6.50 USD* – and it comes in 3 popular eBook formats (PDF, ePub, Kindle). I’ll continue to update it as new version 1 features are added. Even if you’re not sure whether Lightroom mobile will fit into your workflow, you’ll have all the information you need to quickly make a decision.
Tempted? Here’s the purchase link to get your copy for just £3.95.
If you haven’t read my Lightroom 5 book yet, you might want to read that too, so I’ve created a special bundle at just £18.50 GBP – that’s about $30.50 USD* – for both. That includes the Lightroom 5 and Lightroom mobile for iPad books in PDF, ePub and Kindle formats. Here’s the special bundle link.
And most importantly… have fun!
* Approximate currency conversion calculated 4 April 2014. Actual currency conversion from British Pound Sterling will be calculated by PayPal or your card company.