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Any suggestions for workflow for those who use Apple / Mac Photos to import regularly to Lightroom Classic

SweeJ

New Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2014
Messages
12
Location
London, UK
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Classic ver. 11.3.1
Operating System
  1. macOS 12 Monterey
I recently subscribed to Adobe's Creative Cloud subscription, and started re-learning the latest Lightroom Classic after stopped using Lightroom Classic 6 for a few years. I used Apple / Mac Photos in the past few years because I stopped bringing my dSLR/prosumer digital cameras with me, and used my iPhone to shoot as I had that with me all the time. I found that I was mainly just sharing to family & friends, so that worked for me.

Now, I'm trying to get back into serious photography by taking my cameras with me more regularly out and about. However, I want to use Lightroom Classic as my main data asset manager and photo organiser and editor too. I did an initial massive import of all of my photos from Apple Photos Library.photolibrary by creating an alias link (as suggested by Laura Shoe). The import was successful yesterday, but there were duplicates even when I had the "Don't Import Suspected Duplicates". I then downloaded and used a plug-in to flag duplicate files using the Teekesselchen plug-in, and that process went well.

Today, I wanted to import a few more new photos that appeared in my Photos.app. However, when I went into Import, Copy, New Photos, it selected ALL of the same photos from my Apple Photos Library. I have the "Don't Import Suspected Duplicates" checked, but didn't seem to matter.

Any one out there who uses Apple Photos and Adobe Lightroom Classic encountered a problem like mine, and would be able to give suggestions for Photos import to Lightroom Classic workflow? I use my iPhone and Apple Photos app very often, so it would be great to just import/sync all the photos to Lightroom, and manage/edit every thing from Lightroom. Thanks.
 

Selwin

Active Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2010
Messages
865
Location
The Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
This may not be what you are looking for, but here it is anyway:
If you only take plain stills with your iPhone it’s quite straightforward. I usually let the new photos sync to icloud on my MacBook, then export from the macos photos app to a temp folder and import into LR from there. There are more convenient and automated workflows, also used by other members here. This works for me because I like to delete the photos from my iCloud Photo Library after importing into Lightroom. I don’t want those photos to exist twice. Then after selecting and editing I import the edited photos back into my iPhone so I have them available for easy sharing and showcasing.

This approach (or any approach involving transferring camera content from iPhone to Lightroom) gets quite cumbersome when you start shooting videos, portraits, Live Photos, slomo videos, bursts and RAW photos. The special containers that Apple uses for these special features are not compatible with Lightroom (RAW actually is compatible but there is a steep learning curve to develop iPhone RAWs to match the Deep Fusion results).
I am currently in the process of figuring out a step by step workflow to handle these types of content so each can have its own place in my photo/video collection.

Hope this helps.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
19,190
Location
Houston, TX USA
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Cloud Service
My solution was to stop using Apple Photos and use the LightroomMobile app instead. You can set the Photos CameraRoll to automatically import to a Lightroom Album or use the Camera from the Lightroom App. The Lightroom App syncs to your Plan storage in the Adobe Cloud and them you can turn on sync in Lightroom Classic to sync the images in your Adobe Cloud down to the computer and LrC.
 

Selwin

Active Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2010
Messages
865
Location
The Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
Hi Cletus,
I will try this just to see how it works, thank you for sharing.
In my experience, shooting RAW files using LR mobile or Halide gives me a very flat looking file that I need to put in a lot of work for in PP and even then the result mostly can’t compete with the SOOC heic/jpeg files.
I don’t have any experience with Apple ProRAW yet, that supposedly is a raw file with deep fusion and smart HDR incorporated. But I am about to order a new phone so I may get a 12 pro or 13 pro that has the proRAW feature.
 

SweeJ

New Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2014
Messages
12
Location
London, UK
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
This may not be what you are looking for, but here it is anyway:
If you only take plain stills with your iPhone it’s quite straightforward. I usually let the new photos sync to icloud on my MacBook, then export from the macos photos app to a temp folder and import into LR from there. There are more convenient and automated workflows, also used by other members here. This works for me because I like to delete the photos from my iCloud Photo Library after importing into Lightroom. I don’t want those photos to exist twice. Then after selecting and editing I import the edited photos back into my iPhone so I have them available for easy sharing and showcasing.

This approach (or any approach involving transferring camera content from iPhone to Lightroom) gets quite cumbersome when you start shooting videos, portraits, Live Photos, slomo videos, bursts and RAW photos. The special containers that Apple uses for these special features are not compatible with Lightroom (RAW actually is compatible but there is a steep learning curve to develop iPhone RAWs to match the Deep Fusion results).
I am currently in the process of figuring out a step by step workflow to handle these types of content so each can have its own place in my photo/video collection.

Hope this helps.

Hello Selwin,

Sorry for the late reply; my Lightroom Classic and Mac started to crawl when building standard previews, so I couldn't navigate through Lightroom properly; the previews only just completed this morning, lol. My fault as I was overly ambitious by importing 90k photos. I'm surprised it took a few days and affect my Mac, even though it's an M1 with 16 of RAM. Maybe I had Mac Photos exporting all of its library contents in the full unmodified original to a folder for importing into Lightroom also in the background which affected the speed.

Thanks for the suggestion. Yes, I mostly take plain stills, and only occasional videos on my iPhone. Manually importing to a temp folder and then importing into LR sounds like something I can work with. I notice the original file names from Mac Photos were preserved in LR this way. If I imported the entire Mac Photos library via an alias, the file names are all incorrect and seem to be alias's themselves, and when I do subsequent imports the same way, LR sees every single photo in Mac Photo as a new photo, which is odd. I do like to keep a copy of all the photos in iCloud, so I guess I'll have to make a note and compare with LR which photos I have already imported.

I hadn't realise iPhone had the option to shoot in RAW; I just looked online, and only the 12 Pro's and iPhone 13 line has it. I have the iPhone 12 mini; that's why I can't see the toggle for ProRAW. I think I have to do more research on whether I want to use it for the future when I do upgrade my iPhone.
 

SweeJ

New Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2014
Messages
12
Location
London, UK
Lightroom Experience
Beginner
My solution was to stop using Apple Photos and use the LightroomMobile app instead. You can set the Photos CameraRoll to automatically import to a Lightroom Album or use the Camera from the Lightroom App. The Lightroom App syncs to your Plan storage in the Adobe Cloud and them you can turn on sync in Lightroom Classic to sync the images in your Adobe Cloud down to the computer and LrC.

Oooo.... I only just started learning the Lightroom CC/Mobile version in the course, I'm trying to figure out to work it with LR Classic. I'll give your method a try and see how it goes, thanks!
 

Selwin

Active Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2010
Messages
865
Location
The Netherlands
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Classic
Hello Selwin,
I hadn't realise iPhone had the option to shoot in RAW; I just looked online, and only the 12 Pro's and iPhone 13 line has it. I have the iPhone 12 mini; that's why I can't see the toggle for ProRAW. I think I have to do more research on whether I want to use it for the future when I do upgrade my iPhone.
Only the 12/13 pro max can shoot ProRAW. But you can shoot (normal / plain) RAW using a 3rd party app such as Halide. However, a normal RAW file requires more work to come close to the Apple HEIC/jpeg and you won't be able to achieve the Apple Deep Fusion / HDR even by editing such a normal RAW file in LR, because Apple sort of cheats by shooting almost 10 frames for each shot and combining them following the Apple Photo engineers' algorithms.
I have done some testing comparing my iPhone 11 and a Canon 5D4 dSLR. The iPhone shots provide a clean and clear end result, while the 5D4 files require some PP work. The test results show that Apple likes blue skies, even when the actual sky is more grey(neutral) than blue. A dSLR is much more true to the original scene than an iPhone. For those who don't care about this, the iPhone photos are pretty good, just oversharpened. Shooting ProRAW can help here, or so I have heard. This is to me one of the most appealing features of shooting ProRAW.
Also, the iPhone algorithms use such agressive noise reduction or even smoothing that when zooming to 100%, there is not much detail left in flat surfaces such as building facades, followed by hideous sharpening (imagine using a 2-3 point sharpening in LR, resulting in almost ghosting contours). When zooming back out to Fit in frame, the smoothing and sharpening isn't as noticeable as at 100%, but it does give a feel of it, especially if you did the 100% viewing and comparing.
That said, the iPhone is avery capable camera that I always carry with me, so I still want one.
 
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