In the last post, we learned how to import photos captured using other camera apps on your phone or tablet… but if you can import photos from the camera roll, that means you can also import photos shot on real cameras too. It’s a great way of backing up and even starting to edit your photos on vacation.
Transfer the photos to the phone/tablet
Lightroom doesn’t add photos directly from your memory card, so you first have to import the photos into the phone/tablet’s photo storage space, before they can be added to Lightroom.
Apple sells SD memory card adaptors and USB adaptors for use with your camera cable and iOS device. This means you can insert your SD card or plug in your camera, and import the photos onto your iPad or iPhone using the iOS Photos app. Lightroom can then import the photos from the camera roll. To do so:
- Put your memory card into the SD adaptor, or plug your camera cable into the camera and USB adaptor and turn on the camera.
- Plug the adaptor into the Lightning or 30-pin port at the bottom of your iPad/iPhone.
- The Photos app automatically opens. At the bottom of the screen, tap Import.
- Thumbnails of your photos start to appear. Tap the photos you want to import, or tap Import All at the top of the screen.
- Tap Import All or Import Selected to begin the import.
- Wait… and wait… It can take a long time if the photos are large. If there are raw+jpeg pairs on the card, both formats are copied to the iPad/iPhone.
I understand the same is possible on many Android devices, using an OTG cable to connect the camera or card reader and then using a file browser to copy the photos from the memory card to the DCIM folder (or a subfolder) on your phone or tablet. I’m not an Android user, so I won’t confuse you by attempting more detailed instructions, as the exact instructions vary by manufacturer.
Add the photos to Lightroom
- Once the photos are safely copied to the phone/tablet’s camera roll/photo storage, switch back to Lightroom.
- Add the photos to Lightroom, as we learned in the last post, either by enabling Auto Add or adding them manually. If you’re adding them manually, at the top of the screen, where it says Camera Roll, tap the Recently Added album (iOS) or the subfolder you created (Android) to view just the new photos. If you have Lightroom mobile set to automatically add new photos, you can skip this step.
- Once the photos have finished importing into Lightroom, you can delete them from the Photos app and clear its Recently Deleted collection (iOS) / delete from the DCIM folder (Android) to free up space on your device.
On iOS, if you’re reusing the same memory card without reformatting, it’s better to delay clearing the Photos app until you switch memory cards. Otherwise, if you delete the photos and then reinsert the card to transfer the next day’s photos, it’ll try to import them all again, instead of just importing the new ones.
Can I just take my tablet on vacation now?
A tablet now makes a useable vacation workflow tool, with a couple of provisos:
- You either need a tablet with large enough storage space to hold all of the photos you shoot on vacation, and a fast upload speed when you return home.
- You need an unmetered internet connection at your destination with a fast upload speed, which would allow you to upload the original photos to the cloud, and then clear the cache to recover space on your tablet. Sadly this seems to be hard to come by in most hotels, but leaving the tablet awake and uploading overnight may be adequate if your files are small.
If your internet connection is slow or your bandwidth is limited, disable your internet connection (e.g. Airplane mode or just turn Wi-Fi off) while sorting through the day’s shots, then delete the rejects before reenabling Wi-Fi. This avoids wasting time uploading the photos you’ll eventually delete.
The original files (whether raw or JPEG) are uploaded to the cloud, and then back down to your desktop version of Lightroom, however for safety, I’d still recommend keeping the photos on the memory card in addition to your tablet as a backup, at least until you return home and add the photos to your normal image backup drive.
How do I recover space?
Photos added using the mobile app or website are stored as full resolution photos, unlike the smart previews uploaded by the desktop app. These can take up quite a lot of space, although the app is quite smart about managing the space it uses.
If you need to clear space on your device, perhaps to import new photos, tap the LR icon in the top left corner of the Organize view, and look through the different preferences for the Clear Cache button. The exact location varies by OS and app version. Tap the Clear Cache button to clear all of the full resolution photos that have already been uploaded to the cloud, and are not marked for offline use. To just clear an individual collection, switch back to the Organize view, tap the … icon next to the collection and tap the Clear Cache menu item instead.
Further posts are coming up over the next few weeks, explaining how to view and edit your photos, but if you’re keen to started in the meantime, you can download the full set of infographics right now. They’re yours to download absolutely FREE when you sign up for my monthly Lightroom newsletter using the form below. (Don’t worry, I won’t share your email address with anyone else. You can read previous issues of the newsletter here.)