The Lightroom mobile apps include a built-in camera (not currently available on Android tablets), but why would you bother to open Lightroom instead of using the default camera app?
The Lightroom camera has a number of advantages:
- Pro Controls – The app has a wide range of pro features, including the ability to set the shutter speed, ISO, white balance and manual focus.
- Non-Destructive Presets – Lightroom’s shoot-through presets are non-destructive, so if you later decide you don’t like the effect, you can simply reset the photo or adjust the sliders.
- Non-Destructive Crop – If you zoom in while composing the photo, the full sensor data is still captured without resampling and a non-destructive crop is applied, so you can zoom out or change the crop again later.
- DNG Format – The raw data can be saved as DNG format, rather than being rasterized into a JPEG format, giving you greater latitude when you later edit the photo. (Requires iOS devices with a 12MP camera running iOS10+ or specific Android devices).
- Raw HDR – Lightroom’s camera can create a 16-bit raw HDR DNG file with much greater dynamic range than your camera’s sensor can capture alone, avoiding clipping the highlights and shadows. (Requires iOS devices with a 12MP camera running iOS10+ or specific Android devices).
- Easy Sync – The photos are automatically added to Lightroom mobile, and they’re synced back to your desktop catalog, so you never need to worry about losing your photos. (Requires CC Subscription).
To access the built-in camera, tap the camera icon at the bottom of the Organize or Grid view.
Here’s an infographic showing what all of the different icons actually do:
Syncing the photos to your computer
Of course, your photos are precious, so what happens if your phone or tablet is lost, stolen or damaged? You wouldn’t want to lose them!
If you’re signed in to your Adobe ID, using a trial or subscription, then your photos are automatically synced to the cloud whenever you have an internet connection and the Lightroom mobile app is open. You can check the status at any time by tapping the cloud icon at the top of the screen.
You’ll also need to enable sync on your desktop catalog, so that your full resolution photos are safely downloaded to your desktop archive. To do so, open Lightroom on the desktop and click on the ID plate to show the Activity Centre. If you’ve already enabled sync, you can see as the photos download to your desktop catalog. Otherwise, the Lightroom mobile line will say Start, and ask you to sign in. We’ll come back to the desktop app in more detail in a later post.
If you don’t have a subscription, you can still save your edited photos out to the camera roll (iOS) / gallery (Android) by tapping on the Share icon, but they’ll be saved as rendered JPEGs (even if captured as DNGs). These photos can then be backed up to your computer using a cable, or to the cloud using other apps such as Dropbox or Google Photos.
Next week, we discuss how to add your existing photos, and how to set Lightroom to automatically import any photos/videos shot with other camera apps.
If you’re keen to get 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.)