There are three components to Lightroom on your iPad: Lightroom (i.e., your desktop app, directly connected to all your high-res images), Lightroom Mobile (the app on your iPad), and Creative Cloud (Adobe’s cloud service, which has a number of other features, but we’ll be concentrating on how it’s used in making the Mobile app work for now.
Creative Cloud is always the link between the two versions of Lightroom; even if your iPad is sitting inches away from your desktop, even if it’s plugged into your desktop, your photos are being uploaded to the internet and downloaded again each and every time a transfer is made. Silly? Yes. But, well, Adobe must have its reasons.
Workflow in Lightroom
Think of Lightroom Mobile (or Lr Mobile for short) as a window to your desktop, rather than a standalone processor. This workflow still begins with an old-fashioned import to your Lightroom. But it grants you the freedom to review, edit, and share huge batches of images away from your desk—and by away, this mean anything from thousands of miles away while you’re flying on a plane, to a few dozen feet away while you’re reclining on the sofa.
1. Start by opening up Lightroom on your desktop, and tapping on your Identity Plate—this is the area at the top-left corner, next to the Lr logo. You’ll be prompted to Sign In using your Adobe ID. (You should also sign in to the app on your iPad.)
2. Once you’re signed in, scroll down to the Collections panel on the left column, underneath the Navigator window. You’ll have a new From Lr Mobile set there—right click on it…
3. …and click Create Collection. You can also create a Smart Collection based on metadata criteria, or a Collection Set in which to organise multiple Collections.
4. Then you’ll be presented with the pop-up Create Collection dialog. Enter a name for the batch of images first, and make it distinct from your other collections, as this will basically be the album name when working in Lightroom Mobile. Geographic place names are a good starting point. Your new Collection needs to be inside the From Lr mobile Collection Set, so keep that box checked.
By checking Set as target collection, you’ll be able to go back to your catalog and add images by selecting them and pressing B. But if you already have your images selected, check Include selected photos, and they’ll be added automatically.
5. Once your Collection is created, you’ll need to go back to the Collections panel, right click on the new Collection, and check Sync with Lightroom mobile. You’ll also see the Lightroom mobile Links option, in which you can share this collection online.
6. Now, as you add images to your new Collection, Lightroom will automatically create Smart Previews of them and upload those to Creative Cloud. (Obviously, if you already generated Smart Previews, this process is quicker.)
7. By default, Lr Mobile will download only low-resolution JPEGs of each image initially; these will be displayed in the gallery view. Only once you open an image to fullscreen will the full Smart Preview be downloaded—and of course, this requires an internet connection. However, you can download the Smart Previews for your entire collection by tapping the … icon at the bottom right of your Collection, and selecting Enable Offline Editing.
8. A pop-up dialog box will explain how much space the Smart Previews will take up, and how much storage you have left on your device. If you have room, tap Download to start downloading. A progress bar will appear in your Collection showing the sync is active.
In the few short years since its introduction, the iPad has revolutionised how photographers work. At one time having a fully fledged computer or powerful laptop computer was considered essential, but now the iPad is the perfect photographer’s companion. The Photographer’s iPad is Frank Gallaugher’s comprehensive guide to using the iPad for your photography.
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