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Technical

Lightroom &
Photoshop CC workflow (Pt. 4): Lightroom mobile

November 2014

Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography bundle includes Lightroom editing software and Photoshop CC for photographers who want to organise, edit, enhance and share their images via desktop or their mobile devices – this package currently comes bundled with Canon’s EOS 5D Mark III and EOS 6D DSLRs, plus the PowerShot G1 X Mark II and PowerShot G7 X compact cameras. In a four-part CPN series of articles and video tutorials Richard Curtis (a Principal Solutions Consultant in Digital Imaging for Adobe UK) explains the workflow between Lightroom software and Photoshop CC to give you a good understanding of the benefits of working with both in tandem. In the final part of this series Richard Curtis focuses on Lightroom mobile and, in a special video tutorial, he explains how the Lightroom mobile app works for organising, editing and sharing images within the Lightroom workflow. Please click on the play button in the window above to watch the video...

Lightroom mobile has been designed for both amateur and professional photographers. It is a companion application that works seamlessly with Lightroom on the desktop and allows changes made on mobile devices to sync back to the desktop. Lightroom mobile supports a new, and more relaxed, way of editing and managing photographs.

The Adobe Creative Cloud includes Lightroom mobile and it is available in the Creative Cloud Complete package, the Creative Cloud for Teams and the Photography bundle. Users will be able to use it as part of their active subscription or as a 30-day trial. Lightroom mobile is currently available on both the iPad and iPhone (a version for Android devices is in development) as a free download from the Apple App Store.

The mobile workflow

The rise of the iPad, and other mobile and tablet devices, created a shift in the way that people consume and access information. Recently this has been overtaken, and the way that people consume and create content has also changed. Lightroom mobile is an application that embraces this change and allows photographers to adjust and enhance their images non-destructively (i.e. original files are not physically changed) and have these changes and edits sync back to the originals on the desktop, including RAW, JPG, TIFF, PSD and PNG files.

What is Lightroom mobile designed to do?

Lightroom mobile embraces the Creative Cloud to make sure that images from Lightroom desktop are synchronised to Lightroom mobile and vice versa, including photographs taken on the mobile device. Lightroom mobile can be used to select photographs for editing (using Pick or Reject flags and Star ratings). Images can be enhanced, including the capability to alter exposure, white balance, shadows, highlights, clarity etc. The Lightroom mobile app also provides presets and the ability to crop your images. It also allows you to organise your images in Collections and to create new Collections, as well as allowing you to share images via the Internet and e-mail. Lightroom mobile and the Creative Cloud will ensure that, when an Internet connection is available and established, any image enhancements that are made, either on the desktop or the Lightroom mobile application, will be synced and reflected everywhere.

Using Lightroom mobile

To use Lightroom mobile you will need to log in on the device using your Adobe ID. The Adobe ID will provide access to Lightroom mobile features, as well as any Collections and images that have been synced from Lightroom on the desktop. Please note: you will need to be running Lightroom Desktop 5.4 (5.4 is mobile-enabled), or later, to have your images available on your iPad or iPhone via Lightroom mobile, and will also need an Internet connect for synchronising images. Lightroom 5.4 is available as an update to both Creative Cloud and to the box version of Lightroom 5. To discover how the Lightroom mobile app works, and all the features it offers, just see the step-by-step guide below...

Step 1: Setting up Lightroom mobile

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Screen showing selecting the Preferences option in the Lightroom menu in order to access Lightroom mobile.

Setting up Lightroom mobile is quite easy and is done from within the Lightroom Preferences menu item at the top left of the Lightroom desktop interface.

After clicking on ‘Preferences’ you get a Preferences pop-up box, which offers options such as General, Presets, External Editing, File Handling, Interface and the Lightroom mobile tab. To use Lightroom mobile, under the Lightroom mobile tab option you can log in simply by entering your Adobe ID. Once you are logged in Lightroom will automatically look at your Creative Cloud Lightroom mobile space and it will provide information about your subscription status, along with the number of photographs that you have synced.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Screen showing the Lightroom mobile option highlighted within the Preferences pop-up box in Lightroom.


Step 2: Creating Collections and syncing images

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Screen showing the ‘Create Collection’ option being selected in Lightroom desktop via clicking on the ‘+’ icon.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Screen showing creating a Collection with ‘Sync with Lightroom mobile’ and ‘Set as target collection’ amongst the selected tick box options. In this case only one image has thus far been selected.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Screen showing the first selected image in a Collection photographed in Bhutan being synced in to Lightroom mobile.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Screen showing that any content synced with Lightroom mobile is available via your ‘Creative Identity’ in the Adobe website. Note that the ‘LR Photos’ option is under ‘ASSETS’ in the menu panel on the left.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Screen showing two Collections within the web view after clicking ‘LR Photos’.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Screen showing the one image so far synced to Lightroom mobile in the Bhutan Collection.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

After the thumbnail has been clicked a larger version of the first synced image in the Bhutan Collection is shown on-screen.

Photographs are synchronised with Lightroom mobile using Collections. Collections are a way to define a set of photographs and can be added to, or removed from, at any time. Collections can be created on the mobile app as well.

A Lightroom Collection can be created by clicking on the ‘+' icon next to the Collections tab in Lightroom desktop, and selecting ‘Create Collection’.

The Collection can be configured at this point and can include any already selected photographs. A Collection can be marked as being a ‘target collection’, which means that images can be added or removed from it by pressing the ‘B' key on an image. To enable the Collection to sync with Lightroom mobile, the ‘Sync with Lightroom mobile' option needs to be checked.

Once the Collection has been created, it will show the images that are contained within it. Once the Collection has been marked for sync, and an Internet connection exists, the contents of it will be synced to Lightroom mobile.

Any content that has been synced with Lightroom mobile is available via the Adobe.com website (at www.adobe.com), which is your ‘Creative Identity’. Synced Collections can be found under the ‘LR Photos’ menu item.

Selecting 'LR Photos' will show any synchronised Collections within the web view.

Clicking on each Collection will show the photos within each Collection that have been synced.

Then, by clicking on each thumbnail, you can view a much larger version of the image. Slideshows can also be started from here.


Step 3: Adding more images to a Collection

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Screen showing more selected images for the Bhutan Collection and them being dragged and dropped into the Collection (on the left hand side of the screen).

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Clicking the up arrow (at the top left) allows the Collection to be viewed publicly – in this case the ‘Limited Public’ option is selected in the central pop-up box.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Screen showing the filter options available after clicking on the Collection name – ‘Bhutan’ – at the top centre.

Adding more photographs to Lightroom mobile can be done by selecting the images that need to be included and, then, by either adding them manually to the Collection in Lightroom desktop or by pressing the ‘B’ key if the Collection has been configured to be a ‘target collection’.

A Lightroom Collection can also be viewed publicly by clicking on the up arrow (at the top left of the screen below) and selecting ‘Sharing Options’, which are ‘Private’ or ‘Limited Public’. In the example here the shared URL in the pop-up box can be copied and sent to others (clicking on the ‘View’ option will show what the viewer will see) via channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Clicking on the Collection name – in this case ‘Bhutan’ – at the top of the screen, will allow you to filter the contents. There are more options available in the list, allowing you to also apply different sorting options to the pictures, as well as ‘Show Badge Overlays’ – an option that shows the number of Stars assigned to each image.


Step 4: Syncing to a mobile device

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Screen showing the two synced Collections in Lightroom mobile on an iPad.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

An iPad screen showing the ‘Enable Offline Editing’ option being selected with the amount of storage space required (52.3MB) for downloading the Collections shown.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

An iPad screen showing the menu options (on left hand side), including ‘Sync Only Over WiFi’.

Navigating over to the iPad or iPhone and opening up Lightroom mobile (once downloaded), will also show the synced Collections.

Initially the Collections are synced to the mobile device (iPad or iPhone) with thumbnails (also known as ‘Smart Previews’) of the pictures, which are much smaller than your real RAW files. Editing these images will require an Internet connection, so that a larger resolution version can be downloaded when required. Larger resolution files (i.e. the RAW versions), require you to ‘Enable Offline Editing’ for the Collection. The offline edit version is controlled by touching the ‘Enable Offline Editing’ option, which can be found under the ‘…’ (three dots), on the Collections thumbnail.

Control of which method is used to sync content and adjustments from Lightroom mobile can be managed by touching the Lightroom icon. Using this panel, you can force Lightroom mobile to only sync over WiFi, rather than using your 3G/4G data plan (unless you have an unlimited data plan).


Step 5: Choosing and viewing images

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

An iPad screen showing the Pick system being used to select an image from the ‘Bhutan’ Collection. The flag icon at the lower left indicates that the Pick system is in use.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

An iPad screen showing the Star system being used to select an image from the ‘Bhutan’ Collection. The star icon at the lower left indicates that the Star system is in use.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

An iPad screen showing a filmstrip of the ‘Bhutan’ Collection at the bottom of the screen with number 2 of 32 images in the Collection shown above.

Lightroom mobile can be used to choose pictures that need work or are part of a selected edit. There are two options to do this:

  1. The Pick system.
  2. The Star system.

When the Pick system is in use a flag will appear at the bottom left hand side of the screen and, when the Star system is in use, a Star will be shown in the bottom left hand side. When either system is in use, sliding your finger up and down the device’s screen will show the other options that are available…

For example, when using the Pick system sliding up and down the screen gives you the options of ‘Pick’, ‘Unflag’ or ‘Reject’.

When using the Star system sliding up and down the screen gives you the option of the number of stars (from 1 to 5) you wish to assign to any specific image.

Swiping across the device’s screen allows you to control whether you move to the next or previous picture. Photographs can also be selected by touching the first icon (on the left) in the group of four icons at the bottom of the screen, which will show the filmstrip. Photographs can be selected by touching them, or you can swipe the filmstrip to see more photographs in the Collection.


Step 6: Making adjustments to images

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

An iPad screen showing the customised white balance adjustments options on the left hand side – in this case the central image is shown ‘As Shot’. Note that the second from left ‘global adjustments’ icon has been selected at the bottom centre.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

An iPad Screen showing the clipping mask being used under the ‘EXPOSURE’ adjustment tab.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

An iPad screen showing a zoomed in view of the image being worked on with the ‘SHADOWS’ adjustment option selected.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

An iPad Screen showing the preset options on the left hand side with the ‘COLOR’ adjustment tab selected.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

An iPad screen showing the crop option in use – in this case the chosen in-built ‘ASPECT’ ratio is 3x4.

The second (from left) icon in the group of four icons at the bottom of the screen, allows non-destructive, ‘global’ adjustments to be made to the photograph. An adjustment can be selected by touching it with your finger, then swiping with your finger to the left and right in order to reach the appropriate value. The values on elements such as white balance, temperature, exposure, white points, black points, shadow, highlight etc. can all be modified.

When changing the exposure, white point, black point, shadows and highlights, two fingers can be used to show the clipping mask. The clipping mask can be useful to allow precise adjustments when altering these values on the image.

Once adjustments have been made to the image, two fingers can be used to zoom into the image.

The third icon option in the group (at the bottom of the screen) is the ability to apply presets; these presets include Creative, Colour, B&W, Detail and Effect etc. For example, the ‘CREATIVE’ option offers presets including Creamtone, Sepia Tone, Selenium Tone, Split Tone, Old Polar, Cross Process 1, Cross Process 2 and Cross Process 3.

Swiping across the device’s screen allows you to control whether you move to the next or previous picture. Photographs can also be selected by touching the first icon (on the left) in the group of four icons at the bottom of the screen, which will show the filmstrip. Photographs can be selected by touching them, or you can swipe the filmstrip to see more photographs in the Collection.

The last icon option in the group (at the bottom centre of the screen) allows you to make a crop. The crop option enables in-built aspect ratios – including 1x1, 4x5, 8.5x11, 5x7, 2x3, 3x4 and 9x16 – which are selectable from the bottom of the screen and will stay fixed while the lock icon is closed. Free-form aspect ratio cropping is also available by unlocking the lock on the right hand side of the screen.

When adjustments are being made to the photograph, the synchronisation between Lightroom mobile and Lightroom desktop will be paused until the next image is selected. Once the next image is selected, the adjustments will be synced to Lightroom desktop (an internet connection will be required during the sync).


Step 7: Sharing images over different channels

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

An iPad screen showing the pop-up iOS dialog box with the sharing options available.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

An iPad screen showing the selected image in the ‘Shared from Lightroom mobile’ option so you can send the picture via e-mail.

Touching the up arrow icon at the top right of the screen, then clicking the ‘Share’ option, opens up the pop-up iOS dialog box. This will allow you options to share the image over a number of different channels, such as Facebook, Twitter or via e-mail.

The e-mail sharing operation is shown below. By clicking on the ‘Mail’ icon within the pop-up iOS dialog box Lightroom mobile will open the ‘Shared from Lightroom mobile’ mail option. It will create the selected image for the e-mail, as well as allowing you the options to enter the To, Cc and Bcc e-mail addresses. You can then simply e-mail it to whomever you choose with any additional message added.


Step 8: Syncing adjustments

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Desktop screen showing the edited image brought in from Lightroom mobile – in this case additional Lens Corrections are being made from the desktop.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Screen showing Collections in the Lightroom mobile app open on an iPhone.

Adjustments from Lightroom mobile can be seen inside Lightroom on the desktop, once the sync has finished. Also, of course, you can then make any additional adjustments to the image that cannot be made within Lightroom mobile – for example, Lens Corrections or adding a vignette – from the desktop. Any changes made on the desktop will automatically sync back to Lightroom mobile in order to keep the workflow consistent between the application and the desktop.

As previously mentioned much earlier in this article Lightroom mobile is also available on the iPhone and works in the same way as it does when using an iPad.


Step 9: Taking images on devices and syncing back

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Screen showing a New Collection – for iPhone images – being created in the Lightroom mobile app open on an iPhone.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Screen showing 3 Collections synced to the iPhone – note the ‘Add from Camera Roll’ option that allows you to add images shots on the device into a Collection.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

An iPhone screen showing one image taken on the phone and imported from the camera roll in Lightroom mobile.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

An iPhone screen showing the adjustment of the value for ‘WHITES’ in the image shot with the phone.

© Richard Curtis/Adobe

Screen showing the adjusted image shot on an iPhone synced back to the desktop. Note that the ‘iphone pics’ folder is selected on the left hand side of the screen.

Lightroom on the iPhone or the iPad is also a great way to take photographs and sync back to Lightroom on the desktop. Photographs can be stored in any Collection on the device, including ones that are created within Lightroom mobile. A Collection can be created on the device by touching the ‘+' on the top right of the screen. This Collection will appear automatically in Lightroom on the desktop as soon as the sync is completed.

Once a Collection has been created, its behaviour can be configured. Under the ‘…’ (three dots) you can ‘Enable Auto Import’; this option will bring photos in from the camera roll automatically when Lightroom is open. Pictures can also be added manually to the Collection by using the ‘Add from Camera Roll’ option.

You can see that one picture has been imported from the camera roll in the following screen shot.

Images from an iPhone can be adjusted and enhanced in the same way as they can from an iPad – in other words you can use the Pick or Star systems, make global adjustments, select presets and crop images.

Once Lightroom mobile has completed the sync – available via the ‘Cloud +’ icon at the top right – the photographs, and any changes made to them, will appear in Lightroom desktop.





Summary

I hope that this article and video tutorial have given you a clear understanding of the abilities of the Lightroom mobile app and how it can be used effectively within the Lightroom workflow. Also, I hope that this four-part series of articles has given you a good overview of many of the wide variety of options that are available within the Lightroom and Photoshop CC workflow.


Biography: Richard Curtis

Richard Curtis

Richard Curtis is a Principal Solutions Consultant at Adobe UK with a focus on Digital Imaging. Richard is the UK contact for Photoshop, Lightroom, Elements and Imaging workflows around the Creative Cloud. He is a keen technologist and has been a keen photographer for over 20 years, with a focus on street, travel and portrait photography. His favourite photographers include Irving Penn, Mary Ellen Mark and Henri Cartier-Bresson.



Showcase

Screen showing selecting the Preferences option in the Lightroom menu in order to access Lightroom mobile.