Summer vacation and its photos. Who wants to come back home, unpack, do laundry and get back into the daily routine with the added task of sorting and editing all your vacation photos? Not me.

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With Adobe’s recent announcement about Lightroom Mobile and Photoshop Mix, I was excited at the possibility of keeping on top of my editing while on the road. And it worked!

For me, looking at and “playing with” my daily photos is a perfect wind-down to fun-filled but exhausting day. Not everyone agrees, I’m sure. But I think most of us might appreciate this downtime at some point during a vacation. It also kept me entertained during road trips from one point to another.

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This is how my setup worked:

  • Lightroom Mobile is installed on both my iPad and my iPhone. Any photo I take on my iPhone is automatically synced into Lightroom on my iPad.
  • My main camera is the Canon 6D. Its wifi connection makes it easy to import some or all of the photos I take with it into Lightroom on either my iPad or my iPhone.

And my process was:

  • Using the iPad, combine all iPhone and select 6D shots into one collection to be synced with my desktop Lightroom.
  • Apply Pick flags to my favorite photos, just like I do when importing a shoot onto my desktop.
  • Edit images that needed it using Lightroom mobile. This app gives you access to the same edits available in the basic panel of Lightroom, plus the presets that Adobe includes with Lightroom. (No, unfortunately you can’t install outside presets into LR Mobile.) All the images in this article were edited using Lightroom mobile.lrmobile screenshot

I loved these aspects of the process:

  • Sharing well-edited photos real time. Seems like I spend a good couple of hours after every vacation sending photos to friends and family. One person wants this set, another person wants that set. And God forbid you mistakenly send the Hatfields and McCoys photos of each other! It’s much easier for me to send a few photos a day to the folks you were with that day.
  • Once I got home, I had very little to do. My favorite images synced automatically to my desktop via Lightroom mobile. Most were edited completely. I also submitted a print order.

Drawbacks to this process:

  • The only way to get a Raw file into Lightroom mobile is to sync it from a desktop installation of Lightroom. If you shoot Raw and move the files directly from your camera to your iPad, as I did, the images will be converted to JPGs by the iPad. Since you can get Raw files into Lightroom from a desktop, I’d love for Adobe to create an import interface directly from LR mobile that allows for Raw import. I took some special photos that will be used for grandmother’s birthday this year – I had to edit them on my desktop, because I needed Raw editing power.
  • I didn’t use Photoshop Mix as much as I expected. In fact, I only used it to experiment with compositing – not for any photo edits. While Photoshop Mix does allow for local edits (creating a layer mask, essentially), you can only apply these masks on the built in looks like Instant, Sepia, Summer, etc. I’d love for it to be available for the basic edits (Exposure, Contrast, Clarity & Saturation.) Lightroom Mobile and Photoshop Mix are both brand new products – I expect lots of great improvements to them in the future!
  • Storage space constraints. My iPhone has always been close to full, and now that I’m importing from camera to iPad, the iPad is close to full also. I have to be hyper-vigilant about moving files from the mobile devices to my desktop. Come to think of it, I’m not sure if this is technically a drawback. 😉

Space Management Considerations:

  • You can delete Collections from Lightroom mobile to free up space on your mobile device. This does not delete the images or the collections on your desktop.
  • Deleting Lightroom Mobile collections on your device will not delete photos taken with that device. It will simply remove them from LR Mobie. You can still access those photos in the iPhone or iPad’s Photos app.
  • Lightroom Mobile can automatically import photos taken with your devices. This duplicates the photos on your device – they occur once in the device’s Photos app and once in LR Mobile.
  • Photos imported via Lightroom mobile to your desktop are automatically stored in the Photos folder of your internal hard drive in a folder called “Lightroom/Mobile Downloads.” I haven’t been able to find a way to change this. Since I like to store my photos on an external hard drive, I will eventually need to move these imported photos. Oddly, Lightroom doesn’t add this photo to the Folders panel in Lightroom – you would need to synchronize it to view your photos from there. Otherwise, they are only accessible through the collections.


All in all, using Lightroom Mobile on my iPhone and iPad was a great photo management tool for vacation. I loved the freedom of not having tons of photos to process when I got home! Have you tried it yet? What did you think?