From Lightroom to iPad and back again.

iPad Plugin workflow

I’ve already been raving about Photosmith, so here’s a tale of workarounds and workflow. This is entirely unsupported, but it may be useful for you, if you need to move from Lightroom to the iPad/Photosmith and back again as I do. 

 Before I went to Scotland I did an editorial shoot with a full team (BTS album from Siabh Egan is on Facebook). I sent Byron, the wardrobe and hair stylist, a preview of some of the images, but really I needed to get a sit down preview and to go from there. My plan was to use the iPad and Photosmith to get all the detail back to the computer after we met. 

The first hurdle is that the iPad only lets you import photos via the card reader (or at least, the ones that Photosmith has access to). This means that we have to get the images onto a card. As I had 5Gb of images, and my largest CF card is 4GB, I had to find a better solution. As it happens, I have an 8GB SD card for my Canon G10. I formatted the card in camera. Next, while connected to my Desktop, I created a folder called ‘DCIM’, and inside that created a folder called ‘134CANON’, just to keep it standard. Chris from Photosmith says it needs the ‘MISC’ folder too, but I didn’t need it. He also says it’s quite flaky, so they don’t officially support anything I’m saying here! My next hurdle was that the iPad saw no files in the folder. Ouch. This was in the car, as I was just about to pull off, already late for my meeting. I ran back in and did a text replace batch rename (in Bridge) to make my files back into IMG_9542 type files. Worked a treat. As I drove in, the iPad was importing the files. I met Byron, and using a red label, he picked the files he liked, giving me a range of images to choose from. This, after all, was a collaborative shoot, so this allowed him his say. The process was easy, swiping and selecting along with zooming in to check focus and expression. 

When I arrived home, I tried to control the computer via VNC, but Photosmith has to be running on the iPad for sync to work properly. Otherwise I could’ve done it watching NCIS! Alas, I had to initiate it at the computer and then back to my seat for more navy detecting. I had filtered my images to show only red tags in the Last Import folder. I then created a new collection. Going back to Last Import, I clicked ‘Select All’ and dragged them to the new collection. In Lightroom I chose the collection for my Lightroom sync in the Photosmith companion plugin. Lightroom imported the data (but not additional images). It actually found the original images, despite the rename and applied the red labels to them. In addition, the collection came in perfect. From there I made my final selection. I’ve still to post process them though.

I do have instances where I need to bring images out of Lightroom onto the iPad and back. This is one case where using Publish won’t work, because of how Photosmith is allowed access photos on the iPad. Even though the double copy (once to the card, once to the iPad) is tedious, it works. Hopefully this will be of use to some. I know I’ll be doing it again. The Photosmith blog does mention this is the #1 requested feature, so I think there will be a better way in the future. Again, this worked for me and your mileage may vary. Always make sure you have image backups when trying to sync across devices like this too. 

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