My Workflow for Editing DSLR Photos on My iPad with Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom CC for iOS added support for Apple’s Shortcuts app on January 11, 2019. That’s the update I’ve been waiting for.

Here’s my new workflow for streamlining my photo imports from my digital SLR camera into Adobe Lightroom CC on my iPad Pro.

Workflow Benefits

I like Lightroom on my iPad because Apple Pencil makes many photo editing steps so much easier. Also, my iPad is a lot more portable than my laptop is. And once my photos are in Adobe Creative Cloud, I can open them on my laptop if I want. Every edit is synced. And when full-fledged Photoshop comes to iPad this year, I may never leave.

The problem has always been how tedious it is to select photos a couple times during importing. Now, that problem is fixed.

Workflow Steps

  1. Take photos in RAW format. Only taking JPEGs may lose some image data during photo editing. Taking pictures in both RAW and JPEG together prevents importing RAW photos into iOS. Only shooting in RAW lets me import RAW photos to iOS.
  2. Insert a lightning-to-SD-card dongle into the iPad.
  3. Insert an SD card.
  4. The Photos app opens immediately and allows users to select which photos to import to the camera roll. Most users will just want to tap Select to select all. This step has an option to create a new album.
  5. My shortcut includes the following three ways to select which photos to import into Adobe Lightroom CC:
  • Select the images in the Photos app, tap the share icon, tap Shortcuts, and run the Import Into Lightroom shortcut on those images only.
  • Run the shortcut first, and then select photos manually.
  • Run the shortcut and select Get all the photos from my last import to sidestep image selection in the Photos app and take advantage of Lightroom’s variable thumbnail size and rating features.
  • Users can choose to apply a preset, but many probably want to do that manually later. I believe the Curves > None preset leaves photos alone.
  • When the import is complete, the shortcut opens Lightroom automatically. All the new photos are under Recent. Select them all and add them to a fresh album. It would be great if users could create a Lightroom album using shortcuts, but I don’t think we can yet.

Users who want to avoid duplicating their photo databases could add an action to their shortcuts to delete the photos from the Photos app after being imported into Lightroom. I haven’t tested this, though. You’d obviously want to make sure your photos were backed up before trying it. If something goes wrong, remember you can probably bring your photos out of the Photos app trash.

The shortcut is easy to build, but if you’d like to download the one I use, here you go:

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