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By the way, even if you don’t use Lightroom Classic you can still download and use Lightroom for mobile to view and develop photos. But without an Adobe Photography Plan subscription your photos won’t synchronize with other Lightroom apps or Lightroom Classic.
1. Use Lightroom for mobile as a presentation device.
Lightroom for mobile makes it easy to upload photos to your mobile device. It eliminates at least one step in the upload process because you can do it all from within Lightroom Classic.
Lightroom Classic, as you probably know, requires you to organize photos in Collections.
You can synchronize any Collection (but not Smart Collections or Collection Sets) with Lightroom for mobile by ticking the appropriate box in the Collections panel. Lightroom Classic creates Smart Previews of the photos in the Collection (if they don’t exist already) and uploads them to Adobe’s servers.
When you open Lightroom for mobile it connects with Adobe’s servers and downloads those Smart Previews so you can view the images on your device. You can even download the previews permanently so you can show your photos to other people without an internet connection. The app is perfect for showing off your portfolio on your phone or tablet.
Above: A synchronized Collection in Lightroom Classic.
Above: The same Collection in the mobile app.
2. Use Lightroom for mobile to select which photos to develop
Lightroom for mobile is much more than a photo viewer. You can also use it to assign flags and ratings (although not color labels or keywords) and move selected photos to a new Collection. That new Collection is then visible back in Lightroom Classic.
Let’s say you go out and spend the day taking photos, ending up with around 200 frames. You’re highly unlikely to want to develop all 200, so the normal course of action is to import them into Lightroom Classic, view them in the Library module and assign Flags to your favorites.
If the Collection containing the photos is synchronized with the mobile app you can also do this on your tablet or phone (it works best on tablets with large screens). It’s an ideal way to view and sort your photos while away from your main computer, such as a train or plane journey.
Above: A Collection of images ready for sorting in the app.
3. Use Lightroom for mobile to enable somebody else to select which photos to develop
Whenever you synchronize a Collection with Lightroom for mobile you have the option of making it publicly viewable. This means anybody with the link can view the photos online. This is another feature of your Lightroom Classic subscription and is called Lightroom web.
Let’s say you took some photos of a friend and would like her to choose some favorites. You just synchronize the Collection in Lightroom Classic and send her the link. If she logs in with an Adobe ID she can mark images as favorites and leave comments. These show up in Lightroom Classic so you can see exactly which photos she selected.
Above: A Collection viewable in Lightroom web. Logged in users can leave comments and mark images as favorites.
Above: Back in Lightroom Classic you can see comments and likes in the Comments panel in the Library module.
Scott Kelby wrote an article explaining how he set up a studio shoot with a camera tethered to Lightroom Classic. As the photos were imported into Lightroom Classic he sent the best ones to a synchronized Collection. The art director could see the photos on an iPad, and assign flags to the ones he liked. Click here to read Scott’s article.
4. Develop photos in Lightroom for mobile
You can also develop photos in the mobile app. The latest updates give it nearly as much functionality as Lightroom Classic. But bear in mind that mobile devices are not color calibrated, so serious editing should be done in Lightroom Classic. But you can at least try some things out, and again, it’s nice to be able to develop photos away from your main computer.
Above: Developing a photo in Lightroom for mobile.
5. Backup photos in Lightroom for mobile
The app’s ideal for backing up your photos when you’re away from home. Strictly speaking you don’t need the mobile app, you just need a device with enough storage space. For example, I have a 128GB iPad and with the Lightning to SD Card adapter I can import photos from my camera’s memory cards into my iPad. As long as I don’t exceed the storage capacity of the device it gives me the freedom to travel without taking my laptop. Even better, many Android devices use removable Micro SD cards that you can use for backups.
But with Lightroom for mobile you can view those photos, arrange them into Collections and assign flags. It means you don’t have to wait until you get home to start organizing and sorting the photos you took while away.
You can now import Raw files as well as JPEGs directly into the mobile app. Earlier versions didn’t let you do this.
6. Import photos taken on your mobile phone
You can set Lightroom for mobile to automatically import photos taken with your mobile phone (including Raw DNG files with iOS and Android devices). When wi-fi is available the mobile app uploads the photos to Adobe’s servers. Lightroom Classic automatically downloads those photos and saves them on your main computer’s hard drive when this machine is online.
You can also use your phone’s camera from within the app itself. But there are a few things to be aware of.
1. The phone in Lightroom for mobile is not as sophisticated as some third-party apps you can buy.
2. If you use the DNG format then the files are much bigger than JPEGs and take a long time to upload. At the moment you can only upload them via internet and there’s no option to transfer files using a wired connection.
For the moment I advise that you take photos with another app, and transfer them to your computer through a wired connection. It’s easier that way and you can still import your photos into Lightroom for mobile from your camera roll.
Above: Photo taken with Lightroom for mobile on an iPhone.
7. Use Lightroom for mobile to share photos on Instagram
Instagram is the hot photo sharing website right now, but one of its oddities is that you can only upload photos from a mobile device, and not from a desktop browser. But Lightroom Classic gives you a couple of ways to upload photos to Instagram.
The first is to download the LR/Instagram plugin for Lightroom. With this plugin you can send photos straight to Instagram from Lightroom Classic. This is covered in our tutorial How to Upload Photos to Instagram With the LR/Instagram Plugin
The second is to use the Lightroom for mobile app. Our tutorial How to Post Photos to Instagram From Lightroom Classic Using Lightroom for Mobile explains the process in full.
If you’re a Lightroom Classic subscriber and you don’t use Lightroom for mobile, then I encourage you to give it a try. The ideas in this article are a great starting point. Have a play and see what you think. I’d be surprised if you didn’t find it useful!
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