RESPECT THE LEARNING CURVE: Further notes on my iPad Pro/LR Mobile Journey

“Respect the learning curve,” a saying I learned from engineers inside Apple back in the early 90’s when I complained about some complex new software. The other saying they had was “you have to waste an hour to save 10 hours,” both very wise and true. Once you put the time in to learn, productivity soars.

And that’s where I am now, on that steep part of the curve, where it feels like an acid trip – flashes of complete lucidity and understanding in between hours of confusion. So all you read here is likely wrong or incomplete, please bear with me.

The good news is I have both iPad Pros (both sizes) set up and running with LRM and syncing with my desktop, as well as my phone. This flexibility is simply the coolest thing about the process so far. Yes you can download RAW direct to the iPad it seems but I am waiting for the thunderbolt adaptor which should come today so I can try that. Meanwhile I’m downloading to the laptop and synching to LRM.

Forgive me all you LR maniacs, this is all new to me, BUT it’s freakin awesome to go back and forth. This is cool. I imported my raw/jpegs into Lightroom and synced with LRM. I went to the iPad and there was the collection, nice. I scrolled through and found an image to retouch and yes it was NEF, Nikon raw. I make my corrections, bw etc and then went back to the Desktop and boom, all there, very very fast. I understand this is done with instruction sets so only lower res jpegs are traveling, details…

For my previous workflow, we had Aperture on a laptop with a fresh library set up and would download the memory cards as we worked, backing up everything to three separate HDs at the same time. At the end, we’d copy the Aperture library to one of the drives which I could take with me for editing. If we were traveling on to another shoot or location, I could dropbox the updated library with all my edits for my studio to download and merge with our master Library (or fedex a drive), or on our return we’d merge. And we’d copy the RAW files onto our server when we return or via Fedex. So now, I’m going to try to replace or improve on that system.

We may be able to take the iPad Pro instead of the laptop if we keep it data free. I’ll go shoot, download the shoot, edit and so forth on the iPad. Since LR Mobile is syncing everything the “master” library/catalog is anywhere we want it to be it seems. I have to decide if I’m going to keep one catalog and separate shoots by collections, or make a new catalog for every shoot… tricky to get my head around that. But after each shoot we’d wipe the iPad clean. This assumes no shoot gets above 128 gigs or 256 gigs in case of the smaller one. And then comes the back up: I need to figure out how to back up in real time like we do now, as I don’t think I can connect HD’s to the iPad. That’s key. And the cloud seems unrealistic, even overnight, for as much data as we generate. Especially in some hotel in whereverville. Sometimes we are shooting 20, 3o, 50 gigs a day or more. Crazy I know.

So issues remain in regard to ICC profiles and color management and how much retouching I can actually do on iPad and what will likely get done in studio. If I can solve the back up in the field problem, then we’ll be exploring how far I can go with the iPad Pro. At some point it will make sense to bring everything back to studio for final retouching and exporting for delivery to clients but we’ll see…!


Lightroom Mobile syncs across both size iPad Pros and iPhone 6s. Cool.

August 2016
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4 Responses to RESPECT THE LEARNING CURVE: Further notes on my iPad Pro/LR Mobile Journey

  1. david Q moser says:

    This is cool… but… the mac laptops are super lightweight these days. i’m not sure — i mean i AM sure — that i don’t understand why a big iPad is so any better just to save a very few ounces. Being able to connect hard drives is KEY — even on a good connection, uploading to the cloud is slow, and what if a connection drops overnight and the files never upload? And then, hours to download on the other end? I’m a sceptic, for sure.

    thanks for sharing all of this info.

    • Doug Menuez says:

      Hi David, well first my interest is to push the tools to see what’s possible and it’s pretty close to total mobile solution. It actually is in fact working for smaller shoots, personal projects, to use just the iPad Pro for the whole deal. For bigger editorial or commercial shoots (with tons of back up drives) what is really making me and digitech happy is the Lightroom Mobile sync feature. My guy is downloading all day and syncing to Adobe cloud and periodically I need to review, knocking him off and slowing down his backups and downloading. Now I can grab the iPad and continuously edit (as in cull) frames and see issues without disrupting the workflow. And at night I can edit on the iPad wherever I am. It’s pretty cool for us.

  2. Alice Wilson Photography & Digital Imaging says:

    Dear Doug, I appreciate the fact that you are testing all that is available for on location shooting as I’m one that must know what all options are available to us especially to save time and increase productivity. Time is money! The ability to use the iPad and LRM on location while your assistant is working on the laptop or desktop allowing you to edit and check up on his progress, etc… is valuable in my opinion. However, I’m in unison with David about using the Macbook pro, for now as I suspect in the near future your/our whole idea to go completely, 100% mobile with better and faster backup solutions will come to fruition sooner than later, assuming Apple will stop taking all our ports away! Ugh) We’ll likely see an iPad solid state external combo that works as a seamless unit having, if any, only the need for lightning port and one cord, or even better a combo that is completely wireless. Btw, there maybe something like that available now since last I researched. Hard to keep up! I’m waiting anxiously for SanDisk or Lexar to come up with a solid state high capacity, like 750 gig and up, jump drive with lightening on one end and USB on other AND that I live long enough for the prices to drop as usual. There’s several out there now and I’ve used SanDisk 64 gig and it’s great. Anyway, back to David, I agree that a Macbook pro, for now, is the better option with using the iPad to view LRM and the ability for you and your assistant to work simultaneously. Best of luck and keep us informed of your findings. Alice

    • Doug Menuez says:

      Hi Alice, Sorry I’ve been unable to update this sooner but your points are well taken. My workflow has settled into Lightroom on MacBook Pro and synching to the iPad for review/editing. So not using iPad as a pro solution completely but it’s a terrific added tool with LRM. On big shoots my tech is downloading constantly and I need to see how we are doing. Rather than interrupt him, he’s syncing to iPad with LRM so I can quickly review what we’ve been doing, show clients, etc. That night, while he’s backing up, I can be reviewing and editing on the iPad to get ahead of the long wrap edit. When no wifi we use a verizon wifi card which is not super fast but does the job. Thanks!

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