Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for mobile. (Image: Adobe).

Published: April 8th, 2014

Adobe Inc. is solving one of photographers’ biggest gripes by launching a new, mobile version of its Photoshop Lightroom software, allowing photographers to organize, edit, and share their photos from their mobile devices by syncing their iPads and their desktops.

While it sounds relatively basic, creating a mobile-friendly companion to Lightroom is a fix to a problem for anyone doing a photoshoot, or even coming back from vacation and toting back hundreds or even thousands of photos. It allows people to organize and sort through their images using either their Apple iPad or their desktop. Nor does it matter how the photos were taken – a user can plug into images taken with his or her iPad, iPhone, or with a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera.

With the new Lightroom mobile version, a user on an iPad or desktop can make edits like cropping, changing a photo’s exposure, or removing splotches or dust spots – and those edits sync to both the iPad and the desktop. They can also check out metadata on their photos simply by doing a two-finger tap on their iPad, sticking to gestures iPad users are already familiar with.

Editing a photo using the iPad and Adobe Lightroom mobile. (Image: Adobe).
Editing a photo using the iPad and Adobe Lightroom mobile. (Image: Adobe).


“We wanted to move beyond the desktop and create a Photoshop experience experience beyond all devices, so users can unlock photography from the desktop,” said Tom Hogarty, group product manager of photography for Adobe, during a press briefing. “The migration of the features wasn’t cut and paste, because that wouldn’t respect the [user interface] and touch functionality. We’ve only taken basic panel controls and migrated them to mobile, and then we’ll get [user] feedback.”

“It was a good experience for us to intelligently evolve the desktop into mobile for the team, and to see the design changes.”

For those concerned about using up massive amounts of their iPad’s storage to house photos taken with a DSLR, Adobe has come up with a way to provide samples before a user downloads a photo to his or her iPad. Branded as “Smart Previews,” Adobe has essentially compressed images down to a fraction of their original size, Hogarty added. He estimated an iPad 4 could store up to 60,000 images locally for offline use.

Users can import photos from the iPad or iPhone's camera roll straight to Lightroom. (Image: Adobe).
Users can import photos from the iPad or iPhone’s camera roll straight to Lightroom. (Image: Adobe).

Users can also create slideshows using Lightroom mobile, adding in music and other visual effects.

Right now, Lightroom mobile is only available for the iPad, although users can tap into their iPhones to import photos into the Lightroom catalogue. However, another version allowing photo editing should be available for the iPhone later this year, Hogarty said. He added a version for Android was also in the works, though he did not give a more specific timeframe.

The current version of Lightroom mobile runs as an iOS app for iOS 7 or later, and it’s compatible with the iPad Air, the iPad 2, the iPad 3, and the iPad 4, as well as the iPad mini 1 and iPad mini 2.

Lightroom mobile is available now at no extra cost for subscribers to the Creative Cloud, including subscribers to the complete plan, the Photoshop Photography program, the student and teacher edition, and the team complete plan.

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