Join Ben Long for an in-depth discussion in this video Shooting raw with Lightroom mobile on iOS, part of Lightroom & Lightroom Mobile: Raw Workflows.
- For a long time now, one of the things that's differentiated a serious camera from a snapshot camera or phone camera has been the ability to shoot raw. Fortunately raw shooting is now available on some iOS and Android devices. Of course, your camera phone still has a tiny sensor, a small lens and it lacks the advanced level of control that you'll find in a real camera, but as you'll see, the ability to shoot raw opens up a huge level of additional editing control, that said you probably won't want to use it all the time for reasons that we'll see in a little bit.
To shoot raw with your iPhone or iPad you must have one of the following devices, an iPhone SE, 6S, 6S Plus, 7, 7 Plus, or the 9.7 inch iPad Pro. None of the iPad minis nor the 12 inch iPad Pro allow for raw shooting, nor do iPads earlier than the 9.7 inch iPad Pro. Presumably, any phones and iPads produced after this point will all support raw, so if you're using an iPad made after January 2017 which is when we're shooting this course, then you're probably fine for shooting raw with your phone.
In addition, you must be running iOS 10 or later and you need the latest version of Lightroom Mobile. For photographers, raw shooting was a major feature of iOS 10, if you're like me, you installed it on your phone, you opened the camera app eager to start shooting raw and were immediately confused as to how to activate raw mode, well it turns out you can't, Apple did not build raw support into their own camera app, you have to have a third party app if you want to shoot raw. Fortunately, the latest Lightroom Mobile can shoot raw or JPEG and when you shoot using Lightroom's camera, your images are automatically placed in your Lightroom catalog, this greatly simplifies your workflow.
Note that if your phone or iPad is not one of the devices that I just listed, that doesn't mean that you can't process raw images in Lightroom mobile, it just means you can't shoot raw with your device's built in camera. If you can run iOS 10 or later on your device, you should still be able to import raw files to the device from other cameras and edit them in Lightroom Mobile. So let's take a look at how you shoot raw with your iPhone. I have an iPhone 6S here, I've got Lightroom Mobile installed on it, I'm going to launch Lightroom. I'm immediately taken to the opening page of Lightroom.
Normally you might have images in here, I've got a fresh copy of Lightroom on here. Down here in the lower right hand corner you'll see a camera I'm going to tap on that, and that brings up a pretty normal camera interface for a phone app, I'm just going to give myself something to shoot here, this lovely Fuji XT2. Frame up a shot here, so this is all working pretty normally you may have used Lightroom's camera already, you know that you've got a shutter button here, exposure lock here, the ability to add filters over here, flash control up here, this takes you out of the camera, and this reverses to the selfie camera.
I've also got some other controls that we're going to look at in a minute. Before I do anything else though, I want to make sure that I'm shooting in raw, and as you may have already noticed up here at the top is this little JPEG badge, that's actually button, it's a control, if I tap on it, I get this dialog box that lets me switch from JPEG to DNG. DNG is the name of Adobe's raw format. If you've watched my raw course, you know that there is not standard for raw files, this is kind of a problem in the raw world, Adobe has tried to solve it by making their own open source format called DNG for Digital Negative something that starts with G, anyway, I'm in DNG format now which means I'm shooting in raw.
So I can frame up a shot here, press the shutter button, and I've got a raw file, it's stored to DNG on my phone, automatically added it to the Lightroom catalog, I can tap here to see it. Let's take a look though at what happens if I come here to my professional controls, that gets me a fair amount of manual control, now, I do not have aperture control like I would on a real camera because these tiny cell phone cameras don't actually have a little iris in them. I do though have exposure compensation which lets me dial my exposure up or down in stops from minus three stops to plus three stops just like I would on a regular camera.
I can set shutter speed, I can go from auto over here and just choose a different shutter speed, my options are fairly limited, in fact here it's just kind of stuck on a quarter of a second, so, I don't have the fine degree of control that I would have with a real camera, you're probably going to find that for most exposure adjustment exposure compensation is going to be the way to go. ISO defaults to auto, I can manually dial in an ISO setting there. One of the reasons you shoot with raw is the ability to manually adjust white balance after the fact, if you're trying to get it right in camera, you can select manually a white balance here, and finally I've got manual focus over here, and if you watch that XT2 logo over there you can see it come into focus, and go out of focus, so, it's nice having this manual focus option, particularly since I don't have a lot of depth of field control.
Press the shutter button again, I've got another picture. So this all works exactly as you would expect a camera app to work, but I'm getting a raw file, that means I can do highlight recovery, that means I can do white balance adjustments. I think this is great, this is a great way to get out of difficult shooting situations, if you're shooting into a heavy backlight and you're worried about losing highlight details, you want to shoot in raw. If you're shooting in a mixed lighting situation, maybe sunlight streaming into a florescently lit room, you're going to want to shoot in raw, for the white balance and control control that you're going to get later. All that said, I usually do not shoot raw, I usually don't shoot with the Lightroom camera, for reasons that you can't see right now, but you would know if you were holding my phone.
Because when you shoot in raw mode, your phone's going to get really warm and it happens very quickly. Raw is a lot of processing and it heats up the phone. I immediately assume that that means that it's draining my battery faster, so I have decided after a few months of shooting with raw capability on my phone that I really only use it when I think I'm going to need the editing capabilities of raw. Otherwise it's not worth the battery and the phone heating that I'm getting by leaving it in raw mode all the time. So that's really a case of learning to recognize what raw is for, learning to recognize those editing situations that might lead to overblown highlights, learning to recognize when you might have a white balance problem.
If you don't have those problems but you're shooting a shot where you know you're going to want to edit a lot, then switch over to raw, that will give you more latitude for making a bunch of edits without introducing visible artifacts into your scene. Finally, if you absolutely know that you need the greatest level of control, the greatest amount of color fidelity you can get, shoot in raw because that will skip the 8bit conversion that happens when you go to JPEG. If you don't have the foggiest idea of what I'm talking about right now, this is all covered in my raw course, and you can learn all about these details there. So, raw shooting on your phone is a great thing to have in your back pocket when you need it, but for most shots you're probably going to want to stick with JPEG.
- Shooting raw with iOS and Android
- How Lightroom stores images
- Raw shooting
- iOS transfer
- Android transfer
- Importing images into Lightroom for mobile
- Editing raw images on a mobile device
- Exporting final images using Lightroom for mobile