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By Chris Orwig |

Introducing Lightroom Mobile


Lightroom Mobile is a new iPad app that might just change the way you work on your photos. When I first started using it as a beta-tester a few months ago, I was curious but not convinced. Truth be told, when it comes to new technology I’m a bit of a skeptic; apart from something being new, I want to know if it’s actually going to improve my life. Yet after a few weeks, my skepticism completely dissolved and I now consider Lightroom Mobile to be a game changer for photographers in the best possible way.

For the last seven years, working in Lightroom meant working on a traditional computer (desktop or laptop). But as the photographer’s toolkit expanded to include other devices like mobile phones and tablets, it seemed like Lightroom was missing the boat—that is, until now.

Lightroom Mobile isn’t just another make-your-photos-look-better app. Sure, it does that, but more importantly it extends your Lightroom Desktop workflow in a helpful way. Here’s how it works.


Lightroom Mobile is a subscription service that allows you to create a connected workflow between your desktop and mobile device. The first step is to sign up for an annual subscription or to subscribe to Lightroom Desktop on the Creative Cloud. Next, download and install the Lightroom Mobile app on your iPad device. Then go back to Lightroom Desktop and select a Collection of photos that you want to synchronize between your computer and mobile device. When you do this, Lightroom desktop will send over the collection of photos as small Smart Previews to the Lightroom Mobile app.


Next, pick up your iPad and walk away from your computer. Get out of your office chair and go to the coffee shop (or wherever) to work on the photos in a more nimble and relaxed way. On an iPad, you can use Lightroom Mobile to view, flag, process, and share your images. If you make a change on your iPad, it will be sent back to your desktop so that both apps are in sync. This is true in reverse as well; any change you make in either app will be synchronized between desktop and mobile.


In many ways Lightroom Desktop and Lightroom Mobile are similar, yet unique. Here’s how I like to think of it: Let’s compare these two tools to biking. As a cyclist, I thoroughly enjoy both road biking and mountain biking. Let’s call Lightroom Desktop the “road bike.” It’s fast, reliable, and strong—the perfect tool for a long century ride. But I can’t take that bike off the road, so when I want to leave the pavement behind, I grab my mountain bike and hit the trails. That’s Lightroom Mobile. They both allow you to bike, but in very different ways. Is one better than the other? Not necessarily. But the two were designed to be used together.


Using this new app has become an integral and enjoyable part of my workflow, but take a look and decide for yourself. Check out my latest course Lightroom Mobile First Look to learn more.

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