Lightroom Mobile lets you do much of your photo editing on your phone or tablet. It is not a replacement for the full Lightroom software on your Mac or PC, but it lets you quickly cull shoots from a shoot or provide an initial edit to quickly send to a client – or create shots that are good enough to be posted to social media while your shoot is going on (during a live event from an awards ceremony to a wedding where the bride and groom want to be seen live on social media).
In this Lightroom Mobile tutorial, photographer Tigz Rice reveals three ways to capture your images to the app, and explores just what you can do with your photos with Lightroom Mobile's editing tools – many of which will be familiar from the main software.
Capture Method One: Lightroom Mobile Camera
Instead of jumping straight into your phone’s native camera, try harnessing the power of Adobe Lightroom Mobile’s in-app offering. Switching to Pro mode on the camera allows you to control the focal point as well as exposure, shutter speed, ISO and white balance. Not only will the images will appear directly in your Lightroom Mobile app for a speedier workflow, but if you’re shooting on a compatible phone, it will also allow you to shoot in RAW format for enhanced editing capabilities.
If this is your chosen method, skip ahead to step 4…
Capture Method Two: Wifi-enabled Camera
A number of cameras now come with built-in local Wifi capabilities, which is really handy for transferring images across to your phone or tablet device whilst on the go. Most camera companies provide their own app for transferring the data, such as Fujifilm’s Camera Remote, so you will need to follow the app’s instructions on how to sync and transfer your images.
Note: Most cameras will only sync JPEG versions of your images, even if you’ve shot in RAW, so this method is recommended for images that only need minimal editing. If this is your chosen method, skip ahead to step 4. Alternatively, if you want to preserve your RAW data whilst editing on the go, check out Step 3.
Capture Method Three: Non-Wifi Enabled Camera
If your camera doesn’t have built-in Wifi capabilities – or you want to preserve your RAW data from your camera to give you optimal editing capabilities in Lightroom Mobile – then you will need to get your hands on a card reader that is compatible with your phone. There are plenty of options out there for both Apple and Android users.
If you’re using an Apple device, simply plug your SD card into the adapter, connect via the lightning port and follow the on screen prompts to transfer the images you want. Click on Keep Images to make sure you have a back up of the files on your SD card.
Now that your images are on your device, go ahead and open the Lightroom Mobile app. Click on the + sign in the top right corner to create a new Collection. Give it a name and confirm once you’re done.
In your new Collection, click on the Add Photos button to import images from your photo library – shown here as Camera Roll on an Apple device. If you shot your images with the built-in Lightroom Mobile camera, you’ll find the images in Lightroom Photos.
Click on the first image in your collection to maximise it. Then choose Review from the dropdown menu at the top of the screen to scroll through your images and give them a rating.
Once you’ve finished rating your images, you will be able to filter out the culled shots using the Rating option from the dropdown menu back in the main collection window, hiding the rejected images during the editing stage.
Click on the first of your shortlisted images to maximise it again and now choose Edit from the dropdown menu. You’ll see plenty of options pop up, which are very similar to the controls you’d find in the desktop app’s Develop module. This includes everything from Exposure and Cropping to Lens Correction and Dehaze.
There’s even the option to get more advanced with Selective Editing in the form of linear and radial gradients.
If you’ve got several images that require the same editing, click on the … at the top of the screen and choose Copy Settings. Choose the settings you want to copy - or click on Select All - and press OK. Then swipe left and right through your images using the … at the top of the screen to Paste Settings.
At this point, you could go a step further and take your image into Photoshop Fix or Photoshop Mix for a spot of fine tuning if required.
Click on the Share icon at the top of the screen and choose Edit In… for access to both apps. Once you’ve finished editing in either app, you can click on the Save and Return To Lightroom to bring the edited image back into the Lightroom Collection for you as a PNG file (so you won't be able to edit them as Raw anymore).
Before sharing your images online, the Info tab in the dropdown menu at the top of the screen allows you to give your images a title and a caption. Adobe Lightroom Mobile automatically includes your details in the Copyright field too.
Once you’re ready to share your images, Adobe Lightroom Mobile gives you plenty of options.
The first option is to select a specific image and then tap the Share icon. Choose Share… pick your image size and then select a social media app of your choice, such as Instagram or Twitter.
Alternatively, you can return to the main Collection and click on the Share icon. Click Share… and select multiple files, then follow the prompts to upload multiple files to apps like Facebook.
You can also choose Share Collection, allowing you to create a public web gallery with a link you can share with others.
This feature is great for sharing images with clients on the go, and they can leave feedback on your images if required ready for when you get back to the studio.
And don’t forget, when you’re back at your computer later, you’ll have access to your original images as well as all that non-destructive editing data in your desktop version of Lightroom for fine-tuning (or in Photoshop).