I’ve been using my iPhone to take photos a lot more than usual. It’s just more convenient to carry about. There are just some days when I can’t be bothered to haul about a camera bag. In good light, you can get some pretty decent quality photos from a mobile phone. Image quality has been improving by leaps and bounds every year with each new device. Sure, when the sun sets, if you move indoors or if you try and use the digital zoom, then the quality goes downhill pretty fast. I guess you just have to think ahead and pick your equipment for the occasion.
Processing my iPhone photos has always been a fairly straightforward affair. I’ve used Snapseed for years. Open each image, apply the edits/filters, save and move on to open the next image. It’s a bit of a slow and cumbersome process but it works. But I’ve always thought there must be a better way.
There is. Adobe Lightroom for mobile.I’ve tried it before on my iPhone, but it was a bit cluttered and overly complicated. I do a lot of my processing on my iPad now though, and the bigger screen makes all the difference. It’s a well organised layout with features that massively improve my workflow. It’s a lot more powerful too, and one of the latest updates means that it will output all images at their full resolution. Which makes the app a viable proposition for processing photos from my Fuji when I am on the move.
There are a few key plus points for Lightroom. First of all, the familiar working environment. It is if you use Lightroom on a desktop anyway. The editing controls are more precise. To my eye, Lightroom edits and filters look a lot more natural and less destructive. The photo management aspect of Lightroom is excellent too. It’s easy to look through the camera roll, flag images and arrange into collections.
It’s also pretty simple to share batches of photos to Flickr or back to the camera roll, albeit with a couple of irritants. In both cases you can share a maximum of only 15 images at a time. And when sharing online, Lightroom wants to add a tacky ‘made in Lightroom’ message to the photo. I delete it. But I wish I didn’t have to.
There is one other weakness that I’m hoping will be addressed though. I’d love to be able to import and use my own collection of custom presets. There is a way round this, but it’s not a brilliant one. Presets are an excellent way of applying preset edits to photos, producing attractive images with minimal effort. It’s one of Lightroom’s biggest selling points on the desktop version, and it would make perfect sense to enable support for them in the mobile app.
In short, my use of Lightroom mobile for a few days has me convinced. I’ll be doing all of my mobile phone photo editing in Lightroom on my iPad from now on. It’s left me convinced of something else too. It would make total sense for Adobe to buy Flickr. It would almost seem crazy for them not to want to buy Flickr. They are trying so hard to build apps to get people to share their Adobe edited photos on Adobe services.
You can create collections and publish them direct within Lightroom. It’s pretty naff. Then there’s Behance, there’s Slate and the more recently released Spark apps. It’s a confusing mash of projects that lack cohesion. And yet I could see them working perfectly if built into Flickr. Adobe also wants to become a leader in stock photography. Flickr has millions of well categorised quality images ripe for sale.
Lastly, there’s the excellent prospect for integrating the two products properly and cross selling Lightroom and Flickr between customers currently sold on only one of those brands. Flickr would work perfectly for them. I’m convinced of that.
The photo up top is from Athelhampton House in Dorset, taken on my iPhone and edited in Lightroom Mobile. It was a good weather day. But I also took some indoor shots of this Elizabethan house to push the iPhone’s abilities a bit. You can see the full set on Flickr by clicking here.
- Custom Presets