iPad users, could you precisely describe your workflow?

iRock1

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(Please be as specific as you can: iPad, accessories, apps, process, etc.)

Now that photographers have USB-C and iPadOS at their disposal, I'm sure everything now will be easier, faster and more convenient (don't hold if you are still using Lightning instead of USB-C, I still want to know about your workflow).

In my case I have an old iPad Air which I use with the Lightning SD card reader. However, as my iPad is only 32 GB, I use it to transfer only the photos that I want to show off or to quickly edit and upload when I'm on the road.

So my process is as follows: I shoot the photos in RAW+JPEG, I insert the card on the adapter, I transfer to my iPad the photos that I want to show off, edit or upload, then I access the JPEGs and edit them with Darkroom and then do with them what I need to (share or display). I always keep the photos in the card after the import, since I'll still be transferring all the photos later in my computer to Lightroom for more serious editing and management.

The problem here is that those edits made on the road with my iPad are lost (I mean, the edited photo gets shared or displayed anyway, but the changes don't go to my Lightroom library in my computer), and also that I'm always dealing with JPEGs instead of RAW files because I haven't bought any professional app yet, but anyway. I'm open to suggestions to improve this poor workflow (I haven't been that serious about putting the iPad in my photography workflow yet).

Looking forward to read about your own workflows and comments!
 

Darmok N Jalad

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For what it’s worth, you can edit RAW on an iPad as well, even in Photos. Performance is fine, at least that was my experience with 16MP RAW files.

What I would do when I had a 64GB 12.9” Pro was import RAW straight to Photos, made edits in Affinity Photo, and saved my edited files to iCloud folders. Photos and iCloud will do what it can to manage your storage, but the RAW files remain in the cloud and can be accessed when properly downloaded (“Sharing” options will produce JPGs).

I believe Adobe has ways to sync your edits through their cloud service if you are a CC subscriber, but I’m guessing there as I don’t have a subscription with them.
 

Apple fanboy

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Feb 21, 2012
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For me I do all my editing on my Mac and 27” colour critical monitors.
However I take a lot of craft photos for my wife. She has the most frustrating workflow!
I take photos with DSLR.
Transfer to Mac.
She chooses the ones she likes.
If necessary I square them in DXO software.
Airdrop then to her iPad Pro.
She then tweaks them in Snapseed.
Then she airdrops them back to the Mac.
Shares them on her blogs.

Nightmare!
 

akash.nu

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May 26, 2016
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For me I do all my editing on my Mac and 27” colour critical monitors.
However I take a lot of craft photos for my wife. She has the most frustrating workflow!
I take photos with DSLR.
Transfer to Mac.
She chooses the ones she likes.
If necessary I square them in DXO software.
Airdrop then to her iPad Pro.
She then tweaks them in Snapseed.
Then she airdrops them back to the Mac.
Shares them on her blogs.

Nightmare!
It feels like the airdrop to an iPad for Snapseed can easily be cut out off the process. There are way more powerful tools for desktop / Mac.
 

Apple fanboy

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Feb 21, 2012
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It feels like the airdrop to an iPad for Snapseed can easily be cut out off the process. There are way more powerful tools for desktop / Mac.
100% agree and I own a good few of them. But Mrs AFB is set in her ways. She likes to edit on the sofa and doesn’t want to learn new software.
I even brought her a loupedeck to make it easier for her to use LR on the Mac.
 
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maflynn

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I'm just a hobbyist, but I've to see how an iPad can out perform (not in raw power) a laptop or desktop. I find working with my images on a computer is just infinitely easier, whether its injesting them, culling, or editting. I find the use of a keyboard, mouse and a large display to work better - that's just me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 

mollyc

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I believe Adobe has ways to sync your edits through their cloud service if you are a CC subscriber, but I’m guessing there as I don’t have a subscription with them.
I have LR CC on my phone, MBA, and iMac. You can sync photos and edits among any and all platforms, but the mobile version of LR does not keep a history of your edits as it does in the desktop version. If you edit on your iPad/Phone, the final image will sync back to your desktop though. And you can sync collections between the full desktop version and the mobile version.
 

Ray2

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Jul 8, 2014
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I’ve been doing travel photography on an iPad since the iPad I. Certainly had my ups and downs but Adobe Lightroom for iOS was a game changer. No, I am not an Adobe fan. Did not subscribe until I tried Adobe's iOS suite.

I have a plain Jane iPad 6 with 128gb. It cost $350 on an intro offer at BB. Currently all of $30 more. It works fine. Frankly it works very fine. My reference is a 2015 max spec i7 rMBP and a max spec i7 2018 mini. I frankly don’t know what I’d gain by incurring a significant upcharge for a Pro model. I use the lightning cck.

Other than Fuji, I shoot raw only. It’s not because the raws contain more data, it’s because jpeg's out of any other system I’ve use stink.

Import into Photos. Cull aggressively in Photos. I don’t keep any shots that will not get published. Figure a 75% initial cull. Sort into albums if desired.

Import into Lightroom by Photos album.

Trash whatever is in Photos. Photos has a bad habit of changing file names. A no-no with me so I start with an empty Photos app and end with it empty. What’s in Shared Albums doesn’t need local masters.

Edit in Lightroom.

If I’m using Apple Shared albums for distribution, I send downsized jpeg's back to Photos and build shared albums. Then trash the imported jpeg's once the cloud has been seeded.

If I’m using Adobe Portfolio for distribution I’m pretty much done.

When I get home I sync iOS Lightroom with Mac Lightroom and I’m done unless there are some gems that deserve desktop time.

If I wanted an improvement anywhere in the flow it would be a more stable version of Adobe Portfolio (web app) and a more stable Lightroom for iOS. It can crash. It’s improving. Having said that, I've been using Lightroom since v4, now the latest version of CC Classic, or whatever it’s called. I’d take Lightroom for iOS any day.

During travel I probably run around 20,000 images a year through the above flow. I’m a contemplative shooter so no mountain of files to deal with. Figure 90% are culled, 10% published. Maybe 25 to 50 shots (annually) deserve some editing time on the desktop. That’s 25-50 travel shots that were processed on iOS. When I’m not on the road I use my desktop. It’s a lot easier editing in a comfortable chair, with good input devices and large displays.

For backup I don’t erase the SD cards, the files I want are in the iPad and Adobe's cloud. Backup is taken care of with zero extra work or gadgets.
 
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MCAsan

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Jul 9, 2012
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Shoot raw only. SD cards are read into iPad Pro and into WD Passport so two copies in the field. Cards go back into camera bodies and reformatted. I use the iPad Pro to cull images. Since the resources of my iPad Pro are not close to those of my iMac (screen size, CPU power, GPU power, memory and storage, and plugin apps) I do not try to serious edit on the iPad. If I do need to give someone an image while on the trip, I will use an app like Photos to create the needed jpg. When I get home the images are imported in my iMac, sorted in to destination folders, renamed, and the serious job of editing the keepers begins.
 

iRock1

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For what it’s worth, you can edit RAW on an iPad as well, even in Photos. Performance is fine, at least that was my experience with 16MP RAW files.
How so? I shoot with my Fuji in JPEG+RAW, and when I import photos into my iPad using the camera connection kit, all I see in Photos.app are the JPEGs. If I try to edit in Photos, Darkroom or PS Express, again, all I see are the JPEGs.
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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How so? I shoot with my Fuji in JPEG+RAW, and when I import photos into my iPad using the camera connection kit, all I see in Photos.app are the JPEGs. If I try to edit in Photos, Darkroom or PS Express, again, all I see are the JPEGs.
It may be because of the RAW + JPG. Photos might see the duplicates and only import the JPGs.
 

Ray2

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How so? I shoot with my Fuji in JPEG+RAW, and when I import photos into my iPad using the camera connection kit, all I see in Photos.app are the JPEGs. If I try to edit in Photos, Darkroom or PS Express, again, all I see are the JPEGs.
That’s why if you know you’re going to import into an iPad, shoot raw only. It has always been “useless” to shoot r+j if you want to edit r.
 
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iRock1

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That’s why if you know you’re going to import into an iPad, shoot raw only. It has always been “useless” to shoot r+j if you want to edit r.
It’s not useless. You just have a different workflow.

Should I deduce then that if I shoot R+J there’s no way of editing the RAW on the iPad?
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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If you upgrade to iPadOS, you can handle external volumes much like you do on any desktop. You can copy to and from the usual external storage types. That should include RAW files.
 

Ray2

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It’s not useless. You just have a different workflow.

Should I deduce then that if I shoot R+J there’s no way of editing the RAW on the iPad?
No, there are probably workarounds. For me, raw only does the trick with no searching around for alternatives, no asking for guidance on forums, no learning process and no trials of multiple softwares. And no hoping who ever I go with will still be in business 2 years down the road. Its just a question of where I prefer allocating my time.

I already posted my workflow above (raw only). That’s my advice. There's nothing I can contribute to an r+j iPad workflow.
 
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Indydenny

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I‘ll take a shot at this since I’ve been pleasantly surprised recently.

I’ve owned an iPad since the first generation but always have used it as a glorified kindle (consumption only).

I travel 3 or more months each year and last year purchased the 2018 ipad. On the first few trips after getting it, I traveled with it and a laptop but found I wasn’t using the laptop as much. For the last three trips, I’ve taken only the iPad.

I shoot JPG and RAW because the Nikon Z uses the JPG for the review on the rear screen (sharper and quicker). I use an XQD card reader (USB-C) and import to the Photos app. Then I import the photos that I want to edit in Lightroom from Photos, and it imports the RAW version.

I really enjoy editing in LR with the pencil and my presets, and then upload to Flickr Or social media.

I keep the photos on Photos and LR as well as on the XQD card until returning home (I carry three XQD cards). I have the computer set to upload ALL of my photos directly to Flickr and Google photos automatically. Once I get home, I reformat the cards.

Although typing on the iPad is good (using it now) I don’t like preparing presentations on it. It may be that I need to get used to it. I also don’t like that I can’t really check EXIF data on the photos app — however it does transfer and show in LR. Hope this is helpful.
 
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mofunk

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I use my iPad mostly for viewing images or working in Procreate. If I'm on a shoot, I will use my camera wifi to send a few images to my phone. From there either Airport or put in Dropbox for the client to have. (quick pics). I like sitting behind my MBP when editing. I like the bigger screen.
 

iRock1

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It may be because of the RAW + JPG. Photos might see the duplicates and only import the JPGs.
That’s why if you know you’re going to import into an iPad, shoot raw only. It has always been “useless” to shoot r+j if you want to edit r.
I’ve found that PS Express can indeed handle RAW when I shoot R+J, but it’s weird.

After importing via the SD adapter , if I choose to edit the file on PS from the “edit” option inside Photos or the sharing sheet, PS opens up the jpg version. However, if I open up PS and then choose the file there, it gives me the option of working with the raw or jpg.

Seriously, the management of photos is such a mess on iOS. I hope iOS 13 makes things easier and more transparent, because right now on iOS 12 I just don’t get it.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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I’ve found that PS Express can indeed handle RAW when I shoot R+J, but it’s weird.

After importing via the SD adapter , if I choose to edit the file on PS from the “edit” option inside Photos or the sharing sheet, PS opens up the jpg version. However, if I open up PS and then choose the file there, it gives me the option of working with the raw or jpg.

Seriously, the management of photos is such a mess on iOS. I hope iOS 13 makes things easier and more transparent, because right now on iOS 12 I just don’t get it.
Well, iPadOS (13.2) is out now, so you could always give it a try!
 

tgara

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Jul 17, 2012
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Seriously, the management of photos is such a mess on iOS. I hope iOS 13 makes things easier and more transparent, because right now on iOS 12 I just don’t get it.
Its not so bad once you figure out how best to do it for your needs. Keeping things simple helps a lot. Keep in mind, the iPad is set up to work with JPGs as the main photo source, and that's why IMHO RAWs are so difficult.

I have a Canon 5D Mark III with an SD card slot and a CF card slot. I set the camera to capture RAW images on the CF and JPGs on the SD. The JPGs are also lightly processed in the camera using a custom Picture Style Setting I have made. At the end of a shooting day, I will transfer the JPGs to my iPad, while the RAWs on the CF function as a backup. I will cull through the JPGs, edit here and there, and make favorites of the shots I really like. I can also share my shots with friends quickly and easily by making a shared photo album. For 95% of my applications (including photo contests), the JPGs work just fine.

For the most part, I've given up storing and processing RAW images on the iPad. It's simply too hard for many reasons (lack of space being the most relevant). However, when I get back to my iMac, I can take a RAW from my CF "backup" and edit that in another photo app (I use Canon's DPP software). That said, I don't do as much RAW processing on my iMac as I used to.... it's simply too much work and too time consuming, especially when the JPGs are really good.
 

iRock1

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A little bump. Waiting to see how you guys use your iPad in your workflow.
 
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r.harris1

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Feb 20, 2012
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Mostly as a camera control / shot review tool for my different cameras (snap bridge, cam remote, capture pilot). I may do a quick edit there in Photos to share something, but most of the heavy lifting is still on my laptops and will be for the foreseeable future. If I need to be relatively mobile, I might bring along a lightweight laptop like my MacBook Air and do some editing on that. I tend to use the sessions feature with Capture One so it's easy to edit on one machine and transfer everything over. If I wanted something "tablet like", I could also use a Surface, where I can still run a full version of Capture One.

If I were a LR user, I'd use LR Mobile and sync that back with my LR catalog on my laptop. Pixelmator is also pretty decent at cross platform work as is Affinity Photo. There are still hoops to jump through for each, but nothing too dire.
 

iRock1

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I may do a quick edit there in Photos to share something, but most of the heavy lifting is still on my laptops and will be for the foreseeable future.
So I guess you are willing to lose all the changes made on your iPad, and to repeat all the editing in your computer after you export the images.
 

r.harris1

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So I guess you are willing to lose all the changes made on your iPad, and to repeat all the editing in your computer after you export the images.
I don't put myself in a position to lose edits (there's one exception). If I’m doing hardcore editing in the field, it’s mostly on a laptop. As noted, I mostly use the iPad to control whatever camera I happen to be using if the situation calls for it. I primarily use Capture One in post and it doesn’t exist on iOS and as far as I can tell, there's isn't a plan to make that happen.

If I'm editing on iOS, it's usually because I have vacation snaps from my iPhone and it’s going to be very basic and in Photos, which syncs across all my devices. The exception from above is this: I generally don't edit my iPhone images in C1, but if I did want to, I'd lose the edits, and that's assuming I had used an application that let me save a raw image on iOS (which the base camera app doesn't do yet, to my knowledge).

If you want to sync and keep edits, you need to use software built to do that, such as LR and Affinity in your Windows use case. And yes, there are hoops in those pieces of software that usually involve somebody’s cloud storage.
 
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