LR Mobile Workflow


Mu-43 All-Pro
Apr 22, 2013
New Jersey
Real Name
The Bassman
I recently came back from a long trip to Southeast Asia with about 3,700 images. While away, I followed my usual practice of editing a few images each day with Lightroom Mobile on my iPad (I don't own a laptop) and then posting them to a blog I write for family and friends (, and some to Instagram as well (TheBassmanBlog). Along the way I got a message from LR Mobile that my Adobe Cloud storage was full, which was not a surprise - it was only the basic 20GB that comes with the Photography Plan subscription, and I had a meaningful number already stored there. While I only posted about 2GB of images over the four weeks, I imported far more than that into LR via the iPad Camera Roll during that period.

When I got home I imported all of the images, as usual into LR Classic on my Mac. The total was about 60GB.

A couple of days ago I finally fixed my Adobe Cloud storage problem and upgraded to 1TB for an additional $10/month. No flames please; I find this worthwhile, and I respect those who don't. But I got to wondering how LR Classic would deal with the hundreds of images in LR Mobile and now the Adobe Cloud that would start showing up. Here's what I found after both observing the sync process - which is still running from my iPhone - and trying different combinations of imports. I'm writing this to perhaps help someone else who is wondering about whether it is worthwhile.

The automatic sync is only one way - from LR Mobile -> Adobe Cloud -> LR Classic. The sync'd images show up in a folder defined in LR Classic Preferences, in my case (and I believe the default) Macintosh HD/[user]/Pictures. Any images you import on LR Classic into that folder, or any other normal folder, do not sync to the Cloud. You would need to define a Collection, and then specify that it is to be sync'd with the Cloud.

When you're operating in my mode - only importing a (relatively) few images into LR Mobile - you would then presumably need to import the remaining images into LR Classic when you get home. In my case for the Asia trip, this proceeded as normal - but only because none of my LR Mobile images had actually been sync'd to the Cloud first. If they had, then LR Classic would not import them again, as it would recognize them as duplicates. When I import into LR Classic, I put my images into a simple folder structure yyyy/yyyymmdd [shoot name]. In this case, 2019/2019 Southeast Asia Trip. I use keywords and other metadata to further subdivide the thousands of images, for instance putting the name of each City into the appropriate Location field, and any sites into Keywords. I rename the images similarly - yyyymmdd [shoot name] [original camera filename]. In this case, 20191105 Southeast Asia _EM29062.

If my LR Mobile images had in fact been sync'd via the Adobe Cloud, then the above named image would be sitting in a folder [user]/Pictures/2019-11-05 and have the filename _EM29062. So I would need to go through a few manual steps to get them properly cataloged:

1. Rename them all to my standard. Not a big deal, the LR rename function will do it properly with one click once you select all of the target images and define the pattern.
2. Move them into the correct folders. Not a big deal either; select all the images in question and move them in LR.
3. LR Mobile doesn't stack JPGs and raw images. So if, for some reason, you imported both into LR Mobile, both will be sync'd to LR Classic, but will need to be manually stacked.
4. LR Mobile keeps the default Caption information, which for my Olympus OM-Ds is OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA. I have LR Classic setup to change this to all blanks upon import, but I'll need to do this manually for the sync'd images. Again, pretty straightforward.

With the most recent update to LR Mobile, it's possible to completely bypass the iPad Camera Roll when importing images into LR Mobile - that would have been very helpful do have during this trip, as I now need to go through my Apple Photos library and delete any of the images that were load there simply to get them into LR Mobile. Unfortunately, you still will usually need to export from LR Mobile into the Camera Roll to do anything useful with the edited images - Instagram, blogging, etc. You technically can use the Send sheet in LR Mobile to e.g. Open In Instagram, but you get a strange screen which I haven't investigated further.

If anyone has better thoughts about this, I'd love to hear them.
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