Putting it all together (Workflow pt. 6)

Camera, Images, Action !!

To paraphrase a well known saying. If you have followed these last few posts you will know that we are sending images from Lightroom Mobile to ShutterSnitch where we have configured Metadata & FTP locations to send the images to. Now lets tie it all together.

Accessing the gear icon for the actions.

The sliding arrow points to the action that will be applied to each image as it arrives in the application. So what does this particular action do?

That action on my system, changes the file name to suit the destination (I wont break this down – it should be self evident once you add this task to your action) then it applies one of the Metadata presets (as I showed a few posts back). Finally it exports to the FTP location.

The clever bit being that if the send to the location is a success , the action “Sent Alamy” is also run. What does that do?

It applies another Metadata Preset (one that only sets the rating and label).

Then it moves the image to another collection “ALL SENT”

This (hopefully) leaves the initial collection empty as all the images move out of it as they are sent. Any that do remain need re-sending.

The final 2 images of this post show Lightroom and ShutterSnitch sitting side by side on the iPad screen (use the 3 dots to set up split screen view) allowing editing to continue as ShutterSnitch sends.

This post ends the workflow as it is on the iPad itself. The next post will start to look at how I work on the desktop, moving the images off of the iPad, consolidating the images in the main library and other processes that have really advanced my workflow. (Beware – Lightroom plugin’s ahoy!)

Any comment or questions – get in touch!

iPad Workflow Part 2

This post is really just a re-write of an earlier post (here) and to be honest this part of the workflow has not changed much although I will add a few more notes.

Having imported the images into a separate folder (as covered in the last post here) , I set a filter to show only the unflagged photos.

This means that once I have finished with an image (at this stage) it disappears from view. The shortcut keys X & P work the same on the iPad / Lightroom Mobile as they do on the desktop (reject & pick) so hitting X means I am straight on to the next image. If the image is a pick, I complete the edit first before labelling it as a picked image (this is where having a keyboard on the iPad makes a huge difference).

Note: There is no need to switch into any other view or mode, the X & P keys work in the edit screen (shown below)

My Presets – replicates my Lightroom Classic

One of the key features of editing in Lightroom are the develop presets. My mobile presets mimic my desktop (Lightroom Classic) presets. However getting these presets from your desktop to iPad is not the simplest procedure. There are basically 2 options.

Use an image (or number of images) that are synchronised between the devices:

  • In LR Classic (desktop), apply the preset to transfer to an image.
  • Wait for that image edit to synchronise onto the iPad.
  • On the iPad, select the image & Create preset using the current settings

Use Lightroom CC on the desktop to import develop presets

  • The Adobe Photography plan includes the Lightroom CC version
  • Download this to your desktop/laptop in addition to the Classic version
  • Open Lightroom Classic and view the Presets Settings in the preferences to show the presets folder. (Once you have the folder you can close this application).
  • Open Lightroom CC, From the file menu Import Profiles & Presets
  • Select the presets from the folder found above.
  • The presets will synchronise.

I always start and edit with one of my standard presets then tweak it. Another shortcut here is the cmd-c / cmd-v (copy/paste) which works for develop settings again, as on the desktop. So once I have the image as I like it, I cmd-c copy the develop settings (a window displays confirming which settings I wish to copy).

Copy Settings

Cmd-v asks no such questions and just pastes those settings on to the current image

One of the things I don’t understand is that Adobe have implemented some of the keyboard shortcuts but not all of them. I.e. why is cmd-z for undo not implemented? Or R for resize. See this post in the support community.

Depending on the specific job, I either add a title in the metadata now, before selecting pick or I pick and run through all of the images once I have edited them all, adding the title to the metadata. To edit the metadata, select the I icon at the lower right.

Note: I only add the title. The caption is generated at a later step.

Once the title is added, I select P to pick before moving on to the next image. Repeat until all of the images have been viewed.

No more unflagged photos

The full range of Lightroom edit controls are available (Geometry, Noise Reduction, Sharpening etc) so these is no reason that the editing process should be any different to how it is on a desktop. For those of you that are worried about the speed of editing, my M1 iPad Pro is way more responsive editing the 50MP Raw files produced by my GFX than my 2019 15” MBP.

If there is anything else you want to do to the image(s) which you cannot do in Lightroom (for example montaging images together), the share button has an edit in photoshop tool. Photoshop on the iPad is a tool that is developing quickly, it in no way matches its desktop version yet but it does feature layers, layer masks and adjustment layers, working well with lightroom.

Editing & Export Options

This sums up my image selection and editing process. The next stage is to export the images (accessed from the share button) – which will be the subject of the next post (scheduled for Monday next week)

In the meantime, if you have any questions or would just like to comment , would love to hear your thoughts, especially if you have another way of doing this.

Until Monday ..

Mobile Workflow Overview

I mentioned in my last post that these writings would be more about my workflow, thoughts and practices and less about camera equipment reviews.

The next few posts will revisit my mobile workflow and the use of the iPad as a very serious tool (laptop replacement), starting with this very basic overview.

A very poor iPhone image of my iPad in its keyboard case

My mobile (travel) kit consists of;

  • IPad Pro M1
  • Gold and Cherry iPad keyboard case
  • Apple Pencil
  • Apple Magic Mouse (Series 2 preferred)
  • Lightroom Mobile (Adobe photography plan inc. Photoshop)
  • ShutterSnitch
Lightroom Mobile & ShutterSnitch running in a split screen

One of the key improvements over the last couple of years of using the iPad has been the multitasking (various split screens, slide over etc) and later posts will show how the applications can work together in a similar way to a full blown computer (mac or otherwise).

The workflow outline:

  • Create Collection in Lightroom for job
  • Import from memory cards direct into collection
  • Select and edit photos in lightroom
  • Add titles
  • Create a collection in ShutterSnitch for the job
  • Share images to ShutterSnitch collection which completes the captioning and sends via ftp
  • Archive the images
Lightroom during the image selection and editing process

The next post will start to detail the intricacies of using Lightroom efficiently and outline some possible pitfalls (there are a few!).

Until then.

Direct Import from Cards in Lightroom Mobile

At last! Its been a long while coming but finally we can import images directly from a camera/card into Lightroom Mobile on an iPad!

Apple’s iOS13 update opened up the Files application, allowing users to access data on external devices such as USB sticks, Hard Drives and of course Cameras/Cards. It took Adobe a little while to catch up but during December, Lightroom Mobile 5.1 was released which added the ability to browse locations in files.

Much of the information I have seen online says that it is possible to access the card directly from the import button after inserting it however I have not found that to be the best way to work. My workflow is to import the images directly into an Album for the project.

Add photos from Files into a specific album

Selecting from the Album Options … I Add Photos and select From Files. This enables the location to be selected, normally the Untitled USB device, browsing down to a lower folder. Once all the images to be added have been selected, click Open.

Preparing Import!

Lightroom then looks as though nothing is happening but take a look at the cloud icon where the sync progress is displayed…

It takes a while to prepare the import and then, one by one, they start appearing!

Hey Presto!

It’s a very simple process, one that is not the most obvious way of importing the images but it makes a huge difference to the iPad workflow, now mimicking more closely typical laptop workflows.

It means less reliance of the iOS native photos app and less housekeeping required on the iPad. In fact with the other updates in the latest Lightroom Mobile (major changes to the Export function , which I will detail in the next post), the photos app may be bypassed completely. Stay tuned!

IPAD (Pro) Workflow

Its been quite a while since my original iPad workflow post. Software has improved and the speed of the iPad Pro has totally changed the game so of course, my iPad workflow has moved on quite a bit.

The first stage of my workflow continues to be ShutterSnitch.  In my opinion this is still the fastest, most reliable method of using the WiFi connection to get the images from the Fujis on to the iPad. When I am sending just a few images (or sending a few at a time as a job progresses) , I can select on the camera and transfer individually via WiFi with ShutterSnitch instantly saving the images to the iPad Camera Roll. The problem comes when I have Job that involves many hundreds of images, all of which have to be looked at, selected then basic edits made, metadata (caption etc) added and sent. WiFi is just not fast enough for this many images. This is the problem I faced when travelling to Cannes for the annual film festival.


As I was flying and would also be carrying my kit most of the day I really wanted to keep weight to a minimum so I decided to stick with the iPad and develop a workflow that would work.

My iPad is a 256GB/4G model and so has more storage than my old MacBook, even so I was paranoid about storage at the start and wanted to ensure the iPad only contained the images that were  “keepers” so my workflow actually started with the camera configuration. I decided to shoot JPG only on to 64GB cards in both slots – slot 1 as the primary storage and slot 2 for backup. At the end of each job (or day) I would ingest the images to the camera roll from the slot 1 card using the standard apple camera connection key. The card was always wiped after ingest. The card in slot 2 remained in place, building a backup of all the image files, only being switched out to my suitcase as it became full. (Note: RAW image files could be used but would be slower).

When working on a full Laptop/Desktop it is common for most press photographers to use Photomechanic to select and caption first before transferring only their “keepers” to their editing software (photoshop or Lightroom). Because of the way iOS protects files and stops apps interacting on the same data, my workflow is actually the reverse. I use Lightroom mobile to select and edit before captioning and sending in PicturePro.

Lightroom Mobile (on Creative Cloud).

There are a number of key settings / stages to make this reasonably quick.

Mobile data: Ensure “sync on mobile data” is turned off.  (Tethering to a phone brings a whole different set of issues as you really do not want LR to try and synchronise all images until back at base).  An iPad on its own 4G connection is a real advantage here and simplifies the sending process.

Collections: Keep a collection per job or day.

Auto Add:  Use the … next to the collection name to enable Auto Add to the relevent collection.

Switching to split view with the photos app running next to Lightroom as the images ingest from the card, they will be added too Lightroom at the same time (see you can multi-task on an iPad).


Speed Flagging: This enables images to be picked or rejected with an upward or downward swipe whilst in the editing screen.


Once the images are ingested, the card is cleared and put back in the camera. I switch to single image view and enabled a filter on the collection to show only unflagged images. I then swipe down to reject, skipping those I am not sure about until i get to the first image I want. Before I swipe up to pick it, I complete the basic edits – crop, curves, levels etc. and then holding the finger (or pen) on the screen I use the pop up to copy the settings (all settings excluding crop). Only then do I swipe up. The process then continues, swiping down to reject and pasting the edits, (hold down again), cropping then swiping up to pick going through all of the images.


Once at the end I know I have all the selects and rejects. I switch to the “All Lightroom Photos” selection, set the filter to “Rejected” and delete all the images.

The next stage is surprising! I go to the camera roll and delete all the images  just ingested (it’s ok! They are held within Lightroom now – its made copies in its database).

I now export the images from Lightroom to the camera roll (this is a slow process as there is a limit on exporting 15 at a time), selecting the maximum size option.  This leaves just the edited selected images on the camera roll ready for captioning and sending.

PicturePro

In PicturePro I make extensive use of base templates. Upon opening the correct image folder / date should be selected.


Load the metadata editor on the first image and load the relevant template and edit the data to suit. I then copy the data before using the save and next button, paste in the data from the last image, tweak and move on.  Each image that is annotated has a small icon on its lower centre (in grid view).


Once done I select the annotated images (hold to select a batch, double finger tap to add single images to the selection) and export using the FTP panel, resizing, renaming and saving the images in relevant folders as they are transmitted. Each image that is exported has a small icon on its lower right (in grid view).

Once Back at Base
PicturePro has stored all the captioned and edited images in folders which can be accessed via FTP. Lightroom will synchronise all the original images, with edits via Creative Cloud to the desktop machine. (But no metadata on them). I add the PicturePro images to my Lightroom to sit alongside the originals which I leave uncaptioned because I know I can find them via the captioned exported versions.

Conclusion

There are obviously advantages and disadvantages to this workflow. I find the iPad an extremely nice tactile thing to use, using the Pencil and Keyboard I can work on my lap, on the floor, seat, basically anywhere, much easier than if I were balancing a Laptop. Using the pencil on the image itself as a tablet is a joy with the keyboard folded back out of the way until needed for captioning. Batch editing is minimal though, I cant apply the same edit to 100’s of images in a single manoeuvre but I dont see this as a huge issue as I normally have to look at each to crop it as I want so pasting the settings as I crop does not really slow me down. Its always pointed out that iPads have no colour management. Correct, the screen cannot be calibrated but its a mobile platform, it’s not used in a nice controlled environment. Every day I am out shooting and editing in different light with differing ambient levels and colours, so is this really the issue many flag it to be?

Comparing the captioning between PicturePro and Photomechanic the main loss again is batch processing. In PicturePro I do have to check and paste the metadata into every single image but this does have the advantage of ensuring I think about every caption.  At the time of writing PicturePro doses have one or two issues. It will crash every now and then but with this workflow I do not lose any work – its more just having to restart the software (which is almost instantaneous). PicturePro also has image editing which I have used in the past for small batches when I need to be very fast but a bug affecting only the iPad Pro means I am waiting on a software update before I can do this again.

This post has been a long time coming, the workflow has been tweaked and will continue to be but it was working this way that I sent almost 3000 images over 10 days from Cannes so I think it works. let me know your thoughts, comments , questions.

Julie

iPad Workflow with the Fujis.

I travel around my local area mostly by scooter so the ability to cut the volume of my kit has been a huge bonus. To aid with this, where possible I also switch to an iPad from a Mac Book (Pro). I need to carry some form of editing platform because as a press photographer I need to be able to send images to the paper as fast as possible, mostly even as the news item (event) is ongoing.

When working with an iPad I have basically 2 different workflows depending on the situation.

Sending images live to an Editor in the office.

The key to this workflow is ShuttersnitchIn fact you will see shuttersnitch is key to both my workflows. The app can be set up very similarly to the Fuji Photo Receiver app. In the settings all that is required is to enable Fujifilm Wi-Fi.

Once this is enabled the next step is to configure Actions. These are carried out when the App receives an image.

My list of actions

My list of actions

One action I have called “IPTC AND SEND LIVE”  for live sending has a number of steps:

  • Update Metadata (This is created from a XMP file and update Copyright, Caption, Byline etc). See Note.
  • Change Filename (This renames the file to my job scheme which is taken from the collection name, date count.
  • Export to an FTP server (for distribution)
  • Export to Dropbox (for a copy and importing into my Lightroom archive).

Shuttersnitch Actions

Shuttersnitch Actions

This results in every image I send to the iPad being captioned, renamed and distributed.

How does this happen?

  • Shoot JPG and RAW (JPG’s are needed for the sending, RAW just in case).
  • Start WiFi on the X-T1. Connect iPAD to X-T1 WiFi. (The iPad is already connected to 4G)
  • Switch to Shuttersnitch
  • Select the correct “job” Collection.
  • Select Push from Camera when prompted.
  • Scroll trough the images on the camera, selecting those to be sent.

Editing small batches and sending

This is essentially the same as above but with a couple of added stages.

Shuttersnitch Actions

  • The Import Action updates the metadata but then saves the image to the iPAD camera roll
  • I then use either Pixelmator or PhotoGene to edit the images – curves, levels and maybe a bit of clarity.. Not a lot needed with the Fuji files.
  • (Note: If its just for Social Media i will probably use Snapseed).
  • I then switch to the job collection and re-import the images with No Action
  • This enables me to re-check captions before selecting all the images and running an action that renames and sends as above in a batch, without changing the metadata (hence the long list of possible actions).

Note on using XMP IPTC data: There is a little known shortcut in Shuttersnitch, if you email  an XMP IPTC metadata file (from say Photo-Mechanic or Lightroom) to your iPAD, you can use the open-in attachment option to open the XMP file in shuttersnitch which will then create an action using all of the IPTC data embedded, not just that which can be seen on the shuttersnitch screen. I use this to set all my use guidelines etc.

SO. What are the problems?

Don’t forget to ensure the X-T1 is sending full size images (unless for social media when resize to 3M should be enabled).

One of the biggest problems is in the selecting of images on the camera. The sending process is very stable, as is the connection BUT it’s the actual selection process. Once the camera is in WiFi Send Mode (as I call it) all of the normal image zooming functions seem to be disabled. The scroll wheels just move between the images.

This is a big disadvantage and is what drives quite a few points on My Fuji Wish-list.

We NEED to be able to zoom in and out to check that the images are sharp before sending them. At the moment all we can see is the composition and exposure, I’m not sure why the rear scroll wheel cannot zoom with the front wheel switching images as it does when just viewing.

The same is also true for the Protect function, we need to be able to zoom in & check, this is why I think a single custom button in Playback mode would be useful to allow us to protect images with a single press (as the DSLR’s do), maybe the AF-L or AE-L?

There are problems with how he iPAD handles images also, but maybe I’ll go into more detail on that in the future. The next post will defiantly go back to being more camera orientated. In the meantime – let me know your thoughts, what is your iPAD workflow? What Apps do you use? What do you think of how I do it?