Using Lightroom CC for a new mobile workflow while traveling

I was recently in Hong Kong for a week of street photography. While there, I used a different mobile-centric workflow for my images – and, while it wasn’t perfect, it definitely simplified things. Here’s the basic idea:

Gear: I traveled with my MacBook Pro (with LR CC), my iPhone, and my iPad Pro (both with LR Mobile). At home there’s an iMac with my master photo library managed by Lightroom CC Classic. For this to work well, your hotel (or AirBnb, etc) also needs to be “well connected” – especially in terms of upstream bandwidth.

Workflow: After a day of shooting, I used Adobe Bridge on my MacBook Pro to import images from my camera’s SD cards into a date-based folder hierarchy on the MacBook’s SSD. Separately, I used Image Capture to import photos from my iPhone – and copied those images into the same date-based folder hierarchy. (Alternatively, I could have simply opened LR Mobile on my iPhone and imported the iPhone images I wanted into LR from my Camera Roll). Each day I had a new folder with all of the images from my cameras and my iPhone.

Next I opened Lightroom CC (LRCC) on my MacBook Pro and import the new images from the folder hierarchy (e.g. the images imported using Bridge and Image Capture in step 1). LRCC will import these images and immediately begin uploading them with the cloud. For this uploading to be efficient, you’ll want to be sure you’re using hotel WiFi with decent upstream bandwidth – something that worked very well for us in our Hong Kong hotel – but which could be problematic at less well connected hotels.

As LRCC uploads the images to the cloud, several good things happen:

The images are also sync’d to LR Mobile on my iPad and iPhone. They just start showing up as the syncing completes. The images are also sync’d to Lightroom CC Classic running on my iMac back home. If Lightroom Classic isn’t open on my Mac (or if my Mac is powered off), the syncing begins when Lightroom Classic is next opened on my Mac. LR Classic will download the images from the cloud and save them to a special folder – which I’ve pointed to a folder just for this purpose in my images folder hierarchy. In LR Classic preferences, I’ve also clicked the “use date hierarchy” box so that the downloaded images will be stored in a date hierarchy folder structure within that specified download folder.

When I get back home, I can open LR Classic and move the images from the download folder into the normal date-based folders in my image library. LR will remember that these images – although they’ve been moved – are still synced to the cloud. Thus, any changes I make to an image will be sync’d everywhere – including any ratings updates, any photo edits, cropping, etc. Even deletions will be sync’d everywhere.

The net effect of this workflow is that I avoided having to do the old catalog import workflow from LR Classic on my MacBook Pro into LR Classic on my iMac when I got home.

But the BIG benefit of this LR CC-based workflow was having my images quickly available for reviewing, editing, rating, etc. on my iPhone and iPad while I was traveling in the field. In addition, any images I shot on my iPhone could be imported into LR Mobile on my iPhone and they’d automatically be sync’d into the Lightroom cloud and down to my LR Mobile on my iPad and to LR Classic my iMac back home.

I should also mention that once the images have been imported to LR CC on my MacBook Pro, they can be deleted from the folder hierarchy on the MacBook. Once the originals are sync’d to the cloud by LR CC they are no longer needed locally on the MacBook Pro. Of course, I didn’t do any deleting while traveling – as I wanted the redundancy (in addition to keeping the SD cards) – but I could have – and will at some point back home!

I just found a YouTube (10 min long) video by Ted Forbes that also describes this workflow.

More Multiples in San Francisco Street Photography

Clay Street Shooter - San Francisco - 2015

Last week I did a post about multiples in San Francisco street photography. It’s a fun – and, frankly, a pretty lazy technique. Why do I say lazy? Because you simply plant yourself at an interesting location (a carefully chosen interesting location!) and shoot away. The goal is to capture a series of images of the same area over a period of several seconds. Depending on your gear, you can fire away in single shot mode – or you can set your camera on burst mode – and just hold down the shutter button.

On my Fujifilm X100T, I typically set the Drive setting to Low burst and it works great. But you can just do this with your iPhone – simply hold down the shutter button and the iPhone will fire off a burst of images. The iPhone 6 fires at about 10 frames per second – so you’ll get quite a few images in just a few seconds of holding down the shutter button.

Doug recommends putting your camera in manual for these kinds of shots – so that the camera isn’t choosing different settings in between the shots. He’s more of a perfectionist in this regard than I am. I mostly just don’t worry about it.

The fun comes after importing the images into Lightroom and then editing them as layers in Photoshop. Photoshop’s auto-align will correct for any hand-held movement between the images. You’ll end up with a layer stack of images – all aligned. Now you need to look through the layers and decide how to blend them – to bring in details from various images/layers. That’s the fun part – and it can take a while to get it right.

The image above was shot by me standing behind Doug Kaye as he was using this technique on Clay Street in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

The image below is one that I constructed using these techniques while just standing along Stockton Street and capturing individual shots as people moved through my frame. One of the characteristics of these images that you’ll notice in this one is that people look just too close together. That’s because they weren’t – actually!

Busy Morning - San Francisco - 2015

Revisiting Paris in the Fall

Paris in the Fall

Last fall, I attended a wonderful street photography workshop in Paris led by Valérie Jardin. On one of our morning walks, there had been a bit of rain overnight which provided a lovely sheen to the streets. By mid-day, it was gone and the day turned sunny and bright. Turned out to be one of the gifts – a morning after the rain with the payment still wet and the skies beginning to clear.

Last night I revisited this image to post-process it again. I’ve recently subscribed to Lynda.com and yesterday watched one of the courses about Photoshop taught by Adobe’s Bryan O’Neil Hughes in which he revisited many old techniques and brought to light new and better ways to do things. As I watched his lessons, I was using this image as my test case. One of the points he stresses is using a non-destructive workflow in Photoshop – something I’ve not been doing but will certainly make much more use of in the future. With this image, I’ve got all of the layers saved in the TIFF file which is now in Lightroom. At some point in the future, I’ll come back to it – and continue a bit more post-processing doing some dodging and burning through luminosity masks.

I’m having fun revisiting Paris as I post-process this particular image. It was a quick “grab shot” at the time I took it – as I had fallen behind our group and was trying to catch up. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky – this was one of those times!

Breakfast at San Francisco’s Ferry Building

Breakfast

Tonight I edited my first image in the new Lightroom CC – also known as Lightroom 6. This image was from April 9, 2015 when I met up with Doug Kaye at San Francisco’s Ferry Building.

I edited the image in Lightroom CC using Kodak Gold 100 from VSCO Film 05 along with a couple of gradient filters to darken the left side. I love to tonality and the color in this image.