Lightroom: Remote travel workflow proposal (sync side car only)

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  • Updated 2 years ago
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I wanted to propose a feature that might make Lightroom more powerful and efficient on trips to other countries and remote places. We like travel to exotic locations to capture amazing shots of nature and other cultures. These trips are usually many hours of travel and waiting for travel connections, punctuated by intense moments of capturing beautiful images. It would be wise to take advantage of those long periods of sitting on a bus, train, plane, or waiting for a connection. That is the beauty of Lightroom mobile, of course. We can be using that valuable time to import our DSLR pictures into a tablet device to see what we got, and play with those shots in edit mode.Syncing to the Creative Cloud from Lightroom is great when we have strong internet connectivity in the major cities of the world, but how practical is it in remote places? I recently went on a trip to Scotland and I was surprised at how poor internet connectivity was in many rural areas. The problem is this: I am on a trip, I shot a bunch of RAW pictures with my DSLR camera and I want to see them larger to check their quality. Let’s say I have an iPad Pro with a beautiful 1536 x 2048 Retina display and 256 GB of storage; perfect for viewing in the field. I tether the DSLR to the iPad and proceed to dump my RAW images (at 25-30 MB each) onto the device. I can now look at them in Lightroom Mobile, cull out rejects, make edits, get excited about what I got, and determine if I need to re-shoot. Now Lr wants to upload them all to the cloud. If I only kept 100 images, that’s 2.5 GB – 3 GB of uploads. If I kept 1000 images, that’s 25 GB – 30 GB of uploads in places where you might be lucky to get 1 MB/sec upload speed. That’s going to take a while, not to mention most ISPs have data caps, restricting the total amount of data. Here is my proposal: Lightroom Mobile features a setting called something like “Sync Sidecar XMP Only Mode”. This mode allows only the metadata stored in the Sidecar XMP files to be synced to CC. These files are around 10 KB each! 100 of them is 1 MB total. 1000 is 10 MB. This upload is super lean and quick, even in the most unstable remote connectivity situations. When I get home, I dump all my images from the camera storage cards to my desktop computer. Lightroom matches the XMP files it imported on the trip (from CC) with the newly imported images, and associates those edits with the same images. This workflow is super lean, efficient, and makes Lightroom a very valuable tool for photographers in the field.Sure, you have to dump the images off the memory cards twice, but the iPad dump was only for culling, editing, and marking, not to keep the actual images. All that matters is the XMP edits, tags, flags, keywords, stars, etc. At any point, the RAW images can be removed from the iPad, the XMP metadata is retained, and you are ready to import another 1000 images. Would that be useful to folks? Let me know what you think. Again an apology if this has already been discussed....
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Davizual

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Posted 2 years ago

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Kent Messamore

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I too am wrestling with this workflow issue.  It is easy to shoot 10 or 20 RAW images, load them onto the iPad pro 9.7, post process them and have them wind up on your Laptop or Desktop when you get home.  You can also do the same if you are shooting in a Studio and want the client to review them on Lightroom on the Web.  When you are talking about shooting 200 + RAW images when traveling or shooting in the studio, the workflow breaks down due to internet speed.

I am currently working with a Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro which has 3 TB of hard disk storage.  It offers some intriguing possibilities.  First, it has built in wireless that can capture your shots in the iPad either wirelessly or by the built-in SD Card reader.  Unfortunately, it treats RAW images as just files not photos, but you can still bring them in.  I can post process them in Lightroom.  It also has a unique feature in that you can upload them to the Adobe Cloud if you have an account with Adobe.  Unfortunately, I have not been able so far to find out how to get them into the Adobe Lightroom on the Web.  If I could, then I assume they could sync do my Laptop/Desktop.  This workflow needs some Western Digital and Adobe engineering to make it work, but I envision shooting while traveling, then post processing while my RAW images were going up to the Adobe Cloud and down to my Laptop/Desktop to await syncing changes when I get home.  One other issue is that the Western Digital device is a hard disk when it should be SSD.  Western Digital just bought SanDisk recently so I assume we will see SSD shortly and that should speed the process up dramatically.

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Carlos Cardona

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Great idea, but I don't see the "Sync sidecar XMP only files" option in LR Mobile. What is it really called and where is it please?
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Davizual

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Carlos, currently this option does not exist. It was a suggestion to Adobe to create a feature that allows the non-destructible edits done in Lightroom Mobile to be uploaded to the cloud and synced/used on the desktop when you return from a trip. If there was an option to sync the XMP edits, but not the actual bandwidth-consuming photos, this would help when travelling in places where internet is not so great. I hope that helps clarify.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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I'd love to see this too. I frequently used the xmp workflow in Photosmith, and although I have very fast internet at home, I agree it's an issue when traveling. XMP would also help those who have iPads with limited storage.
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Daniel Krähmer

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I fully agree with your vision of a workflow when travelling (and not only limited to traveling). In my opinion this is the most desirable improvement to LrM. At the moment I hardly use LrM at all; as soon as this feature becomes available my way of working will chance substantially.
(Edited)
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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The real solution would be a sync of XMP and RAW file over your LAN when you get home...
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Davizual

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That would be a handy feature too.
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Kent Messamore

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I am using a Western Digital Portfolio Wireless Pro which has some unique capabilities as a potential RAW work flow for Lightroom Mobile.  1.  It has built in Wi-Fi which allows moving images from your Camera to the WD Portfolio hard disk; 2. It also has a built in SD card reader so if you want to shoot & load your files after you can do it; 3. I can move my  RAW files and JPG files to the Camera Roll on my iPad Pro 9.7 and then automatically load them to Lightroom for Post Processing; 4. I can upload the RAW files from the WD Portfolio Hard disk to the Adobe Creative Cloud while in parallel I am post processing in Lightroom on my iPad Pro. I now have my RAW files in Adobe Creative Cloud and my Post Processed RAW files in Lightroom on my iPad.   

My vision is to speed up the workflow.  If I could send just the changes to my post processed RAW files to my Laptop or Desktop to meet up with the unprocessed RAW files in the Adobe Creative Cloud I will have solved my speed problem since the RAW files are being transferred independently of my travel/post processing time.  I am not waiting on the RAW files to travel across the internet.
Unfortunately I asked Adobe how to move my RAW files from Adobe Creative Cloud (in an Adobe Server) into Lightroom on the Web so I could sync them with the post processed RAW file changes in Lightroom  (in an Adobe Server), and was told that it couldn't be done.
Surely somewhere in all of this there is an answer to make the slow RAW file transfer to Adobe be made in parallel with a photographer's travel/ shooting schedule/post processing time, so that the photographer is not waiting for the 200+ (20 to 50 mb) RAW files to upload to Adobe.
Adobe we need a solution if Lightroom mobile is to be a product professional photographers can use.

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Selondon

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Just thoughts from a onlooker, who is not quite sure how these things work....... is it easy for a Catalog to match the sidecar with the RAW? Would the RAWs have to be placed in the same folder where the Mobile Downloads sync back to or would the location not matter as the RAW and XMP find each other?