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

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  • Updated 3 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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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.