Lightroom Classic: Synchronising mobile edits back to raw on PC

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  • Updated 2 months ago
  • (Edited)
There are two directions for editing images between Lightroom Classic CC and Lightroom Mobile.

1) PC (JPG or RAW) to Mobile. On my desktop I can create a collection which contains various RAW files. Smart previews are then created and synced to the Lightroom Mobile. I can edit them there and the edits are reflected back to the desktop.

2) Mobile (JPG) to PC: On my mobile I can import a JPG file. I can then edit it. Those edits will then appear on the PC as edited JPGs.

There is a missing workflow:
3) Mobile (JPG) to PC (RAW). This takes a little explanation.

Assume I am working in the field. I don't have capacity to lug a laptop around. I do have a very capable and powerful computing tool though - my phone.

If I shoot RAW+JPG (e.g. small JPG files) I can download the JPG images to my phone (e.g. via an SD card reader or a WiFi link to my camera). I would not want to download RAW to my phone as they would take up too much space on the phone and phone storage is limited (especially with an iPhone!).

Now, on my phone I can edit the JPG images. I can do Social Media posting. I can print them even, should I wish.

This allows me to work on the go - on a train, in a cafe, in a hotel room... wherever. In a way that I can't if I have a laptop. It's what I love about Adobe Lightroom Mobile.

How do I get those edits, the star ratings, the metadata updates, to synchronise back to my PC and link up with the RAW files?

Well I've managed to cobble a workflow together but it is UGLY because Adobe doesn't have it set up sensibly at all.

  1. Download JPG files to iPhone.
  2. Edit JPG files in Lightroom Mobile
  3. Let the JPG edits come back to the PC. At this point they are in some random cache folder on the PC.
  4. Download the RAW files to my chosen folder on the PC.
  5. Right click on JPG in the synchronised "From Lightroom CC" collection and choose "go to folder in library".
  6. Ctrl+A to select all images in that folder.
  7. Drag these images to the same folder as the RAW files.
  8. View>Sort By Capture Time
  9. Ctrl+A to select all images (RAW + JPG) in the folder
  10. Right click and choose Stacking Stacking>Auto-stack by capture time.
  11. Bring slider to the left to make time between stacks 0:00:00 - this will now create stacks which consist of just one RAW and one JPG as they are at identical timestamps.
At this point I very nearly have finished. "all" I need to do is to copy the star ratings/metadata/edits over from the JPG in the stack to the RAW in the stack.

This is where lightroom is broken.

Imagine you've edited 200 images whilst in the field. You need to copy 200 different settings from 200 JPG files to 200 RAW files.

Here's your workflow:
  1. Shift+Click on the stacked numbers (top left of a thumbnail) to open the stack-of-two with both selected.
  2. Click the JPG image that has the edits.
  3. Click Sync Settings (let's assume you've got Check All ticked from an earlier synchronise)
  4. Click Synchronise
  5. Click Sync Metadata
  6. Click Synchronise
Six clicks. Now you've got 200 images to process. That's 1200 clicks. (Heaven help you if you've shot 1000 images whilst away from home - that could be 6000 clicks! Eeek!)

That's insane.

My workaround for this was to find the plugin Syncomatic and use it to sync from JPG to RAW in just a few clicks.

I don't think this should be needed. I can't work out why Lightroom doesn't allow me to import JPG files at the iPhone and then synchronise my edits "in one import" to my RAW files.

I simply want to "import RAW files and apply all metadata and edits from an existing Lightroom Mobile collection".

Why have you made it SO hard?
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Mark Cornwell

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  • Utterly frustrated with Adobe developers for Lightroom.

Posted 5 months ago

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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Check out John Beardsworth's Syncomatic Plugin for this type of task: https://www.photographers-toolbox.com/products/jbeardsworth/syncomatic/
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Mark Cornwell

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Rick, did you read the bit where I said I was using that...?
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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I missed it in reading your text through the first time - my apologies. It is really the viable option at this point. 

You can convert this to a feature request and see if others would like to vote for adding this functionality natively to Lightroom Classic.  
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Mark Cornwell

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Rikk, how do I do that? I can not spot anything obvious.
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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I changed it for you. 
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Mark Cornwell

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Thanks!
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Carlos Cardona

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My workaround is I have a 256GB iPhone with 140GB available! Done!
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Antoine Hlmn

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A sync feature for Classic? forget a bout it, you'll never see somthing like this implemented? Why? Because all the new sync features are for LR CC, not for Classic.

Your request makes very much sense... for a photographer. However, Adobe is not aiming to simplyfy a photographer's work, sadly. At least not when it comes to mobile workflow with Classic.

Adobe wants you to buy LR CC and want's you to buy more storage. They want you to buy CC because it's the most diffuclt ecosystem to get out of; and they want you to upload your raws to fill up your storage. Which is a great business model :-) (if people by this (-:)
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Dave Kenedy

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I totally agree.. I’ve got the same issue, and after three hours with the reps I’m still sitting in front of my computer re-editing thousands of images from scratch. Their main solution was for me to buy into the CC system.. at this point I am totally convinced that the reason why there is no truly streamlined workflow between Mobile and Classic is because they are trying to get people to throw their hands up and open their wallets out of frustration, which is infinitely infuriating and such a shame!
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Dave Kenedy

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Mark I feel your pain, thanks for outlining this so clearly. Same issue, I’ll check out this plugin and see if it will work for me. I agree we shouldn’t have to be hacking our way through this, the whole thing feels like a sales push. I feel left out by Adobe right now, kind of wish some other company would come along and do it right.