Your First Tutorial/Look On Lightroom Mobile

Well, it’s here. There’s been a lot of talk over Lightroom Mobile since Photoshop World Vegas 2013 (when Adobe first gave everyone a sneak peak). Now it’s here and I wanted to put together a quick tutorial for you. Also, don’t forget that I did a full Learning Center with 8 videos over at KelbyOne and if you’re a subscriber, those videos are always in the subscriber area for you to check out.

1. Getting Lightroom Mobile Up and Running
First, you’ll need to download and install the app on your iPad. Here’s the link. Then you’ll need to update Lightroom as well (Lightroom version 5.4). It’s free for Lightroom 5 users on the Creative Cloud, and just go to the top menu to Help > Check for Updates to get it. Once you install the update, you’ll just need to sign in to your Adobe account at the top left corner.


NOTE: Lightroom 5.4 is actually a free release for anyone using Lightroom. So even if you’re not going to use LR Mobile or on the Creative Cloud Subscription, there’s camera updates, like the Nikon D4s and Fuji X-T1, etc… so you should download it anyway.

2. Your First Sync To Lightroom Mobile
Okay, one key point to remember here is that Lightroom mobile isn’t really meant for you to start your photo process on the iPad. It’s meant to start on the desktop version of Lightroom via Collections. So the first thing you’ll do is create a Collection in the Collections panel, and then set it up to Sync to LR Mobile.


Once the sync is done, you’ll see your Collection over on Lightroom Mobile on your iPad.


3. Viewing and Sorting Your Photos
To me, this is one of the main places I’ll use LR Mobile. I can create a collection of a recent import, then forget the laptop once I sync the collection to LR Mobile. Now, I’ll have the photos on my iPad ready to sort through whenever I have time. LR Mobile supports flags so you can pick your favorites right on the iPad and that’ll transfer back to your desktop. Just swipe up to flag the photo as a “Pick” or swipe down to “Reject” it.


4. Editing the Photos
LR Mobile also supports most of the Basic panel adjustments that LR does. And if you tap the screen with 3 fingers, you can see a Before/After comparison.


TIP: Don’t forget, if you move to the next photo there’s a Previous button at the bottom so you can automatically apply the previous adjustments to the next photo.

5. Using Presets
LR Mobile comes with a batch of the default Lightroom presets. Yeah, I know… it’s kind of a bummer, but as of this first version you can’t use your own custom presets. Hopefully that’s coming 🙂


6. Syncing Back to Your Laptop/Desktop
There’s really nothing you need to do to Sync back to your laptop/desktop. As soon as you move on to the next photo, LR Mobile will automatically sync for you. There is a manual Sync button too, so you can force a sync at any point if you need.


7. Sharing Your Photos
As you’d expect, you can share your photos right from your iPad. You have the usual sharing options like email, Facebook, Twitter, etc… Just click the little icon in the top right corner with the up arrow on it (that’s the universal iOS “sharing” icon btw, so it’s not just in Lightroom).



Well, that wraps up my first tutorial/look on Lightroom Mobile. If you want to learn more about LR Mobile I put together a full Learning Center/Class with 8 videos over at KelbyOne and if you’re a subscriber, those videos are always in the subscriber area for you to check out. Enjoy!


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  1. Thanks for the video because of this I am just downloading adobe creative cloud subscription instead of using my old version of Photoshop. Just taken up photography now I am retired and I have learnt so much from the courses I bought from you and picking up more and more from your other free stuff. Once again thanks for your help

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  2. I just got dng support on my phone. So I’m starting to play with lightroom mobile. I have set up sync. I’ve synced a few to lightroom desktop. done some changes. And I see that it starts syncing. But the syncing takes a good while. So does Lightroom sync the whole image back, or just the parameters?

    It seems like it’s syncing the whole file. Which I find pretty stupid. Since I’m on a sucky adsl broadband, it takes a good 5-10 minutes to transfer one dng file, which is around 30 mb. Which in turn makes this practically useless.

    any input on this?

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  3. It’s no comparison to professional tools like capture one and phocus, where customers can follow the computer tethered shooting directly on the ipad. Adobe requires to sync to their cloud, so sending their pictures around the world in order to get them on the ipad is just stupid.

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  4. I love LR mobile but I have a problem. I’ve done collections and transferred or synced to my iPad but every time I need to show my work, it takes time to charge or not charging at all if I have no internet connection showing that “thinking or charging circle” in the middle of my photos, then it shows me bad quality photos if it couldn’t charge the image. Why? I need to see good quality photos even if I’m off line. Thank you.

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  5. Is it possible to import photos with preset that has curves edited and then edit the images in iPad, but of course without ability to change curves on iPad. Or does it reset the curves and other disabled settings when viewing the photos on iPad? Thanks for this review!

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  6. Since Lightroom Mobile only works with JPEGs, it’s worthless to me – I shoot .CR2 and .RAF exclusively.

    When is RAW support expected for Lightroom Mobile, if ever?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Lecy,

      That is wrong understanding, Lightroom mobile uploads the preview files to their server and synchronize to your mobile. You can apply changes like you do with your raw files and it will sync back to your original files with applied changes you did in mobile. Changes include basic develop setting and some pre defined presets. Only those custom editing is not available yet. So you can very well use it.

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  7. hi Matt

    I’ve just started using lightroom mobile. I started an online collection with about 800 photos in it and it started to sync with my iPad. LR mobile recognises the collection and tells me how many photos there are in total but only 200 have become available, LR on my Mac tells me how many photos are in the collection and tells me 600 are sync. How can I sort it so all my photos are on ipad

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  8. I have Lightroom 5, upgraded to Lightroom Mobile, not realizing that it was “mobile”, just thought it was an upgrade. I do not require the Mobile version. Is there a way I can go back to previous Lightroom 5 version ? Note…I’m not real computer-savy….:(

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    • Hi Lori – If you upgraded to Lightroom 5.4 (the newer version with the Mobile feature) then you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s the latest version of Lightroom. If you don’t want to use the “Mobile” part of it, simply don’t log in or use it. But you definitely want to be on that version and any newer versions that come up. Also, you can click up in the top left (where it says LR Mobile) and choose a different Identity plate. Choose the one that just says Lightroom. Good luck!

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  9. Hi there!

    I have a question about lightroom mobile.

    Is it also possible to import your photos directly from your camera to lightroom mobile? I have a small converter piece for my ipad so you can connect them, but then the ipad only asks if I want to import the photos to camera roll.

    Is there a possibility? Because that would be great, directly organize you photos on the field!

    Thank you in advance!

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  10. So this is only sync between PC and Ipad… not PC to PC ??

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  11. Hi Matt!
    I just downloaded the app the other day and I’ve done some tests with it back and forth to my PC. But now I see in Lightroom on my desktop it says “18 days left in Lightroom Mobile Trail” at the identity plate… I’m signed in to my CC account on both e PC and the iPad and I have the Photoshop Photography Program subscription. What’s up with this?

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  12. I think a serious photographer doesnt need such a tool on a mobile device

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  13. Hi Matt:

    i’ve been fiddling around the app for days and just found a problem confusing me. when I choose photos from “Add from Camera Roll” in the app WITHOUT internet connection, i can see the number of photos in the “Collection” in the app has changed, but I am always unable to see them after i open the folder, much less editing. i think this app is designed to edit photos when you are on the go, but why is it that it doesn’t allow us to process photos without internet?

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  14. Thanks for the tutorial!

    How does one pick the key photo representing the collection?

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    • I answered my own question!

      In the Lightroom Mobile app, just go inside of the collection then tap + hold the image you want to have as the cover, you’ll see a pop-up dialogue that gives you the option among others.

      Post a Reply
  15. This is monthly subscription only. How long before we have to look for a replacement for LR because it’s going subscription?

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  16. I have LR 5.4 installed on my personal PC and a separate LR 5.4 license on my PC at work.
    Can LR Mobile on my iPad access a catalog on either or both?

    Post a Reply
    • Right now it only works with one library at a time.

      Post a Reply
    • One CC userid to one catalog as of now. A work around would be to use a cloud sync folder between both your PC to keep the catalog updated with all the photos and sync adobe CC to one of them. Not sure what happens if you log into different PCs with different catalogs but same userid and sync, would be worth a try 🙂

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  17. I organize my photos within collection sets (as both you and Scott Kelby recommend).

    How do I show the name of the collection set, not just the name of the collection in LR mobile? For example, within a collection set called “Vancouver vacation”, I’ll have a collection called “Full Shoot”, and another called “Picks”. In Lightroom mobile I’ll have a bunch of folders all called “Full Shoot” and no differentiation between them. In addition LR mobile sorts by name, so collections within the same set are not grouped together.
    Any advice on how to work through this?

    Post a Reply
    • I guess you need to rename your picks, full shoot etc collection names, probably amend them with the collection set’s name or something that can be used to identify the collections.

      Mine goes like below

      YYYYMMDD-[Even Name]-00-Favourites
      YYYYMMDD-[Even Name]-01-Picks
      YYYYMMDD-[Even Name]->02-Anything else
      YYYYMMDD-[Even Name]-98-Proofs
      YYYYMMDD-[Even Name]-99-Rejects

      This way when you sync, you get these collections sorted together in a group in mobile app. Hope that helps.

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  18. Hi Matt!!
    Thanks for your quick tutorial!

    I don’t now if Spanish versión is suffering problems because I have had to upgrade manually the lastest versión (5.4) of LR.

    Now I have installed the newest version, and it show up information about LR mobile but when I try to create a collection (step 2) y don’t see the box of Sync To Lightroom Mobile..

    I don’t know if I’m missing something, or it is a problem with the Spanish version.

    Do you know something about this issue?


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  19. I agree with Jack. It’s too limited for metadata. The bigger value for mobile use us being to do the pain in the a$$ stuff like keywords, location, captions, ratings and color labels. Yes basic develop is great (and I have no issue with the limits imposed on other adjustments) to be able to get the big corrections out of the way. Serious work is not going to be done on a small, uncalibrated screen. In its current form for me it’s finally an easy way to get photos onto my iPad, secondly on the develop. But the meta would have been a real boon. Have to expect that’s coming in a near release. That and the ability to also sync published collections.

    Those thoughts aside it has been seamless in operation and the interface is beautiful. I also like that any galleries I sync over for presentation are contained within the app rather than becoming part of the standard iPad photo library.

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    • Yeah it is weird that you can’t even see the metadata like stars and colors.

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      • Yeah Stephen,

        This is something we all are looking forward for, I hope adobe enables these in a future update. Let’s be patient, this is their first version and the work is appreciable.

        Post a Reply
    • For me, the main need/want is to be able to assign keywords, stars and flag. Without key wording, the app will not speed up my LR workload. So disappointed. I want to be able to keyword wherever I am, with or without, an Internet connection. But, I’d at least take key wording with an Internet connection to start with as long as no delays. Of course, being able to tag faces would be helpful as well. Why only go part way with the key wording?

      Please Adobe, add more functionality to build LR not just garner new, casual, users.

      Post a Reply
  20. Is it correct that ratings, labels and IPTC data can not be used with LR on the iPad? That would kind of limit its usefulness.

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Jack – Photo metadata can be synced with Photosmith for iPad – most metadata available in the Library module in Lightroom like star ratings, keywords, caption, color labels, can be synced locally (no subscription fee or Internet required) via wirelessly between your iPad and Lightroom. Happy to answer any questions you may have: mwren at

      Mike Wren

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  21. Do they have or plan to have a android version?

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  22. I think I found a slight way around using custom presets, which seems to work well so far. You can create single images in Lightroom, named after and using your custom Presets. Sync them to the iPad. Select any chosen image, with the preset you want to apply. Then select an untreated image on the iPad and select Previous… from the edit menu in Lightroom on the iPad. click ‘Everything from previous photo’. and it applies all settings from the previously selected photo. Like a copy settings. This goes even down to lens correction and full colour treatment.

    Using this you could set up a sync folder with a handful of images using your presets and use them as preset on the iPad.

    Syncing back to Desktop Lightroom, the histogram and look on screen was indistinguishable.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi stefan,

      I am also following the same method to do, and being posting this solution in few forums about the same, especially those who whine mobile version is useless coz they cannot do this and that. But this method is kinda tedious, I hope they integrate our presets in the next version, until then we find our own work around 🙂

      And I am happy that there are people with similar thinking and find their own way to work around the problem than complaining.

      I just wish adobe’s next update gives us the option to keyword and rate, that is the only feature I am missing, other than that the mobile app rocks, especially considering this is their first release, I am impressed.

      Edited lot of pending photos during my commute and I feel very happy about it 🙂

      Post a Reply
      • I am not sure it is so much whining as it just doesn’t do something that another device is not already doing. Wanting it to be the user device on location, ….shoot, upload to Ipad, modify or organize photos and then sync to Laptop….Not doing it…Starts from laptop…not from the field

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  23. I’ve been wanting this for a long time now….

    I am testing it out now….

    The one drawback that I find so far is if you use multiple libraries for your individual shoots – It only lets you sync with 1 library. I will delete all the data from te previously loaded library.

    I hope they make it work with multiple Libraries?

    Off to more testing….

    ~ Mark

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  24. I have Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC. How do I install the Lightroom version of CC and still have everything (presets, collections, and everything else I have downloaded) in the CC version. I really want to use this Lightroom Mobile but cant unless I use the CC version from what I am hearing.

    Post a Reply
    • Just install the update to 5.4. It makes you login to your cc account inside both the desktop and mobile version of lightroom.

      Post a Reply
  25. Do you have to be a Creative Cloud member to use this app?

    Post a Reply
      • Your answer to the question about LR mobile working only with CC is obscured by your handsome photo (at least on my iPad ).

        Post a Reply
    • No – you just need LR 5.4 and an adobe ID.

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  26. You mention that LR 5.4 is “a free release for anyone using Lightroom”. Did you mean for anyone using LR 5 or anyone using LR? I’m still using LR 4 and didn’t plan to update to CC or LR 5 — unless it’s free 😉

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  27. Hi Matt,

    I have watched your video about LR mobile over at Kelby, but my question wasn’t asnwered there as well.

    When I’m on vacation i use my Ipad as a way of backup for my photo’s. Now I was wondering the following:

    I make photo’s in whatever place, Upload them to the Ipad, make a selection of picks and rejects. Is it then possible to delete the rejects with the Ipad?

    Then when I come home, will the Ipad sync over all the photo’s to my PC or will I have to transfer the photo’s from the memorycards to the PC?

    If the Ipad will sync over the photo’s to the PC it will speed up the workflow I think, because I can already pick photo’s durring traveling instead of waiting untill I’m home. This ofc. is dependant of how well u can determine the quality of photo’s on the ipad vs PC.



    Post a Reply
    • Hi Richard, you can’t delete from LR Mobile on the iPad. You can flag as Reject in LR Mobile, and go back to LR5 and delete them, but not directly on the iPad.

      Post a Reply
    • Richard,
      I’ve been playing around with Lightroom mobile and LR5.4 all evening. As far as I can tell, what you would like to do on the road (and what I’ve been dreaming of doing ever since the iPad came out) is not possible: correct me if I’m wrong but LR mobile can only import from the Camera Roll, but my imported photos go into the Imported Photos & Videos and are therefore invisible to LR.
      Or am I missing something?

      Greetings, Alex.

      Post a Reply
      • Yes you can. Just click the little arrow below where it says ” Add from camera Rol” and you will see all the options included imported.

        And yes, Lr Mobile will sync the actual photos to your Lr catalogue. However, bear in mind that for now, the only option is to sync through WiFi and cloud. So synching a lot of RAW images this way wil be sloooooow. It’s better for now not do do that. I’m waiting for a version that is compatible with the Apple SD card reader and allows local sync through USB.

        For a first version it’s okay, but Adobe has a lot of work to do before it’s a viable replacement for a laptop.

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