May 11, 2013

When we released Photosmith in 2011, it was the missing link in the iPad-toting photographer’s workflow.

You could import, rate, and organise photos on your iPad and sync them all to Lightroom when you got back to your computer. Wirelessly. With support for star ratings, color labels and Collections, Photosmith let photographers start their workflow on the go, whether they were in the middle of a paid shoot or waiting in an airport lobby on the way back from vacation, with hundreds of photos to sort through.

With the iPad’s brilliant screen, battery life, and touch interface, Photosmith helped photographers finish their chores before they even got back to their computer.

Photosmith 2 brought two-way syncing, so you could send photos from Lightroom to your iPad, a sensational interface with support for Lightroom keywords and the brand-new Smart Groups, making it easier and more intuitive to gather just the photos you need for sharing, organizing or keywording.

All that, and a bevy of new features and functions to support even more workflows – because that’s what Photosmith is about. Enabling photographers to plug the convenience and mobility of the iPad into their workflow, however streamlined or complex it may be.

We realized, however, that the iPad’s built-in photo management software was never designed for the kind of heavy lifting that photographers require.

So the majority of the work we put into the next release was under the hood, where it was needed most. Our customers need more speed, stability and flexibility. Just like Apple did with the Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion versions of Mac OS X, the next version of Photosmith would focus on the engine.

Not just tuning it, though. We built a whole new one, and that engine is the heart of Photosmith 3.

It’s faster, stronger, more stable, enabling Photosmith to support larger images, even on older devices.

After months of engineering, it’s time to take the wraps off.

New Import Screen

Enter the Sandbox: more control over your photos.

In iOS terminology, a ‘sandbox’ is an app’s internal storage space. The biggest change in Photosmith’s handling of photos is that they are now stored in a dedicated storage space when you import them into Photosmith, where they can be better safeguarded and managed.

For instance, you can now delete photos if you really don’t need them and don’t want to sync them to Lightroom. You can also delete photos you’ve synced from Lightroom with the Photosmith plugin, though they’ll only be deleted from Photosmith: by design, your Lightroom library will not be altered.

This change yields the greatest advance in speed and stability. The iPad’s native photo management APIs often buckled under the strain of large numbers of high-resolution photos in JPEG and Camera Raw, and while Photosmith’s previous releases became better and better at patching pre-empting or compensating failures in the OS, the new engine sidesteps these issues entirely.


Plug in or cut the cable.

Because the new sandboxed system offers greater control and security, even for large volumes of photos, Photosmith 3 supports new ways to bring photos onto your iPad, or to download them to your computer.

If you have a wi-fi grip for your camera, like Canon’s WFT-E4, you can send photos – wirelessly – to Photosmith via FTP. These transfers are often faster even than Eye-Fi cards, so you can ensure you have backups of your photos while you take them, and show them off on your iPad immediately.

And since the photos are stores in Photosmith’s sandbox, any shots that don’t make the grade can be deleted, so only the keepers get synced to Lightroom.

FTP also works for sending photos from a computer, of course.  Photosmith can act as an FTP server. You can choose whether you want Photosmith to accept JPEGs, Camera Raw files or both, and for extra security, you can change the port and set a password, so only you have access.

If you prefer, you can download your photos via iTunes File Transfer – and this works both ways: you download photos from your iPad with iTunes. Including XMP sidecar files. So if there’s no wi-fi available to sync with Lightroom, you can still download them to your computer and manually import them to Lightroom, with all your metadata intact.

Lightroom sync, Eye-Fi, FTP and iTunes, wireless and over USB. However you want to get your photos off or onto your iPad, Photosmith will work for you.


Share and enjoy.

Photosmith can already send photos to Flick, Facebook, Dropbox, or via e-mail. Smart Groups and star ratings enable you to quickly grab the photos you want to share. We thought we could take it a step further.

Photosmtih 3 also makes it easier to share photos with other apps on your iPad. The new PhotoCopy protocol, based on FileXchange, lets the popular Eye-Fi capturing app Shuttersnitch and Photosmith share images directly.

Photosmith is in the first wave of apps that have the protocol integrated. As more and more photo apps are including PhotoCopy support in their updates, Photosmith is ready to support round-trip operations, where you can PhotoCopy a picture to an editing app to apply filters or tweak the color balance, and send the result back to Photosmith. Keeping the original intact, of course.

Cooperation with other app developers is essential to Photosmith’s mission: providing you with the tools, functions and flexibility to work how you want to work.


Tweaks and fixes.

As always, we listen to your feedback and work hard to fix any problems and fine-tune the app’s interface to make it better and easier to use. Our customers are photographers, and we’re committed to giving them the tools to support their workflow, and work how they want to work.

By taking the time to rebuild the very foundations, the technology at the heart of Photosmith, we’ve been able to sidestep issues with the built-in photo management systems that had already taken us months of engineering work to fix. And getting rid of those workarounds makes Photosmith 3 faster, leaner and more stable, so larger photos can now be displayed.

And even if unforeseen issue do occur (the universe is an imperfect place, after all) you can tap the alert to find helpful information on what you can do next.


Nearly here.

The release is just around the corner. Seven months of intense work are coming to fruition, and we can’t wait to share the results with you. With its new engine, Photosmith 3 is all about speed, stability and flexibility.

And of course, it’s a free upgrade for all owners of Photosmith.

Beta testing is well underway and we’ve been getting fantastic, useful feedback.

Stay tuned, because Photosmith 3 is coming.

Posted in: Current Progress | 28 Comments

28 Responses to “Photosmith 3”

  1. Brian Wong says:

    I noticed that the past few blog updates, you’ve changed from calling the next version 2.3 to calling it version 3. Should we be reading anything into that? Does that mean your current customers will need to buy the new version, or will we be eligible to upgrade for free?

  2. Daniel says:

    Sounds great! It would also be time for a new, modern icon though.

  3. Hamish Niven says:

    This is great news. Looking forward to this very much.
    Any news on the storing of images on the Seagate Satellite wifi drives? This was discussed for version 2.3, but there is no mention here.
    Even a 64gb iPad will only store so many images before its stuffed full of raw images.

    • Chris Horne says:

      We haven’t forgotten about it, but it won’t be included in this release. We’re focusing on fixing stability and usability before adding support for the wireless drive.

      Having said that, the changes in this version allow much better integration with the drive, and much of the code has already been written. It’s still high on our priority list.

  4. Jeff says:

    Checked the App store and there seems to be a preponderance of negative comments and ratings on the current version. Are you addressing these concerns in version 3?

    • Nico Janssen says:

      Hi Jeff,

      We read the app store reviews too! We’ve always listened carefully to our customers and done our best to fix problems when they arose, but in the end we realized that iOS simply wasn’t designed to handle the kind of pressure a mobile photo management app places it under.

      We believed that we could best address our customers concerns by devoting all our engineering efforts to replacing the underlying engine. By taking full control and responsibility for the photo management base systems, we can sidestep many of the bugs in iOS that have been a thorn in our (and our customers’) sides for ages.

      It was a tough decision, and even tougher work, but we’re confident it was the right one. Photosmith 3 will be a free upgrade for all current customers, after all!

  5. Rob says:

    I like the concept of your App very much based on my eye-fi – jpeg – RAW workflow. Unfortunately it never really worked up until now.

    I have recently moved my phone to Android which is a huge improvement for Apps that dont need to fight with Apple to achieve their goals.

    So I am pretty neutral about what happens now. Either your App will truly work and I will stick with my ipad or I will probably move to Andoid (as Photosmith is the only App I would potentially miss.)

  6. Rob says:

    And I hope it is wroth waiting for afterall…

    We don’t know exactly how much time – probably “a couple months”.

    I’ll only say this: Our timeline is no longer measured in months.

    January again…
    I’m 99% confident that we can deliver on it “very soon”.

    Once we hit beta we will start talking about actual dates. As of now, we’re hoping it’s just weeks left.

    February again….
    We’re sending what is hopefully our last mid-development release (Alpha 4) out this week to our internal team, and then planning our Beta out to a much larger audience in a week or two. Assuming all goes well, it’ll be sent to Apple and in the hands of users a week or two after that.

    April 2nd…
    We’ve been doing a lot of in-house testing as we go, so we’re pretty confident that it’s getting close.

    April 25th
    Well, we’re finally there! At last we’re ready to officially start the beta program! But fear not, this doesn’t mean we are still a long way away from release (we hope) like in past cycles…

    May 7th…
    Our release timeline is still based on when the app is ready, and not the calendar; (P.S. yes I noticed)

    May 11th…
    Stay tuned, because Photosmith 3 is coming.

    You know I really hope so.


    • Chris Morse says:

      And that is exactly why we didn’t publish a date from the beginning….

    • Chris Horne says:

      You’re right. We can’t predict the future, and this being a night-and-weekends job, the time is even more difficult to predict.

      We have kids/families and other obligations as well that may take priorities. Estimating development time for a day job is difficult. Doing so for something you do on the side is near impossible.

      All we can do is update the blog with the current status and try to give you our best guess. The alternative is to stop updating the blog, but we’d rather communicate with our users than remain silent.

      • Matthias says:

        I fully agree to that approach even if it is annoying as customer to wait for the new release. I’m also involved into development (of other things) and it really cannot be predicted when a feature is implemented and worse which bugs will occur during testing. The result is often an underestimation of the time needed resulting in frustration on developer and customer side. If you have a huge development department and are working on the next release in parallel then you can cope with these things or you are throwing your resources into bug fixing after the release.
        If the main target to present a refactoring with focus on the stability and quality is reached, it’s worth to wait for the result. I just hope it’s coming before the end of the month because of my personal schedule ;) But if not, it’s not the end of the world… And I will be happy to try out the new release later.


  7. Steve says:

    This looks awesome guys! Can’t wait to get my hands on it. I agree with the one comment that perhaps a new icon for this release would be good. It’s such a major release too, seems like a fresh icon could help :)

  8. David says:

    I agree with the comments about the icon. I quite liked the original icon which came with v1…

    I have to say that everything about v3 looks amazing. I’ve had Photosmith since version 1: it wasn’t ready for proper use, but version 2 went a long way to fixing that, and is useful while it’s working. But it is too fiddly and unpredictable to rely on – and if you’ve managed to crack that with the sandbox approach in v3 then I really take my hat off to you.

    I am looking forward to the release – but, much as I would like to see it soon, I would rather you didn’t rush it, and wait until you were good and ready. So much effort has been put into this, it would be a great shame to spoil that, and create the wrong impression by rushing out a release which isn’t completely ready.

    For those who are moaning about the delay, remember that this is a free upgrade… You don’t find many software developers doing that!

  9. vladik1 says:

    Are smart publishing services finally supported ? I only use smart filtering to sort photos and with v2 it was said that it may come in the future.

    I bought the app in version 1 but havent used it yet. Stability problems aside, smart publishing should be mentioned as a feature / limitation (whatever the case maybe )

  10. Becky Davis says:

    I am so looking forward to this update. Could you make it this week before I leave for vacation, please?

    I do continue to have problems with Syncing and crashing, though it is certainly better since the last update. This App holds so much promise to my workflow that iam not willing to give up on it!

    I know that working with Apple and Adobe complicates your App,and I appreciate the difficulties. It looks like V3 addresses a number of issues andimlooking forward to it.

  11. teapigs says:

    I am just not positive the places you have become the data, although good matter. I has to shell out quite some time learning considerably more or being familiar with extra. Thank you for spectacular details I’d been hunting for this information in my vision.

    • Brian Wong says:

      In general, I’d agree with you, especially given all the work the guys put in to it. However, what I bought–when I bought v. 2.0–was basically unusable. It froze on import, froze on swiping, froze on updating keywords, etc. Normally, I would have asked for a refund, citing the inability to use it for anything I wanted to do. But I didn’t request a refund because I held out hope for 3.0.

      In any case, I’m very glad to know that 3.0 will be a free upgrade for all users.

  12. Ian Mulvany says:

    Looks like an amazing amount of work, good luck with the final issues! I know what it’s like to ship a big software project. Personally, I’d be happy to pay for an upgrade, but I’ll take the free upgrade too :)

  13. Chris says:

    I know that many users will want full size images to be able to zoom check sharpness etc, but I mainly want to use Photosmith to label/ flag/keyword photos and then sync back to my lightroom library. To do this I don’t need full size images. I have stacks of images and would prefer to only send preview sized images to the ipad for key wording. Is that possible in photosmith? Could it be?

  14. Chad R says:

    Anxiously (and patiently) waiting! I paid for the app in December… but have waited until this update to start using Photosmith with my business. I have faith it’s going to be awesome and well worth the wait. :)

  15. Jarno Pelkonen says:

    Is Apple Camera Connection Kit supported? Can I connect my camera directly to iPad and sync/copy the photos to PhotoSmith?

  16. Richard Southworth says:

    Since we will be able to download raw+xmp via iTunes, I assume we can access directly with Bridge/ACR?

  17. Peter says:

    Is it ready?! Please say it’s ready!

  18. Colin J. says:

    Is it done yet?

    How ’bout now?

  19. fg says:

    And what about the coming LR5? Have you also tested PS3 with the beta version of LR5 released a few days ago?

  20. Alain says:

    Do you plan to implement a compare tool ?
    It would be very usefull to select the good photos and delete (with the new sandbox capability !) the bad ones.