April 10, 2014
Earlier this week, Adobe announced the immediate availability of their long awaited Lightroom mobile, the Adobe-branded solution for synchronizing and working with Lightroom photos on iPad. We have received an amazing number of tweets, emails and calls from folks asking our feelings on this, and what this will mean for the future of our app, Photosmith for iPad.
First and foremost, we’re very excited! Not only does this legitimize iPad as a platform for mobile photography, it signals an unequivocal emphasis on touch-based photography tools from one of the largest software companies on the planet. This is nothing but fantastic news for the mobile photographer, and we feel the future is very bright!
We first launched Photosmith in 2011 to fill the gap between Lightroom on desktop/laptop devices and the portability of iPad, and we’ve learned a lot along the way. We’ve discovered which digital photography workflows are best suited to the mobile environment, and what users want and expect from a mobile, touch-based photography tablet app.
While Adobe’s Lightroom mobile for iPad is a similar product to Photosmith, in that they both offer photo synchronization with Lightroom on Mac or PC, they each have very different features and functions. If you look at it feature-by-feature, there’s actually very little overlap.
Photosmith is still the only option for editing and synchronizing keywords between your Lightroom catalog and iPad. Our users have spoken loud and clear, and tablet-based keyword editing and metadata sync is something that’s very important. Organizing photos while away from your desk is a big deal, and can be a real time saver.
Another workflow in which Photosmith really shines is when performing field triage of photos – something we call an iPad-first workflow. This is when you import photos right to your iPad before getting back to your Lightroom catalog, allowing you to immediate tag and organize what you just shot. Photosmith also provides best-in-class native camera raw rendering right in our app, something very few apps can do. In fact, our support of camera raw rendering is far beyond what iOS allows, with almost 500 different camera models, like the previously unsupported raw formats from FujiFilm and Leica cameras.
But most importantly, we’ve learned that users don’t want to pay for another cloud-based service. Photosmith remains the only subscription-free solution for syncing your photos and metadata between Lightroom and iPad. We’re also the only app that allows local Lightroom sync – with Photosmith, your private photos and metadata always remain on your devices, and are never stored on a server somewhere on the public Internet. With Photosmith, there’s no middle-man, no storage of your stuff in the cloud, and an Internet connection is never required for syncing your Lightroom photos with iPad.
We are the first to admit that Photosmith isn’t always the best solution for every digital photography workflow, and have made every effort to highlight that point throughout our documentation. Anyone that has had a conversation with our support or engineering teams know that we often suggest alternative products which might be a better fit for your specific workflow and use case. Lightroom mobile is a very capable 1.0 release and they did a great job with syncing Develop module editing. However, for IPTC metadata editing and local Lightroom sync with no ongoing service charges, Photosmith is still the only game in town.
All of us at Photosmith are photographers, and we view choice in digital asset management tools as a wonderful thing! We created, and continue to maintain Photosmith as the digital photography organizational tool we want to use, to help bridge the gaps that continue to exist in the mobile photography workflow puzzle. For field triage in particular, Photosmith really shines.
So where does this leave Photosmith? Believe it or not, since Adobe’s Lightroom mobile launch, our sales are actually up. A rising tide raises all ships, and we very much view other mobile photography apps as partners, not competitors. With PhotoCopy, we’ve helped establish a standard by which iOS apps can communicate with each other, and work together. It’s a very exciting time to be a photographer, and we’re very motivated to continue our work to make photo organization easier. From your couch or coffee shop, right on your iPad.