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.

Posted in: Current Progress, Development, Musings | 12 Comments

12 Responses to “Photosmith and Adobe’s Lightroom Mobile for iPad”

  1. Edward says:

    Thanks for this – love your excellent app!
    Good work guys :)

  2. vincent-b says:

    I was sure you’ll get a surge in sales, a lot of articles around remind people that Photosmith exists.

    And I believe you’ll always find your place. Look how unfair your position already is : you don’t have the rights to even delete an iPad picture, you’re competing with Adobe on their own software… and yet you’re there for a quite long time and you’ve been doing an excellent work with Psmith considering the limitations. I only used Photosmith 10 times or less, but it saved me a lot of time.

    As long as your mission will be to address photographers workflows issues, you’ll find your place, it’s a gigantic task and there’s plenty of room.

    I’m happy for you that things are going well and that you’re still motivated.

    Have a long life!

  3. Jay says:

    I had never heard of Photosmith, but while Googling why I cannot star rate in Lightroom Mobile, I read about your product in the comments to a post. A few moments later I’m here and intrigued/impressed. Your positive note welcoming Lightroom Mobile is generous in spirit and speaks well of your attitude toward customers and the market at large.

    I’m keen on a tool that allows the client/model to make some picks, and Photosmith looks like a great way to do this (even better if I can remotely send them a PW protected “look” into their album to their own iPad?)

    Anyway, well done and all the best. I’ll head to the app store now :)

  4. […] p.s. Photosmith 앱은 어떻게 대응할까? […]

  5. Stephen says:

    I very strongly concur with all you say in the blog post. The one thing I really want to do when abroad with my iPad and camera is to be able to label and keyword my photos while I still remember where I took the photos. I loathe the subscription software model and synchronising via a cloud service.

    For me Photosmith does exactly what I need and does it extremely well. It’s an exceptionally useful app and I would not be without it when travelling.

    Many thanks for all your hard work and the excellent support always provided.

  6. Tobias says:

    I must say that I bought Photosmith 1 1/2 years ago and that I didn’t used it because of slow performance sync >300pics etc.
    Right now I tested it again and must say whooooowww the version 3 is really fast and I am able to use it because of that just for pure ranking of pics that are stored on my iMac. Of course I would love to edit as well Pics via Photosmith but not sure whether this well every come or can came. But compared to Adobe I will never subscribe to the iCloud Version because of cost for a normale customer.

    So please continue your work on Photosmith. And if you want I could tell you as well what I would love from an UI perspective or help in a German translation.

    • Chris Horne says:


      We certainly had our growing pains trying to get things to play nice in the iOS environment – we spent many, many late nights on that problem. Version 3 was nearly a complete rewrite of the underlying engine because of all that, and things are very stable.

      We always welcome comments and suggestions. We can’t re-write the app based on every suggestion, but we love getting feedback. We (as the developers) only see things from our perspective, and want to hear from our customers what they want, what is clunky, how we can improve, etc.

      Lastly, if you’re happy with the app now that you’ve tried the latest version, then please consider leaving a 5 star review in the app store – it lets others know how things are going and means more development into the app long term. If you’ve already done that, then a big “thank you”!


      • Tobias says:


        5 Stars left!!!!!

        Thanks for easying my life with LR. And no need to spend 12 Euros/month for icloud Adobe thanks to photosmith team!!!

  7. John Lehet says:

    I tried Photosmith a few times, from my iPad 2 and your version 1, and onward. In the past, each time I was so frustrated and disappointed I swore, and swore I’d never try it again. Out of frustration with lightroom mobile, but teased by possibility, I tried photosmith again. And wow! You’ve pulled it off! Fantastic!

    A few things would really nail it for me: smart collection syncing, full screen view (no bar), ability for full screen when rotating the device for portrait orientation.

    I’m glad you kept at it. Thank you!

  8. Ina says:

    I have been using Lightroom Mobile for the past week and like being able to edit photos on the fly. Since most of the features of photosmith are complementary to lightroom mobile, do you have suggestions and a potential workflow for using both apps to optimize their respective strengths? If so, I would be interested in licensing Photosmith.

    Please advise

  9. Are there any future plans for photosmith to sync/import photos from Lightroom mobile. It would be great to be able to import photos onto the iPad once and have access to them in photosmith and Lightroom mobile.

    • Chris Horne says:

      Sorry for the delayed response – I just saw this.

      It’s unlikely we’ll be able to work directly with Lightroom Mobile. There have been no announcements for any sort of interface to their app, and given their business model, I’d be a little surprised if they opened things up.