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.

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We’re very happy to announce the release of Photosmith for iPad v3.1.1 – While it’s tempting to call this “just” a bug fix maintenance release, that would be selling it a bit short.

Addressed in version 3.1.1 are several app crashes introduced by iOS 7.1, including crashing after importing photos from Camera Roll and after converting imported photos to/from link/copy in Photosmith’s Dashboard. Develop changes made in Lightroom will now correctly get synced back to Photosmith, as well.

More importantly, especially for folks with the latest and greatest camera bodies, we added compatibility for 100 more cameras in Photosmith v3.1.1 – We now support camera raw files for almost 500 different camera models! Actually, 491, but who’s counting? :) Take a look at our updated full list of camera raw compatibility; the highlights include Nikon’s new flagship, the D4s, and even more Sony models, including the Alpha 7, and Alpha 7R, and a wide swath of the FujiFilm, and Olympus camera lines, including the gorgeous OM-D E-M1.

Our camera compatibility page only lists camera raw files for which we have personally confirmed compatibility – If you own a camera not on the compatibility list, we want your camera raw files! Please contact our Support Team so we can validate your camera.

Photosmith v3.1.1 is a free upgrade for all current users, and is now available for download in Apple’s iOS App Store. New users may purchase Photosmith for iPad for $19.99 USD (or equivalent local currency). The Photosmith for Lightroom plugin is available on our website as a free download.

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Collections are a great way to help group your photos into useful chunks in Photosmith. In this training video, we offer some tips and tricks for how to best use collections in keeping your catalog tidy:

Photosmith 3.1 – Organize from Photosmith App on Vimeo.

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While our Engineering Team works to iron out some bugs related to iOS 7.1, the Creative Team recently started production on some training videos to compliment our existing (some might even call verbose) online documentation.

The first topic we’re covering is importing your photos into Photosmith from your iPad’s Camera Roll:

Photosmith 3.1 – Import from Photosmith App on Vimeo.

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A few minutes ago, Apple released an update to iOS. This update, iOS version 7.1, will cause Photosmith to crash to your iPad’s home screen after importing images from Photos.app / Camera Roll and when converting link/copy. This app crash isn’t as catastrophic as it appears – It’s a display-only bug, and your photos and metadata are perfectly safe. No data loss will result from this crash. Restarting Photosmith after the crash will show all your previously imported photos in Photosmith’s catalog (including the photos imported and converted just prior to the crash). You may continue working as your normally would in Photosmith.

More importantly, Photosmith will continue functioning as it did prior to updating to iOS 7.1. Importing photos via Eye-Fi, FTP, iTunes, or when syncing with Lightroom, isn’t impacted by this issue. This is an issue specific with how we’re handing the import dialog window after the import is completed. Instead of closing the import window and displaying the normal Photosmith interface, the entire Photosmith app shuts down.

Every major and minor release of iOS from Apple contains its share of quirks, which are usually addressed through a process of non-public beta testing between developers and Apple. Once Apple feels this internal testing has run its natural course, they traditionally issue a final “Gold Master” version of the iOS update, which is then sent back to developers for testing a few days ahead of its public release. This is when our final testing usually occurs, and is the time when we usually make any necessary adjustments to Photosmith. The root cause of our app crash is an iOS bug introduced in iOS 7.1 – we didn’t anticipate this issue living through to the final public release.

This isn’t our first rodeo: We’ve observed iOS issues in beta versions which caused all sorts of havoc with Photosmith, but these were always fixed by the good folks at Apple by the time the “Gold Master” version was released. We’re not keen on wasting hours, days, or even weeks of development time working around an iOS issue in our app, only to have it ultimately not be an issue in the final shipped version of iOS.

The difference this time around, however, is that Apple didn’t provide a “Gold Master” of iOS 7.1 to developers prior to the official public release. Today was our first opportunity to see the final release… after it was already public.

We are already working on a fix for the import and convert window crashes, but for now, you may safely import from Camera Roll and convert links/copies, and expect Photosmith to crash at the conclusion of the import or convert. Then relaunch Photosmith and get to work adding tags, star and color ratings, pick, reject flags, then sync it all to Lightroom, if that’s your workflow. If you experience any other issues with iOS 7.1, please let our Support Team know: support.photosmithapp.com

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