October 15, 2015

As of today, we are officially announcing the discontinuation of development on Photosmith, the first iPad application to enable a mobile RAW workflow for photographers using Adobe Lightroom.

The app will remain in the iPad App Store so that existing customers can download it to their new devices and it will remain available to purchase at a modest price, as it is still compatible with the current versions of iOS and Lightroom, is still capable of receiving files wirelessly via EyeFi, FTP and several proprietary WiFi grips, and still supports RAW files from 30 camera manufacturers.

However, we are ending development and customer support, effectively marking the end of Photosmith’s application lifecycle.

In the spirit of openness and in appreciation of our customers and supporters, Photosmith’s developers Chris Horne and Chris Morse have posted an overview of the app’s development history, as well as a variety of statistics on the financials and use of the app.

We’d like to thank our customers, our fellow photographers, our attentive beta testers, collaborators and partners, and of course our patient and understanding families, for all their invaluable support and enthusiasm.

- The Photosmith Team.

Further reading:
All good things” – Chris Horne’s historical overview of Photosmith’s inception and development.
Going out with a bang” – Chris Morse’s review of Photosmith’s economics and use history, with informative graphs and stats.

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Balloon Rally

This is first of what we hope to make a regular feature here on our blog. We field many really interesting queries from users and potential users of Photosmith – sharing these questions and answers will only benefit the wider Photosmith community (and might even cut down on the number of duplicate questions we receive :)  )

To get in touch with our Support Team*, please visit http://support.photosmithapp.com – we’re currently a little behind on our queue, and responses are taking a bit longer than usual while we give each email individual attention.

*our support “team” consists of one person, so please be patient. We’re also happy to answer quick questions via Twitter, @photosmithapp.

Lenin Ramirez-Sanchez sent a number of really great questions this week – here are his questions and my answers — Mike Wren

If I use the Camera Connection Kit, can I import directly into Photosmith (i.e bypassing Camera Roll)? I know when [Photosmith] was just released this could not be done, just wondering if that’s still the case?

When importing photos to iPad using the Camera Connection Kit (CCK), the only possible destination is the Camera Roll – This is an Apple-imposed limitation. This means that you can not import photos directly from an SD memory card or wired using a USB cable directly into Photosmith’s catalog.

We have very strong opinions about this annoying restriction, which is why we encourage the use of Eye-Fi wireless cards or FTP as the preferred method of getting photos directly into Photosmith’s catalog (bypassing Camera Roll) in an iPad first (field triage) workflow. Until Apple modifies its policies regarding access to the 30 pin/lightening port on the bottom of iPad, our hands are tied. Third-party apps like Photosmith currently cannot communicate with the USB dock connector. This is also why sync with Lightroom must occur through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and not wired via USB.

[My] camera is Wi-Fi capable and it’s also compatible with Eye-Fi (per their support page). Do I need to buy Eye-Fi cards to take advantage of the direct connectivity your App has with that technology or just by been in the same Wi-Fi network as the camera is enough for Photosmith to download the images directly from the camera?

Photosmith currently supports wireless photo import using two methods: Eye-Fi (Mobi and X2) Wi-Fi enabled SDHC memory cards, and FTP-based wireless camera adapters, like the Canon WFT-E4 and Nikon WT-4A. We are looking into adding support for other wireless import options in future versions of Photosmith – watch our blog for progress updates.

Any recommended set up / configuration options for the Sony A7?

I haven’t personally used the Sony A7, and can’t vouch for how well it integrates with Photosmith. That said, it appears there shouldn’t be any “gotchas” when using it with Photosmith in an iPad first workflow.

When looking for potential compatibility issues, the first thing I check is if it plays nice with Eye-Fi, and it appears the Sony A7 has no known issues, according to Eye-Fi. In that case, I suggest purchasing a 32GB Eye-Fi card, and configuring the A7 to write camera RAW+JPG files to the card. The Mobi will only send the JPG wirelessly to Photosmith, which is perfect. Keyword tag, star rate, and add other metadata to the JPG’s in Photosmith, then when you get back to your Mac or PC with Lightroom, import the camera raw files from the Eye-Fi card into Lightroom via a card reader as you normally would.

Then, when you first sync Photosmith with Lightroom, all your metadata added in Photosmith will transfer to the corresponding camera raw photos in Lightroom. We call this a proxy JPG workflow, and it works amazingly well – there’s no manual intervention required to match the camera raw files in Lightroom to the proxy JPG’s in Photosmith!

Proxy JPG workflow can really save a lot of time – In my day job as an event photographer, I use proxy JPG as a means of making quick picks and rejects and adding star ratings while still in the field.  This is called field triage. If I have an extended period of downtime, I may even get to work on keyword tagging or caption writing. This works well because when I get back to the studio, after importing the camera raws into Lightroom, a quick sync will transfer all my metadata from Photosmith to Lightroom. With most or all of the culling, star rating, and keywording out of the way, I can then jump right into Develop module in Lightroom and get to work.

Photosmith allows me to leverage what would otherwise be downtime in the field, getting the culling and tagging out of the way, so I can immediately start Develop module work in Lightroom, when I’m back in the studio on a much larger color-calibrated screen.

Is the app going to be updated for iOS any time soon?. If so, what’s the estimated release date/month?

Yes, we’re working on an iOS7 interface overhaul, along with a bunch of other surprises that we’re ridiculously excited about. Our plans requires a lot of extra effort from everyone on our team – and is part of the reason why we’re a little bit behind on answering support tickets the past few months. As for estimated release timeline – the next version will be released when it’s ready… and not a moment sooner. We are in a very unique position of not having to answer to shareholders or investors, and aren’t under artificial pressure to ship new versions on specific dates.

Are there plans to support Sandisk Wireless Media Connect drives?. They are the perfect accessory for an iPad + Photosmith workflow.

As we recently discovered from Sandisk, they’ve chosen to not allow developers read/write access to their hardware.

However, it’s actually worse than that – Like Eye-Fi’s native iOS app, SanDisk’s iOS app changes the camera-generated filename when saving photos from the Sandisk Wireless Media Connect to iPad’s Camera Roll. This means photos will have a completely different filename than the one assigned by the camera. This makes the Sandisk Wireless Media Connect drive completely unsuitable for Photosmith’s proxy JPG workflow.

Until Sandisk decides to allow open access for reading and writing to their Wireless Media Connect dive, or they fix their app to not clobber filenames, there’s unfortunately not a lot we can do.

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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

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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Photosmith version 3.1 is now available in the iOS App Store for iPad.  The companion plugin for Lightroom is also available, but updating requires a little extra effort this time around.  We made a quick one minute video showing how to properly update the Photosmith plugin for Lightroom:

Please note that the new Photosmith plugin requires Lightroom 4 or newer.

As we previously mentioned, the big updates this time around are native camera raw rendering and a vastly improved Lightroom sync dashboard.  There’s also more bug fixes than we care to bore you with… but probably will in a future blog post. :)

Also, as promised, we just released our comprehensive User Guide – over 200 pages of everything you ever wanted to know about Photosmith (but were afraid to ask).  This PDF is perfect for downloading and keeping handy for offline reference, perhaps stored in your iBooks app on your iPad.  However, be aware that like our Knowledge Base documents (from which the User Guide is based), it’s a work in progress.

Photosmith version 3.1 app for iPad and Lightroom plugin are free updates for existing users.  New users can scoop up the app for $19.99 USD (or equivalent local currency).

Posted in: Development, Marketing, Uncategorized | 8 Comments