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 – 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.

Posted in: Current Progress, Design, Development, From the Support Desk, Musings | Comments Off

Photosmith recently received very high praise from the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA), and was awarded best mobile photography app 2014.  To celebrate, Photosmith for iPad is now half-off for a very limited time – $9.99 (or local currency equivalent) for Lightroom sync, with no strings attached, no subscription required.

TIPA membership comprises 28 leading photo and imaging magazines from 15 countries on five continents, and also has a cooperative partnership with the CJPC (Camera Journal Press Club), representing 11 top photography magazines in Japan.

Here’s our press release if you want to help spread the word about this award, and our limited-time half-off discount.  If you have friends that use Lightroom and have an iPad, but aren’t interested in ongoing subscription fees, please let them know of our discount.

Inspiration comes from the most unlikeliest of places, and this is really an incredible, and quite unexpected honor.

Posted in: Marketing, Musings | 6 Comments

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

Great news for anyone that was hit with the “Incorrect photos are displayed after switching away from a Publish Collection” bug in Lightroom. Last night, Adobe announced the availability of Lightroom 5.3 Release Candidate – it includes a fix for this super annoying Publish Service issue, which made working in Lightroom especially difficult when browsing away from Photosmith User Collections. For example, when attempting to browse a folder after looking at a Photosmith User Collection in our Lightroom Publish Service, no photos will be displayed in the Library’s grid view. The only fix was to restart Lightroom. Lightroom 5.3RC fixes all that.

We’ve have been testing Lr 5.3RC for a few hours this morning, and everything appears to work very well with Photosmith sync. We suggest that all Photosmith users affected by the Publish Service bug upgrade as soon as possible.

As with any update (and especially Release Candidates), make sure you backup your Lightroom catalog before upgrading.

Let us (and other users) know how the update works for you over on our User Forums:

Below is a list of all bugfixes which were included in this release, emphasis ours:

  • Issues when upgrading catalog from previous versions of Lightroom.
  • Incorrect photos are displayed after switching away from a Publish Collection.
  • Catalog optimization did not finish, and was not optimizing the catalog
  • Feather of clone spots is set to 0 after upgrading catalog to Lightroom 5.
  • Auto White Balance settings are not saved to Snapshots.
  • Sony 18-55mm lens is detected as the Hasselblad 18-55mm lens for lens correction.
  • Increased Update Spot Removal history steps when in Before and After view.
  • Slideshows start playing automatically even when the Manual Slideshow option is enabled.
  • Video playback stops when dragging on the scrubber.
  • Errors when publishing photos to Flickr through the Publish Service.
  • Option + drag on Edit Pin behavior is functioning incorrectly.
  • Black border appears around the exported slideshow video.
  • Catalog containing images processed with PV2003 were adding a post-crop vignette when catalog upgraded to Lightroom 5.
  • Pressing the “Reset” button while holding down the Shift key caused Lightroom to exit abruptly.
  • Output Sharpening and Noise Reduction were not applied to exported images that were resized to less than 1/3 of the original image size.
  • The Esc key did not exit the slideshow after right clicking screen with mouse during slideshow playing.
  • Import dialog remained blank for folders that contain PNG files with XMP sidecars.
  • Metadata panel displayed incorrect information after modifying published photo. Please note that this only occurred when metadata was changed after the photo was published.
  • Posted in: Musings | Comments Off

We are very happy to announce the release of Photosmith for iPad version 3.0.2.  This is a maintenance release only, and fixes the crashing many users experienced after upgrading to iOS 7, especially when swiping through photos in Loupe and Fulllscreen Views.

Photosmith uses caching to help increase performance.  We cache a number of things, but in particular, we keep photos in memory so scrolling and movement between large images is more responsive.  For example, if you just viewed a photo, then swiped to look at another photo, there shouldn’t be any reason to wait for the previous photo to load again if you swipe back to it – simply pull it out of the already-rendered cache if needed.  It only makes sense, right?

To do this, we made use of iOS’s built-in NSCache for some of our photo caching needs.  NSCache is handy because iOS manages what is kept in cache automatically, discarding anything that it doesn’t have room for anymore.  This is especially handy when writing code that isn’t dependent upon a particular piece of hardware – available RAM varies from around 35MB on an iPad 1 to several hundred megabytes on the iPad 4; we can simply cache as many photos as necessary, and if iOS decides there isn’t enough memory, it will handily remove it from the cache for us.

Except… that’s not what happens in iOS 7. For reasons we can’t quite explain, this appears to no longer be the behavior.  There were no announcements in the iOS 7 pre-release notes (or even in the released SDK documentation) and we didn’t run into the issue while testing beta versions of iOS 7.  And this is why things will work for a while and then crash unexpectedly – NSCache is getting filled up, and iOS 7 is no longer removing photos as it did in the past when cache memory got full.

In Photosmith for iPad version 3.0.2, we still use NSCache, but added some code so that for users running iOS 7, the total number of entries was limited, thereby having a somewhat similar (though not quite as optimal) effect.

Users with iOS 6 (or earlier) will see no difference, as our method of handling this caching issue only applies to iOS 7.  Also, there are no updates to our Lightroom plugin at this time.

We are very interested in hearing your thoughts on Photosmith performance in iOS 7 – please drop us a note over on our User Forums at

Photosmith 3.0.2 will be become available today as a free update in the App Store for your country – standard delays may apply as the update propagates through Apple’s servers worldwide.

Posted in: Current Progress, Development, Musings, Uncategorized | 4 Comments