I’ve been using Lightroom Mobile as part of my photography workflow for the past several years 1. It took me a while to get the hang of using Lr Mobile as my avenue for photo intake, but now that I’m used to it I have a difficult time importing photos directly into the desktop app. It’s… slow 2.

The biggest piece of grit in my iPad workflow, however, has always been Apple’s insistance that anything imported into an iPad or iPhone through an SD card or USB connection must go through the iOS camera roll. Apple has always been about an integrated experience, and iOS is perhaps their most pure form of that desire, but I don’t want to use Apple’s camera roll. I dislike the RAW development tools and I find the way photos works to be unintuitive. I’d love to skip the camera roll entirely and just import directly into Lightroom, but that’s not possible.

Though this past week I got a workaround. Adobe released an integration to make Lightroom accessible in Apple’s Shortcuts apps 3. This means I’m able to use the Shortcuts app to automate a Lightroom import, followed with the act of deleting the photos I just imported. I’m certain I could make a wonderful and complex shortcut in the future, and perhaps I will, but right now my workflow is three steps.

  1. Get Last Import from Photos.
  2. Import into Lightroom.
  3. Get Last Import from Photos 4.
  4. Delete Photos.

While this doesn’t save a huge amount of time, it does save me selecting photos for import by hand in Lightroom, and then shifting back over to Photos to delete them. Those steps are now automated, and that’s very good. Even better, I have it set up as a Siri shortcut, so all I need to do is say, “Hey Siri, Lightroom import” and the process begins. I am a bit annoyed by the forced confirmation dialog in order to delete photos, but it’s not a huge deal.

Unfortunately, the options for the Import to Lightroom shortcut are limited. Right now, the only thing which can be applied to an import is a pre-set. That’s great for people who like to apply presets to their images 5, but I’d love to see some other options. Specifiying an Album or allowing a user to create a new album, would be a welcome addition in the future. I’d also love the ability to rename photos, apply keywords, and convert to DNG on import. As it stands now photos are imported into All Photos, and have to be organized and ID’d after the fact. Being able to skip these steps on import would be a killer feature for future versions of Lr Mobile. But I’ll take whatever shortcuts I’m offered, because Lr integration with the shortcuts app is long overdue.

  1. And will continue to do so in 2019, even though I am growing increasingly concerned that Adobe will jack up the price of their photography plan and hold my photo library hostage. The alternatives just aren’t “there” yet. 
  2. Though I can’t do DNG conversions in the mobile app, so that’s a definate knock there. 
  3. Formerly “Workflow,” which I think is a better name, but that’s just me. 
  4. Basically, I’m reselecting my imported photos. 
  5. It’s not something I’ve gotten into, myself. I don’t know why.