Shortcut Magic

With my impending departure from Adobe’s shores, I found myself wondering how my photography workflow would be affected. I typically import my photos from my camera SD card to my iPad, as I find the process much more enjoyable. These photos, along with my edits in Lightroom Mobile, are then synced through Adobe’s servers and show up in my Lightroom library on my Mac. From there I run a batch rename on the new photos, migrate them to a folder in my main directory, and convert them to DNG. It’s a good system, and the ability to both import and edit photos on the fly is one of the reasons I’ve stuck with Adobe as long as I have.

So would I still be able to handle some, if not most, of my workflow on my iPad once I leave Lightroom behind?

As it so happens, the answer is, “Mostly yes.” The one aspect I lose is the integration of editing tools between my iPad and MacBook, since On1’s mobile app is for viewing only, but there are enough raw editors on the app store at this point I’ll still be able to develop some photos while I’m “out and about.” These editors don’t have Lightroom Mobile’s polish, it would be wrong for me to deny that Lightroom Mobile is a really nice raw photo developer, but I’ll trade some polish to save $120 a year 1. Even so, apps like Raw Power do a nice job handling raw development.

While losing the ability to do almost all my raw developing sans computer is a blow, I can’t deny it, everything else in my workflow remains intact if I take Adobe out of the picture 2. And I may have even improved on a few steps.

The secret sauce is Apple’s Shortcuts app. I’ve been a fan of this automation app ever since it was called “Workflow,” and Apple has done a good amount of work improving on the app since its acquisition 3. Using a custom Shortcut I managed to create a workflow which does the following.

A custom shortcut on iOS
My Photography Workflow custom shortcut.
  1. Finds the date of the last photo imported.
  2. Asks for the subject of the last photo shoot.
  3. Creates a folder in my iCloud drive named, “[date]_[subject]”
  4. Copies the last import from my camera to the specified folder and renames them as, “[date]_[subject]_[index].[extension] 4.”
  5. Deletes the last import from my camera roll.

From that point the photos sync to my computer through iCloud 5. Once they’re on my computer I can just drag the folder to whatever location I choose on my hard drive, either though finder or by dragging it on to my On1 Photo Raw window. That’s slick. Best of all, it’s free of Adobe’s subscription shackles. I think it’s a decent trade-off.

  1. As $120 a year the Adobe Photography plan is a steal, and I’d be fine if they even pulled Photoshop from the bundle. At $240 a year it’s eating a rather huge chunk out of my software budget. 
  2. Yes, I went there. 
  3. Including Siri integration, which rocks. 
  4. The extension taken from the photo, so the workflow is camera agnostic. The index variable is built into the process. 
  5. Which is slow. I might switch to Dropbox, but I don’t have as much free space.