Still Mobile!


My recent departure from the unfriendly shores of Adobe subscriptions left me wondering about my mobile workflow moving forward. There are a number of apps on iOS which will develop RAW files, but nothing really has the sheer polish of Lightroom CC. I may dislike being bound to Adobe’s Subscription, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give credit where it’s due. Lightroom CC is a phenomenal app.

I was a bit bummed, thinking that my mobile editing days may have come to an end, but then I remembered something.

Affinity Photo can develope RAW files with no problem. It’s not a management solution 1, so I can’t load a dozen photos and sync all my settings 2, but it is a capable RAW processor. I decided to give it a try.

I opted to work from as close to my Lightroom solution as possible, so I began with nothing stored locally on my iPad. Instead, I navigated to my Backblaze backup for my external drive and pulled down the photo I wanted to develop 3. I downloaded the photo from the backup and copied it into Affinity Photo. The app recognized a RAW file and dropped me into the develop module to begin my edits.

The tools in Affinity Photo are quite capable, but there is zero hand-holding. There’s no pre-set white balances or lens profiles, users are expected to have at least a rudimentary understaning of how these tools work. I’m not the best at getting my colors correct, but I am a bit better than I’ve been in the past. I selected a tint and color warmth 4 and did a small distortion correction and zoom to clean up some distortion 5. I also adjusted the white and black points, adjusted the shadows and highlights to bring back some of the sky, and played with the tone curve a bit. Had I wished, I could have also done local adjustments using the Apple Pencil, which was the thing that most grieved me about leaving Lightroom behind 6. When I got the results I wanted, I tapped “develop.”

This then dropped me back in the normal Affinity Photo editor, where I opted to create an HSL adjustment layer to bring out a bit more detail in the sky. I could have played with the photograph some more, but at this point I opted to send my devleped photo to my iPad’s camera roll. The result is below.

A fence in front of the Delaware River.
Panasonic G7 with 14-42 mm lens • 21 mm • ISO 200 • ƒ/5.0 • 1/800 sec

  1. Though if Affinity came up with a Digital Asset Manager I’d be psyched. They make good stuff. 
  2. I can, however, save my settings as a LUT. I’ll have to see how that works. 
  3. This is yet another reason to work with well-named folders and for renaming photos on import. I had no trouble finding my image. 
  4. One thing I don’t like about the Affinity develop module is they don’t list the actually color temperature. It’s set up as a percentage between two ends of the color spectrum. I’d like to see this changed. 
  5. Again, I’m a complete novice at this, I’ve always used lens profiles. 
  6. Local adjustments are the reason why I have an Apple Pencil.