I am having trouble putting together a workflow that will enable me to use my iPad to sort through and filter my photos into albums and then have the albums easily synced across to my PC (ideally into Lightroom). Some criteria:

  • Ideally I don't want to be copying all the photos across but just the selection of photos into albums. (ie. the photos should ideally already be on the pc)
  • Syncing metadata and rating info would be great but is not a critical requirement just the selection of photos into an album.
  • Happy to sync the photos from PC -> iPad first if required.
  • Ideal workflow will roughly be:
    1. Import photos onto PC (ideally into Lightroom)
    2. Copy photos onto iPad
    3. Create albums and select photos on iPad
    4. Sync albums back onto PC
    5. View albums on PC

Is such a workflow even possible? The only options I've seen all involve syncing an album from PC -> iPad instead of the other way.

  • So basically you want to use the iPad to cull images? What about just using remote desktop software to your PC and never actually having the images on your iPad?
    – dpollitt
    Sep 10, 2012 at 15:21
  • I know you currently own an iPad, but if you really want a portable tablet-based photo workflow, you might want to consider one of the "full" Windows 8 tablets. There will be WindowsRT tablets that hide the legacy windows interface, but the full Windows 8 tablets will give you the full power of a Windows 7-style desktop right alongside the new touch UI. USB ports (and in many cases SD/CF card readers) are standard fanfare on Win8 tablets, so you could run Lightroom and even tether your camera for immediate import if you really wanted to. Hell, LR5 may even be touch capable! :D
    – jrista
    Sep 11, 2012 at 6:34
  • I've wanted to drop the cash ball on an iPad for a while. Particularly the new one with a retina display. I've managed to hold off, and seeing the specs of some of the soon-to-be-released Win8 tablets, I'm glad I did. My goal of running a fully-featured Lightroom for a portable tablet workflow can only be realized with something like Microsoft's "Surface" or one of the tablets due from Asus, Samsung, Nokia, etc. And to the comment made by mattdm in something linked from dpollitt's answer...no reason you couldn't fully color calibrate a Win8 tablet either. ;)
    – jrista
    Sep 11, 2012 at 6:36

4 Answers 4


I use Lightroom Publish Services (tinker around with the settings for quality and space) to Export the photos to an iPad folder on my hard drive. I then use an app called PhotoSync which you can download on the iPad/iPhone and an app for Windows/Mac. When you have the app open on the iPad then you can select the photos on your PC and transfer them over WiFi.

It works quickly and doesn't appear to affect the quality of the photos. Photos look fantastic on my iPad with Retina Display. It is not as seamless I was hoping for but it is the best I have found so far.

The only problem is that even though it does sort the photos into albums in the iPads native Photos app it will have a photo in the Camera Roll. Due to iOS limitations if you delete the photo in the camera roll it will delete the photo everywhere. A bit of a pain if you use iCloud as you will quickly hit your limits so I have had to turn off Photo Stream and backing up of photos via iCloud (duplicates if you have an iPhone using the same iCloud account!). Also a bit annoying that I have 2000+ pictures in my Camera Roll although you could trick people into thinking photos you took with a DSLR were all took with your iPhone!!


Check out Mosaic View. Mosaic View provides cloud access to your entire Lightroom catalog on your iPad including your collections. Mosaic View doesn't have two way sync to modify your Collections information yet but they are adding this in the fall.

Until then this is your best bet to automatically access your collections.


I would take a look at Photo Shack Pro by Applgasm. I haven't personally used it, but it seems to do most of what you are looking for. For example it allows you to create and organize libraries and albums, then also export photos or entire albums to your computer using iTunes file sharing.

Here is a link to the app in the Apple app store. The reviews seem to be average for it, but again I can't personally endorse the product as I have not used it. The only thing that stuck out as odd to me is that the app is only 1.8MB, which seems very very small for an app that claims to have as many features as it does.

Another note I think is important, someone who I believe is very experienced in software development and the iPads use for photography, noted that the iOS Photo Gallery has a very limited API, not allowing much use such as the creation of folders - see more at this link from @mattdm. This comment made me weary of the claims that Photo Shack Pro makes.


I've used the iOS app Photosmith to effectively do this. Using it on my 1st-gen iPad is painfully slow just to watch it build thumbnails, let alone actually try and use it to work with the photos. While Photosmith will probably do what you want, I personally have found the experience to be practically pointless just for speed reasons.

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