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Using Lightroom CC and Backup Your Photos Without a Computer

By on Feb 20, 2018 in Reviews | 0 comments

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I am in the last week of a project taking place in Seoul and in Gangneung, here in South Korea. While I normally have enough time in most projects to return to my home and edit my photos on my iMac, this particular project has a tight turn around time and is also far from my home. Over the last few weeks, I have been testing out different ways to backup and edit my photos on the road. The main issue that I had was that my laptop is way too old to handle this kind of work and until I get a replacement, I had to find a solution.

 

Backup

For backup in the field, there are many options. For years I used a NEXTO portable hard drive (one of the first generations) but the prices now are insane. I needed a cheaper solution. So I reached out to Dylan Goldby and asked him for some ideas. Surprisingly he gets asked this question a lot and sent me this article which contained a perfect solution. It was the start to a perfect solution to  lighter more mobile workflow.

 

Following Dylan’s instructions, I picked up my RavPower FileHub from Amazon for about $33 and found a 500gb SSD on sale at Costco.  Once I downloaded the app on to my iPad and followed the instructions, I was good to go. I plugged in the SSD and then my SD card from my camera. I was shocked at how easy the whole process worked.

From the app, I could create folders on both my ipad and the SSD. This allowed me to keep the project files separate from everything else and make them easier to find on my iPad. I could also save images from my iPad onto the SSD as you can see in the image above. The other interesting thing was that the RavPower can also charge my devices as well. Something that came in handy a few times. Transferring files from the SD card to the the SSD was fairly fast and you can monitor the progress on your device as well. This was particularly useful in making sure that all of the files got backed up.

Editing

One of the hiccups that I came across was that the FileHub would not let me transfer my RAW files to my iPad. However, I found two ways to work around this. The first being to simply shoot in Raw+JPEG and edit the JPEG files in the field as the project only required a limited amount of editing anyway. The second was to use the Sandisk iXpand Drive. This is a tiny but very useful USB drive with a lightning connector built into it. Combined with the app, I could easily backup my raw images to the iXpand Drive and then import them into Lightroom CC on the iPad. Albeit, one at a time.

Either way you choose, you are now seeing some options and workarounds to getting your images backed up and onto your device. For the sake of speed, I chose simply to edit the large JPEGs and keep the Raw files on the SSD for safe keeping. As much as I wanted to edit the raw images, the scope of this project and the time that it would have taken to import every single image was not worth it.

Lightroom CC

Editing in Lightroom CC has been a fun experience. It is obviously not as robust as Lightroom Classic but having the option to edit my images on my iPad and sync them with my iMac is great. Not to mention for this project, I wasn’t really needing to do any major edits. However, Lightroom CC has everything you need to make some really great edits and images. While the ability to import custom presets would be nice, I loved the fact that I could just focus on the basics. Not to mention ditch the heavy old laptop that I lugged around before.

The workflow with Lightroom CC took a bit to get used to at first but after a while I got into my groove. I liked the swipe to select feature as it sped up the import process quite a bit. I was also happy to see “lens corrections”  and Noise Reduction in there as well. Overall, I was pretty happy with what it can do and all that was there.

Bonus! Cinemagraph Pro for iOS

One of the best tools that I have on both my iPhone and my iPad is Cinemagraph Pro. Using this same workflow, I can edit the video clips from my DSLR on my iPad and make some amazing cinemagraphs. With the latest version of Cinemagraph Pro for iOS, you get an improved platform for editing and viewing your cinemagraphs. The advantage to using the iOS version is that you can use all of the gestures like pinch and zoom to fine tune your edits. Not to mention, you can export a video specifically optimized for different social networks.


The Bottomline

So here are a few options to backup and edit on the go without lugging around a huge laptop or other clunky gear. This is a streamlined set up that allows you to keep your photos safe and edit like a pro as well. When you are bouncing around from city to city or deep in the jungle like Dylan, size, weight and functionality are essential. What I have found is that in this case, being able to lose a bit of weight and still deliver high quality images and cinemagraphs is awesome. Not to mention that using the iPad has sped up my workflow a bit. The coolest thing is that by syncing project folders, they are waiting for me in Lightroom Classic when I get home.

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