The other day, my friend Wes and I were chatting about working with taking pictures while traveling, and I happened to log back into my Lightroom Mobile account. I was surprised to find that a LOT had changed since the last time I logged in.
First and foremost, you can now upload RAW photos directly to your online library, and then manipulate those photos with almost the complete LR toolset from the desktop. I tossed up some test shots and played with the settings. Then I logged into my desktop client and discovered that all the settings sync in both directions. This is a huge game changer for traveling, as it means I don’t need to have a machine capable of running the local client, and can instead just upload my photos via the web interface. Although I have both a MacBook and Chromebook, this means that I don’t HAVE to bring my Mac with me, but can instead use the inexpensive Chromebook when traveling if I want.
There are a few deficiencies that you do need to be aware of. First, the web client has very limited library management tools. You’re uploading to your mobile collections, and you can move photos between them, but that’s about it. All of the smart collection options only exist on the full desktop client.
Second, you cannot apply presets to imported photos. This is one feature I really hope they change someday. The ability to apply a standard set of corrections to every photo import is a big deal, as once you know your camera well enough it’s easy to quickly get great results with less effort.
Finally, you also cannot do any fancy exporting, photobooks, or anything like that. However, I don’t see that as a huge issue, as I only worry about exporting to other services when I’m doing big bulk uploads. I also haven’t ordered any prints or photos books in a long time.
Overall, I feel like the web client meets a ton of my needs while traveling, or generally away from my desktop. I applaud Adobe for putting such hard work into the web version, as it makes a great product even better.