#CreativeFriday – Upload and Edit your RAW images direct to Lightroom mobile (iOS)

We have been hearing from photographers, especially those out in the field when travelling, that it would be great to have the ability to take the SD card from the camera and edit RAW files, on the go with Lightroom mobile, without having to go back to the studio.

This remote workflow if finally here for iOS, and it’s great !

You will need to get a card reader, like the SD card reader to ightening adapter shown below.

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 11.14.04

All you need to do is to put the SD card into the adapter and plug into the iOS device. Upon doing so, iOS will recognise the card exists, and will ask if you would like to import images to the Camera Roll.

RAW Images on your card are displayed on the import screen. Images marked in Green already exist, the ones in Blue have been selected for import on this occasion and those images without any ticks are not imported.

Import from Card Reader


Once “Import” is clicked, Import All or just selected can be chosen.

Import Selected


Once the import has completed, the import will ask if you would like to keep or remove the images on the memory card. I personally keep the images, then, depending where I am, back up the images to a separate drive using Lightroom desktop on my computer (I always keep an additional back up at this point, then I’ll remove the images from my card).

Import Complete

In Lightroom mobile on the iOS device, I would typically create a new collection (which will sync to Lightroom desktop automatically, most likely when I next have a WiFi connection).

New Collection

Once the collection has been created, clicking the … (three dots) by the side of it, will allow you to “Add Photos”.

Add RAW Files

Add Photos will take you to the camera roll, where the RAW images will be waiting for you. To import them, just tap on each one (each image will have a blue edge to show it’s been selected), then choose import.

View RAW files in Cam Roll

Lightroom Mobile will import them into it’s database and then show them in the collection. Once imported, I tend to remove the images from the Camera Roll (for space reasons).

LR Mobile RAW

To edit the RAW image in Lightroom mobile, just select the image as you normally would do.

Single RAW Image

As soon as the edit has been completed, and you move to the next photo, the RAW file and any adjustments will be synced to Lightroom desktop.



To determine where the images from Lightroom mobile are transferred to on your desktop, you can configure a folder on your destination catalog, under the Lightroom preferences / Lightroom mobile.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 13.10.37

Correct the Lens Profiles

The correction of lens profiles are also part of this update, and work the same way as on the desktop version of Lightroom. To turn these corrections on, you need to make sure it’s configured. Within Lightroom Mobile you can get to the app preferences by clicking the LR banner on the upper left hand corner.


This will open the preferences panel, where you need to scroll down, then select import.

Corre Pref

Under import, you can then turn on the Lens Profile for RAW files.


Ability to urn on/off the profile corrections on each image, is available from the “Edit” option, then selecting the Lens Profile icon in the adjustments list.

ProfileCorrection combo



6 Responses to #CreativeFriday – Upload and Edit your RAW images direct to Lightroom mobile (iOS)

  1. What I don’t understand is where the actual raw images end up in. So they end up in a Lightroom mac?PC collection but where is the actual raw image saved on the desktop? What’s the equivalent of an import to a desktop folder?

    • Hi Martin,

      Apologies, I forgot to included that section. I’ve just update the post to cover where you specify the location of Lightroom mobile uploads.


  2. Daniel Petry says:

    Since photos need to be transferred to Adobe´s cc Cloud first and then downloaded to the Desktop, using RAw on LR mobile devices is a huge problem. If I shoot 100 photos in one day of travelling, that´s already 2gb to upload. Imagine uploading 7 days worth of trip when you get home! I´ll either have to leave my phone uploading for hours or I´ll have to lose all the sorting I´ve already done in my phone. If Adobe does not release a P2P method for transferring files this feature is as good as dead.

  3. Vic gundotra says:

    This is a nice workflow. I do something similar – except since I’m using a 12.7″ iPad the imports are dramatically faster (as only the larger iPad supports USB C). Also Google Photos is automatically uploading and backing up my RAW files in the background so that’s pretty awesome.

  4. Gerry Hall says:

    Thanks for that update about setting the location for the LR Mobile uploads in the desktop version. I was looking for an answer to that everywhere. Where is the best LR mobile Manual?
    Can you show how to move selected uploaded raw files (and the sidecar file) from the specified upload folder to another folder where you can organize them together with similar images for a project? I want to do this within Lightroom so that it does not break the link to the collection. Also, how to move the collection into an existing collection set.
    I wish the workflow could be made to be closer to the way I import directly on the desktop. I would like to include keywords on the mobile app and apply them to multiple images.

  5. Roger Hord says:

    I loaded raw & jpg photos onto iPad, edited them and kept them on my camera. Upon returning to my desktop, I loaded the original,photos into a LR catalog. I see my edited photos from my LRm/iPad in a synced collection. Question: how do I get the edits from the collection to sync with the photos I loaded directly into the LR desktop?