As the iPhone has advanced in recent years, I find myself using my phone camera more and more over my Canon DSLR camera. Especially because of the powerful edits I can make on my Lightroom Mobile iPhone app.
We all have the ability to take stunning photos, anywhere, anytime – and all it takes is to reach into your pocket.
Pressing the shutter button is only the beginning of taking the perfect shot. Even back in the days of the darkroom, development played a huge role in the final image.
There are many photo-editing apps on the market, so why do I use Lightroom mobile almost exclusively?
Not only for the organization (which is incredible, by the way) but because it’s my comfort zone and with the Creative Cloud subscription it syncs to my computer where I prefer to edit in bulk. You can read more of the answers to “Why use Lightroom?” here: Lightroom: Getting Started with Your Digital Darkroom.
Using the Lightroom Mobile Camera
Lightroom Mobile is primarily a way to store and edit pictures, and it is the complete package, including its own camera app. Not only does this camera integrate straight into the development environment, it also offers some features ideal for the user that wants a little more say in their final image.
While you can still choose to shoot JPEG, the in-built camera gives you a choice. A phone camera’s .DNG file doesn’t have as much extra information as a .RAW file [see 3 Reasons You Should Always Shoot in RAW], but it does give you some more wriggle-room after the fact – and Lightroom lets you use all that extra data, right in the app.
Not only that, but with a one-touch exposure lock and a powerful manual mode, you have access to all the tweaks you could need to prepare an image for editing before you even take the shot.
Adobe has a monopoly on the flagship software that professional photographers use, and they have put that experience to good use, with their technology improving continuously.
No one understands image editing like they do, and their automatic editing button proves it. With a single press, Lightroom mobile can instantly make adjustments to any image, working magic that can’t be done at the point of capture. While it doesn’t offer you the creative freedom of manual editing, it will make most pictures just a little better than they were straight from the camera.
The smart features aren’t just there to do your editing for you – even advanced users can benefit from clever time saving features such as automatically straightening images with the crop tool.
The real purpose behind Lightroom mobile is manual development – pushing and pulling sliders to make your image the one you want.
Just like its larger desktop cousin, the app offers a host of controls to tweak everything from exposure to white balance to a full black and white workflow.
Despite having plenty of advanced options, customization starts with the basics. A range of filters are available, giving you plenty of choice without having to dive too deep. From there, controls escalate in complexity, running through basic adjustments like exposure and contrast, all the way to powerful features such as full curves adjustments (with color channel options).
While it definitely won’t replace the desktop version (Lightroom Classic), useful features like a histogram overlay and touch-and-hold before and after previews make editing on the go almost as easy as a traditional workflow. For many phone photographers, the Lightroom Mobile app could replace expensive full software packages – and the tedious workflow that accompanies them.
Lightroom Mobile is FREE
While the base app is free, Adobe makes premium features available for purchase. These include traditional (but important) options, such as selective edits and healing tools, but also phone specific options such as cloud storage. There is even a smart tagging system that will automatically tag images containing people, which makes finding pictures of your friends and family as simple as tapping on their face.
Tools like these close down the mobile/desktop gap almost completely for photographers, truly relegating expensive desktop solutions as tools of creative professionals interesting in image manipulation rather than just photography.
Adobe Lightroom mobile is a one-stop-shop for phone photographers – a single app that stores, organizes and edits your photos, and takes them, too!
But not only that, it makes creative control of your images easy and accessible, helping you find the time to really polish your images, helping the camera remember things just as beautifully as you do.