How I edit photos when travelling
I love travelling, and I’m so lucky that my job has taken me to some epic places around the world. Obviously it’s important for me to have all the tools I need to do my job, but it’s just as important to be able to travel light.
Over the past year, I’ve downsized and streamlined my travel workflow massively, whilst at the same time, increasing my time efficiency, and I thought I’d share my process with you lot.
I’ve always been a fan of travelling light. I hate cumbersome setups, which is why I’ve been a fan of the MacBook Air. Sure it’s not the most powerful thing in the world, but it’s good enough and has served me well.
Due to its small and thin nature, it’s internal storage isn’t ideal, so I have a portable Sandisk SSD, which also makes it easier to transfer files once I get home. Like I say, this setup has served me well, but I still thought it could be a bit more streamlined.
I’ve been using my new setup for about 8 months and have travelled extensively with it. Obviously it starts with the camera, and my favourite travel companion is the Olympus PEN-F. I love this thing. It’s everything I need in a camera. Lots of people know about the great WiFi capability in Olympus’ cameras, but that’s a feature I don’t actually use!
Like most pro photographers, I shoot RAW, rather than JPEG, and the WiFi functionality doesn’t support RAW transfer, probably due to file size being too high, so I have this epic little SD card reader that I plug into my iPhone or iPad. It doesn’t take long to pull the card out of the camera and download the images. In fact, the transfer speed is way quicker, so if you have a lot of photos, this is probably a better option anyway, even if you’re shooting JPEG.
I do occasionally have an additional step before transferring the images that does involve the Olympus WiFi. There’s a cool geo-tagging feature that records your gps location using your phone and then when you connect to your camera, it can match up with the time stamps on the image files and geo-tag all your photos. Makes it easier if you’re uploading to social media because many platforms read the information for adding locations. I don’t always do this though (often because I simply forget to turn it on on my phone).
Last year I decided to switch my portfolio from an old school physical portfolio to an iPad. Of course I still prefer print and I definitely think there’s something more impressive about hard copy photographs in a leather bound folio, but they’re big, heavy and a pain in the arse to keep updated!
My initial plan was to just go and buy ‘an ipad’ from the Apple store, but once I got there, it wasn’t so easy. Turns out the iPad Pro has a waaaay better screen and richer colours than the ordinary iPad, and if I was planning to use it to showcase my work, that was probably important.
When I got it home and started playing with it, I couldn’t get over how fast and fluid it was compared to my previous iPads. So much so that I ran some geekbench tests on it and my other devices. Turns out my new iPad Pro is my fastest computer... even my Mac Pro that I do most of my heavy editing and retouching on! This blew my mind!
It was at this point that I started wondering how I could make the most of it’s power. I’ve always been a fan of Adobe Lightroom, and have used it since version 1. I’d had the mobile version of the app on my iPhone, but didn’t really like it in the past, but figured I’d download it onto the iPad to see what’s what. Game changer! Adobe had done some big updates since my last play with Lightroom mobile, and this got me excited!
I now import photos into Lightroom on my iPad Pro and am able to edit all my raw files with all the same tools as on the desktop app. I’m also able to rate and flag images and arrange them into folders, as well as cut and paste settings from one image to another.
The coolest thing though, is that if I’m connected to WiFi, Lightroom will sync all the images into the cloud and then back onto my Mac Pro, which means they’re backed up. It also takes all the edits and ratings too! This works in both directions, which means if I’m working on something at home, I can sync those images and carry on editing elsewhere. This is awesome to me!
There are some things missing that I would like, such as filter presets that I can apply on import, and the ability to copy settings over multiple images, but I imagine these will come in a future update as they’re the kind of things most photographers want.
Once edited, I can share to social media, or to other people via AirDrop, making this a super quick way of working. Lightroom mobile is basically the same on the iPhone too, so if I don’t have my iPad with me, I will just import into that and use all the same tools.
Switching to an iPad has made me so much more efficient. It’s so much easier to pull out from my bag and edit. It means I can keep on top of my workflow using otherwise dead time, which means less editing into the night in hotel rooms.
i thought when I when I went into the Apple Store that I was going to be buying a new portfolio. Turns out, thanks to Apple and Adobe, that I was buying time! And time is definitely a valuable commodity!
If you have any workflow questions, or want to know more about how I edit photos, leave a comment below.