How I use PhotoSync

PhotoSync is an app that let you transfer photos from your mobile device to some cloud service or to your computer, or from your computer to a mobile device. PhotoSync also allows you to use your mobile device for tethered shooting — works very well for me. I mostly use it for transferring photos from my iPad to my desktop … but why? Why don’t I use Apple Photos syncing capability? I agree, it seems like I’m complicating things, and perhaps I do, but there is a reason for the madness. Let me explain.

My setup and my problem

I use Lightroom Classic for managing all my photos, this is where all of my photos end up. I also use Lightroom “Cloud” for importing and editing photos from my camera when I use my iPad (this allows me to sit in the sofa and edit photos 😋). By syncing LR “Cloud” with LR Classic, I get all my camera photos into LR Classic.

I also take photos with my iPhone and these are saved to the camera roll. These photos should also end up in Lightroom Classic, and it’s here the complications start. The obvious solution would be to turn on “auto-import from camera roll” in LR “Cloud”, and sync the photos from there to LR Classic. True, and it would have worked well if it hadn’t been for that I use Apple Photos to keep a mobile “photo album”.

This means that I have photos that I’ve edited in LR Classic stored in Apple Photos. “So what’s the problem? Just add them to Apple Photos”. Well, if I export photos from LR Classic and add them to Apple Photos, LR “Cloud” sees them as new photos and import them, resulting to in duplicate images in my LR library. Trust me, it quickly becomes a mess.

“OK, but can’t you just have your ‘photo album’ in LR ‘Cloud’ instead? As long as you store previews, you can store unlimited number of photos?” Also true, but I really dislike how LR “Cloud” store/organise photos (I always mess up the library after a while) + I’ve had problems with LR “Cloud” sync, so I want to avoid using LR ‘Cloud’ in this way.

To summarise: I want to keep as few photos as possible in LR “Cloud”, and I want all my photos to end up in LR Classic. So, how do I get my iPhone photos into LR Classic? And no, I have no intention to do it manually by selecting new photos and export them from Photos to files and then import them into LR Classic.

PhotoSync to the rescue

While PhotoSync is a mobile app, it has a companion app that can be installed on your computer. This app allows you to copy photos to/from your mobile device. An important feature of LR Classic is that it can watch a folder and auto-import images that are saved there. You see where I’m going?

PhotoSync also have the ability to keep track of what photos have been added to the camera roll since the last time it sent photos somewhere.

So, here is my solution for getting all my photos into LR Classic:

  • I import photos from my cameras into LR ‘Cloud’, or into LR Classic directly. The LR ‘Cloud’ photos syncs to LR Classic. Done.
  • iPhone photos are saved in the camera roll. Once in a while I launch PhotoSync on my iPad (I only do this on my iPad), tell it to send all new photos to the desktop where they are saved into a specific folder — which happen to be the watch folder of LR Classic. So, all photos I send to my desktop are auto-imported into LR Classic. Done. This is done using 4-6 taps depending on how you count.

That is how I use PhotoSync to get all my photos into LR Classic without confusing myself too much.

Disclaimer

I have some additional requirements that I haven’t mentioned in order to keep this post for becoming even more complicated than it is. I also have tried several other methods for getting the photos into Classic, but I omitted them also, for the same reason (Tip: if you want to use auto-import in LR ‘Cloud’, you should only do it on one device, and you should only export photos from LR ‘Cloud’ to the camera roll on that device). And I also do some processing of the transmitted photos before they are added to LR Classics watch folder.