Lightroom-using, iPad-owning readers might remember an app called Photosmith. It promised to let you sync your photos ’twixt iPad and Lightroom and let you add tags, keywords and metadata, as well as selecting picks and rejecting the crud before syncing everything back again.
The trouble was, it was confusing as hell, and crashed every few button taps. Now we have version 3.0, and it is everything the original tried to be. In fact, it’s pretty great.
Existing users can grab the app for free, which is good as the previous versions certainly weren’t worth the $20 price. The basics of the app are as follows (you’ll need to be running Lightroom on the same Wi-Fi network as the iPad running Photosmith, and you should have installed the free LR plugin):
The sync works both ways, so you can either create a Publish collection on yur Mac and sync it to the iPad (pictures stay in Photosmith and don’t touch the Camera Roll), or you can import photos to the iPad (from your camera via camera connection kit) and go from there.
Then, you just flip through the photos (in loupe, grid or fullscreen views) and add keywords, star ratings and color labels. If you’re running LR4 or later, you can also set the “pick” and “reject” flags.
When you’re done, you sync with Lightroom again and the changes are all synced up. This part is really quick – the initial sync can tie a bit longer as you need to transfer the JPG previews over the network.
The main differences are that a) the app is not longer confusing; b) it doesn’t crash nearly as often as before (it has died on me only once so far); and c) it’s now a joy to use. Even on the iPad mini it speeds along, letting you very quickly tag and rate the photos.
Speaking of tagging, the interface actually makes it easier to do in Photosmith than in Lightroom. You can quickly create new tags, make trees or hierarchical tags (People>The Lady) and apply tags to multiple photos at once.
There’s a lot more here too. You can import photos to Photosmith from the camera roll, or you can link them (saving space). You can also create collections and even work with Dropbox and other online storage services. I’m still digging in to the rest of the app, but from what I see so far, even the basic stuff is worth the $20 price.