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› Photoshop for iPhone and Android with Lightroom mobile
  • Published on July 21, 2016

Adobe’s version of Photoshop for iPhone, iPad, and Android is known as Photoshop Lightroom. While it carries the Photoshop name, it is a separate product with different capabilities than the standard version of Photoshop, which is why American Graphics Institute offers separate Photoshop courses and Lightroom workshops. To further complicate things, there are now desktop and mobile versions of Photoshop Lightroom, each with different capabilities. Photoshop Lightroom has long appealed to professional photographers and photo enthusiasts working on desktop and notebook computers. Adobe would like to expand that interest to a wider audience, including those who work on mobile devices and may not ever bring their images into a traditional computer.

This week Adobe updated their existing Photoshop Lightroom apps, offering separate revisions for both iOS and Android versions. This means that Photoshop Lightroom operating on an iPhone or iPad will have some different capabilities from the same app when used on an Android phone or tablet. The Photoshop Lightroom updates for the iOS platform are focused on editing images after they have been taken, while the new Android functionality emphasizes more control when taking pictures.

With these updates Adobe is anticipating that some serious photographers may elect to use their phones and tablets to capture and edit images rather than DSLR cameras. Additionally, they are hopeful that existing Photoshop Lightroom desktop app users will continue with their subscriptions to the product by adding similar functionality when they elect to work on mobile devices. These new features are also targeted at getting users of the free Adobe apps to upgrade to paid Adobe Creative Cloud accounts which start at $10 per month and can cost upwards of $50 per month. Adobe’s Josh Haftel, a product manager for Photoshop Lightroom indicated that Adobe is pushing to make the product work well as a stand-alone app, that doesn’t require users to bring images to a desktop or notebook computer.

Adobe is a latecomer to the mobile photography space with their own apps, as Instagram and other apps have gained traction, Adobe has been left behind. To counter this, Adobe recently acquired a mobile photography company that provides the technology behind many online photo services for mobile users, and wrapped it under the Photoshop brand. This expansion appears to follow this same path.

Photoshop Lightroom iOS improvements

Lightroom for iOS adds the ability to edit camera RAW files when transferred to the iPhone or iPad from an external camera through wifi, Bluetooth, or a cable. As tablets have become more powerful, this may allow a photographer to shoot with a DSLR and edit on an iPad or iPhone rather than needing a laptop on a photo shoot. While this capability does not yet exist on Photoshop Lightroom for Android, Adobe has indicated they plan to add it at a later point. This functionality may not be very important, though, as iOS devices currently only shoot images in the JPEG format, although this changes in the near future with an upcoming update to the iOS.

Additional editing controls have been added to the iOS version of Photoshop Lightroom to enable a more gradual transition between dark and light regions of an image using a linear gradient. These can be used to balance exposure in shots of sunrise or sunset, or shooting into a dark area from a light foreground, or vice-versa. While this functionality already exists on the desktop version of the app, it is new to the iOS version.

While the Photoshop Lightroom app for iOS itself is available at no cost, these new functions are only available for those who subscribe to the Creative Cloud, with either the photography plan ($10 per month) or the full plan ($50 per month).

Adobe did add some functions to this version of Adobe Lightroom mobile which are available to all users of the app, regardless of whether or not they have a paid subscription. This includes the ability to correct for lens distortion, lens flair, and automatically add copyright information to images.

Photoshop Lightroom for Android improvements

The Android version of Photoshop Lightroom updates are focused on shooting images rather than editing. By shooting directly within Photoshop Lightroom, users can control the camera on their Android device and make adjustments to the ISO, focus, and shutter speed. While these changes are modest, Adobe has indicated that they hope to bring the iPhone, iPad, and Android versions of Photoshop Lightroom closer together with more similar functionality existing across the different devices.

About the author

 is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.

Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.