Send iPhone pictures to your computer (for Lightroom)

Switching to Lightroom means no Photostream

It’s one of the things you should consider before deciding. You’ll need another way to move photos around so that your iPhone doesn’t fill up and so that you can retouch pictures with more control.

I had 3 requirements

  1. Does not require iTunes wired syncing.Syncing with a computer means that computer has to store all the apps on it. I have a SSD MBP now and so storing all the apps for my 3 iOS devices on my MBP is just not an option. Plus I’ve never liked the interface of iTunes for iOS. Ever since iOS 5 came out I haven’t connected my iOS to a computer.
  2. Does not require any manual operation on the iPhone.The only thing I like about an iOS with regards to picture is showing them there. I don’t like the Photos app interface for anything else.
  3. As automated as possible.I want to be able to click a couple of buttons and just it do it’s thing.

The final state is that all the pictures are in my Lightroom catalog and my iPhone is cleared of unwanted videos and pictures. (I later sort and archive images from Lightroom)

My Workflow


Most of this occurs automatically.

Capture->Upload -> Temporary Storage -> Catalog -> Archiving

  1. Every few days I open the Dropbox app on mine and my wife’s iPhone every few days.The Dropbox app is set up to automatically sync pictures and videos to the Dropbox cloud.
  2. I plug-in the iPhone.This keeps the upload going until it’s done.
  3. I use my computer normally.When ever the computer is on it downloads from the Dropbox cloud to the Dropbox folder on my harddrive. This is transparent to me. (Unless my wife complains that Hulu is freezing)
  4. I import all those files into Lightroom about every other week.I choose the move tool. This saves me a few seconds later. They go the regular folder with my DSLR pictures. I make sure the DSLR has the right time code. That way if I took personal pictures with the DSLR while my wife was taking iPhone videos they all sort chronologically in the same folder.
  5. I plug-in my external hard drive RAID and Time Machine runs automatically.
  6. After the pictures are backed up in three places (RAID HDD 1, RAID HDD 2, Computer HDD) I delete the unwanted files from my iPhone. (They are already gone from Dropbox.)Deleting them from the iPhone is labor intensive.
  7. No that they are in LR I do my normal sorting (culling) routine.
  8. Keepers get uploaded to Smugmug using the Smugmug app. This app is extremely efficient at saving time.
  9. Once my wife is done choosing pictures for Shutterfly (This is not my workflow for professional pictures. These don’t start on an iPhone and end up at Shutterfly)
  10. Monthly I move all pictures that have been Shutterflied and Smugmugged to the RAID.

Another wireless option

Here’s another  option, it’s called Shuttersync and cost $1.99. If you find yourself frequently needing to put picture onto an iOS device from your mac or onto another iOS device this is perfect for you.

It can upload to all these places.

2013-02-26 14.52.322013-02-26 14.52.36

2013-02-26 14.53.42

It see’s your photos.

2013-02-26 14.53.51

You can sync one, all or just the new ones.

2013-02-26 14.54.07

Then you choose where they go.

Sending pictures has more options but has a couple more clicks than the Dropbox only workflow.

Wired Sync

If you don’t mind plugging your iOS into you computer and the HDD space that takes then you should check out this article. He shows a workflow you could modify for Lightroom instead of iPhoto. Ask questions if his article doesn’t help. I’ll figure it out.

As always

Join the community by commenting below or ask questions. Forward this article to anyone with an iPhone you think may need this same solution.



  1. pscs3ace · · Reply

    Great post! I’ve been enjoying a Lightroom publish collection (set to export directly to dropbox folder) and an iOS app called Unbound which is a Dropbox photo viewer that is very similar to the build in photo app.

    I’ll definitely check out the app you mentioned though.


  2. I left both on here since I didn’t know which was a better contact for you Ray.
    Thanks I will sure check it out!


    1. pscs3ace · · Reply

      2nd one is fine. I just didn’t see the first comment post so I added it again. Sorry about that.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: