Smartphone Captures to Lightroom Classic


Today’s Question: I have been frustrated for some time because I have been unable to figure out how to send a smartphone photo (Android S21) directly to Lightroom Classic on my desktop. Can it be done and how do I accomplish it?

Tim’s Quick Answer: There are a variety of ways you can transfer smartphone captures to your Lightroom Classic catalog. Each option has its own shortcomings, but I recommend downloading from your smartphone to your computer, importing into Lightroom Classic, and then deleting the originals from your smartphone.

More Detail: It is completely understandable to be frustrated when it comes to trying to get photos from a smartphone into Lightroom Classic. There are several ways you could approach this, some of which are relatively simple. However, there are also pitfalls that can prove incredibly frustrating.

I recommend treating your smartphone as you would any camera, with a workflow that matches what you’re probably already doing with other cameras. Specifically, that means importing photos into Lightroom Classic and then deleting the originals, typically by formatting the media card in the camera.

If you’re using an Android smartphone there’s a good chance you have a removable media card that can be used for capturing photos, which you can then remove and use to import photos into Lightroom Classic, deleting the photos from the card after the import (and backup) is complete). For iPhone users you don’t have this option, but all smartphone users can also use software such as Adobe Bridge to download photos from the smartphone to your computer and then delete the photos after they have been downloaded (and backed up).

So, the approach I take is to download photos directly from my smartphone to a temporary folder on my computer. I then import the photos into my Lightroom Classic catalog, using the “Copy” option for import to put the imported photos into my preferred folder on my external hard drive used for photo storage. I then delete all the photos from my smartphone. The copy on my desktop can be retained until I’ve completed a full backup of the hard drive containing the master copies of the photos.

Another option would be to use the camera feature of the Lightroom mobile app to capture photos, or import photos captured with your smartphone Camera app into the Lightroom mobile app. Those photos will then be synchronized to the cloud, and they will appear in Lightroom Classic as long as synchronization is enabled there. You could then move the photos to your preferred storage location. However, the photos would still appear in your cloud-based storage, consuming space there. You would therefore want to go back to the Lightroom mobile app and delete the photos manually after you’re sure they’ve been moved to your preferred storage location, which is a bit cumbersome.