Cloud for Download without a Laptop


Today’s Question: In response to your answer about downloading photos while traveling without a laptop, would it be possible to use cloud storage as an alternative to a hard drive for photo storage?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you could use cloud-based storage as an alternative to downloading to a hard drive, as long as you are confident that you’ll have reliable access to high-speed internet. If the cloud storage will be your exclusive option, you may also want to bring enough memory cards so you don’t have to reformat them along the way.

More Detail: If you’re going to be traveling without a laptop, and you’d prefer to not bring along an external hard drive either, you could use cloud-based storage as the basis of downloading your photos along the way.

For example, the Lightroom mobile app provides a good solution for this type of workflow. You can connect a card reader adapter to your mobile device, and import those photos into the Lightroom mobile app. Those images will then synchronize to the cloud, and would then be available in the full Lightroom ecosystem, including in your Lightroom Classic catalog that has synchronization enabled. When you get hom you could then transfer the photos to your local storage.

The key thing to keep in mind is that with cloud-based storage you’re depending upon a remote server to manage and back up your photos. If like me you prefer to manage a local copy of your photos the cloud-based solution should be thought of as a remote backup rather than primary storage.

One way you could work around this limitation would be to bring along enough memory cards so that you don’t need to format and reuse any cards along the way. The memory cards could then serve as a backup, with the cloud-based Lightroom storage being the primary copy of the photos, which you can move into your normal workflow when you get home.

Note, by the way, that even if you’re not using Lightroom Classic as the foundation of your workflow for organizing your photos, you could still use this approach of employing the Lightroom mobile app for downloading photos while traveling. When you return home you could then use Lightroom Classic as a temporary tool for getting the photos to your normal local storage and continue your workflow using other software.