Lightroom-using iPad owners, get ready for some good news: Photosmith 2 has just launched a few hours early, and is just as amazing an update as we hoped it would be.
Photosmith is a combination of iPad app and Lightroom plugin (Mac or PC) which will sync photos between the two machines, and let you edit metadata, add keywords and otherwise triage your photos on your iPad before sending them off to Lightroom for editing.
V2 adds batch tagging, two-way sync (for sending photos from your Mac to the iPad), smart groups, metadata presets and a lot more. A full review will follow, but our first impressions are below.
Photosmith 1 was pretty cool until you actually used it. The idea was to make an app which would let you whittle down your photo shoots and add keywords, stars and so on whilst still in the field. The trouble started as soon as you tried to select more than one photo — you couldn’t. For a batch processing app, that was death.
Now, a year later, v2 brings everything that was missing. I have only had a chance to play for an hour or so this morning, but it looks great so far. First, import and reading of metadata appears to be almost instantaneous. On first run you pick which photo albums you want to import and it grabs them right away.
Then, you can narrow down images by rejecting, flagging, adding keywords and rating or assigning color labels. You can also rotate images that are askew and apply metadata presets.
Once done, you fire up Lightroom and install the new v2 plugin. After a one-time configuration (don’t worry, you can change later it if you like) you will find that you now have a new Publishing Service (these are used to sync photos with sites like Flickr, or local locations on your hard drive). This takes care of the syncing, which can be initiated from either the Mac or the iPad.
Syncing does two things. It syncs the photos themselves, and the associated metadata. If you have already imported the photos into Lightroom — straight form your camera, say — then only the metadata is copied across. This makes things very fast over the air, or you can just go the old-fashioned way and use a USB cable.
That is far from all of it.
You can now choose to sync photos back from your Mac to the iPad. This is handy for tagging photos from the couch and then syncing them back to Lightroom. Or you could just choose to always have your top-rated photos with you at all times (note: Photosmith doesn’t yet support syncing Smart Collections from Lightroom).
Smart Groups is the other big new feature. It takes a little getting used to, but it allows you to use sliders to narrow in on date ranges in any collection. In effect, this does away with the need for events or any time-based organization. You really have to try it to see how well it works. The Photosmith team have applied for a patent for the tech behind the feature, and its easy to see why — it’s uncannily telepathic.
For more of what this new app can do, head over to the Press Resources page where you’ll find all kinds of video and written documentation, or just download the thing from iTunes already — it’s only $20.