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DAM on ipad, complete mobile workflow?

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Not directly affinity photo ipad related, but maybe the community can help me out here. 


I'm a starter in photography, have a serveral hundered raw files to work with and are looking for an ipad pro 12.9 with affinity ipad. 

(My old macbook is slow and does not last lang on battery anymore, dont want to buy a new one, i already do everything on my normal ipad mini and iphone)


So i am looking for a complete mobile workflow, i saw that i can use diffirent cloud spaces so place anough to store the raw files. 


But who has experience with organizing and add taggs to the edited photo's?

which app is the best for this, or any tips and tricks are welcome. 


Thanks guy's

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Morphf, I don’t think you’re gonna find your answer here. Unfortunately, these forums are very slow and unresponsive and not many people seem to be active here. I would suggest you ask the same question at the forums over at dpreview.com and you’ll have several answers and opinions in no time!


Oh and by the way: I was in the exact same situation as you are and seeked a pure mobile workflow with my iPad Pro. I ended up buying a new Mac anyways, because what you want is not that easy to achieve. That was before AP for iPad was released, though. Thanks to Affinity, we now have pretty much everything we need for a mobile post-processing workflow. 


The big problem is the DAM workflow, as you probably noticed by now. I am using Apple Photos and store all my photos in the iCloud Photo Library. If I don’t import my photos on the Mac, then I use the Lightning to SD Card Reader to import them directly to the iPad’s Photo Library. From there the RAWs are available to be imported for editing with Affinity Photo. Are you shooting RAW?


While I’m very happy with the iCloud Photo Library – it’s great, once you understand how it works in the background – the functionality of the Apple Photos app on the iPad is very, very limited. No metadata, no good filtering or search options, and no keywording or tagging either, as far as I know. The problem with a mobile only workflow is definitely with Apple not providing a more sophisticated solution. 


There are other mobile DAMs like Mylio but none of them are perfect imo. It’s a shame that Apple didn’t really improve Photos in all those years since they launched it to become a more robust product like Aperture on the Mac once was...

Check out my site: https://five.photos

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Hi morphf.......I got a new iPad Pro 12.9, on recent trip...each day downloaded from my 5DIII direct to Photos app...then processed in AP....then saved to Photo...arranged the processed files in a new folder in Photos. All files from camera to iPad were RAW....and jpeg after saving to Photos. Memory on iPad wasn’t a problem as I only had about 1500 shots, and 256Gb. I also had with me a Seagate WiFi drive (1Tb) which I send RAW files from iPad to drive if space is getting tight, using Photosynch app. I end up with processed shots and originals on iPad and all RAW files on external drive as well...which I can use on my MacBook if needed. I didn’t take my MacBook away at all. Until I can find a chink in the armour this will stay as my travel setup for a while. All the best.

Addit: I agree with Five that Photos can be much improved, but I have veered away from the Cloud.

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Morphf......the wifi drive I use is Seagate Wireless Plus. It sets up its own wifi signal that I connect to with my iPad. I have been using another iPad app  Photosynch, as I found the Seagate app a bit clumsy..although there may be upgrades to it. I am able to freely transfer files, including RAW files from the drive to the iPad and back. I’m sorry I haven’t transferred wifi from my camera to the wifi drive directly, nor have I used NAS linked to the wifi drive....so unable to help with that. I can connect the Seagate drive directly to my MacBook Pro, and send files for storage to another external drive....I have a LaCie. That covers my storage needs. Hope that helps.

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  • 1 month later...


interested that you could upload RAWs to your Seagate Plus (which I own also).   I tried to find info about that and was told you could not—so I ended up buying a WD My Passport Wireless which seems easier overfall to use via its app, allows upload via SD slot or transfer and does allow RAW..   I did learn with the WD that you needed to shoot raw+jpeg in order to see the image—and then just delete the jpegs at upload.  


I have used PS and other graphic apps over the years, settled on Lightroom when it came out (used to use a DAM free standing app ‘back in the day’ LOL). I no longer do any commercial but I have a large number of personal files going back to 1998 (taken with many cameras) on external drives.  I moved from a custom WIN PC several years ago to a Macbook Pro 15”—at the time the ipad pro 12.9 was due out soon but I knew it would have no ports so felt the Macbook was the only option to access my drives .  In the end, I then bought the Ipad Pro too (I had had ipads since the firet week of the Ipad 1-which was the stimulous to go all Apple).  The previews of Pixelmator and then Affinity Photo were exciting-and also the app Astropad which allows you to use the Ipad with your mac much like a Wacom graphics tablet which i had used for years.


To make a long story much shorter, with Affinity photo for iPAD I decided i could be happy using the ipad for processing, from RAW processing to a final jpeg.  I had to figure out a workflow before unsubbing from Adobe CC.  My drives are very organized—by year, month, date and/or shoot.  I’m organizing current photos in the Photo app and transferring the completed jpegs to my WD drive by folder, keeping raws only for photos I feel i might want to reprocess in the future—IOW making a determination of what ones are ‘important’ LOL-then transferring from the WD drive to my other externals via the Macbook..  


IF I had only a year or two—or fewer—photo files I would just transfer to drive, probably use cloud storage for backup (as it is I have way too much to use cloud storage but do use for all other storage except photos). For now I continue to transfer to my external drives via my Mac but did unsub from Adobe CC and am figuring it out.  When Pixelmator Pro comes to the Ipad I will evaluate for my uses but for now generally use Affinity Photo (and am trying the new Raw Power by Aperture developers-and trying to figure out how it fits into my workflow).  The Ipad Pro with Pencil is a bit of gamechanger for me—feeling I have to rethink how I handle backup, processing, etc but I won’t go back to a subscription system with excellent apps available on the i(ad—including layers—which is why I often left LR and went into PS. I miss a bit of searching by tags, camera or lenses in LR but realized I did it seldom—and I may be able to do something similar with some DAM on the iPad for current photo files (several years instead of 19).

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Interesting read Picnicmetoo 


What are your thoughts on RAW power? I have only had a very brief play on MacOS, I wasn't too sure about it.  


I am about to take the plunge on an iPad pro 10.5" and trying to think about my workflow going forward. I have also just got a secondhand D7000 and some lenses. and looking at starting with a clean slate and go with the iPad pro for most of my editing (I am just a hobbyist and don't edit mountains of photos so I think it can work for me).  One question I had was regarding Photos app and shooting RAW, I read earlier posts about people having problems getting RAW photos into AP due to Photos app just showing jpeg previews and not full RAW files, has this situation changed at all? AP has been updated a few times since I read those posts. 


I have the WD My Passport wireless which I am also thinking about how to integrate into the workflow whilst on the go. Its frustrating that WD don't seem to listen to users with adding RAW support to the WD Mycloud app, It's just SO obvious. 


Also does anyone have experience with the Toshiba Flash air cards in DSLR's/iPad Pro? 

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Fantastic to read that you guys also switch to the ipad. 


And good to read your workflow. 

I now am looking for an wifi drive of wifi card reader to pull over my raw files on the go. 

So any recommend on this are also welcome 

(wich one is good and wich one don't)


also i have a small look on pixave for the ipad and mac to use is as a dam 

any users here ?

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

iOS has finally made it possible for direct connection of wired hard drives, no need to struggle with wireless solutions anymore, and this pretty much makes all those WD drives etc obsolete. Large files transfer a lot faster over via a wired connection. Now it is possible to transfer files from SD card to your hard drive using any powered usb hub, and you don’t need to bring your laptop just to do this simple operation.

But what if you want to *process* files? Single-shot processing that Affinity Photo offers is not an option for me. It replaced Photoshop for me, but vast majority of time I use Lightroom on PC because it’s a full DAM solution. I don’t use clouds as I have TB’s of data. I will not pay for any services either. I need a solution that is 100% wired.On PC I have this workflow with Lightroom, but that takes iPad out of the equation, and I really want it to be part of the workflow.

 I know Affinity is working/considering making a DAM, and it’ll most likely have a cloud of some sort. But will it have an option of being 100% wired, non-cloud, and non-subscription, for people like me? I know there are many who would want this and would instantly purchase such package. If they make a cloud-only sync, well, it might win over some Lightroom users, but with so many edited photos in our databases, I think it would be a huge hassle. Lightroom on PC is already nearly perfect, it does everything I need and it’s UI is great. If I had to pay subscription (which I never will) I would rather pay for Adobe.

If Affinity made a *wired* solution to bridge iPad and PC, they would be the only company on the market with such capability. Whatever is the percentage of people looking for this, they would get them ALL. It would be a guaranteed success. And those wishing cloud support could sign up for subscription. The more people using Affinity, the faster its market share will grow. Especially with iOS 13, it’s only a matter of time till someone does this. Would be nice if it were Affinity, as I think the software is well designed.

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Check out Pixave on the iPad. Hasn't had an update for a while but plays well with ios13. Great little image organiser and works well with Affinity photo.


IPad Pro 10.5/512GB   lpadOS 16.2 Apple Pencil (1st gen), Affinity Photo 1.10.5 Affinity Design 1.10.5 Affinity Publisher 2, Affinity Designer 2, Affinity Photo 2

Official Online iPad Help documents (multi-lingual) here: https://affinity.https://affinity.help/ 


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On 11/16/2019 at 5:22 AM, DM1 said:

Check out Pixave on the iPad. Hasn't had an update for a while but plays well with ios13. Great little image organiser and works well with Affinity photo.


Well, the whole point in having a DAM is that it’s image organizer and non-destructive editor in one. I use Affinity Photo as a Photoshop replacement as I prefer editing photos on iPad instead of pc. I use it for heavyweight editing, and since I don’t do that kind of editing too often I don’t mind just making a copy of an image and working on it. Lightroom I use *a lot*, so having everything organized with multiple versions of some images, easy editing of basic (and not so basic) parameters... you just can’t go back to single-shot style once you try it.

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  • 2 months later...

ON1 should be releasing their mobile app this year, and it would be worth checking out when they do. I think it’s slated for Q1. I’ve been checking on it every few days and no joy yet. If it’s anything like their desktop version, which has finally replaced Lightroom 6 for me (I refuse to subscribe to CC and it pisses me off that they moved LR to CC even after saying they weren’t going to) it will be a great photo manager/organizer and alternative to LR, even if not a full DAM (something like Bridge is a DAM, LR is not a DAM)

They’re also going to have a sync between desktop and mobile, that is currently working in beta and works well between my laptop and desktop. I don’t know if it’s going to be a paid service though when it’s fully released, I would hope they allow LAN/WiFi syncing for free and only charge for a paid service if you sync through their cloud or have some cloud storage like CC... I wouldn’t pay for that service, personally, like I won’t pay for CC, but if they keep LAN/WiFi free I’m happy to continue with that.

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