My favorite thing about my iPad is the ability to show my photography no matter where I am. Photos look great on the iPad and I can load as many albums as I like so that I have a huge variety to show. The usual process for creating and adding these albums is to use Apple’s iPhoto. However, like many photographers, I use Lightroom for my image cataloging and don’t have any need for iPhoto. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to setup Lightroom and an iPad to quickly create photo albums. To do so you simply specify a specific folder for iTunes to access and then create a special export preset in Lightroom to populate the folder with your favorite images.
Follow the steps below to see how easy it is to begin sharing your photos on your iPad.
Step 1. Plug your iPad into your computer and locate it in iTunes. Click on the Photos button at the top right to load the Sync Photos options, as shown in figure 1. Notice that by default the iPad is setup to sync from iPhoto.
Step 2: Click on the Sync Photos from menu and select Choose folder, as shown in figure 2.
Step 3: When the Choose Photos Folder Location dialog box opens, navigate to your Pictures folder and use the New Folder button to create a new folder named iPad Photos, as shown in Figure 3. Then click the Choose button to close the dialog box.
Now that the iPad knows where to look for photos, it’s time to setup Lightroom to give it something to find. One of the best ways to do this is to make a collection in Lightroom for each of the albums you want to add to the iPad. Then use Lightroom’s Export dialog to create a custom export preset to export the photos into the iPad Photos folder you just created.
Continue with Step 4 below to setup Lightroom:
Step 4: Open Lightroom go to the Library module. Click on the Export button to open the Export dialog.
Step 5: Choose the For E-Mail preset under the Lightroom Presets at the top of the Preset panel on the left (circled in figure 4). This loads settings into the panels on the right which are used as a starting point. Now you can fine tune those settings to configure them for your needs.
Step 6: Go to the Export Location section at the top and click on the Export To menu to open a drop-down menu. Choose Specific folder, as shown in figure 4. Then click on the Choose button to navigate to the iPad Photos folder that you added to the Pictures folder in Step 3.
Step 7: Select the Put in Subfolder option but don’t type anything into the text box just yet because you’re setting up a custom preset. You’ll add the names of the albums here when you export them later.
Step 8: Go down to the Image Sizing area to set the sizing for the photos. Choose Long Edge from the drop-down menu and then enter a value of 1024 into the text box to the left of pixels, as shown in figure 5. This way if the photo is vertical, it will be 1024 pixels high, which is a perfect fit for the iPad’s longest dimension. If it’s a horizontal, it will be 1024 pixels wide. In both cases the other dimension falls into proportion with the original proportions of the photo.
Now it’s time to save these settings as a preset so that you don’t have to bother with them again. Continue with Step 9 to add a new preset.
Step 9: Click on the Add button at the bottom left of the Export dialog box. When the New Preset dialog box opens, type iPad Photos into the Preset Name text box. Then click Create to complete the process. Now your new preset is located in the User Presets section of the Preset panel on the left. Choose Cancel at the bottom right of the Export dialog to close it.
Step 10: Now all of the pieces are in place. To export an album of photos to your iPad, select a group of photos in Lightroom and export them using your iPad Photos export preset. Be sure to type a subfolder name into the text box in the Export Location section of the Export dialog. This is the exact name that is used by the iPad to name its albums. If you forget to add text to this box, the photos are dropped directly into the iPad Photos folder and won’t be visible in the iPad albums.
Step 11: Go to iTunes and sync your iPad. When the sync is complete the iPad updates its albums in the Photos section. To add or remove photos from an album simply re-export the new selection of photos from Lightroom and then sync the iPad. To remove an album from the iPad, simply use Finder (Mac) or Explorer (Windows) to remove the folder from the iPad Photos folder on your computer and then sync the iPad.
That’s all there is to it. After the initial setup, adding photo albums to your iPad takes only a few moments.
Note: Simplify the process is to use collections in Lightroom to keep track of your albums. Simply create a collection for each set of album photos. That way you can change the contents of an album by modifying the collection and re-exporting the photos.