Adobe Creative Cloud is an example of iPad replacing a laptop

2019 may be the year when my iPad Pro finally replaced my MacBook Pro.

One of my hobbies is photography. It is also the most compute-intensive hobby. I have been pursuing photography as a hobby for at least 20 years. I have digital and digitized photos of my family going back to 1912. I take pictures of landscapes, objects, and people. I also volunteer to do event photography at our synagogue.

Now that I entirely switched from Adobe Lightroom Classic to Lightroom CC, I can use my iPad Pro and even iPhone for postprocessing and organizing photos. I don’t need a computer at all since all images are backed up to Adobe Creative Cloud.

If I trusted Adobe CC, I would leave it at that. However, it is essential to think of the backups. There are a few options:

  1. iCloud Photos as a backup for originals: importing photos into iPad involves loading them into Apple Photos first before importing into Lightroom CC. To use iCloud as a backup for originals, leave the pictures in Apple Photos and let them go to iCloud for backup. Import them into Lightroom CC and continue post-processing and organize in Lightroom. The originals get safely backed up to iCloud and if you accidentally delete them from Lightroom, you can always re-import from Apple Photos.
  2. Amazon Photos as a backup for final JPEGs: send final results of postprocessing into Amazon Drive. I rarely go back to old RAW files for additional processing, so the worst case scenario in the event of Adobe CC data loss is that I still have my final JPEGs.
  3. Mac at home backed up to Time Machine: I keep the computer around for other purposes. I have a Mac Mini in my home office that acts as a hub for all family digital media. I have Lightroom CC configured to store all originals on the Mac Mini’s disk, and I have Time Machine backing it all up.

The workflow I settled on is this:

  1. Most of the time I import photos from the camera into the iPhone or iPad. They end up going into Apple Photos first. This has an added convenience of working well when traveling because we can share a photo album among the family and contribute photos. While away from home, I tell Photos to not delete from the camera SD card, just in case. This way I have redundancy.
  2. Import from Photos into Lightroom CC for final postprocessing and organizing. The photos go into Adobe CC cloud, and the originals also sync to my Mac Mini at home for Time Machine backup. I have two USB drives that I rotate every 2–3 months – one is stored in a fire-proof safe while the other one is used as a backup drive.
  3. Periodically delete from Apple Photos. This is analogous to clearing the SD card on the camera.
  4. Once a month I use the computer to bulk upload final JPEGs to Amazon Drive.

Note that if I didn’t have a computer at home, it is indeed not necessary for Adobe CC photography workflow. The only change I would make is I wouldn’t delete from Apple Photos.

Instead, I would use Apple Photos for essential sorting and eliminating obvious rejects similarly to how one would flip through image on the camera screen and delete bad shots. I would leave my pictures in Apple Photos after importing into Lightroom CC to allow them to get backed up to iCloud as well.