The Best Way to Use Lightroom When Traveling

Many people have asked me how to continue editing and cataloging their images with Adobe’s Lightroom program when traveling.

There are many things to consider when you are planning a photography trip and the ability to store and secure your photos is as important as where you will be shooting and what camera equipment to bring.

Should you bring a laptop? Should you bring external drives?

Many people like to travel with a laptop and external drives to store their images. For me, because I teach workshops, I prefer to travel light. There is enough gear to carry without dragging a computer and hard drive with the risk of damage or destruction of those items.

Using Lightroom Mobil

For many years, I used my media cards as storage for my images when on an extended photo trip. Many professional grade cameras have 2 card slots which allow you to automatically make copies of your images on a duplicate memory card. That works for security, but doesn’t allow you to view your images at a reasonable size while you are on the go. Many cameras now have wi-fi, but may not allow transfer of high resolution RAW images to use for editing. Check out your camera’s instruction manual for more information on its wi-fi capability.

If you have taken any of my Lightroom classic classes, you know that you only want to use one Lightroom catalog for ease of use and organization. Some people actually create a separate catalog to travel and then merge that catalog with the original upon return. But this method requires you to travel with a laptop. I’ve recently discovered an easier way.

Adobe’s Photographers Plan

With your subscription to Adobe’s Photographers plan, you get both Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC. Lightroom CC is basically the version you get on your phones and pads, Lightroom mobile. Lightroom CC isn’t the best option for advanced editing, however, if you are traveling, you can upload your pictures to Lightroom CC on your phone, or pad (or laptop). Then those images are synced to the cloud as long as you have an internet connection. (Just make sure you have enough cloud storage in your plan. It comes with 20GB, and for just $5 more a month for the first year, you can get 1TB of storage! Adobe doesn’t make this offer very obvious, you need to dig a little in the “manage your plan” section to find it, but scroll all the way through all of the offerings and you will find it.

How to Upload Your Images

When I upload my digital media card to my iPad, I use a dongle that connects to my iPad and iPhone and accepts my smart media card. When I connect it to the pad or phone, the photos app opens and shows an import tab that you can click on at the bottom of the screen. Then you can select the images you would like to import, and import into your camera roll. From there, you can import directly into Lightroom. You can set up the pictures on your camera roll to automatically import to Lightroom mobile if you have the import preferences set to “auto add” from the camera roll. Then, those pictures will be safely stored in the cloud while you continue your travels. I keep a back up on my original media cards for safety and if you have enough storage on your pad or phone, you can leave the originals there as well.

It will allow me to preview my images, do some minor editing and use the high quality digital images from my DSLR to use for social media. Don’ t get me wrong, I love all of the quality imagery I’m able to get out of my iPhone, but if you have a discerning eye for photography, you will notice quite a difference in the quality of the images.

Once you return home and open Lightroom Classic, they are immediately downloaded to your Lightroom Classic catalog and hard drive. You need to tell Lightroom Classic where to put the uploaded images in the preferences, but it’s a great way to not only back up images while traveling, but allows you to edit and organize on the road. Make sure to reorganize the location of the images when you return, but for me, this is a game changer.

If this sounds like something you would like to try and need some assistance, please feel free to reach out for one of our one on one Lightroom coaching sessions. I believe it will be a game changer for you as well.


If you would like some help with your photographic vision, join us at Jansen Photo Expeditions for one of our private or group workshops in California, Oregon, Wyoming, Iceland, Costa Rica or the destination of your choice. You will have an enriching learning experience and go home with a camera full of prized photographs.

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Holly Higbee-Jansen is photographer, trainer, blogger, and workshop leader who enjoys teaching and the creative process. Her passions include teaching photography workshops in beautiful locations in California, Iceland, Costa Rica and the American West with her husband Mark. Holly also teaches online classes on Lightroom, Photoshop and photographic technique. Get Holly's Free E-Book on "Landscape Photography and the Light" and find out about her newest workshops at


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Mark and Holly Jansen
Jansen Photo Expeditions
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