Editing RAW Images on an iPad

Q. Can I edit RAW image files from my D.S.L.R. on an iPad Pro? If so, is it possible to save the edited images back to the computer later so I don’t have to take a laptop with me on my trip?

A. If your camera uses a RAW format supported by Apple’s iOS system on the iPad and you have a photo-editing app that works with RAW files, you should be able to import, edit and save your photos as you go. When you are done, you can transfer the edited images to the computer back home in a few different ways. (For those unfamiliar with the file type, RAW photos are uncompressed image files that retain much more visual data in the picture than do files saved in the compressed JPG format. RAW files give photographers more to edit.)

When you are ready to edit photos, you first need to get the picture files from the camera to the tablet. You can do this in a few ways, including using one of Apple’s camera-card adapters plugged into the iPad to download the original RAW files, or beaming the photos wirelessly from camera to tablet with a camera memory card enabled for Wi-Fi.

Once you have imported the images to the iPad’s camera roll, you can pull them into an app that supports RAW editing and make your adjustments. The $20 Affinity for iPad, the freemium RAW Power and the older (but free) Snapseed are among the apps that can edit RAW files on the tablet. The free Adobe Lightroom CC for iOS added RAW editing in 2016 and can sync edited files back to the companion Adobe Lightroom CC app on a Mac or Windows PC — with a paid subscription.

You can also sync the edited photos to a cloud server like iCloud Photo Library. You will need a decent broadband connection to sync a lot of large RAW files to an online server, but doing so does back up the images and make them available to download on your computer. If you do not want to use an online service, you can import the edited images to your computer over a USB connection between the tablet and laptop, or back them up to a portable flash drive designed to work with the iPad Pro’s Lightning connector.

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