1.8.3 Proxy JPG Workflow

Think of Proxy JPG Workflow as a hybrid of Lightroom First (Section 1.8.1) and iPad First (Section 1.8.2) workflows.  It’s the best of both scenarios!

For many photographers, wirelessly importing large 20+ megabyte (MB) camera raw files onto iPad just to add and edit metadata, then transferring those same large camera raw files into Lightroom, again via wireless, isn’t especially efficient.  Most of your time could be spent transferring files. What if you could instead import only a small JPG representation of the camera raw image into Photosmith, and import the camera raw files into Lightroom via card reader as you usually do?  This is the essence of Proxy JPG Workflow.

With Proxy JPG Workflow, the full camera raw file and a small representative JPG file is written to your camera's memory card(s) for each photo you shoot. Sometimes called a split image workflow or RAW+JPEG workflow, Photosmith’s Proxy JPG Workflow involves transferring only the small representative JPG to your iPad for viewing and editing metadata  in Photosmith.

 Proxy JPG Workflow is only an option in the following circumstances:

  • Your camera has an SD memory card slot, and is supported by Eye-Fi.  See this page for camera compatibility: http://support.eye.fi/cameras/
  • Your camera (or camera add-on) supports sending JPG files via FTP to a server.

Note: Photosmith doesn’t yet support the PTP/IP protocol for wireless photo transfer.  Yes, we know, and yes, we’re working on it. :)

Why not transfer the full camera raw file?  For the purposes of adding and editing keywords and other metadata fields, a camera raw (or even full-resolution JPG) can be overkill.  Larger files take longer to transfer via Wi-Fi than when wired, and when you’re finished taking photos, you want Photosmith on your iPad immediately ready to organize photos, not wait for files to unspool from your camera.  Smaller file sizes makes photo transfer from camera to iPad much faster.

Another consideration is storage space on iPad:  Photosmith’s Proxy JPG Workflow will significantly reduce the memory footprint needed for photo storage on your iPad.  Additionally, less data is being transferred from your camera to iPad, which means significantly less battery drain for both devices.

Consider this example:

Canon 5D Mark III - Camera raw (CR2) files average around 25MB each and can take between 20 and 30 seconds to transfer to iPad from an Eye-Fi X2 card. However, a camera-generated S2 JPG is only around 1MB in size and will transfer to iPad in under 5 seconds. Most of that 5 seconds is occupied by powering up the i-Fi radio embedded in the Eye-Fi card, then establishing or connecting to a Wi-Fi network.  We've found subsequent images, such as those shot in a burst, to transfer much faster.


Proxy JPG Workflow Advantages

The advantages of a Proxy JPG Workflow can be fairly significant, depending on your style of shooting and your metadata and photo exporting needs.  Advantages include:

  • Greatly reduced time spent in transferring files, especially when working wirelessly 
  • Significant reduction in iPad storage space requirement for photos 
  • Substantial reduction in battery drain for both your camera and iPad

 Proxy JPG Workflow Disadvantages

  • Time and effort needed to fully understand the workflow, and integrating it into your existing workflow
  • iPad won’t be a redundant store point for camera raw files

Note: When importing images via the Camera Connection Kit, we're forced to use Apple's Photos.app to import your images. Photos.app isn't smart enough to only import specific photos based on filetype - it slurps up everything from the memory card, both camera raw and JPG.  Additionally, Photos.app treats RAW+JPG as a pair - the RAW+JPG combo cannot be separated or handled as individual files.

Requisite Use of Photosmith's Built-in Eye-Fi Service

We spent a lot of time getting Eye-Fi to work well with Photosmith - part of this challenge is the ability to detect the actual filename of the photo being transferred through Eye-Fi. This is important — crucial — to have Proxy JPG Workflow function correctly.

Do not use Eye-Fi's native iOS app to receive photos to iPad.  The native Eye-Fi app will import photos to Apple’s Photos.app, and in doing so, strip the original filenames.  This means photos will have a different filename on your iPad compared to what is actually on the Eye-Fi card, and more importantly, the corresponding filename for the matching camera raw file.  Just use Photosmith to import photos from your Eye-Fi card, and all will be good.

Note: The ShutterSnitch app for iPhone and iPad will play nice with Photosmith, and correctly preserves filenames imported via Eye-Fi.

Configuring Photosmith’s Lightroom Plugin for Proxy JPG Workflow

Selecting the correct filename Matching Options in the Photosmith plugin for Lightroom is crucial.  In Lightroom, go the Photosmith plugin settings via File -> Plugin Manager… and click on the Photosmith plugin.

If you're exclusively using Proxy JPG Workflow, choose to not download files via Wi-Fi under the Photo Duplication section.  If for some reason file matching doesn't work correctly, the last thing you want is for Photosmith to then import the proxy JPG's into your Lightroom catalog, potentially making the issue even more confusing.

Under Matching Options, make sure at least Filename sequence numbers and Capture date/time are selected, that File size is not selected.

Filename sequence numbers and Capture date/time are the primary matching method used when matching Proxy JPG files in Photosmith with the camera raw counterparts in Lightroom.  Having other options checked (other than File Size) isn’t a detriment.  In fact, we suggest leaving these options checked in case you occasionally import camera raw files directly into Lightroom (Lightroom First workflow).

Again, please ensure that File Size is not selected, as this will cause problems for Proxy JPG file matching.  The File Size for camera raw and proxy JPG files are naturally very different, and having this options selected will likely cause file matching to fail.

Lightroom’s Handling of RAW+JPG Pairs

Please ensure that Lightroom is configured to not treat JPG and camera raw files as separate photos.  In Lightroom, go Lightroom -> Preferences, then click on the General tab.  Make sure “Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos” is unchecked.

Camera Setup

Although the setup and configuration of your camera would generally be considered outside the scope of Photosmith app documentation, we are as much hardware geeks as software and photo workflow geeks. We are collecting information about configuring specific cameras for use with our Proxy JPG workflow.