From DSLR to iDevice. How so?

Suppose you’ve taken a bunch of great photos with your  digital camera, other than your iPhone or iPad.  Now you would like to add them to your Apple Photos app library on your iMac (more about putting them into your  iPhone/iPad Photos app later). Your reasons for wanting to do so may be different than mine, but let’s assume we have the same goal of importing them into Photos.


Like many aspects of managing digital photos within the Apple ecosystem, this can be done but there are some subtleties than can trip you up. Since I learned this lesson a couple of times before it stuck in my brain, I decided to write it down and share it on our Snapeas Blog.


In my case, I had taken 30 or 40 photos on a recent hike, using my Canon 7D, that I wanted to make into a Snapeas book using the convenience of the app for organizing/sequencing and captioning the images. I had already selected and photo-edited the candidates using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, my go-to image management and bulk editing tool. And the source files were all safely stored on my iMac hard drive.


THE QUESTION WAS: How to get them from there into my iPad’s Photos library so as to be accessible by Snapeas?


One way I suppose would have been to email them to myself and then open them using my iPad email program.  But this seemed too “manual” and time consuming.


So...Here’s my suggested solution, boys and girls:


It turns out to be a two step process, or more correctly two and one half steps:


Step 1.  Import them into your iMac’s Photos App (native on all recent-vintage iMacs running OSX).  This is straightforward; simply pull down the File Menu, click on Import and navigate to the folder where your candidate images reside on your hard drive. To further simplify matters, I exported my selections from Lightroom into a dedicated folder so I didn’t have to comb through the source files to pick the ones I wanted. Photos then displays thumbnails for you to “review” and confirm that you do, indeed, want them to become part of your Photos library.


Step 2. Wait for your newly imported images to propagate over into the IOS version of Photos on your iPhone and/or iPad.  If all your devices are set up properly this is supposed to happen automatically, and in fact does when you for example take a photo on your iPhone, you soon see it on the other configured devices.


However...I waited, and waited, and waited some more. But my selections didn’t show up.




Here’s the subtlety to which I earlier alluded. Turns out that even though I had “imported” them into iMac Photos, because they were already resident on my hard drive, Photos treated them as “referenced” files. Referenced files are just that.  Photos knows about them and “refers” to them, but the images themselves are not duplicated into the Photos library (pictures/Glenns_Photos Library.photoslibrary in my case). But referenced files cannot be “shared” via either iCloud, or directly onto your other linked devices running Photos.


So what’s a poor user to do? Simple, my Dear Watson (once you find, read, and read again the right passage in Photos Help). If you want to override the default case of leaving them as Reference Files, you can “Consolidate” them into the Photos Library where they can then be treated like other “real” Photos files. “How is this done?” you might rightfully ask.  This is the aforementioned half-step:


Step 1.5 Highlight the Referenced images over in Photos. From the Files menu, go down to “Consolidate” and click.  Voila, They now have the full force and privilege of legitimate, bona fide Photos Library image files.


Return to Step 2 and wait for the propagation to occur. This time it will go quickly and you can do with your non-IOS created image files as you wish on your iDevice of choice, including making a very cool Snapeas book!

The other takeaway here is that one must first put the DSLR images under the management of the iMac’s Photos App, before they will find their way to your IOS devices.  Since IOS devices don’t have a Finder-like file management system, there’s no way to move the source files directly onto your mobile platform, even if that’s where you intend to utilize them in an app like Snapeas.


Hope this helps! Write to us about other nagging photo questions!