“Big Camera” Workflow for Home and Holiday

So, travelling in Europe for my summer holiday in 2018, my 6s was not doing great with battery life, and especially the camera ate battery percent as if it were never going to eat again! My solution was to jump on gumtree to find a DSLR (Canon 550D) for about £100. Great price, but had a little cosmetic damage. Bought an SD Card to lightning adapter to complement.

Was a near perfect solution.

  • Take photos on a day out.
  • Connect SD Card to iPad, import photos.
  • Sift through the good and bad. Deleting the bad.
  • Some light editing within the Photos app.
  • Leaving originals on the SD Card as poor man’s backup. One copy on iPad. Other on SD Card.


  • Photos end up straight in the iCloud Photo Library.
    • Backed up to cloud as soon as I’m on WiFi!
  • Bettery Photos than iPhone camera (only just!)
  • Cheap camera means I don’t cry if it does get stolen.
  • DSLR had days of battery life!
  • Conserving phone battery for navigating, translating and communicating (important when in a foreign country!)
  • No end of reasonably priced photo editing apps on iOS


  • Big camera, heavy camera.
  • Get that “Tourist look”
    • Could make you a target for pickpockets etc
  • Some learning and experimenting to get very good pictures
    • I left it on auto most of the time however.
  • No built in GPS for the Photo’s app to build moments from.
    • No simple iOS only way of adding location info to pictures
  • No automatic time zone adjustments
    • Make sure you remember to set the correct time and date on the camera before taking your pictures
    • No simple iOS only way to adjust time and date on your photos within iOS

I like how you’re so concise describing your method.

Does it work with RAW and jpg?

Do you end up with three copies-iPad, icloud, and camera card? When you delete camera card do you save to a third place?

I wonder if I can find a cable to do it with compactflash. I’d never thought of this.

My photo organization is a mess since I’ve tried to organize a catalog in PS Elements. I dropped the PS CC subscription since this is just a hobby. Saving things so Adobe/Apple work well together has been difficult and I’m trying to piece together a reasonable method to control things.

Thanks, I like to give enough detail so that others can work out how to do the same! I’m glad the effort is appreciated!

At least with my Canon RAWs, but yes, I believe most RAWs are compatible with the photos app these days! I know this was not always the case, I had a friend with an iPad in the 30 pin connector era, and import only supported jpg, not RAW.

So, while I was on my holiday, I did not delete my photos from the SD card when importing. Therefore, while photos were still on the SD Card, photos were in two/three places. When I finally filled up the SD card on another project did I delete them, long after getting home.

After I know that photos had been uploaded to iCloud, and were not only local on the iPad would I be fine with clearing them from the SD card. Once the SD is clear, it is just a 2 location solution! Keeping the photos on the SD card was a temporary extra backup so that if my iPad was stolen/damaged while travelling, I would still have copies of photos on the SD. I guess this only works if you don’t anticipate filling up the card during a whole trip!

For organising photos, I do like the simplicity of just everything going into the ‘camera roll’ timeline of the iCloud photo library. So, whether importing from Mac or iOS, it is all one master library sync’d and backed-up to iCloud.

With regard to compact-flash, I couldn’t offer any help other than saying to google “compact-flash iOS iPad adapter”