iPad NAS photo editing - help

Hello! First post here, let me know if I set this up wrong or anything.

My ideal photo workflow I’m trying to set up would go something like:

  1. Shoot photos on any camera, primarily my Canon g7x mkII, usually in RAW.
  2. Dump the card on my NAS (Synology DS412)
  3. Then sit down with my iPad (8th gen) and cull down what I just shot to a finer selection and either edit them directly off the NAS or import that selection to my iPad and edit them there.
  4. Export high quality JPGs and add them in to Photos.app to sync between my family’s iCloud account / devices. (ideally maintaining all the metadata from the original files)

I still want to keep the original files on the NAS for at least a year or so, but JPGs in iCloud is my end goal just for being the easiest way to keep my photos in sync on all my devices.
I know this would be pretty straight forward replacing the iPad with my MacBook Pro in the equation, but I’m trying to keep my MacBook Pro to just work-related activities. I should mention this workflow would be pretty much just for my personal family photos. And I have a separate backup plan for the originals and exports, so I’m not worried about that.

I just can’t figure out a way to view RAW images on a NAS with the iPad. The Files app doesn’t show previews or have any real way to star or rate images that I know off, and I’m trying to make this work with Pixelmator Photo but the Files browser in that isn’t letting me preview images either, I assume because it’s just using the Files.app browser. I’m willing to try Lightroom, but I should also mention my iPad is 32GB model. It’s a struggle to keep a couple gigs free on it, but maybe that’s the problem I should be tackling instead. I like to shoot in RAW as much as possible, just because it’s more fun, and that’s one of the reasons I got the NAS. But I can’t seem to find a clean solution to just browse RAW files on a network drive on an iPad.

Hopefully I’m missing an obvious solution.
Thanks for your time!

I’ve not found much that does a good job of file browsing at all, let alone remote. There are apps like FileBrowser that do a decent job, but they are extremely slow to show thumbnails over a network connection and won’t offer triaging tools. From there you could open in Pixelmator Photo, but my experience with that app is I never know where my file is later!

I really think you should look at upgrading your iPad and use it as the first place the photos go, then offload (or separately load) to the NAS.

One of the main issues are the combination of RAW files (large in size) on a NAS over the network (slower than internal SSD) to software on iPad that needs to 1) read the complete RAW file, then 2) render it on screen.

Lightroom is to a large degree working by building thumbnail previews to facilitate faster triaging and browsing. You can almost feel the machine sigh when you load the actual RAW for editing. Also, any and all adjustments you are doing in edit mode are simply stored as metadata that is re-interpreted and applied to the rendered version of the image the next time you load it. Your RAW file remains untouched and is still identical with what you pulled from the camera (by all the editors I’m aware of anyway).

RAW editing is great fun as you have so much extra information available in the file. It is also, quite a heavy task. I have about 20 years worth of photos in my Lightroom library, with most of it stored on a NAS. It works because I usually only search for older images - I don’t actively work with a large set of them at a time. Any “real” work takes place locally on my iMac’s SSD.

The iPad is powerful enough for editing of RAWs, but less capable of handling large collections of RAW photos, unfortunately.

The crazy thing is managing a bunch of large files should be easy for such a beast — especially recent iPad Pros — but the OS lets it down. I mentioned above I never know where my Pixelmator files are. Same goes for Affinity Photo files. I just wish a file was a file and be done with it, but their “file picker” interfaces are a mass of different options. The original iPad paradigm of “you don’t have to know” is a serious piece of baggage in situations like this.

If you have the Lightroom library file on the MBP, pointing to photos on NAS and a fast connection to your NAS, you can try Lightroom for iOS to load thumbnails on the iPad to triage them.

Alternatively use the Synology Photos app on NAS, iOS and macOS devices. This is the only optimised solution for photo management on Synology NAS, but it will be very basic in features.

This is exactly what I want to achieve. And I did not find a solution either. The simple workflow just don’t work and I don’t see how my iPad Pro pro.