iCloud PhotoStream to Lightroom Using Automator

UPDATE: No Longer works if you have updated to the new Photos App.

Get your iCloud PhotoStream into Adobe Lightroom 5 by using Automator Folder Action in Mac OSX.

1: Create an Automator folder action to COPY all files added to your hidden Photo Stream folder on your Mac to another folder elsewhere on your computer.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 7.59.54 AM

Start off by creating a ‘Folder Action’ Automator workflow. Click ‘Choose folder’ (Folder Action receives files and folders added to), then press SHIFT-COMMAND-PERIOD while the Automator folder picker is open so that you can browse hidden folders. Choose your iCloud Photo Stream folder here: {USER}/Library/Application Support/iLifeAssetManagement/assets/sub

Add a ‘Get Folder Contents’ action to your Automator workflow, being sure to check the ‘Repeat for each subfolder found’ option.

Add a ‘Copy Finder Items’ action to your workflow, selecting a folder where you’d like Lightroom to import from. Something like “/Pictures/PhotoStreamImport” might be a good idea.

OPTIONAL: I added a ‘Display Notification’ which adds a notification to Mac notification center when photos are copied to Lightrooms AutoImport folder.

Save your workflow. You’ve just activated an Automator action that copies new Photo Stream images to a folder of your choosing (“/Pictures/PhotoStreamImport”).

2: Now its time to tell Lightroom to automatically import images from this folder (“/Pictures/PhotoStreamImport”). In the Lightroom menu go to: File -> Auto Import -> Auto Import Settings… This will move the files out of the folder you just created “/Pictures/PhotoStreamImport” and into Lightroom, leaving the hidden photostream directory un-modified so that we don’t confuse iCloud or prevent you from viewing your Photo Stream on other iOS devices or in iPhoto.

3: Next time you launch Lightroom, your images will continue to be imported automagically while Lightroom is open. When Lightroom is closed, images will be waiting in the PhotoStreamImport folder, you can preview them there, remove any photos you do not want to import, or open Lightroom and all photos will be imported. I like placing a “short-cut” to this folder in my Dock (Right side of dock separator). I can then just snap a photo, and share it from that import folder quickly.

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14 thoughts on “iCloud PhotoStream to Lightroom Using Automator

  1. Pretty useful, I’ve set it up – will be trying it. Only if there was a way not to duplicate the files all over the shop. I wonder what the new app “Photos” fro Yostemite will look like.

  2. Love this, works great 95% of the time. Only problem is there are random times that a photo or two, or sometimes a whole series of 15 or so, just doesn’t get imported. There must be something that can fix that. If I can’t be sure that 100% of photos import every time then I might as well not use it at all. The main benefit for me is that I never have to import from my phone and I can delete photos from my phone whenever I want without worrying about uploading first, knowing they are safe in Lightroom and on my hard drive. But with this missing photos here and there I can’t trust that. Ever run into that problem?

    • Use your exact setup above, moves from “sub” to a folder on my desktop called “PhotoStreamImport” then LR auto import takes them from there and moves them to another folder on an external hard drive when it imports them. I can’t see what part of the workflow could be causing this problem! (Never any error messages by the way, just when I compare my “camera roll” to what was imported, random photos are missing here and there.) Would love some tips!

      • Thats how Lightroom works. So you will have another folder to store the entire PhotoStream in Lightroom, then you have lightroom delete the contents of “PhotoStreamImport” folder.

    • I have seen iCloud not always send images immediately to my Mac, but never missed an image. It works 100% of the time for me. The only issue I had was folder actions not working after update to OS X 10.10 Yosemite. Just required another reboot after upgrade completed.

    • Don’t feel the folder structure you create will work with iCloud. Certainly won’t be in your photo stream on any iDevice.

      What would be the reason you want that process to happen? For iTunes or iPhoto?

      • Would be for getting photos from LR into my Photostream for viewing on my iPad (replicating Apertures ability to directly add photos). On a PC I could just export them into the photostream folder in my documents but can not figure out how to do so on the Mac.

  3. Hi, I can’t seem to make this work! I’ve got everything set up according to your settings, and my Automator screen looks like the screenshot you have posted – however, when I ‘Run’ the script in Automator, I get error messages for the first two steps, saying “The Action was not supplied with the required data”. What does that mean?

  4. doesn’t work for me anymore since the update to 10.10.3, maybe the folder where the photos are synced has been changed?

  5. Any idea how to do this in with the new Apple Photos in Mac OS X? It looks like the pictures are dumped into a Library which I can’t get to work with Automator.

    • With Photos the PhotoStream images are in app package and since this is not indexed by Spotlight the folder action will not work not several critical parts of automator.
      Since I will likely never use Photos I fond one way that works well for me. Configure LightRoom auto-import and enable. I created an alias for the /Users//Pictures/Photos.Library.photoslibrary/Masters in the Pictures folder. I created an application called StartLR in automator that does the following:
      {
      Get Finder Items, patch=
      Get Folder Content, repeat for subfolders enabled
      Run Shell Script, /bin/bash shell, pass input to stdin, grep JPG
      Move Finder Items, import folder for Lightroom
      Launch Application, LightRoom
      }
      Instead of starting LightRoom I run startLR, This will MOVE all images in the Photos Masters folder to the LR import folder and then start lightroom. The images are then imported.
      This stops Photos from working correctly but since I never use it ….

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