Photos for OS X Preview Now Available to Developers

Photos osx web title

Less than a week after scrubbing all mention of the new Photos for OS X app from its Web site, Apple has re-introduced the new software with a splash. A pre-release version is currently available to developers, bundled with a beta of OS X 10.10.3 (you need to install the system update to get the Photos app). The finished software is expected in the spring.

I haven’t had a chance to run the software yet, but several media outlets got an advanced look. I recommend starting with Chris Breen’s excellent overview at Macworld. David Pogue at Yahoo talks about switching from iPhoto and Aperture. And Wired and The Verge also have first-look articles.

[Update: Serenity Caldwell has given it a once-over and has a great FAQ at iMore.]

Some quick takeaways:

  • Switching from existing iPhoto and Aperture libraries looks to be less terrible than it could be; Photos won’t dupe your images, but will work with your existing library.
  • Photos for OS X is reportedly very fast. After iPhoto and Aperture sluggishness, I’m thrilled to hear it.
  • The new app, at least initially (?), won’t include support for star ratings or labels. Instead, there will be just a single “Favorite” button, as is found in the Photos for iOS app. As you know from my book Take Control of Your Digital Photos, I’m a big fan of using ratings to organize photos. In their place, the Photos app will convert ratings to keywords (which is one method I recommend when moving from iPhoto to Lightroom). So, that’s something, I guess.
  • You will be able to sync your photo library with iCloud, but it won’t be required. We don’t yet know if there will be a local backup option akin to Aperture’s vaults. (I’m guessing the answer is no, at least not at first.)
  • The appearance, organization, and editing tools are very similar to the Photos for iOS app.
  • Photos also supports projects like photo books and slideshows.

I’m looking forward to installing the app and throwing some libraries at it, both because I’m updating Take Control of Your Digital Photos and because I’m also working on a new book for Peachpit Press covering the Photos app and Apple’s photo ecosystem.

It’s going to be a busy winter and spring.

Lightroom mobile 1.3 Adds an Unexpected Editing Capability

While everyone was focused on the news of the new Photos for OS X developer preview, Adobe released a very interesting update to Lightroom mobile, its mobile companion to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

In previous versions of the app, there was a truly hidden, super powerful editing feature: not only could you copy adjustments made on the device between images, you could also copy adjustments made in the desktop Lightroom application. So, for example, if you’d applied a graduated filter on the desktop to an image and synced that image to Lightroom mobile, copying its adjustments to another photo also added the graduated filter—even though Lightroom mobile doesn’t offer a graduated filter tool. (See item #4, Copy Adjustments Between Photos, in this article of Lightroom mobile tips published at Peachpit.com a few months ago.)

Lightroom mobile 1.3 takes that one step further by enabling copying of adjustments in a more granular way. You can choose to copy only one type of edit and paste it. And that includes settings like Lens Corrections.

Watch the following video by Adobe’s Russell Brown to see the feature in action. It’s wonderfully cool.

Adobe Lightroom Mobile 1.3.0 from Russell Brown on Vimeo.

Photos for OS X Application Currently Missing at Apple.com

While Apple was announcing its record-breaking quarterly financial results (not just breaking its own records, but earning $74.6 billion, the most revenue of any company in any quarter in history), elves at the Apple site were busy.

According to 9to5 Mac, there’s now no mention of the successor to iPhoto and Aperture on Apple’s Web site.

Has the application been delayed? Shelved? Is Apple on the verge or releasing it and we’re seeing the preparation for new information to appear? I don’t know. I’ve reached out to my PR contacts at Apple to see if they can shed light on the situation.

But I’m certainly curious.

Cull iPhoto Library of Duplicates and Bad Photos

Chris Breen at Macworld posted a useful article about how to remove duplicates and get rid of bad photos from an out of control iPhoto library. With the Photos for OS X app expected sometime this year, now’s a good a time as any to clean up before the transition.

Read it here: Cull iPhoto library of duplicates and bad photos (Macworld)

Review: WD My Passport Wireless Hard Drive

WdfMP Wireless

Ever since I started writing the first edition of The iPad for Photographers, one aspect of the process has been a sticking point: image backup. I know, that sounds like the most boring part of being a photographer, but it’s also vitally important.

Importing photos onto the iPad for review is one option, but it takes up valuable storage (and digital camera files aren’t getting any smaller). That also means you have just one set of image files, unless you use the SD memory cards you originally captured the photos onto as backup (which is also a good idea).

A number of companies have made hard disks that incorporate Wi-Fi radios, primarily as a means of storing lots of media (movies, mostly) and stream them to the iPad and not take up the device’s storage. The Seagate Wireless Plus also added the ability to copy photos from the iPad to the drive, but its implementation is pretty basic and time-consuming: You need to import photos to the iPad, and then copy them to the drive.

All this is lead-up to a new product that makes the whole problem less thorny. The WD My Passport Wireless is a portable, battery-powered hard disk that adds one crucial element: an SD card reader. With this addition, you can dump the contents of a memory card while you’re shooting with another card, then connect to the drive on your iPad and review your work.

The drive is available in two configurations: 1 TB for $175 and 2 TB for $219. (Those are the current prices at Amazon as I write this; clicking either link earns me an affiliate percentage and helps support the work I do.)

My full review at Lynda.com is here: Review: My Passport Wireless for the Traveling Photographer.

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Article: iPhone Video Beyond Basic: FiLMiC Pro

FiLMiC Pro

One promise of the video-capture capabilities of the iPhone and iPad is being able to create movies without a lot of other expensive hardware. That can be shooting short movies, action clips, interviews, or even news segments. But when you need more than just the basics, turn to the app FiLMiC Pro. I write about this $7.99 gem at Lynda.com and explain why it’s essential for anyone who needs manual control over the video they capture, from locking focus and exposure independently to capturing video at a resolution higher than the built-in Camera app does.

Read about it here: iPhone Video Beyond Basic: Shooting with FiLMiC Pro.

iPad and iPhone VideoI also cover FiLMiC Pro in my book iPad and iPhone Video: Film, Edit, and Share the Apple Way. (Hint: It makes a great gift for the budding director in your family or circle of friends!)

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Article: Make Photo Gifts Right from Your iPhone or iPad

Print gifts finished book2

Still looking for holiday gift ideas? Start with the photos in your iPhone or iPad! Over at Lynda.com, I’ve written about methods for making photo gifts without requiring a trip to your computer. Apps and services can make prints, photo books, and other creations while you wait in line to see Santa.

I also spotlight a couple of interesting photo book options: Chatbooks and Groovebook are designed to make small books out of all of your mobile photos (with the ability to skip shots you don’t like, of course) inexpensively. Chatbooks charges $6 for a 60-page book, while Groovebook works as a subscription that costs $2.99 per month for a book of 40 to 100 pages.

This was a fun article to research. Check it out here: Make Photo Gifts Right from Your iPhone or iPad.

iStick Hampered by Poor Software

When the iStick was introduced earlier this year, it promised something not previously available for the iPad or iPhone: copy files via the Lightning connector. Apple built iOS with the limitation that the connector not be used as a generic USB file transfer mechanism. That meant companies needed to get clever, resulting in methods such as having a portable hard drive create its own Wi-Fi connection to stream media to the device.

I don’t know how the iStick gets around that limitation, but according to Derrick Story, it works. Unfortunately, the software to run it is so basic that it’s almost unusable. Sure, you can copy images from an iPad to the iStick as a backup… but you won’t be able to view thumbnails until you get back to a computer. Currently, it sounds like a fine solution to bring media like movies and music along so it’s not stored on the iPad itself. But that’s about it.

50% Off iPad and iPhone Video Ebook This Week Only

ipadiphonevideo_150pxMy latest book, iPad and iPhone Video: Film, Edit, and Share the Apple Way is currently Peachpit’s Ebook Deal of the Week! This week only, buy it for 50% off—that’s just $10!

The book was a lot of fun to write, and focuses on how to do everything video-related on the iPad and iPhone. In a very short time, Apple has put a small but capable video studio into iOS. The book covers capturing video using the built-in Camera app and third-party apps such as FiLMiC Pro, correcting footage with tools such as Emulsion (for reducing camera shake) and VideoGrade (for adjusting color), and editing in iMovie.

There’s an entire chapter devoted to creating or recording a soundtrack in GarageBand, plus a chapter on making stop-motion animation movies, and then wraps up with all the ways to share video, from uploading to iMovie Theater and shooting-and-sharing Vine and Instagram movies.

And, of course, the ebook—like its print counterpart—is filled with lots of full-color illustrations and photos.

Jump on this deal now, and enjoy!

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iPad Photography Article at Yahoo Tech

Flickr ipad air stats

Rob Walker at Yahoo Tech interviewed me last week for an article that went live today about iPad photography: iPad Photography: Should We Take It Seriously?

The article mostly focuses on using the iPad as a camera, dispelling the stigma of shooting with an iPad and recognizing that, like it or not, a lot of people use their iPads as cameras. Walker points to Flickr (also owned by Yahoo) and its page for the iPad Air—last year’s model—to discover that 6,254 photos captured with the Air’s camera were uploaded the day before the article appeared; that number is 8,667 for yesterday, October 28.

I also have to admit it’s still fun to be introduced as the person “who literally wrote the book on the subject.”