PhotosApp.Expert on iPad Mobile Workflow

The iPad Pro is prompting us to revisit mobile photo workflows using an iPad, and PhotosApp.Expert has just published a great overview of options: The Quest for a Viable iOS RAW Workflow. Definitely check it out.

I have an article coming soon for Macworld about how the iPad Pro stacks up for iPhoto photo workflows; I’ll post a link when it’s published.

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Quick Lightning to SD Card Adapter Speed Comparison

I’ve just received Apple’s newest Lightning to SD Card adapter, which provides USB 3 speeds when transferring photos to an iPad Pro (see more here).

I performed a quick import of 40 Raw+JPEG images totaling 1.5 GB of data using the new adapter and the old one on an iPad Pro. Watch here:

Results:

Loading thumbnail previews

Old/USB 2: 01:16

2015/USB 3: 00:23

Importing Images

Old/USB 2: 02:20

2015/USB 3: 00:30

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USB 3 Lightning to SD Card Reader Now Available

Lightning sd card usb3

Apple now offers for sale a new Lightning to SD Card Reader with two noticeable improvements over the current one: It supports USB 3 speeds on the iPad Pro, and in an unexpected but welcome surprise, allows you to import photos to an iPhone, not just an iPad.

The adapter costs $29 and, according to the online Apple Store, ships as early as next week.

Update: Sachin Patel on Twitter points out that iOS 9.2, also released today, adds iPhone support to the existing Lightning to the SD Card Adapter. No need to buy the new one if you don’t have an iPad Pro.

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Macworld Reviews Adobe Photoshop Fix

As mobile devices continue become more powerful, we can do more with them, and that applies to photo editing. Over at Macworld, J.R. Bookwalter reviews Adobe Photoshop Fix, which brings many of Photoshop’s image manipulation tools—such as distort and liquify—to iOS devices. He likes it, but wonders why Photoshop Fix and Photoshop Mix (ugh, they really couldn’t differentiate better than that?) are two separate tools:

“Together with Mix, Adobe Photoshop Fix is indeed the serious mobile retouching solution the company pledged to deliver. Now it’s time to either consolidate both into a single app or make it easier to move projects between each—and throw in extension support for Apple Photos while we’re at it.”

Survey Results: The State of the iPad for Photographers 2015

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I started September with a question: How are people using the iPad with their photography? Is it really an invaluable addition to one’s camera bag, or is it an occasionally useful item? Is it even being used at all? Sales of iPads have been steadily dropping over the past couple of years, though I think that has more to do with the fact that people aren’t buying new iPads at the same rate as new iPhones. (Any company would kill for even Apple’s “low” sales numbers of iPads, but that’s a rant for another day.)

In 2011, I saw the potential of the iPad as a photographer’s tool and wrote the first edition of The iPad for Photographers, which detailed how you could review photos you capture using other cameras (at the time, the iPad 2 had only just come out, the first model to include an admittedly terrible camera), apply metadata to them to streamline the tagging process, and of course edit and share them—all without using a desktop or laptop computer. I published, in cooperation with my friends at Peachpit Press, two subsequent editions of the book.

So how are you using the iPad in 2015? I created a survey to find out, and the results are in some ways unexpected and other ways surprising. I encourage you to view the full results, but here’s the short version:

  • Most people who import photos to the iPad do so using the wired Camera Connection Kit (older iPads) or Lightning SD Card or USB adapters. Almost as many sync via iCloud, Lightroom mobile, Google Photos, or some other cloud service. The number of folks transferring photos directly from a camera’s built-in Wi-Fi feature was about half of those others, but considering how long it’s taken companies to implement Wi-Fi into cameras, the number is larger than I expected.
  • People rarely assign ratings or favorites to elevate the good photos from the not-so-good. I suspect this is because the process of importing photos onto the iPad is still time-consuming.
  • Most people don’t bother with any additional metadata. The fact that the apps designed for doing so (such as Photosmith and PhotosInfoPro) have all gone dormant bears this out.
  • More effort seems to be going into editing photos, and of the tools available, Snapseed is the leader, followed by Lightroom mobile and Apple’s built-in Photos app.
  • Surprisingly, the iPad Air 2 was the most-used model—the latest model available at the time the survey was posted. I expected that there would be a broader spread of older models. Of those, a little more than half were Wi-Fi–only models. The 64 GB configuration is the sweet spot in terms of storage.

A quick but important caveat: The survey attracted just 132 responses, which is less than I hoped, but it at least provides a window into the preferences of those who chose to take the survey.

Conclusions

The iPad is strong on editing, but the effort needed to get to that point is greater than it should be. That means using an iPad as a field companion—appealing especially for people who don’t want to tote a laptop along—is possible, but it’s hampered by slow ingest and limited storage. Perhaps the iPad Pro, which will offer USB 3 speeds through its Lightning port, may improve this.

I’m not too surprised that the Cloud has turned into a preferred method of moving photos onto the iPad, although of course the usefulness depends entirely on your current Internet connection—likely fine when you’re at home on the couch, but not so great in remote locations.

And, lastly, no one is using the iPad to apply metadata. This is the top request I hear from professional photographers, but I don’t think most regular people are doing it. Perhaps services like Google Photos, which comes up with its own metadata based on automated visual searches of photos, is the future here. I still believe that metadata is a powerful thing for photos, regardless of your photo skill level or interest; in my book Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac, Second Edition, I present a painless way to do it on the Mac.

The big question as I write this is how, or if, the iPad Pro will affect the field. Apple still hasn’t implemented any type of raw format support into iOS, which reduces the Pro’s appeal for many photographers in terms of editing, although perhaps the iPad Pro will be fast and powerful enough to run an app such as PiRAWhna smoothly. We’ll have to see.

The survey results appear below. Thank you to everyone who took the time to take the survey and share their comments!

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Check Your Apps Before Upgrading to iOS 9

Today is release day for iOS 9 (10 a.m. PST), which means (1) Apple’s servers will probably be slammed all day and it could take a long time to download and install the update, and (2) not all third-party apps are ready for the new operating system.

Before you apply the free upgrade, make sure any apps you rely on work properly. So far I’ve seen updates to ShutterSnitch, The Photographer’s Ephemeris, Handy Photo, and Flickr, to name a few photo-related apps. Others may already work fine with iOS 9 without a special update. And at least two are specifically not ready yet: CamRanger and Fujifilm Cam Remote.

I’ve been running iOS 9 betas for several weeks with few issues, but it’s always good to be cautious right when major new operating systems are sent to the wider world. Be sure to make an encrypted backup via iTunes before you update; that retains a lot of passwords and other information that you’d otherwise have to provide during the update process.

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Help me evaluate the state of the iPad for photography

ipad_field_tulip_field.jpg

[Update: The results are here!]

In 2012 I saw the potential of the iPad (then on its second generation) as a tool that photographers could take advantage of, and pitched my editors at Peachpit Press to write a book about it. The result was The iPad for Photographers, which is currently in its third edition.

The iPad is now five years old, so I’d love to discover how photographers are currently using the iPad in their workflows. Is it a crucial tool? An occasional benefit? Do you organize and edit photos? I would appreciate it if you could take just a few minutes to fill out a short survey. I’ll publish the results soon after the survey closes on September 30.

[Note: The end date was originally September 25, but I’ve been busy as heck and would like to give the survey a little more time to gain more responses. More data is better!]

Also, I will select one person at random (from the list of people who choose to include their name and email address) and send them a print copy of each of three of my latest books: Photos for OS X and iOS; The Connected Apple Family; and The iPad for Photographers, Third Edition.

Go to the survey here: The iPad for Photographers Usage Poll, September 2015

How to Prepare for Travel Assignments Around the World

Over at PetaPixel, National Geographic Traveler photographer Susan Seubert explains how she prepares for international photo travel. Research is key, as is using apps such as Easy Release and Sun Seeker on her iPad while in the field. Read the whole thing, which covers valuable information on researching destinations and packing photography gear.

How I Prepare for Travel Photo Assignments Around the World

Take Lightroom on Your Next Photo Shoot

Skyward, Redwoods

Knowing that I was away on a photo workshop in Northern California, an editor I’ve worked with for years contacted me with an interesting assignment: to write about how I use Adobe Lightroom in the field.

I’ve spent a lot of time (and three editions of my book The iPad for Photographers) thinking about how best to incorporate mobile technology into photography, and the field keeps moving forward. As a Lightroom CC user, I really like Lightroom mobile and how it syncs photos and adjustments from my iPad to my Mac and vice-versa.

The result is a new article, with a generous helping of photos from the Redwoods, posted today at Adobe Inspire: Take Lightroom on Your Next Shoot.

I outline a workflow for shooting, importing, and reviewing photos within Lightroom and the Creative Cloud ecosystem. One thing that surprised me: I found myself shooting more bracketed photos and side-by-side collections knowing that I could process those easily using the new Photo Merge HDR and Panorama tools in Lightroom CC.

One note, for those of you who have followed this field with me: I bypassed mentions of importing photos to the iPad while out shooting, which leads to special considerations for syncing and loading raw files later. (You can read more about that in my book.) What’s in the article is a streamlined, more sane approach to syncing and reviewing photos that won’t scare away novices.

Check out the article, and feel free to leave feedback here. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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TriggerTrap Timelapse Pro

Triggertrap timelapsepro
Photo by TriggerTrap

In The iPad for Photographers, Third Edition, I included a page about TriggerTrap, a neat and useful iOS app that can trigger your DSLR’s shutter in a wide variety of ways (it also requires a separate connecting cable). I also reviewed it for Macworld.

Now TriggerTrap has introduced Timelapse Pro, a separate app that adds custom complexity to shooting timelapse videos.

…with Triggertrap Timelapse Pro, you don’t just get intervalometer features – there are also our brand new delay modules, enabling the construction of complex timelapse sequences for the first time in a Triggertrap app.

The modules are completely customisable: You can add as many as you like, reorder them, and delete them when you’re done! You can also save as many sequences as you like, so you are ready to go in every scenario.

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