Help me evaluate the state of the iPad for photography


[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

New Book! Photos for OS X and iOS


Apple is in the middle of a dramatic overhaul of its photo software, discontinuing iPhoto and Aperture and replacing them with the new Photos for OS X. Since iPhoto was the pre-installed, easy-to-use application for managing digital photos on the Mac, millions of people use it for their photo libraries. But Photos for OS X isn’t just an update to iPhoto—it’s a complete rewrite that often looks and behaves differently than its predecessor, designed to work with the Photos app on iPhones and iPads and with the new iCloud Photo Library.

This is where my new book comes in! The full title is Photos for OS X and iOS: Take, edit, and share photos in the Apple photography ecosystem, and it covers the whole shebang, such as:

  • How to capture photos and videos using an iPhone or iPad (even the Apple Watch!)
  • Smart strategies for converting iPhoto and Aperture libraries, and what changes when you switch to Photos for OS X
  • Importing photos from any camera
  • How to set up and use iCloud Photo Library, and understand its occasional quirks
  • How to edit photos on the Mac (which is more capable than you might think!) and on iOS devices
  • Creating prints, photo books, calendars, and slideshows

I’ve packed a lot of information into 200 pages, along with full-color photos, lots of screenshots, and plenty of answers. The book is now available in stores and from online retailers for as little as $18. (If you order the print or ebook versions from or directly from Peachpit, I get a small commission that helps to support the work I do. Peachpit also offers a bundle that includes the print book and ebook files—PDF, EPUB, and MOBI.)

To celebrate the launch, I’m giving away five copies of the ebook version! To be eligible, all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter. You’re welcome to unsubscribe after the drawing if you’d like; the newsletter is a way for me to get to know my readers better, announce new projects, and do giveaways like this. I’ll pick the five winners randomly on Monday, August 10, 2015.

Here’s a selection of pages from the book to give you an idea of what you’ll find. I really like how it turned out:

Apple Watch: A Take Control Crash Course

Apple watch cc mailhead

In the time since Apple introduced the Apple Watch in September, I’ve fielded two questions many times: “Should I buy one?” and “Which one should I get?”

Now I’m excited to announce that I’ve written a book that helps answer those questions and plenty more: Apple Watch: A Take Control Crash Course.

But wait, the Apple Watch doesn’t come out until April 24. What magic is this?

Apple watch cc cover shadowIt’s electronic publishing! Currently the book includes 23 pages of information based on everything we know about the watch, including a chapter that looks at competing devices to help you figure out if an Apple Watch is the right choice. I cover the watch’s strengths and weaknesses, how we’re likely to use it in day-to-day life, and the ways we’ll interact with it.

But when you buy the book now, you’re also buying the full, in-depth version that will arrive in May after I’ve had time to actually use the Apple Watch for more than a few minutes.

The ebook costs $10, but this early-edition version is currently 50% off. That’s just $5 for the ebook now as well as the entire future edition, or just 0.05% the cost of the entry-level Apple Watch Edition! And you don’t have to wait until April 24 to get it.

Apple Watch: A Take Control Crash Course is available as a PDF, an EPUB, and a Mobi file, so you can read it on any device, from Mac to iPad to Kindle.

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

Announcing: Ebook of Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac

TCoDP coverIt’s a new book! I’m excited to announce that Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac is now available as a standalone ebook.

Although this was always destined to be a Take Control ebook, we turned it into a (highly successful) experiment. As I finished each chapter, we published it at TidBITS, with everything after Chapter 1 available only to TidBITS Members. The idea was to spur memberships and also get feedback on the work in progress. In fact, my original outline for the book included eight chapters, but I added a ninth after discussions with readers (“Migrate Photos to a Different App”). TidBITS members can continue to read the chapters online for free, or buy the ebook at 30% off (just $10.50!).

If you’re not familiar with it, the book tells you how to build a digital workflow to import, tag, rate, and organize your photos. From the page describing the book:

Why bother taking photos if you can’t find them later? If you want to be able to lay your hands on any given photo in your ever-expanding library, digital photography expert Jeff Carlson has developed a simple system you can use to make your photo collection browsable, searchable, and generally navigable!

The ebook includes the same content as the articles, updated here and there based on feedback and in the final editorial passes. All references to sections within the book are linked to make it easy to traverse the topics. Take Control does a great job making ebooks that are functional, easy to read, and easy to navigate.

Astute readers will notice that the title changed slightly: We added “on a Mac” to the end. Although the concepts and workflows I discuss aren’t platform-specific, the book does have a Mac focus for a couple of reasons:

Since the TidBITS readership is overwhelmingly comprised of Mac users, I made the assumption that many people would be coming from iPhoto and looking for other solutions, including Apple’s Aperture, which is Mac-only. (The other two applications I focus on, Lightroom and Photoshop Elements, are cross-platform.) Also, there’s the question of scope: trying to include a lot of other Windows utilities would have increased the size. (I discuss my criteria for choosing a good photo-management application in the book.)

The second reason for the title change is simple marketing: Now that the book is available to anyone, not just Mac-focused TidBITS members, we didn’t want anyone to be disappointed to not find more Windows-specific topics.

For more behind-the-scenes information about how we published the book, tune in to an interview I did with Chuck Joiner for MacVoices: MacVoices #13177: Jeff Carlson Finishes Up Take Control of Your Digital Photos On A Mac.

Macvoices tcodp

I hope you purchase and enjoy the book. It’s an idea I’ve kicked around for several years, and writing it as a Take Control ebook turned out to be a particularly good fit. I want to thank Adam and Tonya Engst for publishing it, and especially my fantastic editor Kelly Turner for helping shape the text.

Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac is available now for $15 from Take Control Ebooks (with a 30% discount for TidBITS members). You can download PDF, EPUB, and Mobi (Kindle) versions to put on all your devices. I expect the book will also soon be available from the iBookstore.

Available Now: Canon EOS M: From Snapshots to Great Shots

Canon EOS M Great Shots sRGB 150pxI’m hard at work on the second edition of The iPad for Photographers, but in the meantime I’m proud to announce that the book I just completed, Canon EOS M: From Snapshots to Great Shots, is now available! Over at, I wrote about why this title is especially important to me as a photographer.

Here’s a secret: If you really want to learn about something, write a book about it. Even if you know the material—in my case, digital photography—it’s another thing to turn around and teach that knowledge. You’ll gain a deeper knowledge, guaranteed.