Affinity Photo for iPad Review

As someone who’s been using the iPad for editing and working with photos since the very beginning, even I was surprised by how capable Affinity Photo for iPad is. The power of the iPad Pro makes a big difference, yes, but Serif has delivered a full-featured image editor that doesn’t feel compromised.

Over at DPReview, I review Affinity Photo for iPad and give it high marks. Go check it out: Affinity Photo for iPad Review.

We’ve come to expect less from iOS software on the iPad compared to desktop applications because, in most cases, they’re mobile—and “mobile” has traditionally meant “limited.” A lot of that has been due to hardware: even as the iPad’s main processors improved, most models included a minimal amount of RAM that made it difficult to pull off operations expected of a modern image editor, such as smoothly dealing with many layers and real-time effects.

The arrival of the iPad Pro, along with a commitment in iOS to take advantage of the hardware, has opened the door for more powerful applications. One of those apps is Affinity Photo for iPad, a full-fledged image editor that doesn’t feel as if the developers had to remove features from a whiteboard to make the app a reality.

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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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An Impromptu Lightning Photo Opportunity

Seattle experienced a record-setting high temperature of 96 degrees (F) yesterday, and with it came an unexpected lightning and thunder show. We don’t often see lightning here, so I was thrilled to sit in my living room with all the windows open and watch the display. And then I realized I should try to take a photo and see what happens. Here’s the result:

Lightning cropped

How did I make this shot?

First, I set up my Nikon D90 on a tripod and set it up on my deck facing the storm. I already had a Nikon 18-135mm lens on the camera, which was nice and wide to try to capture as much of the sky as I could. (I switched to a Sigma 10-20mm lens later, which gave me more sky but by then the storm had moved north out of my field of view.)

Since lightning happens so quickly, I couldn’t hope to trigger the shutter when a burst happened. Instead, I set the camera to Manual mode and dialed in a shutter speed of 30 seconds. There’s quite a bit of street light in my neighborhood (a major road runs past our house), so I cranked the aperture to f/18 to limit the amount of light that would come through the lens. That way, I hoped the sensor would better capture the flash and strike of lightning without as much ambient light.

Then I stood outside and pressed the shutter button (actually, a remote cable release to minimize camera shake) over and over in hopes of capturing something. This photo was actually the third frame I recorded. Here’s what it looks like unedited:

Lightning original

I imported the photos into Lightroom on my Mac and quickly reviewed and rated the 47 photos (using the techniques I recommend in my book, Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac). Next, I chose this photo as the one to share and cropped it to highlight the lightning.

Other than cropping, I didn’t do too much editing: I brought the white balance down to 4046 to remove the reddish cast in the clouds, and pushed the Clarity up to +57 to bring out more of the lightning. Lastly, as an experiment, I added a Radial Filter over the lightning area and increased the Highlights to 54 and nudged the Clarity just a bit more (to 19) to make the bolts really pop.

Lightning lightroom

The sensor in the Nikon D90 doesn’t compare as well as modern cameras, especially in darkness, so the shot is pretty grainy. I could have tried to remove noise, but I kinda like it.

The final step was to move the photo to a collection that I use for syncing with Lightroom mobile. On my iPhone, I opened the app and saved the image to the Camera Roll. That let me open it in Instagram and share it there.

It’s not a photo that will win any awards, but I had fun shooting (and standing outside as the air cooled from the storm—did I mention it was really warm?) and editing something to share.

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Article: Take Better DSLR Shots Using… Your Smartphone?

IUSBportCamera Hanging sm

Macworld has just published an article of mine that was fun to write: “Take Better DSLR Shots Using… Your Smartphone?” I look at three devices that control a DSLR wirelessly using an iOS device: the CamRanger, CameraMator, and iUSBportCamera. Although similar in general, each device has its own advantages and disadvantages, which I detail in the article. From the introduction:

Photos are meant to be viewed large. Yet when taking a shot—that crucial moment when we should be most discerning—we usually rely on the camera’s small LCD to preview the image. The traditional solution has been to “tether” the camera to a computer, so you can view shots on a large screen as they’re captured, or even control the camera’s settings and trigger the shutter remotely. That approach lets you correct the scene or settings and reshoot immediately if anything looks amiss.

But tethering can be limiting. Setting up a laptop on location is often inconvenient—and even if you’re shooting in a studio, tethering typically involves snaking a USB cable between the camera and the computer.

I think the headline is a little misleading, since I specifically talked about using an iPad and the iUSBportCamera app is just for the iPad. But I can understand that “smartphone” is likely to draw a bigger audience.