25 Oct 2011 Podcast 304 : Seven Must Have Photography Related iPad Apps
At the start of June 2010, about 10 days after I got my iPad, I released Episode 246 about the iPad for the Photographer. At the time, I spoke about a bunch of apps that I had sought out and started to use, from a photographer’s perspective.
Last week I got an email from Julian Roberts in London asking if I could update this Podcast with my current preferences and I thought that was a great idea, so thanks for the idea Julian. Let’s take a look at the main photography related apps that I’m currently using on my iPad.
I won’t go into detail again on the non-photography related apps that I use, but I do just want to say that I am still using Evernote, Dropbox and Zinio to access notes and documents, and read magazines. These apps all have Mac clients available, so there was no problem when I switched from PC to Mac in January this year. How I use these services hasn’t changed. If you aren’t aware of these apps, go back and listen to episode 246 for more details. Now, let’s look at the new apps specifically for the photographer that I’m now using. These aren’t ranked in any specific order, but I’m going to start with my favorite photographer specific app.
FolioBook Photo Portfolio
FolioBook started out a bit flakey, but it’s been tweaked and recoded a number of times and is now my chosen way to show potential clients images and videos on the iPad. I don’t carry my MacBook Pro around with me all the time, but when I think there might be a chance to show my work, I drop my iPad into my bag, and there have been lots of occasions where I’ve show my work to people on the iPad, and people are always impressed, and it has led to new work on a number of occasions.
Photo display on the iPad has just been renovated with iOS 5, and we can now finally create and reorder folders on the iPad, but there is still no native way to reorder images, and UI is still the standard Photo App. With FolioBook though, you can create albums and add links to a fully customizable background, with both vertical and horizontal versions, so the photo and position of the links can be changed depending on how you are holding the iPad. There’s also a plugin that you do have to buy separately, that allows you to play video right there in FolioBook.
(Note: Click on the thumbnails of the images at the bottom of this post to view them full size.)
I have created slideshows for most of the image that I want to show people, so I can just play those video, and as an example, I also recently created a subcategory for my new Motion Graphics intro and outro videos. You also have the ability to customize subcategories individually according to the kind of work you put into them. Another nice feature is the ability to lock FolioBook to changes until you turn the lock off in the iPad settings panel. This prevents clients from unwittingly entering the portfolio edit mode, which can confuse the hell out of them as they look at your work.
All in all, FolioBook is a very sleek way to view both collections of images and videos, and gives a very professional feel to your presentation, especially if you are careful about branding and how you categories your albums and content.
Released just last week, the new free 500px app is simply amazing. I’ve received varying views on 500px since releasing episode 295, An Introduction to 500px but honestly, I can’t understand how any photographer could flick through page after page of photography of the quality that they have on 500px, and not be inspired. Sure, you do see the odd image that doesn’t quite meet the stellar quality of the rest of the work on the site, but in general, it’s simply stunning, and this new app feeds it to you in true 500px style.
If you login, you get to view your own images, which is another great way to share your work with friends or even clients, as it looks so good. You can also view a stream of recent uploads from people that you follow, as well as viewing your favorites. The Popular, Editors Choice, Upcoming and Fresh streams are breathtaking most of the time, available to anyone, even if you aren’t a member. The app is totally free, so do yourself a favor and grab a copy. I guarantee you will be impressed and inspired.
Light It Digital Magazine
The Light it Digital Magazine from Kelby Training was released a month or so ago, with the first issue free. Future episodes will be available on a pay per copy or subscription basis, but if you do any kind of studio lighting, do grab the app and check out the free first issue. There was only one article that I stopped reading part way through, but I read every other article, and that’s very rare for me. There was a little repetition, but even that was interesting enough, because the articles were written by different people, and they are all well know photographers like Frank Doorhof, Jeremy Cowart and the first Feature Story was by Zack Arias, so you really can’t go wrong for $0. I will be buying future issues as they come out though. So far I’m impressed with the quality of the magazine.
If you subscribe, as I do, and you own an iPad, I’m sure you already have the Kelby Training app, but it’s certainly worth a mention. This app is basically a window to your online Kelby Training material for the iPad and iPhone. Basically, if you have Internet access, you have every video that Kelby Training has released right there in the palm of your hand. I was recently asked if I’d recommend Kelby Training, and to answer, I checked my subscription history. I first subscribed on Sept 1st, 2009, and I’ve renewed within two weeks of that date for the last two years. I guess this tells me that there’s rarely more than a few weeks goes by before I want a fix of education and inspiration, so I just keep on signing back up.
The quality of courses is top notch, as are the instructors for each video. Some help me learn new stuff, some affirm old skills, and then others are simply great for getting inspiration and keeping me steeped in the world of photography. I highly recommend Kelby Training and the iPad/iPhone app is a great way to consume it.
PhotoVerse is basically a list of Photography related blogs and Podcasts, that shows you all of the content in one place. It’s well organized into a number of different categories and the guy that wrote this just told me that he’s recently updated PhotoVerse so that he can update the blog content now without releasing updates of the app itself, so it should go from strength to strength now. I’ve found a number of blogs that I would not have known about without PhotoVerse, so I’m happy to have this.
The Photographer’s Ephemeris
When it comes to getting times and azimuth for the rise and set of the sun and moon, I still use VelaClock on my iPhone more, because my phone is always with me, but on the iPad, especially when working with a group, I use The Photographer’s Ephemeris. It’s great to have a full sized iPad app for this, and the lines that are automatically drawn on the map, showing exactly where the sun will rise and fall, and you can move a slider to track exactly where it will be at any time during the day, which is great for planning, though I have never taken my iPad out with me and used this feature in the field. This app is definitely worth picking up though, even if you only intend to use it when planning where you need to be on photography trips.
OK, so last, but by no means least, is Snapseed from Nik Software. Now, I have to tell you that I resisted buying this app at first because I couldn’t see the point of working on images on the iPad. If I want to work on an image, I’ll do it on my computer, with the full sized RAW files, or a 16bit TIFF or Photoshop PSD file. But I decided that for the price, which is less than $5, it was probably worth buying just to see what is was like, and I was totally impressed.
I still won’t use this as a way to edit images in my digital workflow, but you know what? This app is so quick and fun to use, that you can just sit there and show people the sort of effects that you can get with the full blown Nik Software plugins, as a demonstration. I can pull up a color image for example, and in just a few taps, create a Color Efex Pro 4 style high contrast, high tonality image, or a Silver Efex Pro 2 style high structure and contrast black and white. The sliders to vary the amount of the filter applied, and ability to be able to switch between effects by sliding up and down on the screen are very intuitive, and I can literally show someone what I can do with there images right there, and we can see the effect real time.
There’s a Compare button, which shows you your original image before changes as you add each filter or effect, and once you are done, you can save your image and move to another module to build on your changes. An added bonus is that you can also have all this fun on your iPhone as well if you have one. And that’s exactly what it is, a lot of fun. I sometimes crank up Snapseed now when I’m on a train, and before I know it, I’m at my destination but I don’t want to get off, I’m having so much fun messing around with Snapseed. So, although I still don’t consider this part of my workflow, it’s a great way to demo what can be done to people on the go, and to just have a lot of fun with your images. Well worth picking up in my opinion.
What We Didn’t Include
Before we finish, I know that some of you will be wondering why I didn’t cover apps that help you to shoot remotely or transfer your images directly to the iPad etc. and the reason for that is that I’ve not had a need for this kind of workflow, and so haven’t looked into this. I do use my MacBook Pro and shoot tethered straight into Lightroom, where I can apply presets and start building preview files as soon as the images are shot. And I quite often use the Canon EOS Utility to shoot remotely, though Canon are currently a bit behind in updating this application for Mac OS 10.7, Lion, so I’m missing that right now, but not to the point where I’ve looked into creating an iPad based workflow, so I’m not including anything about that today.
If you hadn’t heard of some of these seven apps though, I hope that you give some of them a try, and find them as useful as I do. If you have any killer photography related apps that you’d like to share, by all means, post about the app in the comments below.
As it’s not a native iPad app, I won’t include this in the main topic, but I did want to quickly mention my MBP Podcast Companion before we finish, as I do use the Depth of Field calculator a lot on my iPhone and iPad. I actually wanted to mention my app I’ve recently been asked to add a few new cameras, and some of the people that asked had a typo in their email addresses, so I couldn’t let them know that I’d updated the camera list. I also recently added a number of generic film sizes, so you can now use the app to calculate depth of field for film cameras too. These will be added to the app in the App Store soon, but for now, or if you ever request a camera to be added in the future, just go to the Camera list and click the Update button in the bottom right of the screen and you’ll see all new cameras in the list from that point on.
I also wanted to quickly mention that I was one of the co-hosts on the This Week in Photo Podcast last week with Frederick Van Johnson, Syl Arena and Alex Lindsay, so do check that out at www.thisweekinphoto.com if you are interest.
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