Saturday, December 10, 2011

The iPad 2, increasingly becoming a serious tool for photography - Workflow for iPad 2.


Hi Photographer friends,

I purchase my iPad 2 about seven or eight months ago. I bought one with Verizon 3G capabilities. The Verizon 3G is only $20.00 for one Month, no contract required, and you can repeat that indefinitely or just the months you need it. I wanted one specifically because of the Wi-Fi and 3G Verizon network capabilities. I purchased the 32 GB and thought it would be enough but wasn't sure because pictures do take a lot of memory space.

There wasn't all that many outstanding apps for photography then, other than pictures emailing  and all sort of fun applications.  There wasn't much available to seriously edit photographs. I never thought that the iPad 2 could be good enough for my photographic workflow, photo albums, and other activities tied up to photography.

It's still not fast enough to replace my Asus PC equipped with the i7 processor, 12 GB of RAM, a 23" monitor and software such as Lightroom 3, Photoshop CS5, or a good iMac with Aperture, but it's getting closer.

The game changer with the iPad, in my opinion, is when the operating system was upgraded to the iOS 5 operating system.  The biggest bonus that tagged along with the new operating system is the implementation of the iClouds. With iClouds, files, images, emails, etc don't necessarily have to reside on your iPad 2, occupying  precious memory space. You can sync your iPad 2, or all other Apple devices, and even a PC with iTunes installed, to the iClouds. Apple gives you 5 GB of space for free on iClouds, but you can purchase more. It's $40.00 for an additional 20 GB or $50.00 for another 50 GB of space, with a renewable fee once a year. That's not bad at all.

Now, the iPad 2 is still useless unless apps are available to import images from your camera, or other computer, or from the Web. For serious editing, you really need to be able to import RAW files as well as JPEG files, from your camera. With RAW files imported to your iPad 2, you could have a first pass  at the full image parameters, such as white balance, exposure, major crop,etc. Then a good post processing app could be used to do the final tuning to your converted file (usually JPEG). Finally, you should be able save your final image, send it to a printer, or email it, or post it on a Social Media such as Twitter, Facebook or send the image to a Web Album such as Picasa or Flickr. That's a lot of work for a small device such as the iPad 2, which has a limited amount of memory. I didn't think the iPad 2 could perform these tasks.

Well, I'm here to tell you that it can be done. This makes travelling so much easier. Although Laptop Computers are small enough to carry, they are still cumbersome. The iPad 2 can fit in most camera bags or you can simply hand carry it. In a plane or public transportation, you can use the iPad for other entertaining purposes as well, while going to or from a photo shoot..

Of course you can import images in RAW from a photo album, a file sharing app such as DropBox, or file sharing from iTunes. That's not really what I need. I am assuming that the use of the iPad 2 is for when you are away from your home or base computer, just you, your camera and the iPad 2.

You need a Wi-Fi connection (maybe at the hotel where you are staying at or campground or at many of the coffee shops and restaurants). All McDonalds have free Wi-Fi. If Wi-Fi is not available, the iPad 2  has the capability to log on the internet via a Cell Phone Provider. In my case, I use Verizon 3G and likely will have access to 4G when it becomes available everywhere.. That service is also available with AT&T and soon with Sprint.'s is my iPad 2 workflow:

Apple Camera Connection Kit
Photoraw app
I use Pentax DSLRs but any camera that records RAW and uses SD memory cards will work. PhotoRaw app, available on the Apple App Store, is what I use. Apple has a camera connection kit. It accept a USB connection from a camera or an SD card.  (I suggest that you carefully look at your images on the camera screen first and decide which image(s) you want import). The reason for this is that the iPad 2 doesn't have the crunching power to load hundreds of RAW images at one time. In fact, I usually import one image at a time, adjust it to my liking and then save it to the iPad 2 albums as a JPEG for further processing later. Now it's on the iPad or iClouds for access from any of my iClouds' specified devices.

Snapseed app
Once this process is completed, one picture at a time or a bunch of them, I use Snapseed, which has won this year's photography "iPad app of the year", available from Apple App Store. It is  from NIK Software and it's absolutely astonishing.  It's similar to Photoshop, but it has a different approach to applying filters. They include Auto correct, Selective adjusting,Tune images, Straighten and Rotate, Crop, Details, Black & White, Vintage films, Drama, Grunge, Center focus, Frames and Tilt-Shift.

Once you are done with the post-processing, you can share the image(s) through Email, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter or print them if you have a wireless e-printer. There is a new breed of printers that you Email your image to and it automatically print whatever you email to it.

Try it, you will be surprised.

P.S.  I never erase the content of the SD memory cards until I'm home and can import them to my main computer with Adobe Lightroom 3, which is my main catalog.

Other apps I use:

Photo Transfer App, which allows receiving or sending images and video files,  wirelessly, to and from your iPad or your computer.

Image metadata viewer, which allows you to see all metadata from any images in your photo library.

Simply HDR-HD,  which simulate HDR photography...not real multi-images HDR, but good enough for some situations.

Pano, which does a decent job using the camera in your iPad or iPhone. It not really good enough for printing, in my opinion, but it's good to capture a total view of a location.

I will write about each app in the coming weeks.

Thank you for reading
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