Introducing Photographer’s Friend for iPhone and iPad (Podcast 592)

Introducing Photographer’s Friend for iPhone and iPad (Podcast 592)

It gives me great pleasure to tell you that I have now released the update to our iPhone app, Photographer’s Friend. We now support iPad in addition to iPhone and iPod touch, as well as landscape and portrait orientations.

As I mentioned in an update a few weeks ago, from the end of August I started studying how to develop for iOS, and following a week going through an online course, I set about the task of rebuilding our old MBP Podcast Companion app, as it was a little too long in the tooth to support iOS 11, which has now been released.

I picked up the Swift programming language relatively quickly with the aid of the online training, augmented by other invaluable resources such as the Hacking with Swift and Stack Overflow websites, I was able to create the app that I’d designed in my mind, and even add a number of features that I didn’t think I’d be able to do at this point.

I submitted Photographer’s Friend for review last Thursday, and it was passed as I got up on Friday morning, and I’ve been delighted to see hundreds of updates from the previous version happening across the planet. Although I put a lot of work into this, I really wanted to make it a free update for all of the users that had been kind enough to buy the original app, so I’m also very pleased that I was able to achieve this.

Anyway, I’ve put together a video to walk you through the features of Photographer’s Friend v2.0 which I’ve embedded below. If you’d prefer to read, scroll down for a summary or visit the product page for more details.

Feature Summary

[custom_font font_family=’Open Sans’ font_size=’19’ line_height=’26’ font_style=’none’ text_align=’left’ font_weight=’500′ color=” background_color=” text_decoration=’none’ text_shadow=’no’ padding=’0px’ margin=’0px’]Photographer’s Friend is the only app on the App Store as of Oct 9, 2017, that has both a Depth of Field calculator and a Neutral Density filter calculator. [/custom_font]

I’ve gone into great detail as I implemented both of these fundamental photography calculators, and I’m very proud of how they’ve turned out. The settings of the Depth of Field calculator can all be adjusted with your thumb while holding the app in one hand because sometimes you only have one hand free.

Depth of Field Calculator

To calculate your depth of field, you just set your Camera Type, which is your film or sensor size, and choose an aperture and focal length, and set the approximate distance to your main subject. So basically everything is set with the four dials across the bottom of the interface. The two blue labels indicate that there is some functionality there. You can toggle between feet and meters by tapping the [Focus ft/m] label.

If you tap on the other blue label which displays the Hyperfocal Distance calculated from your selected settings, that Hyperfocal Distance is transferred to the Focus Distance dial, and the display is updated to show your near focus limit, the actual focus distance, and at Hyperfocal Distance, of course, the far limit is infinity, as you can see in the left of the three screenshots (below). All of these settings are saved, so even if you don’t use the default 35mm Camera Type, your selection will be restored whenever you open the app.

Photographer's Friend DoF Calc and ND Calc

Photographer’s Friend DoF Calc and ND Calc

I even built in a NightView mode for the Depth of Field calculator, so if you are using the DoF Calc at night, and don’t want to lose your night vision, just shake your device to toggle in and out of NightView, which you can see in the center image (above).

Neutral Density Calculator

The Neutral Density calculator, which you can see to the right of the three screenshots (above) takes your base shutter speed and calculates the new shutter speed that you have to set after attaching Neutral Density filters to your lens to slow down your shutter speed. Simple to use, you just dial in your base shutter speed on the left and tap any of the filters on the right, and your newly calculated shutter speed is displayed at the top of the screen. 

If your calculated shutter speed in 5 seconds or longer, the Timer becomes active, and we’ll sound an alarm when it finishes to let you know. The first time you start a Timer running, you will be asked for permission to send you notifications via the Notification Center, and if you grant that, if the app is closed or in the background when the timer ends, you’ll see an alert on your device instead. This works even if you force close the app or restart your device.

Links and Help

There is also a scrolling list of links to articles on Depth of Field and Neutral Density filters, as well as a link to open our podcast in the iOS Podcasts app, which now displays images again as we progress through various topics. There are contact us links and I also added some help screens to walk you through how to use the two calculators, in case some of this theory is new to you. 

Anyway, that’s a quick summary for you. I do hope you’ll check out the video that I put together or have a look at the product page for more details. For the introductory price of just $2.99 for two epic photography calculators, I think Photographer’s Friend is a steal, so I hope you’ll pick up a copy, from the App Store

Download Photographer's Friend from Appstore

Note that if you’ve updated to the latest version of iTunes on your computer, you will not be able to buy iOS apps unless you click through from an iOS device.

Please Rate and Leave a Review

If you find Photographer’s Friend useful, please do consider giving us a rating and leaving a review on the App Store. I’ve reset the reviews for version 2.0 and we need some high ratings and positive reviews to start ranking highly in searches. 

Show Notes

Photographer’s Friend Product Page:

Photographer’s Friend on the App Store (please click on an iOS device):

Music by Martin Bailey


Subscribe in iTunes for Enhanced Podcasts delivered automatically to your computer.

Download this Podcast in MP3 format (Audio Only).

Download this Podcast in Enhanced Podcast M4A format. This requires Apple iTunes or Quicktime to view/listen.

Portfolio for iPad App Review (Podcast 585)

Portfolio for iPad App Review (Podcast 585)

This week I’m going to tell you all about Portfolio for iPad, an app that I’ve just started using to display my portfolios in, and I’m mostly very impressed with. 

For a number of years, I used an app called Foliobook to share my portfolios on my iPad and I was very happy with it, but then Lightroom Mobile came along and gave us automatic synchronization across devices. This was incredibly useful until I started to use Capture One Pro to process my images, instead of Lightroom. I never used Lightroom Mobile to actually process images on the iPad, so I didn’t miss that aspect, but a self-synchronizing portfolio app was missing from my workflow.

A few months ago I told you how I am using the Apple Photo app, and I am still using it to keep a copy of all of my images in my photo timeline, and I’ve even created my Portfolios in albums in the Photos app now, because I wanted a way to sync them between devices. I do still like the casual access to my images that this gives me, but as a display format, it’s slightly lacking. The main problem for me is that images are often cropped so that they fill the screen, and I don’t want that.

iPad Pro 12.9 inch

Two weeks ago, I got a new 12.9 inch iPad Pro. I wanted that big screen for sharing images with people that I meet, and at that point I decided that as the Photos app view wasn’t sophisticated enough for my portfolios, so I went back to Foliobook, setting it up with my main portfolios and a gallery of my videos.

Then, over the last week, I updated a few more of my portfolios, adding some casual work that I’d done over the last year and as I manually added these new images to Foliobook, I thought to myself that there has to be a better way to do this, so, I searched for an alternative.

Two candidates came up. One was Xtrafolio, but that isn’t even available to buy in Japan, and the other was Portfolio for iPad. There are others, but my main reason for looking for a replacement for Foliobook was automatic synchronization, and Portfolio for iPad promised that so I set about the task of trying it out.

Setting Up Galleries

I’m not going to walk you through all of the steps required to get your portfolio galleries set up, but let’s look at some of the points that I learned, to hopefully help to save you time if you ultimately want to work in a similar way to how I’m now using Portfolio for iPad. 

After launching Portfolio the first thing I did was to try adding a few albums containing my portfolio images. To get started with that, I clicked the little cog wheel in the bottom right corner of the screen, which changes to that green check symbol that you can see in this screenshot (below) and the app then displays various settings options.

Settings Screen

Settings Screen

To add a gallery manually, you click the Content button on the left of the list of options, then hit the plus symbol at the bottom of the left column as you can see in this screenshot (below). You just give the gallery a title and import your images.

File Size Limitation

File Size Limitation

At this point in time, you can import images from the Photos app on the iPad, via iTunes, Dropbox or box, and also by using an app from the developer of Portfolio for iPad that enables you to transfer images directly to the app, which is pretty handy.

I first used the method to import directly from the Photos App on the iPad, and that worked flawlessly. The thing to note here though is that if you have Optimize iPad Storage turned on in your Photos & Camera settings on the iPad it’s likely that not all of your images will be available. They have to be all downloaded to your device to even appear in the list. Because I got the 512GB model of the new iPad this is the first device I’ve owned that I’ve actually been able to use the Download and Keep Originals option, so I was able to import entire portfolio folders.

Image Size Limitation

Because I have all of my portfolios in folders in my Dropbox, I also tried importing from Dropbox, and that worked great too until I hit my first problem. As I loaded some of my galleries a message was displayed, as you can see in the previous screenshot, telling me that images larger than 35 megapixels would not be imported. 

Initially this came as a big disappointment because I really didn’t want to export downsized images specifically for this purpose. I can understand that a developer needs to add this kind of safeguard to prevent people with older devices from having problems, but Foliobook, the portfolio application I’ve been using for a number of years, simply warns the user about importing big files, it doesn’t prevent you from doing so.

And the reality is that if you have a relatively new iPad, the system resources are plenty to run galleries of 50-megapixel images. There is also a message in Foliobook telling the user that if they have problems, they should try resizing their images. In my opinion, this is all that is necessary.

Removing the Size Limitation

It turns out that there is a way to remove this limitation in Portfolio for iPad, but I had to wait three days for a reply from the developer before I heard about this. You just have to go to the iPad Settings and scroll down to the Portfolio app, and there is an Advanced settings section with an option to Disable size limits. 

I spent about an hour on the developer’s web site trying to find something like this and came up dry. In my opinion, this is bad design. If there is an option like that, the developer should include a message to that effect in the message displayed telling people that images over 35-megapixel will not be loaded. 

Not only did this waste my time looking for a solution or workaround, but I also went on to export all of my images shot with my Canon EOS 5Ds R bodies resized to 35 megapixels. Then after the developer did get back to me with the solution, I had to go back and re-export all of my 5Ds R images again at full size. 

This took a few hours, and unfortunately, even though by this time I’d figured out how to automatically synchronize the images from Dropbox when you replace the images in Dropbox, the Portfolio app loses their position in the gallery, so I had to spend an hour or so manually sorting my images again. All-in-all I lost around six to seven hours because the developer couldn’t be bothered to alert his end-users to this override option, and that annoys me.

I should also note that as I’d expected, the 50-megapixel files work fine in the Portfolio app. I also exported the Portfolio to my three-year-old iPad Air 2 and it works flawlessly on that device too.

Automatic Synchronization

Luckily though, I’m a somewhat stubborn creature and decided to continue to see if Portfolio for iPad was worth working with. After manually creating a few albums, I figured I’d click the synchronization button in the top left of the Content settings screen, to see how synchronization works. I was presented with a message telling me that synchronizing at the top folder level would replace any manually created galleries, making me happy that I’d only created a few galleries before trying this.

I turned on synchronization and pointed Portfolio for iPad to my Portfolios directory in Dropbox, as you can see in this screenshot (below). I left the mode as Fully Automatic, as I simply want to drop images into my Dropbox portfolio folders moving forward, and have the Portfolio app just pick them up.

Automatic Synchronization from Dropbox

Automatic Synchronization from Dropbox

Once synchronization has completed, it occurs automatically every 5 minutes while you have the app open, so initially, I was updating my images on my computer, resizing them to 35 megapixels, and the Portfolio app was automatically grabbing the new files without any interaction from me. 

I found out later that this would have messed up my manual ordering of images, but during the setup up phase, I was really impressed by this. In fact, until I got to this point, I was still in two minds as to whether or not to continue using Portfolio for iPad, until I saw how well this automatic synchronization works.

If you make any changes that you need to take effect straight away, you can also press the Sync button that appears on many of the setup screens, and a fresh sync will start straight away. This really does work very well.

Videos Work Great!

I was also really happy to see that having added a folder of videos to my portfolios folder in Dropbox, it was automatically synced to the Portfolio app. The player in the app is really pretty as well, so it will look great as a way to share videos with people.

Assigning a Poster Frame

Note that when you first add videos, they are displayed as black boxes. To assign a Poster Frame you just have to press the filmstrip icon below the video after tapping it, then drag the rectangle below the video timeline until it shows the frame that you’d like to represent the video in your gallery, then click Save in the top right-hand corner.

Assigning a Video Poster Frame

Assigning a Video Poster Frame

I noticed that although you can change the title of videos in manually created galleries, in automatically synced galleries, the filename of the video is used, and cannot be changed. So, I went ahead and just changed the filenames to the actual titles, including spaces, and these synched fine, so if you want pretty titles in video files, change them before synching. The extension, .mp4 or .mov etc. is not displayed in the name, which is good.


I also noticed that when you first import a gallery, either automatically or manually, the file name is used as the title by default, and it doesn’t look great. I imagine this is the default because some people, perhaps a lot of people, don’t add titles to their images in the EXIF or IPTC metadata fields.

I do though, so for each album that I automatically synched, I went into the gallery, clicked the cog wheel above the gallery thumbnails, selected the Configure Metadata option, and then selected IPTC Title instead of Name, as you can see in this screenshot (below). This changes all of the filenames to the actual Title that I’ve given each image and it looks a lot nicer.

Changing Image Titles

Changing Image Titles

Customizing the Appearance

Now that I had my images imported, and syncing nicely and automatically, I set about the task of customizing the appearance of Portfolio for iPad. When I tried to edit one of the three built-in themes I saw a message stating that “Only the appearance can be edited on a built-in theme. To change the layout first make a duplicate of the theme.” I’m not quite sure what this means, but I created a duplicate of the Modern theme and started to customize it.

Initially, I found the customization controls very temperamental. Objects jump around uncontrollably, and I ended up scrapping my first few attempts to change the theme and started again from a fresh duplicate copy. Once I’d gotten used to it though, I was able to replace the background image with one of my photos taken directly from a gallery that I’d imported, and I placed the thumbnails in a part of the screen that looked good to me, as you can see in this screenshot (below).

Finished Portfolio View

Finished Portfolio View

One thing regarding customization that I was a little disappointed with, is that even if you open a PNG file with transparency when you place it in the layout of the app, a white background is added. I was hoping to be able to import my signature and Japanese stamp that I apply to my fine art prints and overlay it on this screen, but it wasn’t possible.

Portrait Orientation View

Portrait Orientation View

Of course, the workaround for this is to overlay the graphic onto a photo or whatever background you want and import, but this is more time-consuming. If I could just have my signature and stamp as a separate element, I could easily move it around and change the background image very easily. 

Portrait Orientation

You can also set a different image for the portrait orientation view, and move the thumbnail bar to another location on the screen, as you can see in this screenshot (right).

If I can make the time I might create some images specifically to use as the background on these pages, but I’d much prefer to be able to overlay PNG files with transparency in tact, and just overlay it on any image from my galleries. 

This would, for example, enable me to update a portfolio on the train on the way to visit someone to show them a portfolio. The more you customize the presentation to a viewers needs, the more likely you are to make a good impression.

One cool thing though, with how the themes work, is that if you wanted to, you can simply duplicate your theme and save a new version with different images, essentially setting up a variety of themes for separate occasions. 

Backing Up Your Library

Once you have something put together that you are happy with, you can back it up, either just for safe keeping or to transfer the library to another device. Backups can be performed either to Dropbox or within the app, and then copied around using iTunes. Here you can see the Backup screen after I’ve made a backup with the Portfolio app (below).

Backing up the Library

Backing up the Library

To transfer this library to my iPhone and a second iPad as a test, I opened up iTunes, then selected the iPad Pro, then the Apps icon in the sidebar, and scrolled down until I could see the list of apps installed on the iPad, then located the Portfolio app, as you can see in this screenshot (below).

Transferring Library from iTunes

Transferring Library from iTunes

Once you can see the backup copy of your library, just drag it to the desktop to transfer it to your computer. To restore this library on another device, just attach that device to iTunes, and navigate to the same location, and drag the library backup file back to the same window for the new device.

This worked as expected for the iPad Air 2, and the 50-megapixel files worked fine too. Note too that restoring the library like this enables you to keep all of your customizations, but then once the library is operational, it starts to synchronize from Dropbox like the original library, so any future updates to your images will be automatically synchronized. And, if you make any major changes, it’s not such a big deal to repeat the above backup and restore process.

Working with Multiple Libraries

Because the backups just sit inside the app until you delete them, you could actually use these backups as a way to keep multiple portfolios libraries on your device, assuming you have enough space. Say you’re a wedding photographer and a landscape photographer, you could maintain two totally different libraries and restore the one you need depending on who you are going to show it to.

Why Full Sized Images

Also, just to close the loop on this, if you are wondering why I want my full sized images in the Portfolio app, if you’ve ever passed an iPad to another photographer to look at your photos, one of the first things that many people do is to zoom in on the image to check the details. Portfolio for iPad lets you do this really well, so I want to maintain as much detail in my images as possible.

Image View

I should also mention that another area I wish was different is the view you get when you first enter a portfolio gallery. Although they disappear after about four seconds, I don’t like being able to see the top and bottom toolbars when you first enter the gallery.

Image Display with Toolbars

Image Display with Toolbars

I would love it if these toolbars remained invisible, even when you first enter the gallery until you touch the screen. You could argue that people might not notice the play button in the top right, but people are accustomed to the interface on an iPad enough to reach out and touch the screen to get started, and then the button and other options would come right back.

Filmstrip and Thumbnail View

The buttons in the middle of the bottom toolbar allow you to switch to a full screen of thumbnails, or just have a filmstrip of thumbnails across the bottom of the larger image as you can see here (below). The filmstrip view is fine, but I really don’t like the all thumbnail view. In my opinion, they need to resize better for larger screens, and also the ability to hide the titles and just have nice looking thumbnails would be good too.

Filmstrip Thumbnails

Filmstrip Thumbnails

EXIF Metadata

One other reason that I used to like about having my images in Lightroom Mobile, was that it was really easy to see shooting information, like EXIF metadata and the histogram for the image. Unfortunately, there is no histogram in Portfolio, but if you click on the little edit button in the bottom right corner, then click on the Metadata tab, you can see the shooting information for the image, which is really nice (below).

Metadata Display

Metadata Display

I wish I could just display this metadata directly, without going to notes first. Although you can also display metadata over the image by changing the gallery settings. Ideally what I’d like is to just be able to tap the image, say with two fingers, and display an overly with the metadata, like you can in Lightroom Mobile. A histogram would be nice for that matter, but not as essential for me as the metadata, and I do have that, so no huge complaints here.

Portfolio for iPhone

I was also initially excited to see that there is another app from the same developer called Portfolio for iPhone. I installed it and restored the backup of my library that we looked at earlier, but I quickly found that the iPhone version of Portfolio is a pretty weak offering. 

It’s a very cut down version of the iPad app and doesn’t even allow the use of much of the EXIF and IPTC metadata in my files, despite having similar options to show the IPTC Title etc. like the iPad version. This simply doesn’t work, which is quite misleading and disappointing.

Also, although I realize that screen real estate is more at a premium on the iPhone, even though I am using the Plus, there are no background images. All you see when you start Portfolio for iPhone is a list of galleries. The images are displayed without any cropping to make them fill the screen, but this is really the only redeeming factor.

What’s more, there is NO SYNC!! You can backup your galleries on the iPad and restore them on the iPhone, and that maintains any image sorting you might have done, but there is no synchronization feature, so all updates will be manual, which is very disappointing.

Granted, it doesn’t actually say that there is any sync functionality in the iPhone version but excited by the features of the iPad version, I’d expected this to be there and bought the iPhone version without checking thoroughly. The iPhone app was only ¥360 though, so it’s probably around $3 in the US store. Because of the pricing, I would probably have bought it anyway to try, but I’ll have to see how much I actually use it. 

Portfolio vs Foliobook

At the time of writing Portfolio for iPad is $14.99 in the US App Store. Foliobook is currently $9.99 with video support being a $1.99 in-app purchase, so it’s basically $12. The extra $3 for Portfolio will give you that all important automatic synchronization. That alone to me makes Portfolio for iPad my new go-to portfolio application. I also like having thumbnails on my gallery view in Portoflio too, where as Foliobook is just text links. 

Once inside a gallery, Foliobook looks better and the thumbnail views are much cleaner. Foliobook is lacking any kind of metadata display as well, so that’s another point in Portfolio for iPad’s favor.

If I was to give a score to each app, assuming that 10 is my perfect portfolio app, I’d give Portfolio for iPad an 8/10 and Foliobook a 7/10. Foliobook is a more sophisticated app in many ways but lacks some important features like auto-synchronization and metadata view. Portfolio for iPad doesn’t get a 10/10 because it lacks polish in many areas. It has most of what I want but needs refining.


In conclusion though, if you are looking for something to help you use your iPad to display your portfolio, be it as a photographer or designer or any other artist creating imagery and/or videos, Portfolio for iPad is well worth taking a look at. Despite some very frustrating setbacks over the last few days as I’ve set it up, I’m now basically very happy with what I have, and the ability to just update my portfolios in Dropbox and have them automatically synchronize to my iPads is absolutely golden.

Show Notes

Check out Portfolio for iPad here:

Check out Foliobook here:

Music by Martin Bailey


Subscribe in iTunes for Enhanced Podcasts delivered automatically to your computer.

Download this Podcast in MP3 format (Audio Only).

Download this Podcast in Enhanced Podcast M4A format. This requires Apple iTunes or Quicktime to view/listen.

How I Use and Why I Love Apple Photos (Podcast 574)

How I Use and Why I Love Apple Photos (Podcast 574)

I’ve been using Apple Photos for a couple of years now and although I don’t use it to edit images, I’ve fallen in love with all of the ways in which it brings my photos and video clips together and the freedom that brings. Today I’m going to share how I use Apple Photos and how I feel it’s made the way I live with my photos more intimate.

In 2014, Apple replaced the Camera Roll with the Photos app in the iOS 8 update, and then added the Photos application on the Mac OS in April 2015. Photos was also added to the Apple tvOS in 2016, meaning that I can literally access my photos on every visual device that I own. The idea of being able to seamlessly sync all of my photos and memories between all of my devices was too much to resist, so when Apple released Photos for the Mac OS in April 2015, I decided to take a closer look at it.

Until that point, I had always exported a full sized JPEG of all of my final selects from each shoot or tour that I did and kept them in my Dropbox. That gave me access to everything, and I also used those photos for slideshows and screensavers. It worked, but it wasn’t as smooth as the promise that Photos and iCloud came with.

Losing Control

At first, there was one thing that I didn’t like, and that was how Apple stored my photos. Regardless of when the images were shot, they all got shoved into a single folder for the day that I imported the images into the Photos application. Being a bit of a control freak, I would have loved it if my images were sorted into year, month and day folders for the actual day that they were shot, but Apple Photos doesn’t do that.

I can opt to reference photos where I have them on the hard drive, but then I imagine all of the iPhone photos and videos that I shoot will end up in different locations to where I store my images, and because the Photos app was already doing a good job of keeping tabs on all of that, I decided to give up this control, and let Photos look after everything.

After working this way for two years now, I can safely say that it hasn’t bothered me not being able to get straight to the image in a folder structure. This is partly because of how I organize my images and also thanks to the visual listing of images in the Photos app making it easy to browse and find things. If I need a JPEG of an image or a movie file, I just drag it from Photos to my desktop, and I get a copy. If I want a JPEG while I’m in Capture One Pro, I simply export a new one, so I really haven’t missed the folder access.

Importing my Finals in Photos

After each shoot that I do, I export a full sized JPEG to a temporary folder on my desktop. It’s easy to just scroll through each year in the Photos area of the Photos app, but because that contains all of my iPhone images and videos as well, that’s not always what I want.

To ensure that I can get to each year of my Final selects, I generally start by creating or navigating to my year folder for the current year and just drag my images to that album. Doing this imports the images not only to that album but to the overall Photos timeline view.

Photos Albums

Photos Albums

If you look at the second row down in this screenshot (above) you will also see a number of folders for my Japan winter tours, Iceland and Greenland tours. These are the tours that I have done since switching to Capture One Pro, and have basically replaced the Collections that I used to create in Lightroom to make it easy to share these images with people on my iPad as we travel, and also with my wife back home, as I’ll explain later.

I do of course keep these groupings as Collections in Capture One Pro as well, but I can’t share them from there, as I could with Lightroom Mobile. I also just like to keep these JPEGs handy for quick access, and because these will be synched across all of my devices in the same organization albums etc. Generally, when I’m on tour I create the tour album first, because I often remove photos or update the group as I tweak my selection, and once that’s finalized, I select the contents of my tour album and hit the plus button in the top toolbar, and just add the images to my album for that year.

Generally, when I’m on tour I create the tour album first, because I often remove photos or update the group as I tweak my selection, and once that’s finalized, I select the contents of my tour album and hit the plus button in the top toolbar, and just add the images to my album for that year.

It’s important to not drag the JPEGs from my desktop to multiple albums, because that imports the same images multiple times, giving me duplicates in my Photos timeline. I did that a few times when I started using Photos and it’s a pain to clean up.

Everything in One Place

As I’ve mentioned, one of the biggest benefits of using Apple Photos for me is that it stores all of my images and videos that I shoot on my iPhone right there, alongside my regular work, and I can enjoy the benefits of that in a number of ways that we’ll touch on today. To enable this, you do have to turn on iCloud Photo Library in the iCloud settings under Preferences for the Photos application (below).

Apple Photos iCloud Settings

Apple Photos iCloud Settings

Notice too that there’s an option to Download Originals to this Mac or to Optimize Mac Storage. I took this screenshot on my iMac, with lots of storage, so I have the originals of my photos and videos all stored locally on this machine. On my MacBook Pro where storage is at more of a premium, I select Optimize Mac Storage, to save disk space.

View Images on a Map

There were a few things that I missed from Lightroom when I switched to Capture One Pro, and one of them was the Map View. I’ve been geotagging my images for a number of years now, and find it useful to view my images on a map. Of course, everything that I shoot with my iPhone is automatically geotagged, so now all of my images and videos appear on the map, whether I shoot them with my iPhone or my DSLR camera.

Although Capture One Pro has the ability to show a geotagged image on the map, it simply opens Google Maps with a pin where the image was shot, and you can only view one image on the map at a time. I like to be able to open the map and see all images in my library on the same map, and that works very well in Lightroom, and is actually even better integrated into the Apple Photos apps, both on the Mac OS and iOS, once I have all of my final selects in my library.

Photos Information View

Photos Information View

In Photos on the Mac OS, if you hit the information icon in the top right, you get a nice little information window with EXIF data and a map showing where the image was made (above).

We can also just scroll down on any image to reveal a map, and there’s a Show Nearby Photos link, which will jump to a map and show you all geotagged images in your library that were shot in that area. You can, of course, zoom out on the map to show a wider area with all the images shot in that area. You can also just jump straight to a map view and browse images by location in the same way by clicking on the Places icon in the toolbar on the left or navigating to the Places album in the album view.

Apple Photos Places

Apple Photos Places

Portfolios Still via Lightroom Mobile

Another thing that I miss, but am still using Lightroom for, is Lightroom Mobile. I’m using it still to keep a copy of my portfolios on my devices. I could create my portfolios in the Photos app because all of my portfolio images are in there, but they are spread out throughout my Photos timeline, and it’s time-consuming to locate them and bring them into a portfolio album.

When I worked in Lightroom, it was a no-brainer, because I just added my images to a Collection for each portfolio, and then turned on syncing via Lightroom Mobile. I have continued to miss this, although I now have all of my portfolios in Collections in Capture One Pro, and I’m only updating them in Capture One Pro now. When I make changes to a portfolio now though, I export the images as JPEGs, and import them into Lightroom, and add them to my portfolio Collection in Lightroom, which is syncing with Lightroom Mobile.

I could create my portfolios in the Photos app, say for example by using keywords and Smart Albums, but that would require either reimporting freshly keyworded images, then removing duplicates. I could also go through my timeline and locate each image to add it to a portfolio album. Either way, it would be time-consuming, so for now, Lightroom Mobile makes more sense for my portfolios. Plus, I do really like the way Lightroom Mobile displays photos and gives us really smooth access to EXIF data.

Viewing EXIF Data in Photos App

I always encourage people to find their optimal exposure by themselves in the field, but I do often reference and talk about my settings in an educational situation, so being able to quickly check and discuss shooting settings is an important part of my work.

To enable me to view the EXIF data of my photos in Apple Photos, I’ve started to use an App called ViewExif. Unfortunately, if the full sized image isn’t cached on the device, ViewExif has to download it before it can show the EXIF data, so it isn’t very practical when I’m in other countries and don’t have Wifi, but it works for me most of the time. As you can see in this screenshot (below, left), once installed, you can add a ViewExif option to your share menu on the iPhone or iPad, and this opens a window (below, right) with lots of information about the image, as you scroll down.

As you can see in this screenshot (below, left), once installed, you can add a ViewExif option to your share menu on the iPhone or iPad, and this opens a window (below, right) with lots of information about the image, as you scroll down.

ViewExif Screenshots

ViewExif Screenshots

Another cool thing about ViewExif is that if you want to share an image without EXIF data, specifically location information, you can hit the Share button again, and get an option to share the image with or without metadata. That then sends you back to the iOS Share options, so it all works very smoothly.

Sharing Albums

As I mentioned earlier, when I’m traveling, I generally create an album for that specific tour and drop images into it as I make my initial selections. I often deleted these images after the tour when I come to a fully processed final selection, but having a living collection as I travel helps me in a couple of ways.

The first one is that if we have reasonable Wifi, I can sync my JPEGs via the Photos app, to my iPad and iPhone. This gives me a way to quickly share the work that I’m doing with people in my group when we are talking about what we’ve already shot. I try to avoid overly influencing them because I don’t like planting visual seeds, that might paralyze their own creativity, but sometimes, sharing photos of the location that you are still in can be a good way to inspire the participants.

The other thing that I like to do, is to share these photos with my wife so that she can follow along with my progress as I travel. To share images in Apple Photos, select the album or individual images and press the share button in the toolbar, and then select iCloud Photo Sharing.

It’s important to note though, that this does not share the album itself, so if you add more images to your album, they won’t automatically sync into your shared album. You basically create a new shared album, that appears in the left toolbar, and to add more images, you either need to select them, and then select iCloud Photo Sharing again, then select the same shared album, or drag your new images to the Shared album in the sidebar. I do wish this was smoother, but it works OK once you get used to it.

Favorites and Screensavers

I do like how the Favorites album works in Photos. A little while after a tour or shoot, I’ll go into my photo stream or the tour album that I created, and select a number of images that still stand out to me, and mark them as favorites. To mark images as Favorites on a Mac, you can either click the heart icon in the toolbar, or a quicker way is to hit the period key on the keyboard. On my 2016 MacBook Pro, a heart or Favorites button appears on the Touch Bar when I’m viewing images, and I sometimes use this as well, especially as I can then use both hands; one for navigation and the other to hit the Favorites button as I see something I like.

Once you have a few images marked as favorites, you can then use these in a number of places throughout your system. My favorite is to go in and set up the screensaver to cycle randomly through my Favorites folder, and this album is automatically updated as I add and remove images, so it’s a great way to keep the selection of images that are displayed as a screensaver updated.

Favorites in Screensaver

Favorites in Screensaver

Another thing that I like about this process is that I can sit with my iPad or iPhone and mark images as Favorites just by tapping the heart icon in the toolbar, and they are added to Favorites across all of my devices. This means I can add or remove images really easily on my own terms. I find that how I feel about my images changes sometimes based on how I’m viewing them, so being able to work on selections from various devices can once again make the process and resulting selections more intimate.

“Memories” Are Awesome!

The time that I get most fired up about Apple Photos, is when I am browsing through images on my iPhone or iPad, or on the Apple TV, and I play one of the automatically created Memory slideshows. I shoot a lot of short videos with my iPhone, and the quality is so good, that as I play a Memory slideshow when it occasionally switches to a video of a place I visited, it adds a beautiful extra dimension that really brings the presentation to life.

For example, I can be watching a Memory slideshow from Iceland, and all of a sudden there’ll be a video of the waves crashing against the beach with the ice on it, or I can be watching a slideshow of photos from one of my Snow Monkeys & Hokkaido tours, and the whooper swans at Sunayu will be paddling around together, and flapping their wings in slow motion.

You can save Memories and delete them if you want, but generally, I just keep them and go back through them over time. Although seemingly random, they are a beautiful way to recall what you were up to at any given point. My only wish is that they had a better dynamically updating titles. I have a Best of Last Month Memory album from October 2016, which I love.

It has some footage of a friend that I went shooting with here in Tokyo, and images and video from a trip to my wife’s home in the countryside. It truly is a series of wonderful memories. But it was only Last month in November of 2016. You can create Memories manually from Albums though, so there is a way around this, by copying everything to an album, and we’ll look at how to create Memories manually from an Album shortly.

Best of Last Month Memory

Best of Last Month Memory

As you can see in this screenshot (above) when you click the Play button to watch a Memory, you can select the theme, and change the music that will play along with you images and videos. Most of these are quite tasteful, and really do make for great ways to watch and recall your memories.

Creating Memories Manually

Although they are often amazing as spontaneous presentations, sometimes the Memory slideshows don’t contain images or videos that I’d like to see, so I occasionally just create an album and drop in some images and video clips, and just play that as a slideshow.

Once you have an album with your images and video, there is also an option in the top right to “Show as Memory”. Once you are in the Memory view, if you scroll down to the bottom, there is an option to “Add to Memories” as well, and then it just becomes another Memory like the automatically created ones.

Manually Created Memory

Manually Created Memory

I’ve found that it sometimes takes a while for videos to be included in these manually created Memories, but if you click on the Show All link below the title image, all photos and videos will be displayed, both on the screen, and in the Memory when you hit the play button.

Slideshows and Other Projects

Instead of just hitting the Play button in an album, if you want more control over the slideshow you can also create a Slideshow project. Just select your images or when you are inside an album click the + button in the top toolbar, and select Slideshow. I personally prefer FotoMagico for slideshows, so I haven’t used this myself, but it’s there as an option and looks pretty easy to use.

Similarly, you can use your images to create Calendars, Books, Cards and Prints from third party printing services. What’s available may depend on where you are based, and you can change the country for your Print Products Store in the Preferences. I love to print myself, so the Prints option doesn’t interest me, but for casual printing of calendars or cards, I may well give this a try at some point.

Sharing Photos via AirDrop

OK, so we’ve covered most of the points that I find fun and useful in Apple’s Photos application, but there are just a few other observations that I’d like to touch on before we finish.

I’ve noticed more and more on my tours, that as people photograph and video other group members, it’s become really easy to just share those images via AirDrop. On my Hokkaido Winter Landscape Adventure this year, pretty much as soon as we got onto the bus after a shoot, or at evening meals, someone would shout out to another member of the group, AirDrop! And then they’d transfer that person’s photo directly to the other person’s iPhone.

This results in us coming away from trips with photos and videos of ourselves that we would probably never receive after that person has gotten home. We shoot photos of others with all good intentions, but following up and actually sending those photos later by email is a bit of a pain. Apple has basically removed that barrier, so people are able to share photos much more easily and spontaneously, and this again leads to a much more intimate photo stream.

My Life of Photos

My Life of Photos

Not Taking My Work So Seriously!

The last thing I’d like to touch on, and one of the most important in my opinion, is that I have found from using Apple Photos and Memories that it has taught me to not take my images so seriously.

When I am out on a shoot, trying to make beautiful photos of nature and wildlife, I work hard at my art, and although it’s generally an enjoyable experience, I do tend to take my work quite seriously.

When I see the work alongside iPhone photos and video clips, shot more as a record of my journey, or even just a record of my life, it makes the entire experience more relaxed and less serious, and I really like that.

It’s such a wonderful feeling to be watching a slideshow of what I consider some of my best work, and then someone that I met while traveling shows up on the screen, or a funny sign that I noticed in Reykjavik reminds me of that wonderfully dry Icelandic humor.

I also just really like being able to look back at pretty much every image I’ve shot digitally since 2001, and a whole bunch of scanned images and old family photos, that I’ve imported into the Photos application.

I recall sitting on the last night of my third Japan Winter Tour this year, with our amazing bus driver, and he went through just about every one of these images, and basically watched my life for the last 17 years, and was also able to see me grow as a photographer as well.

There were also many photos that are just my iPhone records of my life though, and so I wouldn’t usually share these with others, but that is part of the intimacy that Apple Photos brings, and I am totally enjoying it.

If you’re an Apple user, and you’ve written off Photos for any reason, I hope this has given you a bit of an insight into how easily it makes managing your images and keeping a record of your life right there on all of your devices. I wouldn’t dream of replacing Capture One Pro or Lightroom with Photos as my raw processing software, but for the uses I’ve covered today, I really am enjoying working with Photos.

Morocco 2017

Before we close, I’d like to quickly mention that I’ve set up a new tour to Morocco from October 29 to November 10, 2017. We’ll be photographing the wonderful architecture, landscapes and culture of this beautiful country, as well as using camel handlers as models to photograph them leading their camels through the sand dunes etc. We don’t have much time to lock in on this, so if you might like to join me please check out the details at

Morocco Tour 2017

Morocco Tour 2017


Show Notes

ViewExif App:

Music by Martin Bailey


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Astropad Graphics Tablet iPad App Review (Podcast 483)

Astropad Graphics Tablet iPad App Review (Podcast 483)

Today we take a look at an amazing new app for the iPad called Astropad Graphics Tablet, which coupled with a stylus like the Adonit Jot Touch, essentially turns your iPad into a powerful, professional graphics tablet.

Astropad is still a relatively new app as of August 2015, but the small team of ex-Apple employees behind it are working fast and furiously to make it a true, professional grade graphics tablet. It’s pretty much already there, although we do need the ability to save and change shortcuts on an app by app basis to really make this a true alternative to something like the Wacom Cintiq graphics tablet.

Please don’t take that as a negative statement though. I’m told that application profiles to save our shortcuts are in the works, and as you’ll see in my video, even with the functionality already implemented, you can’t go wrong for just $19.99 for a limited time, and even when the price goes back to $29.99, it will be worth every penny.

Adonit Jot Touch Stylus

Adonit Jot Touch Stylus

If you already own an iPad, you can pick up Astropad right away, and give it a try with your fingers, but to really get the most out of Astropad, you need a stylus.

I originally rushed in and bought a Wacom Creative Stylus 2, which is a great stylus, but I found it to be very inaccurate when used with Astropad. I spoke with the team and found that the Adonit Jot Touch stylus is the way to go.

The Adonit Jot Touch stylus is what really takes the Astropad Graphics Tablet app to the professional level. You can work with the tiniest brushes and tools, and you paint exactly where the tip of the stylus touches your iPad screen.

I have been blown away by my experience with Astropad so far, and I know it’s only going to get better. Take a look at my video to see what you can do for just $19.99 for Astropad (for a limited time) and $99.99 for the Adonit Jot Touch stylus.

Show Notes

Astropad Graphics Tablet in the iTunes App Store:

Adonit Jot Touch stylus:

Music by Martin Bailey


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Podcast 246 : The iPad for the Photographer

Podcast 246 : The iPad for the Photographer

I picked up my iPad on May 28, which was the day that the iPad went on sale in most countries outside of the US. Today I’ll talk about how I’m using my iPad now, and throw in a few useful app suggestions, as well as covering what I’m not doing, with reasons why, and a few small areas that really need to be improved to make this little device the photographer’s Utopia, if it isn’t already.

Feel the Quality

The first thing you’ll notice when you hold an iPad, for those that haven’t had a chance to yet that is, is that it is the perfect size to just sit on a sofa and hold when you view eBooks or browse Web sites etc. The weight is enough to be able to feel the quality, but not enough to start to feel heavy while using the iPad.

Portfolio Viewer

Of course, the most obvious use of the iPad for the photographer is to use it to show your portfolio of images to others. One of the first things I did was sync my best shots to the iPad, just to see how good they look, and they look great! I had high expectation, and it totally lived up to them. The screen is 9.7” diagonally, with 1024 x 768 resolution at 132 pixels per inch, so it’s incredibly sharp.

MBP iPad Home Screen

MBP iPad Home Screen

The iPad Technical Specs state that the screen is Fingerprint-resistant, which I think must mean that fingerprints are easily removable, which they are. It’s misleading though in that these things do get covered in fingerprints. After you’ve washed your hands, and there’s no oil in your skin, they are fine for a while, but unless you wash your hands every time you touch the screen, there will be finger prints. I find though that when there are noticeable finger prints, a microfiber cloth like the ones we use to clean our lenses will clean the screen with a few wipes, and also, after you have washed your hands, you can easily remove the finger prints by just rubbing your thumb or finger over them a couple of times.

Don’t Resize for the iPad

After I’d simply copied my library of best shots to the iPad, I exported my current 44 image Nature of Japan portfolio to a directory on my hard disk, and synced that to the iPad. I initially made a mess of this though by trying to be clever, and resizing my images. Because the screen is 1024 pixels wide, I tried exporting my images with a maximum long edge of 1024 pixels. This of course though stops you from being able to zoom in on the images. This was actually how I had my portfolio synced when I met Marcus Bain, a great photographer living here in Japan, the day after I got my iPad. The first thing Marcus did when I showed him the portfolio is used the multi-point technology, where you place two fingers on the screen and then spread them apart to zoom the image, and of course, this doesn’t give you a sharp image if you have the photos resized to just 1024 pixels. Luckily I had my other images on there still, so Marcus could still have a play with them and check sharpness, but the first thing I did when I got home was re-exported my portfolio without any resizing.

I’m sure there’s an optimum size to resize images to for the iPad, but as iTunes will do all of the resizing and sharpening necessary to display images in amazing quality and give you a certain amount of zoom-ability, I decided to just export my images without any resizing at all. I can then use that folder of JPEGs for slide shows etc. as well so it really isn’t a big deal to have the full-sized JPEGs sitting on my hard drive.

Photos Currently Ordered by Creation Date

One thing that I noticed though, that I don’t like about the iPad, and I have raised an enhancement request with Apple about this, is that you can’t specify how images are sorted in the Photos application, which is the native image viewer on the iPad. I usually order the images in my portfolio in a pleasing or aesthetic way, and then when I export my portfolio images from Lightroom, I have a preset that will add a two digit number and an underscore to the start of the file name as it saves the images to my hard drive. This means that when you view the images sorted by file name, they are in your intended order. The iPhone actually orders images by file name, so I always have my portfolio in the order I want it on my iPhone.

So, I was surprised that when I cranked up the Photo viewer on the iPad, and saw my images in a totally different order. On closer inspection, it seems that the images are ordered by the capture date of the original digital image. Now, this of course is another way in which I’d like to view images. I have a whole bunch of folders that are just named by year, and these are more like a yearly photographic diary that I like to have with me, and this is great sorted by creation date, because it starts are January 1st, and ends with December 31st.

Apple are great at taking away confusing configurations and decisions from the end user, but on this occasion, I think we need a little more control. My enhancement request was for the ability to sort on file name as well as create date, and to have the ability to specify ascending or descending order. I also want to be able to do this by folder, and not a generic setting for all image folders on the device, because there are times when capture date is preferred. OK, so that’s negative point number one. Not a showstopper by any means, but I hope Apple decides to change this functionality, in the near future.

Handling Sub-folders Not So Graceful

One other negative thing about the Photos application is that when you sync from iTunes, if you select a folder to sync that contains lots of sub-folders, they are all displayed as one larger album on the iPad, even when you select the Albums tab in the Photos application. This is annoying because I want to display my best shots in their year folders, and have my portfolio shots in another folder. To make this possible, you have to go down a level in your file system, and tell iTunes that you want to sync each of the folders individually. This means that I can’t just say, OK, sync my Best Shots folder, and make sure that my yearly folders and my portfolio folder are in there. I have to select to sync each folder on the lower level by selecting each one of them in iTunes. I can live with this, but I’m not a fan of changing how I organize my computer because of conditions imposed on me from third parties.

Slide-Shows with Music

The Slide Show feature in the Photos app is pretty good. You can turn music on and select any track that you have synced to the iPad in your music library. There are also a number of transitions to choose from such as Cube, Dissolve, Ripple, Wipe and Origami. Wipe is probably the most orthodox transition, but these are great to play with, and the Origami transition can be fun, but I find the way it crops images to make its three image spread can be a little unkind to nature photos. Definitely worth having a play with this though.

Full Screen Image with Thumbnails

Full Screen Image with Thumbnails Bar

When viewing an image full screen, if you tap the image, you’ll get a narrow thumbnail bar at the bottom of the screen, and when you run your finger along it, it literally whizzes through your images as fast as you can run your finger along the thumbnail bar. You can also hold the image with two fingers, and turn it, and the image will rotate under your fingers, as well as expand and contract. This isn’t particularly useful, but it gets a good reaction when showing people how cool the iPad is.

Hold and Rotate – Cool But Meaningless

Pinching closes the image and returns to the thumbnail view, and then if you pinch the screen again, you will go up to the next album level. To open albums or images you can either tap them, or use two fingers, spreading them apart, and of course simple swiping on images and album pages will move you swiftly through the albums or images on the screen.

Rotate Images

Rotate Images

Picture Frame

Before we move on from the display of photos, one other great feature is the Picture Frame. If you go to the Settings panel on the iPad, you’ll see an option called Picture Frame. In there you can set a transition and a few other settings, and you can also select to display all photos or specific albums, and then when you turn your iPad on when you see that slider that you have to slide with your finger to unlock the iPad, you’ll notice a little icon with a flower in it to the right of the slider. If you click this, you will automatically turn your iPad into a Picture Frame, and the images in the album you selected will start to display on the iPad, without you having to go into the iPad, select the Photos app, navigate to your album and then turning on the slide show. This is very handy if you just want to quickly show your images, or even set the iPad down on a table on a stand maybe, and just use it as a digital picture frame.

No Adobe Flash!

I can’t believe I have so much to say just about the Photos app! Let’s move on to some other great things that you have to check out. As I mentioned, Web pages look absolutely amazing on the iPad, as long as they are not Flash based of course. I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about this, so I won’t go into detail, but basically the iPad does not, and from what we’re hearing probably never will support Adobe Flash. Sure, there are arguments that it’s a battery life hog and that there may be a few bugs in Flash, whatever. I personally think that it should just be supported, because if there were bugs, Adobe would fix them, like they always do, so I wish Apple would just get over this and give us Flash.

Web Sites Do Look Great!

Apart from that though, really, Web sites look amazing on the iPad. I have found myself doing more web browsing than ever before, just because I can do it from the sofa, sitting next to my wife, who I think is also pleased I bought the iPad, just because it’s keeping off my PC more than she could have imagined.

So Do Videos!

Videos also look great on the iPad. You can sync videos just like Photos, from the same dialog in fact, and if you have videos in your iTunes library, it will try to sync them to the iPad as well. The speaker on the iPad is surprisingly good for the size, so you don’t always need to use earphones, unless of course you’re annoying other people with the music or sounds coming out of the speaker. Some sites like will dish-up video to the iPad too, so you can go over to for example, and check out my videos if you are looking for some video content to give a try. Currently though, the Vimeo fullscreen video button doesn’t actually go to fullscreen on the iPad. If you want to go true fullscreen, you have to download the video and sync it to the iPad.

Generally Very Pretty

The email client on the iPad is pretty good. I like the way, as with many apps, when you turn the iPad up into the vertical orientation, it automatically gets rid of the side bar, and just displays the email. If you get mail with graphics in the iPad does a great job of formatting those, as well as plain text email. The Calendar and Contacts apps are also nicely formatted. I think Apple has done a great job of really utilizing the additional screen real estate that the iPad has.

My Essential Apps


I don’t use Notes on the iPad, as I have Evernote, which brings us to some of the third party apps that I don’t think I’d like to be without. The iPad is great for photos and mail, and web browsing, etc. right out of the box, but it really comes into its own when you start to customize it with your own selection of apps from the iTunes App Store.

Evernote is an application that basically allows you to create text notes, which you can type directly to the new note or old note that you are editing. You can also record audio notes, and attach them, as well as attaching photos etc. You can organize your notes into various Notebooks, and tag them, for easy searching later.

The beauty of Evernote though, is that all of the notes that you create are automatically synced to a central secure server, and then if you install the Evernote client on your Mac or Windows PC, or even your iPhone or many other mobile devices, you can continue to access notes that you made not only on that device, but on all of your devices. If you are on a PC for example, you can capture entire Web pages, or copy PDF documents or just about any document to Evernote, and have it available on all other devices, and there’s no need for any manual syncing at all. You can only display a certain type of document mind. The Evernote reader has to support it, but it does an OK job with Word Docs and Excel Files for example, and PDFs display OK, although not optimal for the iPad, but none of the PDF viewers really do a good job yet, but we’ll get to that shortly. Evernote have a free account, into which you can upload up to 40MB a month, and sync between all of your devices without paying a penny. If you find that you are using it a lot though, you might want to consider a Premium account for $5/month or $45/year. I have a premium account and have not regretted it once, especially now that I can get at all of my notes from an iPad too.


For syncing files between computers more than notes, another service that I use is Dropbox. Dropbox has a free service where you can sync up to 2GB of data across as many machines as you like, but if you want to go above 2GB, there are a couple of options. For 50GB, it will cost you $9.99/ month or $99/year, and for 100GB it will cost you $19.99/month or $199/year. I have signed up for the Pro 50 account, and I now sync my best images and all my eBooks and other important files across all of my machines to save me from having to sync them manually. And of course, there’s an iPad client for Dropbox that does a pretty good job at opening all the common file types. It will also give you a basic image viewer so that you can view your JPEG images, but it does not have a slideshow feature in the iPad version as of June 2010. The iPhone client for Dropbox actually has a very nice photo viewer though, so I’m sure it won’t be too long before this is added to the iPad version as well.

Twitterrific & TweetDeck

Tweetdeck Vertical Orientation

Tweetdeck in Vertical Orientation

There are some great Twitter Clients that have been redesigned for the iPad too. I have installed and continuously switch between two clients which are Twitterrific and TweetDeck. Both are free for the iPad at the moment, but Twitterrific has some ads at the top of the feeds right now. I will buy a Premium version when available to get rid of the ads. Tweetdeck has no ads and is still free too. I prefer the layout of TweetDeck on the iPad, but I prefer the way Twitterrific behaves for retweeting etc. They’re both great though, and I know there are a bunch of other good Twitter clients out there, but these are my personal favorites. Be sure to grab the iPad versions from the App Store when searching for these apps, as you can download and install the iPhone versions, and even use them, but they don’t make use of your nice big iPad screen, so I wouldn’t advise it.

We’re kind of going off topic here in that Twitter is not specifically for photography, but there is a pretty big community of photographers on Twitter, that are sharing a huge amount of useful information all day long, so if you are not already using Twitter, I suggest you give it a try, especially if you have just bought an iPad.

Sobees for Facebook

Continuing with the Social Networking (for Photographers) theme, if you use Facebook, you need to grab a copy of Sobees for Facebook. This is a great app that gives you a view of latest status updates from all of your friends, as well as latest images, links and videos. The People tab is amazing, in that it gives you a largish thumbnail of the profile photo for all of your friends. I was actually quite touched by this view, seeing all of my family and friends from around the world that I have connected with on Facebook. As I scrolled down I saw the faces of many of you that I know from the MBP Community as well, and it was just really nice. There’s a photos tab and an events tab too, that are great for seeing the shots uploaded from friends and events that are being planned. The Profile tab shows your own profile and all of your recent status updates and interactions. You can also scroll through Friend’s thumbnail and view their profiles too.

Reuters News Pro

Another loosely Photography related app that I want to mention is one that Roy Booth from the UK recommended on our Photography Forum, and that is Thomson Reuters News Pro. This is a great app for catching up on world events, as well as financial information such as Currencies, Markets and Stocks. The photography connection here though is that there is a Picture section, and in there, you have basically a screen full of thumbnails, and when you tap on them, you see a page that is mostly a photo from a current news event, with some text explain what the photo is about with a little bit of news to back it up. It’s a great way to view some amazing photography at the same time as catch up with world events.


If you don’t subscribe to digital magazines with a company called Zinio before you get an iPad, you have to start to use them when you do. Zinio have their own reader for the iPad, as well as the iPhone and desktop computers, but one of the main things that I wanted to do on the iPad was sit and read my Zinio magazines, and here’s the photography connection. For a few years now, I have subscribed to magazines like Popular Photography, ShutterBug, American Photo and Layers Magazine. Zinio subscriptions range from a bit cheaper than the hard copy magazine, to ridiculously cheaper, and they are delivered to your computer or iPad as soon as they are released. There’s no waiting for the postman, and of course, no postage charges.

Zinio Library View

Zinio Library View

Rich Content & Interactive Magazines

Also, with the advent of the iPad, innovative magazines like National Geographic are now making their magazine more interactive, including animation and video clips, right there in the magazine. When my hard-copy National Geographic magazine subscription runs out in December, I’ll be switching to Zinio too. Not only is it a richer experience, with the clear type and amazingly clear and vivid photographs on the iPad, but the interactivity takes it to the next level, and no trees have to die to get me my copy! How cool is that!?

Zinio – Simply the Best

In my opinion, the Zinio Reader for the iPad is the only eBook reader at the moment that has got it right when it comes to the way you store and read books. You have a number of different ways to view your library of magazines, and then when you open them, you will see either a single page or a double page spread, depending on the orientation of your iPad. If you have it horizontal, you’ll see two pages, and you’ll see just one page, when the iPad is vertical. Of course there’s a little button on the side of the iPad if you want to stop this from happening, say if you are reading lying down or something. When you double tap or use two fingers to zoom on a page, you can zoom in even closer to the text for easy reading, although it’s possible to read most text without zooming. When you have finished reading a page, you just swipe in the direction that you want to turn a page, and the book will advance for you. If you touch the page, you also get a nice thumbnail bar, so you can visually search through the magazine and then tap on the thumbnail to jump to any page.

Layers Magazine in Zinio - Double Page with Thumbnails

Layers Magazine in Zinio – Double Page with Thumbnails

I have tried a number of other PDF readers so that I can read some of the eBooks that I have bought, but so far none of them have this rich a reading experience. A few have come close, and some even offer double page spreads, which I really want when reading an eBook, even though I’ll probably zoom in to actually read the text. But the one reader that I found that does have double pages does not have a zoom function. They say it’s coming, but I’m not going to call out the name of any of the other readers I’ve tried until they get this feature right.

The Early Edition

One last application that I want to mention, because we photographers tend to keep track of a lot of Web sites and information, is Early Edition, which is an RSS reader with a difference. RSS readers are often relatively boring, and they just give you a list of the feeds you subscribe to, and when you click on them, you see a list of the most recent articles on the Web sites that you are subscribed to. Well, Early Edition takes those feeds and creates newspaper pages out of them, so you get a headline made from the latest post, then three more sections from the next three posts, and then you get six smaller sections from the next six posts, so you see the 10 most recent posts from your selected feed on the first page, and it creates multiple pages for feeds that have more than 10 recent posts listed. I’ll put a screenshot on the blog and in the Podcast to so that you can see exactly what I mean. Of course, if you don’t have a 3G version of the iPad, if you sync before you leave home in the morning, you can read all of your favorite feeds offline while you are on the train or wherever you’re going.

MBP Blog in Early Edition RSS Reader

MBP Blog in Early Edition RSS Reader

Doesn’t and Won’t Stop There

There are a whole slew of other apps available of course, and we are only just seeing the start of what people are going to develop for this platform. I have touched on the main apps that have been developed or updated specifically for the iPad today. All of the apps that I bought for the iPhone, including our very own MBP Companion App for the iPhone work fine on the iPad, and there’s a little 2X button to even have them fill the screen. They’re usable, but I’m not finding them as aesthetically pleasing as iPad specific apps, and they generally don’t make good use of the larger screen size.

Other Areas to Note

Amazing Battery Life!

A few other things to touch on before we wrap up for today are that the battery life on the iPad is amazing! I have used it pretty heavily for two or three days at a time before recharging the battery. This is a good thing too, because most people don’t realize that you cannot charge the iPad from most current PCs USB ports, like you can an iPhone or iPod. Some Mac computers apparently have enough voltage on the USB ports to charge an iPad, but from what I gather, PCs generally won’t do this. I find though that I can get at least a day or two out of the battery, so I just check to see how much charge is left before going to bed, and if it’s down to around 50-25%, I’ll charge it overnight.

Soft Keyboard, OK

For typing email etc. there’s a soft keyboard that appears on screen, which is OK. I usually touch type, which means I don’t look at the keyboard when I type, and that is difficult, because you don’t have physical keys to rest your fingers on, but it’s not impossible. The more I type, the easier it’s getting to type relatively fast on the iPad.

Hardware Keyboard/Dock, Silly

There is a hardware keyboard from Apple for the iPad, but it docks to the iPad in the vertical position, which is a bit silly in my opinion. Pretty soon someone will design a keyboard that allows you to dock with the iPad in a horizontal orientation and then it will be worth considering. Because the iPad has Bluetooth though, I’m sure you can just pair up with pretty much any Bluetooth keyboard and use that if you want to. I really just don’t see me using the iPad as a production machine as such though. For me, it’s mainly about consuming information with basic interactivity.

Not a Mobile Digital Workflow for the Photographer

Some people may have been expecting me to tell you how to load your digital photos on to the iPad and manipulate them with various apps, and upload them to Flickr or your Web site today. If you were hoping for that, I’m sorry to disappoint, but I have literally no interest in doing that sort of thing with my iPad. As much as I love this little baby already, I do not consider it the best device for doing that sort of thing. It’s not that you can’t use the iPad for some basically image selection and upload to a Web site, I just don’t think I’ll ever do that. I want to embed meta data into the file, and do some color management before I upload it anywhere, so if I need to work with images on the road, I’ll take my Laptop PC. It’s just going to be so much easier on a laptop because it’s designed for this sort of thing.

You Need This Device!

So, in summary, and this is the part that you have to print out and show your partner to get them to agree to you buying an iPad…

Photographers are going to get more out of an iPad than most people. Especially for the online photographer that makes the most of Social Media and digital communication to further your hobby or business. Whether you simply want to show your images to family and friends, or you are going to take the iPad with you to show potential clients your portfolio, the wow factor when you show people images on this device is huge. So far, everyone that I’ve handed the iPad to, to view my images, has just said wow, and then their mouths drop open.

The iPhone was great for showing images to people, and because you always have it with you, it will continue to be so, but I am going to be carrying my iPad with me as often as possible too, because you never know when you are going to get a chance to show your images to someone, and the more you show your images, the more chance you have of getting assignments or selling prints etc. I really believe that an iPad will change the way we consume our photography related information, share our own ideas and information through Social Media, and change the way we interact with our clients and potential customers.

Sure, it’s only been 10 days for me, but this device has already changed my life. I’ll update you again in a few months, and let you know what new applications are available then for the photographer.

If you are sitting on the fence though, wondering whether or not you should buy an iPad, jump off the fence, and run to the nearest Apple Store!

Podcast show-notes:

I’d also like to mention that there is a problem with the iPad in that it does not display the images in Enhanced Podcasts yet. I don’t know if this is a bug, or something that Apple did intentionally, because the images in Enhanced Podcasts are too small to be displayed full screen on the iPad, but it doesn’t work at the moment. I have provided feedback to Apple via their Web site, and I’ll update you if this situation improves, but for now, you won’t be able to view images in the Enhanced Podcast. The good thing here though is that the blog and my online galleries and Podcast page look great on the iPad, so you can go and follow along on the Web site while listening to the audio on the iPad, and this may actually be a better option for now.

Here are iTunes App Store links for each application I mentioned:





Sobees for Facebook:

Thomson Reuters News Pro:

Zinio Magazine Newsstand Reader:

The Early Edition:

Win a Kata 3N1-33 Bag!

Music from Music Alley:


Download the Enhanced Podcast M4A files directly.