iPad apps and workflow for photographers (Part 2)

iPad apps and workflow for photographers (Part 2)

This is the 2nd part of our guest article from photographer Mark Cornwell how has been describing how he uses his iPad 2 in his photography business.

Read the first part iPad apps and workflow for photographers (Part 1) 


So, on to two tools which have also revolutionised my work.

I visit mums and take photos of their precious bundles. I then go back to them to show them their images (Michael’s posts on the life of a photographer in the Nappy Valley sounds like me but in a different area).

A few months ago I would have burned a DVD to show a slideshow of their baby on their TV. Then I showed them the images on my ageing laptop. Indeed since the iPad I have not used the laptop in this context.

There are a LOT of photo management tools out there. I have tried a few and been disappointed. These two, in combination, do everything that I want.

Now I turn up with my sample products and my iPad and a long HDMI cable. I offer to plug this into the client’s TV and then we switch to the right HDMI channel and review the pictures.

Photo Manager Pro Comes in at the princely sum of £1.99

Photo Folder also comes in at £1.99

I’ll talk about Photo Manager Pro first.

I now have a couple of folders of complete weddings and complete wedding albums plus my portfolio work on the iPad in Photo Manager. I use Photo Manager for all of my slideshow use. It does have limitations, the main one (for me) being lack of ability to synchronise a music track to the slides involved. For both this and for the Photo Folder I would like to choose different music tracks for different folders. Currently this is not possible.

When I link up the iPad to a TV (or hand it over if the client has not got a modern TV) I let them watch a show in this tool.

Going into a folder gives a clean thumbnail of each shot there. And you can see individual files

All of those items on the top and bottom bar will hide if you press the screen or when you start the slideshow. The only one I use is “Play” to play the slideshow.

You can choose what image (or images) to set for the folder thumbnail and also compare images. I have yet to use the compare function for real in this tool.

Loading files is a doddle using your favourite FTP tool. I use CuteFTP and have had no problems.

One oddity is that unless you exit the app or go into a folder and back to the folder view the newly loaded folders do not show.

Setting up the slideshow is easy and you get a clean slideshow with no extra stuff on the screen. My tip is to set up a playlist for different shows so that you can switch style quickly.

This tool is great for slideshows. It is great for giving to a client to flick through the images. It is not great for selecting. The favourites is not “per folder” but for “all images in the tool”.

Is not as visually appealing. I use my iPad nearly always in horizontal mode but its splash screen is in portrait mode for some reason. Not a big issue but, to me, indicative that the visual appeal has not been built in to the same degree. In this image I have turned off the names (to protect the innocent) but you can see it is not as pretty as the Photo Manager Pro.

Loading it via wireless is just as easy (also FTP). In this case the folders show up immediately.

It too has a slideshow and options are similar but the impact of the show itself is not as good as the other tool.

Once inside a folder you start to see why I like this tool at all. Star ratings.

Before the iPad I used both LightRroom and Bridge for image selection – Bridge in my baby work. I used star ratings a lot.

Rating a picture is as easy as it looks. Click on the star. You can do this when viewing an image full screen or as thumbnails.

One irritation that iPad app designers seem to share is they try to make full use of the screen space. This means that they put things to the edges of the screen. I use a cover for my iPad. I find I often have to push the iPad up/down to “reach” the bit I need to click on. This app has star ratings in the bottom left corner of the screen when an image is full-screen. They are HARD to click on easily and are very small. Often I have to press several times to get them selected, or to re-select when I meant to hit “two stars” and hit “three stars” by mistake. Bigger, stars, in a middle-bottom position would be preferable.

Having selected the “favourites” from the first round I can show “one star” images or two star, three star and so on.

It is very easy to narrow down the selection by selecting several images and going between them to compare them.

My only wish for the ratings is that I could choose “two stars or more” or “two stars or less” (or any other number of stars, of course!). As it stands, if you are viewing “one star” selections and then select one as two star, view it “full screen” and go back to the thumbnails it will then vanish from your thumbnails as they are one star images. I would like to exclude “unstarred” but show “one or more” or “two or more” (and occasionally “one or less” if they want to look at what they did not select).

Photo Folder is good. It is great for selection – despite being a bit fiddly here and there.

It is not as pretty as Photo Manager Pro.

For showing off my work I use the former. For selecting I use the latter. I’m not sure that the clients even notice that I have switched tool to be honest. But I do.

If I could combine the looks of Photo Manager Pro with the selection capability of Photo Folder then I would go for just one tool. Right now I use both and, for the price, they are both excellent.

Mark Cornwell
smile collector