February 27


3 Essential iPad Apps for Photographers

By Dan

February 27, 2012

Photosmith for iPad

Most photographers were pretty darn excited when Apple first introduced the iPad two years ago. After all, images look utterly fantastic on it’s gorgeous, high resolution screen.

Also, the iPad is highly portable; it makes even a Mac Book Pro look bulky. Add to that, the growing number of awesome apps that keep coming out, (Adobe Photoshop Touch for iPad hit the iTunes store today), photographers are finding more ways to incorporate this cool, futuristic touch screen device into their daily workflow, besides just showing off their portfolios. Some photographers are even leaving their laptops at home and just taking along iPad on trips and photo assignments.

Here are just three main apps that I use on the iPad in my photography life, not counting all the eBook reading, Flipboard-ing and social media stuff that I do on it. There are, of course, many more; leave a comment and list the useful iPad apps that you use as a photographer.

1. Easy Release- For Obtaining Model Releases

I’ve been using Easy Release app on my iPhone ever since it came out. It’s the best model release app that I’ve found, and as good as it works on the iPhone, it’s even better on the iPad. The larger touch screen makes it so much easier for the model to read and sign the release. Plus, it just looks, well… more professional.

It works really well if you have an assistant on the photo shoot; you just give them the iPad and have them walk around and get releases while you do your camera thing. Again, very professional. Easy Release. Get it.

 2. Photosmith- For Editing, Captioning and Keywording

I’ve had my eye on Photosmith app, the mobile companion for Adobe Lightroom for awhile now and I finally got a chance to download and try it out. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed.

Photosmith allows you use your iPad to caption, keyword, tag, rate and apply other metadata to new photos, assign them to collections, and then import the tagged images into Lightroom on your main computer. You can also share selected images right from the app to Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox or via email.

By using the Camera Connection Kit, you can upload photos directly from your camera or memory card to the iPad, do your edit and assign relevant metadata with Photosmith, and then sync to Lightroom. I’ve tried it with both RAW and JPEG images from the Nikon D700 the Fuji X10 and it works flawlessly with both cameras.

Obviously, there are limitations here. If you’re uploading multiple cards of RAW images, you may run out of room on your iPad. At this time, there’s no way to transfer images from the iPad to an external hard drive, so for extended trips and big photo shoots, this may not be practical.

However, you could always process images, upload the them to Dropbox and then delete them from the iPad. Then, when you get home from your trip or photo shoot, you can bring the shots back into Lightroom right from Dropbox. If you’re shooting JPEGs only, say on vacation, or at a family function, this may not even be an issue.

I see this as a great way to preview images with a client or with your model right after the shoot.  You can sit down together at the coffee shop or on location, preview the shots and choose your selects on the iPad before uploading to Lightroom or to Dropbox. At any rate, Photosmith certainly allows for expanded freedom and flexibility for iPad toting photographers.

3. Blogsy- For Blogging on the iPad

As you know, I tend to blog. On the road, I blog from my laptop, or from my laptop. Last fall, when I went to the PDN PhotoPlus Expo, I want sans laptop and did all my blogging, professional correspondence and social media work right from the iPad. Worked out just fine.

Lately, I’ve been blogging with Blogsy app, and let me say this- Blogsy rocks. If you have an iPad and you blog, you should absolutely get this app.

Blogsy is an incredibly well designed app that lets you write, access and upload blog posts to your server right from the iPad. Sure, WordPress for iPad lets you do this too, but Blogsy is SO much better.

The visually appealing interface is incredibly easy to use, it’s much less buggy and it allows you to import content right from your iPad Photo Library, your Flickr, Picasa and You Tube accounts, as well as from the web. You can even assign tags, categories, create posts and pages – pretty much do everything you need to update your blog right from the iPad. Plus, you can send the HTML formatted content as an email message right from the iPad.

If you’re a blogging photographer, then definitely check out Blogsy.

About the author

Hi, I'm Dan Bailey, a 20+ year pro outdoor and adventure photographer, and official FUJIFILM X-Photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.

As a top rated blogger and author my goal is to help you become a better, more confident and competent photographer, so that you can have as much fun and creative enjoyment as I do.

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  • I came across PhotoSmith a while ago but always found the space limitation to be too much of an er…limitation! Even with a 64Gb iPad there’s not a huge amount of space for images from a 5D2. I tend to take my netbook with 500Gb drive with me instead which allows me to use LR proper and also get several backups done. Not as “sexy” as using my iPad tho!

    However you can now get HyperDrive HDs that connect to your iPad – allowing up to 750Gb. They’ve also now got a ColorSpace for iPad with is the same portable backup device you’re probably familiar with, but can connect to the iPad via the camera connection kit so I presume would resolve the space limitations for PhotoSmith usage.


    Mind you, they cost the same as an iPad! I’ll be sticking with my netbook 🙂

  • I definitely recommend Easy Release as well. It’s by far the best model release app I’ve used. I’ve been using it on my iPhone. It’s so easy to create a release, get a signature and then email it off to both parties.

  • Duncan, I agree, the iPad/Photosmith workflow certainly has limitations, but in certain situations, it can get the job done. I have seen the HyperDrive, but like other iPad compatible hard drives, at this point, there is no way to transfer files form the iPad to another drive without first syncing to a Mac. That’s why DropBox seems to be the best option for backing up if you’re working with a large number of photos in Photosmith.

    Keep in mind, this is all still very brand new technology, and I expect that in time, these kinds of issues will be solved. Look how far we’ve come already!

  • Didnt realise the HyperDrive had that limitation – that’s a bit of a deal breaker right there 🙁

    Agreed its all new and there’s lots of scope for improvement going forward – exciting times! For me now I’m happy with netbook + HD option for on the go processing – and still take my iPad with me – but agree photosmith on iPad is a (less) usable alternative if that’s what you’ve got handy.

    To add another app, if you haven’t seen check out onOne’s Camera Remote which lets you control your camera including live view from iPad or iPhone. Limitation is you need a wifi network and a computer connected to the camera but you could do some cool stuff with it. (using personal hotspot on an iPhone to connect the iPad to the computer would work I would think – albeit using an awful lot of kit to accomplish it!)

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    Terry Bourk

    I have read you new book “Behind the Landscape.” I could not “put it down” meaning that I kept at it because each photo you presented/analyzed was interesting and informative. I am trying to develop an eye for composition (both the scene and the light).

    Thank you! The examples you present and the suggestions are very helpful. Purple Mountains, McKinley River and Wonder Lake are fascinating.

    Roger Sinclair

    You have done it again! Another triumph.

    Your generosity to share, the clarity of thought and concise explanation thereof is brilliant. Perhaps I should also mention the beautiful photos and the talent necessary to produce them.

    Thank you, Dan.