When the craze of iPads began, I remember thinking, “What is the big deal?” To me, an iPad appeared to be an oversized iPod a great toy, but certainly not a work tool. Now that developers have had time to create some outstanding apps and external devices, I have discovered that an iPad is an integral part of my photography workflow.
Teaching photography is my day job, but in my free time I travel and shoot all that inspires me. My desktop computer is setup perfectly for my workflow so I have not invested in a laptop. But, I still needed something to take on my trips to download, sort, email and post images. Since I shoot raw images, I thought my only option was a laptop. Then I attended Terry White’s sessions at NAPP’s Photoshop World 2011 and realized an iPad wasn’t a toy, but was actually my perfect solution. I went to the Apple store in Las Vegas that night.
Since purchasing the iPad, I use it on location to back up my photos. I download my images using a compact flash card reader (not made by Apple) to transfer raw images to my iPad. I still retain the original images on the memory cards until I return home, but knowing I have a backup without having to lug around a laptop is a definite plus. Many iPad apps now offer support for raw images like Photogene and Snapseed. I use these apps to make quick adjustments to my raw photos and then export them to the iPad as jpg’s. The original file is not touched but instead a new version is created when I export. The images are now ready to show a client, email or upload as needed.
If I need an image from the iPad while on the road and I don’t have wifi or email available to me, no problem. PhotoFast makes a product called an i-FlashDrive. This dongle has a dock connector (iPad 1 &2) on one side and an usb plug on the other side. They come in sizes of 8GB, 16GB and 32GB and with the free app from PhotoFast I transfer files (jpg’s, pdfs, etc) to this portable memory stick. Then flip it over to insert the usb end into a computer. This dongle is supported by Macs or PC’s and iPhones or iPads that use a 30-pin dock. This is very handy when I attend photo workshops or travel in remote areas without wifi and want to get images off my iPad.
When I return home to my desktop computer, I transfer my images from the iPad using a cable directly into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. My raw files are untouched and ready for me to evaluate using my larger screen and professional editing software. I have found there are many other apps that help my photography with model releases, custom portfolios, designing lighting setups, reading pdf photography books and even sending custom postcards; not to mention that I can check email, browse the web and watch movies. I find the convenience of having it all in one device to be priceless and much easier to carry.