iPad Apps For Pro Photographers

A selection of apps that any professional with an iPad should think about getting
By Tim Grey ~ DigitalPhotoPro.com

The Apple iPad has become the must-have accessory for the tech-savvy and creative populace. It’s also incredibly useful for professional photographers.

The Apple iPad is reinvigorating the tablet computer market, and for photographers, the potential goes far beyond merely being a cool gadget. To begin with, the iPad represents the ability to travel with just a little less gear, using this compact device to stay connected in ways that would otherwise require a laptop. In addition, the wide range of applications available for the iPad means the utility of this device grows every day. So, let’s take a look at some of the applications that just might get photographers excited about adding an iPad to their camera bag.

LightTrac For iPad
Whether you’re scouting for a particular location for a photo shoot or trying to determine the best time to be in a specific location, LightTrac for iPad from InvisibleBits (visit iTunes Store) is an excellent solution. You can browse locations on a map and view the relative position of the sun at sunrise and sunset, as well as the angle of the sun at a particular time of day. In short, if you have an iPad and take photos outdoors, you’re going to want this application.

DSLR Camera Remote
Many photographers—especially those focused on studio photography—have taken advantage of tethered capture, using their laptop computer to control the camera and review the resulting images. Now you can take advantage of the smaller size and yet beautiful display on the iPad. DSLR Camera Remote from onOne Software (www.ononesoftware.com) allows you to control your digital camera remotely via your iPad, adjusting shutter speed, aperture, white balance and more. It’s like having an extra-large live viewfinder, as well as a great way to evaluate images on the fly.

One of the most natural uses of an iPad is to present a portfolio of your best images. Combining a beautiful display with an elegant interface and a relatively large display, the iPad is simply a great way to share your photos. To really maximize the potential of your digital portfolio, however, SmugMug offers an excellent solution. Besides providing access to any gallery available on SmugMug’s website, it also allows you to create incredible slideshows and use the iPad as a portable photo frame.

Photographers tend to appreciate nostalgia. We talk about the “old days” in the wet darkroom and we tend to reproduce the look of old film-processing techniques with digital tools. CameraBag from Nevercenter (www.nevercenter.com) enables you to quickly and easily apply classic effects to your images. These include a “1962” effect (apparently before color had become popular), a “1974” effect (were colors really that drab back then?) and an “Instant” effect (complete with a white border around the image, though in this case you don’t need to shake the image to make it appear faster), among others. Once you’ve found an effect you like for a particular photo, you can e-mail the resulting image directly from within CameraBag.

Filterstorm by Tai Shimizu (visit iTunes Store) is a great app for the iPad that allows you to apply rather sophisticated adjustments to images. These include the ability to apply a Curves adjustment to the image either overall or on individual color channels, as well as the ability to apply targeted adjustments by painting on the image or affecting a particular range of colors. While Filterstorm certainly won’t replace your image-optimization workflow on your desktop computer, it can prove useful (and fun) enough that you will want to put it to use for quick adjustments to fine-tune an image you want to share via your iPad.

One of the key benefits of the iPad is the ability to quickly and easily share images, whether via a slideshow presentation or through e-mail. If you’re working with images directly on the iPad, chances are you’ve not yet applied a watermark to your photos. With Impression by Blue Crowbar (visit iTunes Store), you can add a simple watermark (including the ability to adjust the opacity of that watermark) to an image with ease. Simple, but effective.

Just The Beginning
The applications presented here are only the first to be made available. In fact, we can only speculate that Adobe will expand their current Photoshop.com Mobile offering (currently supporting the iPhone as well as Android and Windows Mobile smartphones) to soon be available in an iPad version.

The ongoing theme with the iPad is that it represents incredible potential. What’s most exciting about the iPad is that it might just be the device that finally proves the viability of a tablet computer. For many photographers, the iPad also represents a handy accessory that can make their work more productive and enjoyable, thanks in part to some very cool applications that are already available for the iPad, and many more that will surely be available soon.

iPad Camera Connection Kit
Okay, so this isn’t actually an application. But it’s an essential accessory if you really want to put the iPad to work in your photography workflow. The kit includes a camera connector, which is essentially just a USB adapter that enables you to connect your camera directly to the iPad. Also included is a Secure Digital (SD) card reader, in the event you’re using a camera that supports SD cards.

Of course, considering the highest-capacity iPad only includes 64 GB of storage, you can’t realistically use the iPad to off-load your memory cards during a real photo shoot. However, the Camera Connection Kit is a handy accessory that allows you to selectively copy specific photos to the iPad so you can then share those images via e-mail or in a slideshow display, or work on those images with any of the various applications available.