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iPad for photography research

[Recreated from pdf after blog crash]


Sometimes I need to travel light, with a small mirrorless camera and an iPad as companions, but I don’t want that to stand in the way of making the most of any time I have available for research. As I sit enjoying a coffee with a view of the Mediterranean, I’m making a record of tools and workflows I find useful while travelling light. That way, I won’t need to recreate the next time, and it might encourage me to travel light (which is extremely liberating!) more often:

  1. Blogpad Pro – a great tool for creating blog-posts off-line and then syncing to an online blog. Very simple to use with a similar interface to WordPress itself. One can even pull posts started online and then complete off-line on the move. The best time-optimiser I’ve found for blogging!
  2. Simplemind+ mind mapping app. I have the desktop version of this for planning and researching my work. The app allows syncing of maps through drop-box across any device with Simplemind installed. The app allows insertion of thumb-nails of images, hyper-links to webpages, and export of pictures of your mind maps (which I include in my blog). To use these tools well, one should understand the techniques of mind mapping first – there are plenty of good books on this.
  3. For word reference and exploring the semantics in books and briefs, I use the app versions of The Oxford English Dictionary (free for online version) and the Chambers Thesaurus. These I also carry on my iPhone for instant reference. Both these apps allow export of definitions to the clipboard, so the can be pasted into a blog post, or as a text note in a mind map.
  1. Apps for camera. This is camera manufacturer-dependent, so here I only describe for the Panasonic LX100 I am travelling with. The Panasonic Image app has various functions, activated through wi-fi connection between device and camera. These include remote control of the camera (think cable-release on acid), review and deletion of in-camera images without transferring to device, transfer of images to device. I shoot RAW plus standard JPEG – the app (and those of other manufacturers only act on JPEG files due to RAW file sizes). However, when reviewing the in-camera images, deletion is applied to any files with the same time-stamp, so unwanted RAW files are also deleted from the SD card. A great time saver for editing of a shoot.
  2. Finally there are apps for processing. The constraint here is that they only act on the JPEG files, which is not ideal but at least allows one to try out some processing ideas. A bit like a sketch-pad. The Lightroom app does have another trick up its sleeve to deal with RAW files, described below:Lightroom app. This allows any of the basic processing adjustments found in the desktop version, LR presets, posting of images online and syncing to desktop. The very neat trick is if you start from RAW files from your desktop and sync these to LR mobile, a virtual file is created for use on the iPad. Any adjustments (including meta-data) made on the iPad can then be synced back and applied to the RAW file. It just syncs the adjustment data rather than the full image files. Free with CC subscription.

    PS touch – a very light version of Photoshop for the iPad. I’ve not yet used this enough to conclude on its usefulness but my feeling is that it will be limited to a sketch-pad for trying out ideas. Free with CC subscription.

    Photoshop mix. A new app that I’ve not yet used, but seems to be for photo-montage. Free with CC subscription.

There are a large number of other apps for photo-processing, but as I’m invested in the Adobe infrastructure, I tend to keep things simple by limiting myself. To explore other apps, the best place to start is perhaps a recent post from somewhere like Techradar.

I’m determined that by the end of my two-weeks travelling light, I’ll become a convert. I’d be very interest to hear from anyone else exploring this area.

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