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The iPad and photography: Tool, toy or prop?

I had offered to loan/help another photographer with a project involving the iPad. Of course in order to help him incorporate the iPad into his assignment I had to figure out how to make it work – so off to the studio to do some testing.

I have found the iPad to be much more useful than I had expected in my photography work. I use several Photo apps now at most every session.

So, for you is the iPad use in your photography a tool, toy or prop?

Come join the Flickr group and show your stuff: Flicker iPad and Photography Group

How I use my iPad for photography

Dean Shanson over at the Photopreneur Blog recently sent me a list of questions on how I use the iPad in my photography work. Dean did a good job of highlighting the pros and cons of my answers. See the article: The iPad for Photographers. Not long after he posted the article, I received a couple of emails asking for a detail list of my uses and apps.

What I have and How I use it:

I use the 3G/WIFI 32gb version of the iPad. I currently have 200 songs, 22 videos, 813 photos and 84 applications installed. 15.9gb of 29gb space available.

The iPad has become much more useful than I expected when I purchased it. I use it in several ways:

  • A portfolio of my work to include a running slideshow when that is appropriate.
  • A visual posing example book for clients and models.
  • Property releases.
  • Model releases.
  • Remote camera control.
  • Music at a shoot with small external speakers.
  • Show image collage videos I produce.
  • Educational videos to watch when waiting or traveling.
  • Educational books to read when waiting or traveling.
  • Sunrise/Sunset information and direction when in a new area.
  • Find locations when traveling.
  • Take notes on shoots and locations.
  • Find nearby food, gas or shopping.
  • Give the MUA/Stylist something to play with when I’m shooting.
  • Give me something to do (games, email, surfing, etc) when waiting on the model to finish ‘getting ready’.
  • As a prop within the shoot.
  • Checking the weather.
  • Taking credit card payments.

Apps I use now:

Built-in apps I use aside from browser, email and calendar;

  • Videos
  • Photos (very nice slide show feature too)
  • iPod
  • Notes
  • iBooks

Third party apps:

How I get a model release signed and emailed using the iPad?

I use Easy Release which is great at want it does; the process below is a limitation of the first generation iPad and not Easy Release.

Easy release sample

This is a bit cumbersome but here’s how I do it.

  • Take a iPhone picture of model or property.
  • Email it to myself.
  • Give model iPad to fill in their information
  • Get to photo screen
  • Open email on the iPad
  • Save image to photoroll
  • Open Easy Release and select the image

This process works but it ain’t pretty. The new iPad 2 with a built in camera will solve this problem.

iPad for editing – nope.

A complaint I hear often but makes no sense to me.

I have a desktop and a couple of laptops for post processing and other than a quick and dirty crop or adjustment of a photograph I don’t even attempt to do a serious edit with the iPad. If I think I’ll need to do on site editing I bring a laptop.

Advice for other photographers thinking of using the iPad in their photography?

Think it through; how will it assist your photography in a way that makes sense and works for you? Don’t get it just because you can. Technology is not a replacement for basic business or photography skills.

IF you decide to get it spend the extra money for the 3G/WIFI version – WIFI only is useless in the field.

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