How the iPad fits into a Photography Workflow

Last week when I was on The Grid, I got asked to describe how the iPad would fit into a photographer’s workflow and I promised to do a post on it…

The iPad is definitely a revolutionary product that has disrupted the status quo. While I absolutely enjoy using an iPad, I don’t find it to be the end all be all replacement for a desktop/laptop computer. At least not full-time. The iPad didn’t replace my phone, nor did it replace my laptop. It’s another device that I use when it’s more convenient to use than either of the other two devices. With that said the question has been asked “How does the iPad fit in a photography workflow?” Last week my buddy Scott Kelby wrote a post about what he’d like to see in a “real Photoshop for iPad.” Adobe demonstrated some Photoshop technologies for iPad at Photoshop World in Orlando. There are several image editing and image viewing Apps for the iPad. So the question becomes does the iPad fit in a Photographer’s workflow and if so how?


The short answer is YES!

Here are the ways that I use my iPad in my day-to-day photography workflow:


Getting ready for the shoot

If i’m doing a model shoot, then I use the PosePad App to plan out my shoot with photos and notes to pull up right there on the spot and walk them over to the model. This is my digital shot list. This has worked extremely well even on location shoots outside the studio.

PosePad for iPad .


Model and Property Releases

I stopped carrying paper releases over a year ago. There are two fantastic Apps for doing CUSTOM (yes, YOUR text) release forms for both Model and Property releases. I prefer the look and feel of the release forms in Easy Release, but I absolutely love the exhaustive number of available custom fields in the Contract Maker Pro. My recommendation: For a basic release only requiring a few fields and your custom text that looks great, go with Easy Release. If your release forms are more complicated or multiple pages go with Contract Maker Pro. Both Apps are GREAT!

Easy Release .

Contract Maker Pro .


Getting Images into the iPad

When you’re out and on the go chances are you’re going to be shooting and you’ll want to do two things. You’ll want to backup your images and review them. Let’s start with getting them in. There are 3 popular choices. The first is Apple’s own Camera Connection Kit. It works great with SD cards or via a USB cable to your camera. It will bring in your pics (JPG or RAW or both) as well as your videos. However, it will not work with Compact Flash cards. Apple turned down the power of the port via a software update and therefore card readers don’t work anymore connected to the Camera Connection Kit. That brings me to a NEW option: M.i.C. has shipped a CF reader for the iPad. Lastly and probably my favorite method is to shoot wirelessly into the iPad via the Eye-Fi card.

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Adobe CS5 Evolution Tour Off to a Good Start

photo by Erik Bernskiold

Hi guys, this is a short post from the road. This week we kicked off the worldwide Adobe CS 5 Evolution Tour in Sweden. We had a great day in Gothenburg yesterday and looking forward to the Stockholm crowd today. It was also great seeing my good friend Erik Bernskiold (designer of this blog and in his home town. Looking forward to seeing you all on the tour!


Adobe Ships Creative Suite 5.5 Today!

CS5.5 SHIPS TODAY! You can even get your hands on it now by ordering and downloading it here. Or, explore everything that's new by trying it out first.

That's right! You can get your hands on all of it's mobile authoring goodness today!



Gothenburg yesterday:

They really are happy on the inside 🙂 Those are expressions of excitement in Sweden.


Erik & Tommi manning the video switcher. Thanks guys!


Review: M.I.C Compact Flash Reader for iPad

I reviewed Apple's Camera Connection Kit when it first came out. The Apple kit is two adapters. One is an SD reader and the other is a USB port designed to connect your camera directly to your iPad for image import. The one glaring omission is the lack of a way to bring in images directly from a Compact Flash (CF) card. During my review, I showed how you could attach a standard (San Disk) reader to the Camera Connection Kit and bring images in directly from your CF Cards. However, shortly after I did the review Apple released an iPad software update that basically reduced the amount of power that the dock connector outputs making it virtually impossible to power a card reader. I guess they didn't like people plugging in all the things (keyboard, drives, etc.) they were plugging in to the Camera Connection Kit on their magical devices. That left us with the only option being to use a USB cable and connect the camera directly to the iPad. While this works, it's slow and will drain the cameras battery during long transfers. 


Problem Solved by M.I.C

This Hong Kong based company has developed a CF Reader that attaches directly to your iPad and allows you to import your CF cards (up to 400x speed cards) right into your iPad. Of course I ordered a couple of these immediately and mine just arrived this past Friday. I was hopeful and doubtful at the same time. I just couldn't figure out how they would get around the power problem. Well, they did! I plugged in my standard SanDisk 8GB Extreme IV card and it showed up just like the Apple Camera Connection Kit does. I imported my RAW (.NEF) files with no problems. 


You can order the M.I.C CF Reader here. They are back logged (as you might expect), so give it a couple of weeks.


Show me!

I would normally do a video of such a gadget in action. However, they already had a video that shows it in action and I concur with the results shown. So here it is:


I Love LightDims

You might remember my rant from a few weeks back on the unnecessary LEDs on many consumer electronics that keep me up at night. While some of these devices allow you to turn off their annoying LEDs, there are many more that do not! In the past I've used everything from electrical tape to gaffer's tape to cover up these LEDs. While an inexpensive tape solution certainly gets the job done there are two problems with it. The first is that black tape doesn't look great over your expensive gear. The second is that sometimes you do actually need to see these status lights. For example, I have tape over the VERY BRIGHT LED on my AirPort Express. However, if I plug it into a connection in a hotel room I sometimes need to see the status light to see what's going on. Yep, I've just been peeling back the tape to take a peek. 


LightDims are better

When I wrote my rant, one of my readers chimed and suggested that I take a look at LightDims. I did. I ordered both versions. These "stickers" come in two flavors. You can get the set that simply cut down on the brightness, effectively dimming the LEDs or you can get the total blackout set. There are situations where I would want to use one or the other. 

I gotta say it. I'm in love with these! I've replaced the unsightly tape on most of my gear and used the nicely precut LightDims instead. They really work! My bedroom is now completely dark at night just the way I like it.

You can order LightDims here starting at $5.99 for a set of 100!

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LIVE: Ask a CS Evangelist – again


Join me, Jason Levine (Video Evangelist), Greg Rewis (Web Evangelist) and Paul Trani (Flash Evangelist) for a another LIVE Creative Suite Q&A session Today!

We will show our Top 10 Favorite Features of Adobe Creative Suite 5 and 5.5

Date: Today, Thursday, April 28, 2011

Time: 11:30 AM EDT (GMT-4)

Where: Online in our Connect Room

Cost: Free

Registration: Here

Will there be demos?: Yep

Will there be prizes?: Yes!

What questions can I ask?: Pretty much anything you want, but let's keep it Creative Suite related 🙂

Lessons Learned on The Flash Bus Tour

I had the great pleasure of attending the Flash Bus Tour put on by none other than Joe McNally and David Hobby aka The Strobist. I couldn't pass up an opportunity to learn from these "flash" experts! The day was packed with different lighting setups and live examples.



David Hobby almost never wears long pants 🙂


David Hobby took the morning and started off by deconstructing a couple of his recent shots.


Joe McNally aka Numnuts

Joe McNally took the afternoon and showed how much POWER there is in shooting with speed lights. Drew, I think it's a little close 😉

So that's how they do that Justin Bieber look!


Amazing what you can do with 3 Nikon Speedlights and shooting in TTL.


Audience participation


Great Q&A at the end.


My take-aways


While I own 3 speedlights, I always looked at them as the lights I would use when I travel and don't have the ability to take my "big lights". However, after watching Joe and David I'm really starting to think about using my speedlights more often. As a matter of fact in a recent shoot I did, I decided to use a Nikon SB 900 to augment my natural light setup. I'm having a blast with the possibilities and want to thank Joe and David for not only putting on a great show, but also for bringing the tour to Michigan!

Stuff we mentioned Live on The Grid yesterday

photo by Brad Moore

First off I want to thank everyone that participated online in yesterday's The Grid LIVE show! The response was amazing! We mentioned quite a few products yesterday and I've gotten questions from people as to what they where so here's my list:


FlilterStorm Pro

The App that Scott showed that gives you Photoshop Like editing capabilities on your iPad

Get it here from the iTunes


The Eye-Fi Pro X2 Card (the one that handles RAW)

Get it here for $92.99 (was $149)

The Eye-Fi Mobile X2 Card (the cheaper one that doesn't do RAW)

Get it here for $79.99



The Nikon 4T-4A Wireless Transmitter

The one that looked like a walkie-talkie (or C4 detonator) that has the 500 foot range and was used during the Olympics.

Get it here for $699


The Cameras I Used

Nikon D7000 (the body with TWO SD Card Slots)

Nikon D700 (Full frame DSLR with CF Card Slot)




The App that Terry was using on the iPad to import images wirelessly as he was shooting with either the Eye-Fi card or the Nikon WT-4a

See my review here

Get it from the iTunes



The FREE Eye-Fi App for both iOS and Android

Although I prefer Shuttersnitch, the Eye-Fi App is FREE and does import your shots

See my review here

Get it from the iTunes

Get it here for Android




The NEW Photosmith App (Lightroom features on the iPad)

This is the App that Scott mentioned that will let you rate, sort, manage Collections, add metadata to images on your iPad and then SYNC via WiFi back to your Lightroom Catalog on your computer!

Just came out Today! Get it here from the iTunes


Catch the replay

If you missed yesterday's LIVE broadcast you'll be able to catch the replay that should be posted later today on the site as well as on iTunes as a downloadable podcast to watch offline here:

The Grid

Terry White Live on “The Grid” TODAY!

Hey guys, today I'll be LIVE on The Grid at 12 Noon EDT (GMT -4). We have a couple of fun topics to discuss and I'm really looking forward to it. Be sure to tune in LIVE if you can!

Check it out here

Eye-Fi Enables Direct Mode and Releases Mobile Apps


I’m liking Eye-Fi on a whole new level these days. This company and their products  have come a long way since I tested/reviewed the first card back in 2007. They’ve delivered on their promise to enable Direct Mode transfers from their X2 cards and they’ve released Mobile Apps for both iOS and Android platforms. This is great news for photographers as it gives you a way to shoot wirelessly from your camera to your tablet device or even your smartphone. Although I was quite content with the testing I had done thus far with the Pro X2 card going through my MiFi mobile hotspot, I’m even happier that I wont need it (the MiFi) anymore to shoot to my iPad 2.

Upgrade your Firmware

The first thing you’ll need to do is download the new Eye-Fi Center Application from their site and upgrade the Firmware of your Eye-Fi X2 card. I and others had problems doing the upgrade as it would immediately fail no matter what. The work around seems to be delete your existing Eye-Fi account (back up your photos first of course) and then create a new account and you should then be able to successfully upgrade your card.


Enable Direct Mode on your Card

Once your firmware is up to date you should then be able to Enable Direct Mode on your X2 card. You will see the SSID (network name) of the card as well as the password for the card’s network. To save time you can turn on Direct Mode while the card is in your computer and then connect your devices to its network. This is what I did with my iPad 2 to enable me to easily see the password while I was keying it in on the iPad.


Download their App

If you have an iOS or Android device you can download their FREE App for your device and log into your Eye-Fi Account. Once you log in you can then enable your card to transfer to the App directly.


A Tip

By default your images will just import and show in the grid. I want to see my images full screen and have them auto advance as i shoot. This is not really called out in the preferences. However if you go to Application Preferences and turn on “Full Screen”, your images will not only go to full screen as they come in, but they will also auto advance! YAY!


See more about the Eye-Fi App

I did a more complete review of the Eye-Fi App here.


How fast is it?

In my testing I used my Nikon D7000 (a 16.2 MP Camera) and I used the first card slot to shoot RAW to my regular 16GB SD card and I put the Eye-Fi Mobile X2 card in the second slot. I set the camera to shoot BASIC JPG to the second slot. This means that it’s transferring a 16.2 MP Basic JPG image to the iPad.

See the speed for yourself here:


The Bottom Line

Before you can say it, yes I wish there was a Compact Flash option (adapters aren’t supported with the X2 cards). However, if you’ve got a camera that shoots to an SD card, this solution totally rocks! If you got a camera with two card slots, then it gets even better as you’ll be able to shoot RAW to one card and your smallest JPG to the Eye-Fi card. I’m loving my D7000 even more now!

You can get the NEW 8GB Eye-Fi Mobile X2 Card here for $79

You can get the 8GB Pro X2 Card (which handles RAW) NEW LOWER PRICE here for $99

You can get the Nikon D7000 here 🙂

You can get the FREE Eye-Fi iOS App here: Eye-Fi - Eye-Fi

You can get the FREE Eye-Fi Android App here

If you want MORE OPTIONS check out the Shuttersnitch App here. Yes it works with Direct Mode too!