Wedding Album Review on an iPad

I had created a wedding album, and the parents of the bride had purchased their copy. The parents of the groom had some changes they wanted to make. There were a few pages, like the one above that they wanted as is, there were a couple of pages that they didn’t want, and several pages that they were hoping to swap a few images. They did live close by, so I headed over to their house with just my iPad. Yup, just my iPad. I wanted to be able to sit side by side with them and draw right on the pages of the electronic book. Best case would be to be able to drag the images around, but that wasn’t going to happen. I would settle to being able to pen in new numbers and draw arrows for moving images around. To accomplish this, I used two apps.

The first was Penultimate. I used this app with a digital pen to draw on.

I created a notebook for this project with the amazing title of Album Notes. I then, page by page inserted a page spread from my album (exported previously) into the notebook. I now had images that I could draw on.

I also used the Zenfolio app. I used it to move copies of all the wedding images I had online to my iPad. One thing that doing this did was keep the image numbers in sync with what the mother of the groom saw on the website, and meant that I didn’t need a wifi signal. One wish I had was that images that she had picked as favorites could have been synced to the app. She had selected and favorited the images she likely wanted to put in the album on the zenfolio website. If those could have been synced it would have made the process easier as well.

This was the process we went through. First I went through and marked with a big red X all the pages that we were going to get rid of, and ‘want’ on the pages we were keeping without changes. When we found a page that had images that we wanted to swap, we would put an X over the image, and come back to it later.

After this we had a count of the total pages we would have, and a count of the number of images we needed. Then, we would go over to the Zenfolio app, pick some appropriate pictures, come back to Penultimate, and pen them in. As pages were finished, I would mark them as done, so we could identify what pages we needed to work on still.

One of the things that worked well was having a special wacom bamboo pen to write the numbers with. Much better than writing with your finger. One thing that was frustrating was that you can’t swipe back and forth on Penultimate. I needed to go back to the TOC, and then pick the page I wanted. You can press the page number in the lower right, but that just goes in one direction, and I constantly needed to go back. Penultimate also doesn’t like to be sideways like this. I would sometimes get my images upside down, and have to turn and twist the iPad until the image was the right way.

It was also slow. I was doing this on the 1st generation iPad, and it quickly pushed my decision to buying a newer version. When I tried this with an iPad 3, it was like night and day. It went from frustratingly slow to just as responsive as you would expect.

I suppose that I could use a tool that exports my album as a PDF, then use a PDF tool that can annotate a PDF. My pages were exported as individual JPEG’s, so that wasn’t a great options when I was short on time, but might be something I try on a different occasion.


How A Photographer Can Use an iPad

The main reason that I got an iPad was to present photographs to people. I wanted to use it as an electronic portfolio. That by it’s self would be a pretty good use, but it has come to be so much more useful.

I had photographed a gymnastics event for the Richfield Gymnastics Club, and had taken stills and some video that I put into 7 videos of the event, from rehearsal to warm-ups to the actual event. The videos were put together into a DVD that the club will sell. I could have put the DVD into a computer, and pulled that out, set it on a table, and had people lean over to try to see the screen. Instead, I handed them an iPad with the videos on it and let them hold the device. It makes a world of difference. As the two people I had brought the iPad to show watched the videos, other came and looked over their shoulders. I really think the iPad was more effective than a laptop would be.

I was taking pictures at a wedding this last weekend, and I was not the official photographer, so I had some time in between the ceremony and the reception. I went home, did a quick Lightroom edit, hard drive export, iPad sync, and I was off to the reception. When I got there, I started passing the iPad around. People were flipping out. They loved being able to see pictures of an event they had just attended. Even better, some people hadn’t been able to attend the ceremony, but were at the reception, and were able to see what had just happened.

Later in the evening, after taking some reception and dance shots, I downloaded images from my memory card to the iPad with the camera connection kit, and then made the rounds again. The challenge will be to do the same thing at a wedding where I am the official photographer, and I don’t know most of the people there. I think it is worth giving it a shot though. It was so well received.

I also have images and video at the ready to pull out and show people as a portfolio. I have done this several times where I wouldn’t of likely had a book with me. Instead of just handing out a card and saying check out my website, I can show them the images I have on my site right there.

There are lots of apps that photographers can use that are not just for photographers. I have created blog posts while on the move, checked out Twitter, my RSS feeds, and verified some content from my website. I have even used the iPad via an app called iSSH to get a command prompt at my web service provider and correct some html on my site. Yes you can do these things on a net book, but you can’t do the portfolio things as well.

If I can get it out of the hands of my family, I take where ever I go.

iPad Camera Connection Kit Review

So, what does the Camera Connection Kit come with for $29.95? A SD(HC) card reader (left), and a USB adapter (right) that plug into the iPad. Seems a little high for what you really get, but hey, it’s the only option right now.

I tried both connections, and they both worked when done as intended. You can take images off your cards, and you can connect your camera via USB cable. However, you can’t connect a hard drive, and I couldn’t find a way to put images from the iPad onto a card. It appears to be a one way deal. iPad as a data consumer again.

When you connect a card or camera, you get the photo’s screen with a camera tab. The screen quickly fills up with dashed outlines for the images on your camera (or card) and then starts to fill in thumbnails.

There are now buttons at the top for “Delete All” and “Import All”. Once the image thumbnails are there, you can choose which images you want to upload to the iPad.

By clicking on a thumbnail, you can select individual images to import. You can flick up and down with your finger to scroll through all the images. These thumbnails are from my daughters field trip to a nature center this week.

Notice the buttons at the top changed from “Delete All” to “Delete Selected”, and “Import All” to “Import”.

Pressing the import button brings up a little drop down where they give you the option of importing all again. Not sure why this is necessary.

The screen shot above seems weird to me. This is where I ended up after doing my selective import. I guess we are here because there are sill possible images to upload, but with items still having that green check box, it is hard to tell if they are selected or imported all ready.

I pressed the Albums tab to get to the screen above. Notice that I now have a “Saved Photos” album with the screen shots I took, a “Last Import” album with the images I just imported, and a “All Imported” album that would have everything I had imported and not erased off the iPad.

What is think is cool about this, is that the images are NEF files. They are Nikon RAW image files, and they show up on the iPad. What I don’t know, is what you edit when you use a program like Photogene. Are you using a built in preview contained in the RAW image, or is the iPad converting. I am leaning to the preview, but it seems to be full size, which surprised me.

You can then get the images off the iPad as if it were a regular camera. Just connect your iPad to your computer via the sync cable. These images won’t transfer via iTunes, you need to import them. I tried Lightroom, iPhoto, and Image Capture on my Mac. The RAW files come off just fine, as if they were transferred directly from your card. One interesting thing I found, was that I couldn’t transfer the screen shots using Lightroom, but they showed up in iPhoto when I tried that. Strange.

So, the question going around seems to be whether this can replace field back up units like ones made by Epson and others. I am not so sure. The screen is big and gorgeous, but it is also big. I think the smaller units while having a smaller screen are more rugged and compact, but I don’t own or use one, so I can’t really comment. What I think would be ideal would be an iPod Touch or iPhone that you could connect this to AND a laptop hard drive or other SSD drive to make a backup to. That would be much smaller and eliminate the need for a laptop in many travel situations. But that is just wishing smoke.

Anyway, it looks like a fun accessory to play with, and I will experiment with using it as a backup device when traveling.