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Photographer’s Review – iPad Pro

Holy crap. I caved. I really bought an iPad. Not just any iPad, the newest 9.7″ iPad Pro! I’m not new to the iPad world. I deal with them every day I work! I just no longer owned one after my original iPad Mini got a little outdated for me. Many of you know, fellow author here on Photofocus, Vanelli. Ever since I met him, he’s been hounding me for not having an iPad at the trade shows that I’ve seen him at– WPPI and Photoshop World. I never really thought about the benefits of having one (besides being able to write on one, or watch movies, or look at Instagram on a really big screen) for my photography business and lifestyle, so I thought about it and made my decision on buying one. Here are my main reasons why I bought one.

Showing off your work.

I meet with vendors and network with people at these trade shows and other meet ups. Vanelli told me that I had some pretty great work, but no one, including himself, was going to look at it on my then iPhone 5 screen. I later upgraded to the iPhone 6S a year later, and Vanelli still said the same thing about the screen size. He was probably right. While I love the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, 7, and 7 Plus displays, they don’t compare to the larger iPad screens.

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It’s common sense to keep your screen clean, but you’d be surprised on how many people showcase their work on dirty devices!

If you take your work seriously and value it, get an iPad to display it and treat it as important as your business. There are quite a few apps that really help showcase your photos if you’re not fully convinced by iOS’s Photos app– my favorite being Foliobook. If you know of another app that you like, let us know in the comments!

Having extra tools on the fly.

With the extra screen real estate, there’s a couple other features that I remember using in the past that were pretty convenient. It’s a lot easier to edit social media pictures and posts than the iPhone. I can do a quick edit of a picture for a friend by having it transferred to my iPad wirelessly from my WiFi enabled camera and run through one of the many photo editing apps. Snapseed is fantastic on the iPad, although it could use some support for the Apple Pencil.

I used to provide my portrait clients a live preview of the pictures I took of them right away to review– while it is super convenient, it may not be the best option for every subject as some of them may get super conscious of how they look and can detract from he vibe of the shoot. I used to use the older EyeFi X2 card, which now has been replaced with the EyeFi Mobi Pro. I bet it’ll be faster than the X2. It is quite a bit nicer looking at an iPad screen over a 3.2″ screen on the back of the camera.

Having another monitor and control center for people who shoot studio, time-lapse or macro stuff, may also be pretty nice. I use TriggerTrap for some of my time-lapse photography and often use my iPhone to control the intervals. Receiving a phone call or text message during that time proved to be troublesome, so having another tool to replace my iPhone in those situations is super nice. Also for those who get a little more intense with those configurations, CamRanger would be pretty sweet with the new iPads.

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Adobe Lightroom Mobile’s Local Adjustment that allows you to use radial or graduated filters, still lacking on local brush adjustments, but this is better than nothing.

Apps like Lightroom Mobile, can speed up people’s workflows, especially if they’ve got some extra time in front of the TV. Lightroom Mobile allows you to sync a collection from your Lightroom catalog on your computer to you iPad for mobile editing. I like using this just because the tools make it super easy to cull through the hundred of pictures by swiping. Global adjustments are also able to be tweaked, so you can change the simple things like exposure, white balance and most of the other Camera Raw options, on the fly. Plus, it is kind of nice being detached and not sitting in front of a computer. Couches > computer chairs.

Editing– like a Wacom tablet.

Alright, so this was the main reason why I bought my iPad. I have been slightly avoiding editing with a tablet ever since I tried one 5 years ago. I didn’t enjoy my experience as much and didn’t really honestly need it. I made my purchase after hearing about Astropad, an app made for iOS. If you haven’t heard about it and own an iPad, you’ve got to try it! It’s a slight investment at $29.99 on the App Store, but man, it basically turns your iPad into a more affordable Wacom Cintiq. Astropad shows you a section of your screen and allows you to use a stylus to brush in your edits more precisely. They have recently updated it to make it even more responsive than before, which makes it a great investment. It has been an absolute blast to use when retouching skin, but it is pretty dang good for everything else I’ve tried on it. I used it on an edit of a friend’s BMW S1000RR motorcycle for the sake of it– selecting, dodging, burning and anything else I could get my hands on. The lag is quite minimal when you’re plugged in, which is how I prefer it, but it isn’t bad over WiFi either– especially after the new update. I  use the Apple Pencil with my iPad Pro, and while some may dislike the lack of buttons on the pencil in comparison to the Wacom styluses, I prefer it. The weight of the pencil and familiar size of it is super comfortable. My previous Wacom styluses were a little bit wider and toy-feeling. I’d actually say it wouldn’t be a fair comparison, as my Wacom tablet was only $149 or so back in the day, and the iPad Pro with Pencil is much more of an investment (with different utility).

The developers of Astropad, two former Apple engineers, made it pretty intuitive to use and did a great job with what they could! They made it work pretty well with other iPad models with different styluses as well– they even recommend some on their website. This is what really convinced me to buy an iPad for my photography.

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Astropad 2.0 using Photoshop on this BMW S1000RR. Super helpful for selectively dodging and burning!

So these are just some of the fun things that a photographer could use an iPad for. I didn’t forget about all the other fun things you can do with an iPad, like binge watch things on Netflix, Hulu or Crunchyroll. Stream movies and photos from Plex, access all your files on a networked Drobo remotely, stay organized with the reminders app and calendar– which I use Siri for ALL the time–, and of course all the other productive things like Pages, Numbers and Keynote that become really super convenient if you’re in the Apple ecosystem. Plus, having the Apple Pencil as a precise tool to use not only makes editing easier, but also keeps those pesky fingerprints off the screen. You wouldn’t want to display your work with a bunch of greasy smudges all over your images, would ya now?

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