NOTE: This is a guest post by Ray Carcases –

UPDATE: According to this link you can indeed sort iPad images if you use Windows.

Warning: This post is really for other photographers who want to use the iPad but want to have some type of method to sort their images so that they when they show images to a client using an iPad, they can sync up the photo viewer to the file. If this doesn’t sound like you, you can read this but you may get bored. Just sayin.

Of Mice and Men

Many photographers I follow are pimping the iPad as a tremendous client presentation device to photographers and I can see why: it has a gorgeous screen that shows images at 132 ppi, which is 90% more pixels than your average monitor. With its interface and ease of use, it seems like a no-brainer. Right? an Apple fan, I can tell you that its not always so easy to make i devices do what YOU want them to do.

I thought to myself, when a client says I want to order a 16 x 20 of image X, how hard will that be? Well, I found out that this was a question that led to a bunch of others. To sum it up: when images are imported into the iPad photo viewer, the iPad goes into the metadata and sorts the images automatically by the date created. It also won’t show you the filename when you tap on it. It will only say # of ###. That presents a problem if youre taking client orders.

I looked all over for an app that would do this & no luck. So, after hours of research, I found out two things: If you have a Mac, there is a workaround. If you have a PC, youre hosed. So, if you have a PC, you can stop reading now.

The iPads sort criteria cannot be modified directly. Sure, if you number your images in the same order as you took them, that can work. But I found a few funky issues when I took an image and made duplicate versions of the same image showing different looks. So, I won’t recommend that method for PC users. I don’t want you to try it, have no success then start sending me angry emails. That would absolutely not be cool.

If you have a Mac, this is the workaround. If someone has a more efficient method, please let me know. I like efficiency.

iPad Mac Workaround

1. Select the images that you have decided to show the client in the order you want to show them. Make sure theyre in a separate folder.

2. Rename all the images using a naming convention that makes sense to you. For simplicity, I use something like Smith _# o f ###. If you have Adobe Bridge, use the batch rename functionality and it does this in a snap.

3. Open up iPhoto and import the pictures in 2 above. You can either format the images to optimize your images for the iPad or you can just import the jpegs as they are. iPad optimization tips are shown below.

4. Create a new album, using our example Id call it Smith Wedding.

5. Select the images and place them in the album. Make sure that all the images you want are there.

6. Click on the album, then go to the menu and choose View>Sort Photos>By Title to sort your images by title. Your images should be in the order of Smith_001?, Smith_002?, etc.

7. Hook up your iPad to your Mac and sync, making sure that you select the Smith Wedding album to be imported into the iPad.

8. After youre done synching, you should see the Smith Wedding album on your iPad. Check the order of your images and they should be in the same order as in the iPhoto album. When you tap on the iPad, you’ll see # of ### and when the client falls in love with a certain image, note the image number.

iPad Optimization

The optimum display size is 1024 by 768 pixels at 132 ppi. This is a 43 convention and doesn’t exactly sync up to a DSLRs 4 x 6 image size. So, you can either create an action that will reduce your files to these dimensions and slightly distort your images, or you can just upload the regular size files. When importing the images into the iPad, iTunes will optmize the image for your. The images look great, so if you want to make things simple for yourself, do it this way.


I like saving time but I like using technology to make a small photography business like ours appear more professional even more. So, I think the workaround is worth it, especially when you see the images on the iPad. And for you smarty-pants out there that are thinking I can create an action that will place the filename on the image, well yes, you could. But having IMAGE 1? on your image detracts from the visual experience. In normal English, that means that itll make you look rinky-dink and not professional.

I hope this helps. If you have found a better or more efficient way, please let me know. Im serious. I don’t have all the answers and there has to be somebody out there who is smarter than me and a portion of the internet. Maybe theyre just shy.