Occasionally there is a new bit of gear that comes along that really can change how we work as a photographer. The new iPad is one of them.
In the field, we often produce pictures that have to be sent quickly to our clients. For the past 20 years we have acquired the photography onto our laptops, post produced in Photoshop, then transmitted via the mobile or land telephone network.
There have been some big developments along the way, better scanners, better modems, connecting to mobile phones, moving from site to site onto FTP and email…..
With the launch of the new iPad, with its new screen and combined with the Photogene app, we are seeing the biggest development since the first Apple 165c’s that we used in 1993.
Whilst many photographers use ipads to display their portfolio, the latest machine is now capable of being a powerfull tool to serve our customers.
With that in mind… I went down to KRCS and picked one up to replace my Dell. In addition I added the camera connector kit, and installed Photogene and its Pro upgrade. (I will put up a more extensive review of the Photogene App later…. )
Using the camera connector kit I can upload images directly from my Canon’s into the iPad. It’s very quick and easy. One of the downsides is that it is difficult to import specific images as the filenames are not shown in the window during the import process. Nor can you zoom in the preview to see if it’s sharp at this stage.
Once the images are in the iPad, Photogene takes care of all the post production, captions and exporting to the customer or back to the office.
Photogene works in mysterious ways, and there are some drawbacks. Due to the lack of a lot of oomph on the iPad, it can’t open the images at the full resolution to check focus. In addition whilst you can use RAW files, you can only export JPEG’s…. Photogene produces the JPEGS from the RAW as part of the export.
Captioning control is excellent, giving access to all the IPTC fields we need, and allowing generic information to be saved and the pasted into the fields, thus saving considerable time and effort.
FTP access is built in.
So, we can quickly acquire the pictures, including RAW images, into the iPad, adjust, crop, sharpen, and caption, then send them out via email or FTP. All in super fast time, all from a device that is a fraction of the weight and size of our previous laptops, and best of all, as Photogene is only $7.99… all at a cost far cheaper than before.
So, what’s the downside?
1) Apple’s crappy Email software; 12 years ago when we left Apple and went onto PC’s it was largely because Apple’s Email software didn’t work well with attachments when sending to PC’s. Guess what??? 12 years later… same problem. Older versions of Outlook do not like attachments sent on the IOS. Sometimes it works… sometimes not. (It never works with a forwarded email BTW….)
2) Apple’s policy that we can not rename the files in the album; This means that when emailing images…. we cannot rename the file to match the Title field in the IPTC…. instead it comes across with a generic number generated from the camera. This is fixed by Photogene when you export by FTP, but isn’t on the email…. I have communicated with the excellent guys at Photogene, and pointed out this issue, and they have told me it will be changed to allow us to rename the file when exporting via email as well. Nice One!
There are some other minor operational issues that are more about workflow, but nothing that can’t be overcome easily and quickly.
Certainly sending pictures back just got a whole lot quicker.
But coming back to the problem with the Apple Email software not liking JPEG attachments….. that is a big problem. And apparently it’s not something new either. I suspect that if the client has been keeping his/her Outlook updated and modern, it’s not a problem… but we know that certain national papers can’t get pictures this way due to their legacy email systems…. So some consideration is going to have to be made to overcome this. In the interim we can send easily back to the office, and we can also use FTP…. I also am thinking about rigging up a fancy redirect thingy on our servers, but we shall see!
If you want something to work out of the box, it’s not quite there… still a bit bleeding edge to be reliable. But watch this space!
You can learn more about Photogene here; http://www.mobile-pond.com/MobilePond/