How to use the iPad to Learn more about Photography

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A Guest post by Aaron Hockley from Picture Pundit.

ipad.jpgThe iPad has caused quite a bit of buzz as folks try to figure out where it fits into the world of computing gadgets. A lot of photographers are using it for a mobile portfolio device (and it works really well for that). Quite a bit has been written about using the camera connection kit to look at photos. I’ve found another great use for the iPad for photographers: as a learning tool.

Think about the amount of self-learning you’ve probably done with photography on your computer. You read blogs (or you wouldn’t be seeing this). You probably participate in photography forums. Sure, you can do these same things on your iPad using the web browser, but there are some other opportunities for learning as well:

Apps for Learning Photography

A few applications have arrived that are designed specifically to be instructional tools for photographers. Here are a few that I’ve used and found interesting:

  • The Guardian Eyewitness – an app featuring one photo each day, from the Guardian News publisher in the UK in partnership with Canon. In addition to a descriptive caption under each photo, a great learning opportunity is presented with a photography tip that relates to the particular photo.
  • Rick Sammon’s Social Media for Photographers – a good overview of social media possibilities for sharing and marketing one’s work. It’s a narrated slideshow full of Rick’s tips for getting your work out there.
  • Photo Shootout – a photography simulator. Yes, you read that correctly. The app allows one to complete tasks by simulating photography conditions with various camera settings (aperture, shutter speed, and son on). Based on the settings chosen, the user can simulate photographing models to see how the shutter speed, ISO, and aperture affect the image.

Books (and more) in iBooks or the Kindle App

The ebook-reading features of iBooks and the Kindle app are pretty good. Apple’s ebook store has quite a few titles, Amazon’s has even more, and the reading experience on the device boasts quite a few amenities that make it a pleasant experience. In addition to being used in either orientation, the ebooks readers can be configured with a user’s preferred fonts, backlighting, and text size. Users can create electronic bookmarks and add annotations to the ebooks.

With a software update delivered in June, iBooks can load and read PDF files. This is a great way to store various photography-related texts including camera manuals and PDF ebooks. Instead of carrying the manual for your DSLR, strobes, or other gear along in its paper form, save the weight and load the PDF version of that manual onto your iPad! I’ve lightened my camera bag a bit by eliminating paper manuals.

iPad as Photo Critique Device

I almost didn’t include this but I figure it’s worth mentioning. You’ve probably considered photos on your iPad as a great way to show off your work, but in addition to wowing friends and strangers with your best photos, you can also collaborate with other photographers and talk about the merits of your images. The size of the iPad’s display makes it easy for a couple folks to gather around the device and talk about things like composition, exposure, and other aesthetic and technical aspects of a photograph.

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Aaron Hockley is a photographer and blogger. Read his blog at Picture Pundit or follow him on Twitter.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • Marty

    Ugh, I hate the ipad and all apple products for that matter. There is nothing that you can do on another platform for half the price than on a crapple product.

    As for using one for a mobile portfolio I cant help but feel a actual album of printed images is the best way to show a portfolio of your images.

    If you caould actually plug a memory card in to view the pictures you have just shot then yeah, maybe, but again, you can do that on a £200 acer aspire one !

  • I’ll definitely be checking out those apps. Thanks!

  • thank you for reviewing my Social Media app. i have 4 more 🙂

    best
    rick

  • sillyxone

    those points above are not really pushing the iPad over other portable devices such as notebook or netbook. Considering that iOS is a locked down platform (walled garden), running a full OS (OSX, Windows, GNU/Linux) offers more feature and functionality than the iPad, especially netbooks with similar size and weight are available.

    I think you need to focus on iPad’s advantages such as touch interface, built-in GPS and accelerometer …

  • sillyxone

    those points above are not really pushing the iPad over other portable devices such as notebook or netbook. Considering that iOS is a locked down platform (walled garden), running a full OS (OSX, Windows, GNU/Linux) offers more feature and functionality than the iPad, especially netbooks with similar size and weight are available.

    I think you need to focus on iPad’s advantages such as touch interface, built-in GPS and accelerometer …

  • sillyxone

    those points above are not really pushing the iPad over other portable devices such as notebook or netbook. Considering that iOS is a locked down platform (walled garden), running a full OS (OSX, Windows, GNU/Linux) offers more feature and functionality than the iPad, especially netbooks with similar size and weight are available.

    I think you need to focus on iPad’s advantages such as touch interface, built-in GPS and accelerometer …

  • ecphoteaux

    what I’m REALLY curious to know is whether or not you could connect it to your camera as a supplemental display. i’ve been fooled more than once by that little display. imags aren’t as in focus as they might appear to be when you bring them up to full size on a normal computer screen.

  • Landon McAllister

    Ipad may be acceptable if you have a convenient cave or out-of-direct light to read detailed solutions to immediate photography problems, but I have already found my Kindle to be indispensable for carrying around camera manuals–in complete PDF versions. I have seven complete Nikon manuals on my Kindle. Weight? A few ounces. Space? One slender corner in my bag, behind a row of lenses.

  • Ed Law

    Good post, as always, and I use the iPad as my “second monitor” for tutorial and manuals ..BUT, without Adobe Flash, few videos are available .. too bad. Tried Kindle but like some of the budget cars .. nice but ….

    Hopefully, the Flash situation will get fixed and then .. perfect.

  • Marcelo M

    I have many eletronic books (PDF format) about photograph, but this books has many pictures and text at the same page. Is E-readers (like Kindle and nook) able to show this kind of e-book satisfactorily?

  • Norm

    I find the ipad is a really good tool for reading my photog magazines and books. I’ve even downloaded a years worth of PDFs from one of my old magazine subscriptions, definitely handier than readying it from my laptop.
    I definitely will look into some of those apps, I already check the Guardian, some great images are displayed there.

  • Dannie

    I download SWF and FLV files, convert them to MG4 files via HandBrake, then toss them onto my iPad. onOne has a wealth of flash videos on How To, as well as Adobe, DPS and other web sources. I used my iPhone previously, however, the real estate offered by the iPad makes it a winner. There are almost no video on the web that can’t be converted to use on the iPad.

  • I recently downloaded a new instructional book on Lightroom, from Amazon. I found it much easier to have the book opened on my iPad while I performed the recommended steps in Lightroom on my Mac. Obviously, you could do the same thing with a hard cover book, but for the most part, I no longer buy paper books.

  • Sue Carlyon

    I have an iPad and am addicted to it, the quality of the photographs displayed on it is amazing – almost 3D if that is possible. Slideshow is beautiful and far less hassle than Movie Maker – you can ad music at the press of a virtual button. In answer to the question about plugging in a memory card – yes you can. There is a memory card reader and also another gizmo which is a USB adapter to attach a camera lead – the two are included in the one package for £25. from Apple.

  • Ryan

    The Photo Shootout app is not even an iPad app – its for the iPhone, so you don’t even get the iPad’s native resolution. 🙁

    @Marty: with the iPad Camera Connection Kit, you can in fact connect either your Camera via USB, or your memory card to the iPad to view the images on the iPad and optionally upload them. This is a great way to see in the field how your images look on a larger screen than the camera’s LCD.

  • William P

    I’ve downloaded an app by Nikon which was very helpful in learning photography from beginner level to advanced level. The videos are really helpful and I’ve learned a lot. I wish Canon would have an app.

  • I use a WFT and shutter snitch to send and view the images as soon as they are shot. I can then adjust them and spend a lot less time shooting to get the image I saw. I’ve even emailed them right after to get input. The display is far superior to a net book and it is a much better platform than Microsoft. I keep the Ipad hanging on my tripod while shooting.
    As for people dumping on a Mac, don’t understand it?

  • Reading (and writing) this on my iPad-enough said about that. WILL be looking at Android tablets as they become available, as, yes, I am also a long time Apple hater. But for now, I watch several video podcasts about photography and photoshop on a regular basis. They are simple to download and take along to watch at any time. It is FAR more convenient (and hence I actually DO it) than being stuck at my desk in front of the computer.

    I was unaware of Rick Sammon’s stuff and will be checking them out. Have had the Gardian App and enjoy it now and then. Photo Shootout looks like it could be fun but I would prefer it to be a true native iPad App.. Thanks for the article.

  • I also use Filterstorm which is a good program for the ipad

  • Yeah, I like it for reading…

  • Nice review! This is truly the type of post that should be shared around the web. Sad on the Yahoo for not positioning this post higher!

Some Older Comments

  • ipad 2 tester April 10, 2011 12:18 am

    Nice review! This is truly the type of post that should be shared around the web. Sad on the Yahoo for not positioning this post higher!

  • Prowpatareeya September 25, 2010 07:22 pm

    Yeah, I like it for reading...

  • paul September 25, 2010 11:33 am

    I also use Filterstorm which is a good program for the ipad

  • SageCrispin September 25, 2010 12:44 am

    Reading (and writing) this on my iPad-enough said about that. WILL be looking at Android tablets as they become available, as, yes, I am also a long time Apple hater. But for now, I watch several video podcasts about photography and photoshop on a regular basis. They are simple to download and take along to watch at any time. It is FAR more convenient (and hence I actually DO it) than being stuck at my desk in front of the computer.

    I was unaware of Rick Sammon's stuff and will be checking them out. Have had the Gardian App and enjoy it now and then. Photo Shootout looks like it could be fun but I would prefer it to be a true native iPad App.. Thanks for the article.

  • paul September 25, 2010 12:25 am

    I use a WFT and shutter snitch to send and view the images as soon as they are shot. I can then adjust them and spend a lot less time shooting to get the image I saw. I've even emailed them right after to get input. The display is far superior to a net book and it is a much better platform than Microsoft. I keep the Ipad hanging on my tripod while shooting.
    As for people dumping on a Mac, don't understand it?

  • William P September 24, 2010 08:31 am

    I've downloaded an app by Nikon which was very helpful in learning photography from beginner level to advanced level. The videos are really helpful and I've learned a lot. I wish Canon would have an app.

  • Ryan September 24, 2010 08:30 am

    The Photo Shootout app is not even an iPad app - its for the iPhone, so you don't even get the iPad's native resolution. :(

    @Marty: with the iPad Camera Connection Kit, you can in fact connect either your Camera via USB, or your memory card to the iPad to view the images on the iPad and optionally upload them. This is a great way to see in the field how your images look on a larger screen than the camera's LCD.

  • Sue Carlyon September 24, 2010 08:01 am

    I have an iPad and am addicted to it, the quality of the photographs displayed on it is amazing - almost 3D if that is possible. Slideshow is beautiful and far less hassle than Movie Maker - you can ad music at the press of a virtual button. In answer to the question about plugging in a memory card - yes you can. There is a memory card reader and also another gizmo which is a USB adapter to attach a camera lead - the two are included in the one package for £25. from Apple.

  • Bill Helms September 24, 2010 05:25 am

    I recently downloaded a new instructional book on Lightroom, from Amazon. I found it much easier to have the book opened on my iPad while I performed the recommended steps in Lightroom on my Mac. Obviously, you could do the same thing with a hard cover book, but for the most part, I no longer buy paper books.

  • Dannie September 24, 2010 02:36 am

    I download SWF and FLV files, convert them to MG4 files via HandBrake, then toss them onto my iPad. onOne has a wealth of flash videos on How To, as well as Adobe, DPS and other web sources. I used my iPhone previously, however, the real estate offered by the iPad makes it a winner. There are almost no video on the web that can't be converted to use on the iPad.

  • Norm September 24, 2010 12:58 am

    I find the ipad is a really good tool for reading my photog magazines and books. I've even downloaded a years worth of PDFs from one of my old magazine subscriptions, definitely handier than readying it from my laptop.
    I definitely will look into some of those apps, I already check the Guardian, some great images are displayed there.

  • Marcelo M September 24, 2010 12:22 am

    I have many eletronic books (PDF format) about photograph, but this books has many pictures and text at the same page. Is E-readers (like Kindle and nook) able to show this kind of e-book satisfactorily?

  • Ed Law September 20, 2010 08:30 am

    Good post, as always, and I use the iPad as my "second monitor" for tutorial and manuals ..BUT, without Adobe Flash, few videos are available .. too bad. Tried Kindle but like some of the budget cars .. nice but ....

    Hopefully, the Flash situation will get fixed and then .. perfect.

  • Landon McAllister September 19, 2010 05:43 am

    Ipad may be acceptable if you have a convenient cave or out-of-direct light to read detailed solutions to immediate photography problems, but I have already found my Kindle to be indispensable for carrying around camera manuals--in complete PDF versions. I have seven complete Nikon manuals on my Kindle. Weight? A few ounces. Space? One slender corner in my bag, behind a row of lenses.

  • ecphoteaux September 18, 2010 09:50 am

    what I'm REALLY curious to know is whether or not you could connect it to your camera as a supplemental display. i've been fooled more than once by that little display. imags aren't as in focus as they might appear to be when you bring them up to full size on a normal computer screen.

  • sillyxone September 18, 2010 07:19 am

    those points above are not really pushing the iPad over other portable devices such as notebook or netbook. Considering that iOS is a locked down platform (walled garden), running a full OS (OSX, Windows, GNU/Linux) offers more feature and functionality than the iPad, especially netbooks with similar size and weight are available.

    I think you need to focus on iPad's advantages such as touch interface, built-in GPS and accelerometer ...

  • sillyxone September 18, 2010 07:18 am

    those points above are not really pushing the iPad over other portable devices such as notebook or netbook. Considering that iOS is a locked down platform (walled garden), running a full OS (OSX, Windows, GNU/Linux) offers more feature and functionality than the iPad, especially netbooks with similar size and weight are available.

    I think you need to focus on iPad's advantages such as touch interface, built-in GPS and accelerometer ...

  • sillyxone September 18, 2010 07:17 am

    those points above are not really pushing the iPad over other portable devices such as notebook or netbook. Considering that iOS is a locked down platform (walled garden), running a full OS (OSX, Windows, GNU/Linux) offers more feature and functionality than the iPad, especially netbooks with similar size and weight are available.

    I think you need to focus on iPad's advantages such as touch interface, built-in GPS and accelerometer ...

  • rick sammon September 18, 2010 06:11 am

    thank you for reviewing my Social Media app. i have 4 more :-)

    best
    rick

  • Abbie September 18, 2010 02:15 am

    I'll definitely be checking out those apps. Thanks!

  • Marty September 18, 2010 01:11 am

    Ugh, I hate the ipad and all apple products for that matter. There is nothing that you can do on another platform for half the price than on a crapple product.

    As for using one for a mobile portfolio I cant help but feel a actual album of printed images is the best way to show a portfolio of your images.

    If you caould actually plug a memory card in to view the pictures you have just shot then yeah, maybe, but again, you can do that on a £200 acer aspire one !

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