Being an old geezer, I’m a little set in my ways and can be a little resistant to new fangled apps and software. It’s not that I don’t like technology or the latest toys and software, I’m a Mac user after all, but when it comes to my photography work, I’ve always been in the Mac and OS X/macOS universe, so when it was suggested that the iPad could some day be my main photography editing device, I’d have laughed at you… but not any more.
I’ve listened to podcasts for a long time and on many, professional photographers have said that the iPad would never be a viable device to produce professional work on but… yes, it’s that ‘but’ word… maybe it could.
I’ve suffered from GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) for many years now and have had a variety of makes of cameras varying from the ultra expensive Leica M9 to the lowly, cheap, Sony pocket camera but I’m now very settled, and happy, with my Fujifilm X-T1 and 35mm f2 lens.
The Fujifilm RAW format; and the way the sensors used in the X-Series cameras are designed, have been difficult for apps like Adobe’s Lightroom to deal with to say the least. That is why I tend to export the files from Lightroom to Iridient Developer to adjust to my liking, before converting to B&W in Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro.
I was one of those early adopters of the iPad, getting the first generation. Then as Apple improved and updated the iPad, I would probably have been the first in line to upgrade. When the iPad Pro 9″ arrived, I held off due the price, but eventually, bought one. The reason, as most others would say, was to get more oomph, retina screen, more powerful processor etc. and stereo speakers… But one other thing that came with this extra oomph was its ability to process my RAW files, especially when I wasn’t near my MacBook Pro 13”.
Apps such as Snapseed, which started out as a nice, but basic, photography editing tool, got more and more powerful with each update and iPad improvement. At first I began editing images on my iPhone, as the iPhone became my ‘always with me’ camera, images were quickly edited for posting to Flickr but then I found myself using the iPad Pro more and more: and so it began.
Now I find I do most of my editing on my iPad Pro with Snapseed, even importing the images from my SD card via the Apple SD card reader and the Lightning port, but what of my Mac? Well, it’s still there and is still used but much, much less than it used to be.
‘So, there must be a downside to using the iPad?’ I hear you say. Well, yes, there is. One real pain is the lack of storage on my iPad. I have the 32GB model; I have an iPhone 7+ 128GB, and I have iCloud. The weakest link in all this is the 32GB of space on my iPad Pro, as it gets filled up with images in the Photos app. So I have to try and export as much as possible from Photos into Lightroom to allow me to clear out those images to free up space on my iPad. There’s probably an easier way of dealing with the amount of images that fill up my iPad but I’ve yet to find it.
So, I’ve begun to see that the iPad could one day replace the Mac as a photography device, and where a professional photographer could do everything he/she wants to using it as their main productivity device.
For me, well: I have bought Affinity Photo as a possible alternative to Lightroom and Snapseed, but so far Snapseed is winning that war, as I find Affinity Photo not the most intuitive of apps to work with. My dream is to have an iPad Pro 12” with the largest amount of storage (currently 512GB), and an Apple Pencil to edit with, then replace the MacBook Pro with an iMac 27”. That combination is more affordable than the equivalent MacBook available now.
Yes, I can hear the pro photographers shouting at me ‘NO YOU CAN’T!’ But we will see… never say never.
By James Ormiston