Category Archives iPad

I figured after doing my Holiday Gift book picks, it’s time for some App picks that would make great holiday gifts for photographers (especially the free ones!).

By the way: you can send an iPad or iPhone App to someone as a holiday gift: just tap the “Gift this App” link in the top right corner of the App Store screen. You just type in their email address and then Apple does the rest (including charging your account for the App purchase). If you want to give them more than just one App, then it might make more sense to give them an iTunes Gift Card (you can send them via email), and then they can redeem the card on the App Store by clicking the “Redeem” button at the bottom of the App Store home page on their iPad or iPhone.

OK, let’s get to the Gift App list (not in any particular order).

1. Photo Manager Pro
Although Apple’s own Photos App got better in IOS 5, putting your files in order after they’re imported is still a pain (and I finally gave up on using iPhoto to arrange them on my computer and then syncing), but this inexpensive App ($2.99) works great, it’s easy, and it’s got lots of nice features so this is what I’m using now and really liking it (and I’ve tried almost every Portfolio App for the iPad, and most of them have a major flaw or two, but this one just seems to keep it simple, which I love). For iPad and iPhone. (App Store link for iPad)

2. 500px (for iPad only)
Their site has become “The” site for serious photographers, and their iPad App is absolutely gorgeous. The folks at 500px know that how things look really matter to photographers, and everything they do has a great UI, and this App is no exception. This App is my #1 spot to go for photographic inspiration. Beautiful! Oh yeah, did I mention it’s free? (Yay)! App Store link.

3. Plastic Bullet Camera
When you’re in a totally creative mood, this is the App for you. It could not be simpler, and you don’t have to know a thing about editing—-it will generate lots of cool effects, and you just choose which one you like the best. The effects are varied, the previews are big so you can see what the effects look like, and the whole thing just feels like fun (which is why the App has so many fans). It’s only $1.99  For iPad and iPhone. (App Store Link for iPad)

4. Snapseed 
I know, I know, picking the App that Apple themselves chose as their “App of the Year” is a no-brainer as for a Gift lists go, but this App is so brilliantly designed, and has such great effects, that I couldn’t leave it out. If I had to be on a desert island with just one Photo App for the iPad, this might be the one. The quality of the effects are absolutely top notch, and the control is as useful as it is fun. Apps like this are what the iPad is all about. Only $4.99. Worth 10-times as much. For iPad and iPhone. (App Store Link for iPad)


5. TrueHDR (for iPhone only)
Moose Peterson turned me on to this App, and if you love HDR, you have got to have this App. I use it in Manual Mode where I take one shot exposed for the Highlights, one for the shadows, and it combines the two into a single HDR image, and I am constantly amazed at what a great job it does with just two shots, taken it two seconds. Wish I had something this fast, and this easy, for Photoshop. Just a $1.99.  (App Store Link)

6. Filterstorm
If you an editing App that’s Photoshop-like, this is it. It doesn’t look like Photoshop, but it has a lot of the functionality, with everything from Curves to Hue/Saturation to Cloning to Sharpening, and loads of other Photoshop-like features, all presented in an easy-t0-use interface. Absolutely that they can do something this sophisticated for only $3.99. For iPad and iPhone. (App store link for iPad)

7. Photogene
This was the App that made me realize that the iPad could actually be a great image editor. It does a lot of the same things that Filterstorm does, but since it does a few things that Filterstorm doesn’t, I still keep it in my editing App bag. If I had to choose either it for Filterstorm…..well….can’t I keep both? Please! How can it be only $1.99? For iPad and iPhone. (App Store link for iPad)

8. StuckOnEarth (iPad only)
If you’re a fan of beautiful photography and a beautiful interface, man are you going to love this App from Trey Ratcliff. It’s very clever, very useful, and very fun (everything you’d want in an App). It’s a visual photography adventure around the world and if you’re going anywhere on a shooting vacation, this App should be your first stop, and your companion along the way. Very clever, and amazingly, it’s free! (App Store Link)

9. Camera+ (iPhone only)
If I want to create HDR-looking effects with just one click (or maybe two) to a single image, this is the app to reach for. Their Clarity effect preset is the worth the price of admission alone (and I love their simple frame borders), but as far as Camera Apps go, this one’s the best. Perfect for folks who want to apply simple effects quality without really having to learn an editing App, plus it’s a great, fast-launching camera, too! (put that combination together, and you have an App that has downloaded more than 5-millions times)! Best of all, it’s only 99¢. What’s not to love? (App Store Link)

10. Diptic
All I want for Christmas is a Photoshop plug-in that makes multi-image layouts as easily as this one (yes, I know Lightroom can do this, but you pretty much have to create the templates yourself, where Diptic has a bunch all ready to go). I’ve also tried different scripts for actions for Photoshop, but this simple 99¢ App still beats them all hands down. Very cleverly designed, with lots of functionality, all at an insanely low price. For iPad and iPhone. (App Store Link)

It’s Hero Time!
If you bought the photographer on your App gift list every one of the photography Apps I’ve listed above, your Gift Basket you’d be under $20.00 (OK, not a lot under, but under) and you’d be a Holiday Hero!

But wait….
If you’re thinking something along the lines of  “Scott, how could you have left off [insert your favorite photo App’s name here]?” then just add your favorite App picks here as a comment (just remember to leave a short description of why it’s your favorite, cause everybody (me) wants to find a cool new App this Holiday Season). :-)

This has been one of the most frustrating things for us ever. We launch “Light It,” this kick-butt new magazine. We get over-the-top incredible feedback from it, and people can’t wait to get issue #2, which is really exciting for us.

Issue #2 was already complete when we launched issue #1, so we wanted to launch it pretty soon after the first issue. However, there was something we didn’t count on….

…Apple’s App Store has turned down our App FOUR TIMES IN A ROW now.

When they turn down your App, they send you an email why, then you have to go try and fix the problems (ours were related to IOS 5.0, and then our in-app purchasing, and then a memory issue, and then a testing issue, and so on).

Then you have to (wait for it….wait for it….) resubmit the App all over again. Apple has from 7 to 14 days to test and or approve/deny your App, and they’ve been really consistent about denying it.

It was turned down once again last week (uggh!), but it has finally been turned down so much that we have an actual live Apple person assigned to our case, and she seems really helpful and we hope to have the problem resolved now with her help, and hopefully we’ll see issue #2 very soon, since issues #3 and #4 and also already done.

I am SO sorry you guys have had to wait so long for the 2nd issue (believe it, it was not part of the plan), but it’s kind of been that kind of year (if you know what I mean). Thank you to everyone who has waited patiently, who has shown their support, and who has hung in their eagerly waiting for issue #2, which when it finally does get released, will truly earn the “….the most eagerly awaited issue of the year….” slogan). :)

One last thing
I want some of you (you know who you are) to resist the overwhelming urge to write comments like “This wouldn’t have happened if you released it on Android” and stuff along those lines, because it won’t make anything (issue #2, or a release on Android) happen any faster. So, rise above that urge, be a better man/woman (though I rarely ever see snarky comments from women here ever—thank you ladies), and just go about your day as if none of this ever happened. See, don’t you feel better now? I knew you would.

First a big thanks to everybody who downloaded our new magazine, “Light it” yesterday. Launching a magazine in this day and age is tricky business, but the initial response was even better than we had hoped, and we’re very grateful to our readers, writers, and the industry for their support and enthusiasm for this launch. It was really an exciting day for us.

Of course, with something new like this it has generated a lot of emotion (ahem) and questions surrounding the launch, so I thought I’d addresses a few of them here today in a quick Q&A. Here goes:

Q. I know the premiere issue is free, but how much are subsequent issues?
A. They’re just $2.99 per issue. Cheap.

Q. How can you sell it so cheap?
A. We followed the model of more established magazines in that we clearly have no business plan, or a dream of ever making a profit. However, if at any time we suddenly feel like it somehow could become profitable, don’t worry—we’ll raise the price.

Q. Why is everybody so mad that you released this new magazine?
A. Everybody’s not mad. Just the folks who don’t have iPads.

Q. Are you planning to release an Android version?
A. For now, we’re just releasing this iPad version.

Q. You are totally being an elitist by just addressing people who can afford an iPad, aren’t you?
A. A Nikon SB-900 flash runs around $497.50 at B&H Photo. You can buy an iPad for $2.50 more. I guess anyone who has two dollars and 50 cents more than what a SB-900 costs is now part of a privileged, elitist group. Where does that put people who own an Nikon or Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 at around $2,200? Clearly, they should be in jail.

Q. How much do you actually get each year for hawking Apple’s products?
A. In the interest of full disclosure, we are paid approximately $631,000 annually from our product promotions deal with Apple, including what we do in print, in our Podcasts, and at live events.

Q. Are you kidding me?!
A. Of course I’m kidding you. We don’t get a dime from Apple. Never, ever have. We couldn’t get Apple to send us as much as a free pencil if we tried (though I did get a free Apple t-shirt about 7 years ago from a guy who worked at an Apple store, which was pretty cool).

Q. So you mean, you chose to release for the iPad because that’s what the vast majority of people are using?
A. This is going to be shocking, but….yes. It was a business decision. A simple one at that.

Q. But what about all the Android tablets and all other tablets?
A. Read this article from two days ago, and that should make it obvious.

Q. I understand the desire to to just release on the iPad, but you are seriously limiting your market.
A. I really appreciate the business advice, and even more so, you being so concerned about us limiting our profits.

Q. So will there ever be a version for Android?
A. Aquafadas (The French company that we worked with to create the iPad mag App) doesn’t currently have a solution for Android, but they’re hoping to have one in place by November of this year. If we feel the magazine is a big enough success to expand its distribution to Android (which I hope it is), it ‘ll take us a couple of months to test the new software, get the kinks out and so on, so the first possible launch of an Android edition would be after the first of the year.

Q. How about a version for the Mac App store, so I can watch it on my MacBook Pro
A. When we came up with the idea for this magazine, we didn’t say  “We want to create a digital magazine.” We wanted to create a magazine for the iPad. It is precisely what inspired us. This was never intended to be a Web-based magazine, or one that could be read on a computer, or a PDF—we wanted to create something around the iPad. If there wasn’t an iPad, we never would have wanted to create the magazine in the first place.

Q. But aren’t we entitled to have this App on the operating system we chose?
A. The creation of the App was not funded by your tax dollars, so therefore….no.

Q. But…but....
A. No buts. This isn’t the only resource in the world for lighting techniques. Try this (link)

Q. Why are there two downloads for just one App?
A. The first one is basically the magazine rack—-where future will be available, and that’s the smaller download. The big download (the second one) is actually the magazine itself. The good news is; you only have to download the magazine rack once, so in the future it’ll just be issues that download.

Q. Why is the download so large?
A. Most magazines we’ve seen on the App Store run around the 250-300MB or larger range. Embedding HD video like we did does affects the file size, but at the same time thanks to that you don’t have to be connected to the Internet to watch the video. That being said; never fear—-we’re definitely working on ways to keep the file size smaller and more manageable.

Q. Are you planning on adding any new features? (bookmarking, highlighting, downloading in background, and so on?
A. You betcha. We are the first U.S. customer for the French developer of the mag App and they’re very responsive and forward thinking, so we’re going to be adding lots of great things going forward, but we’re being careful to keep it simple and intuitive and not making it gimmicky or complex.

Q. When is the 2nd issue coming out?
A. The 2nd issue is already complete, and we’re going to release it a little sooner than the normal 8-issues per year because we just can’t wait (so look for it in September, or very early Oct). The 2nd issue is that much better, that much slicker, with more pages, and just some flat-out amazing tutorials, tips and lighting techniques.

Q. What about a version for iPhones or Android phones?
A. I wouldn’t hold your breath for that one.

Q. Why not?
A. Because eventually you’ll pass out.

Q. Well, can I still carry on and whine about the whole Android thing like I never read any of this?
A. Absolutely. Could I stop you anyway?

Well, that’s it for my Q&A today. Of course, we have a more detailed FAQ on the Light It landing page, so I hope you’ll check that out, too.

Thanks again to every one who helped make this launch such a success, and in particular I want to thank our in-house Creative Director and all around wonder-guy, Felix Nelson, who led this product from an idea to a full-blown magazine in just a few short months and did a brilliant job from initial layout to launch. He and his team did a remarkable job (a special shout-out and major gratitude to our own Dave Korman who was instrumental in making this all happen, and who helped in the development and testing of the process).

Thanks everybody for making it a very exciting time to be a magazine publisher again! :)

I have way too many photo Apps for my iPad. If somebody tells me about a good one—I go download it and give it a shot right away, and that’s how I found some of my favorites, like Photogene, Filterstorm Pro, and Photosmith—all excellent apps—the best of breed. However, although it has only been out a few days, Nik Software’s new Snapseed is already my go-to photo app, and my hands down favorite, for five reasons:

(1) They nailed the iPad experience
The way Nik used the iPad’s touch controls is brilliant. I have to imagine when Apple themselves first saw this they said, “Yeah, this is the type of stuff we hoped developers would tap into.” It feels immersive, intuitive, and more like you’re crafting something, rather than just moving sliders. It sounds silly as I write this, but it feels very organic, like you’re creating the effects on the fly, and using it you feel more like an artist and less like a post-processor. A brilliant interface, and I imagine others will follow their lead.

(2) The quality of their effects are outstanding
A big buzz right now for iPad photo apps are one-click effects, but Nik’s presets are among the very best. Great looking one-click effects, but the ability to tweak those so easily so create your own custom effects takes it up a big notch.

(3) It’s much deeper than it looks
At first glance, it seems like there’s a few filters, a few adjustments, some frames and textures. However, don’t let the simple,  clean interface fool you—this App is like an onion, and you just keep peeling away layers to find more and more depth. I think that’s part of the strengh of the App—-you can just do your thing and keep the power tucked out of site, or dig in and really do some serious editing. The fact that Viveza-type controls are in Snapseed just blows my mind.

(4) The Fun Factor
This App is just plain fun. It’s probably the most fun I’ve had using an iPad photo app yet, and I found myself spending more time experimenting and playing with Snapseed than any other. Plus, it has all the online sharing features any cool photo app would have these days.

(5) The price is too right.
If this were a desktop App, it would cost over $100. Maybe more. And people would buy it. A lot of them. I would buy it as a Photoshop plug-in in a heartbeat, but it’s a standalone App for the iPad, and costs only $5 bucks. That is insane. Seriously.

Anyway, as you can see I’m pretty psyched about Snapseed, but I’m not alone—the buzz it is generating is amazing. For those of you that already have Snapseed, let me know what you think. For everybody else, here’s a link to it on the iTunes Store, and here’s where you can go and watch some videos about it over at Nik’s site.

First, thanks to everyone who downloaded the long-awaited (and incredibly way overdue) Kelby Training App for the iPad and iPhone (nearly 10,000 of you already since it’s release on the iTunes Store on Friday). If you haven’t downloaded it yet (and you’re a Kelby Training Online subscriber), here’s the link.

It was so exciting to get this puppy out the door, and even more so to see such great comments from people who downloaded it and were totally loving it! (I watched two classes on it myself this weekend, from Frank Doorhof and Jack Reznicki). Of course, with something new like this, there were lots of questions, so I thought I’d tackle a few here today.

Q. Have you fixed that bug where the screen goes black if you change apps and then relaunch?
A. Yup. In fact, we’ve already submitted a fix to the iTunes store, and as soon as they approve the updated version, it’ll be available for download. Thanks to everyone who let us know about the problem, which primarily happened if you were watching videos at full screen size, then you left the app to do something else, then came back to the app and the screen was just black.

In the meantime (until Apple approves the update), you can do either of these two things:

(1) try to avoid switching apps while in full screen mode (I know, lame, but hey…it’s only a bandaid until the fix is approved), or

(2) you can force quit the app by holding down the Power Button and when the Red slider appears, just hold the “Home” button down for a few seconds until the app force quits and you return to the Home Screen. Now you can relaunch the app and it works. Unfortunately it doesn’t remember where you left off, so you have to manually go back to the video you were at last. I know, that stinks, but at least a fix is already on the way (thanks to the amazing Shawn for getting on this so quickly).

Q. Are you planning to offer offline viewing?
A. It wasn’t in the initial plan, but it’s certainly something we’ll be talking about in the coming weeks. I can totally see the benefits of this for people who are on the move, and I’m going to do some research and find out what’s involved, and what it would take (I always think these things are going to be easy, and then I find out shortly thereafter when it comes to engineering, I have a fantasy world timeline) but at this point, I’ll give it a qualified “maybe.”

Q. How come it won’t work on a Verizon iPhone? (in other words, why does it requires IOS 4.3?)
A. Here’s what Shawn told me about this:

“We had to make a decision between allowing AirPlay to an Apple TV or supporting Verizon iPhones. Up until about 3 weeks ago, the App was planned as “iPad only” (so the Verizon thing wasn’t an issue). We decided to go with requiring iOS 4.3 so that AirPlay would work. [Note; we’re getting lots of love for including the Airplay feature]. However, Apple’s big developer conference [WWDC] is June 5th, and I suspect you will see new iOS versions announced there.”

So, in short; we were just making an iPad App, but at the last minute we were able to expand it so most iPhone users can use it, too. Hopefully, shortly, this won’t be an issue as Apple releases the next ISO update.

Q. Will there be an Android version?
A. We had to release a specialized App for iPad users because iPad’s don’t support Adobe Flash (the format our videos at Kelby Training are currently served up in). However, the Android platform does support Flash so Android users can already watch these videos right on their Browsers. So, at this point, we’re not planning to create an App for Android that just duplicates what their web browser already does.

Q. OK, now that we have the App, where’s “Another Day With Jay Maisel?”
A. I’ll have an announcement about that possibly by tomorrow (I hope), but the announcement isn’t that his class is going live tomorrow. It’s cooler than that!

Q. Did I see you in New York City on Friday?
A. Yup. I was there, on location, filming “A Day with Joe McNally.”

Q. Really?
A. Really! It was amazing. We started at Joe’s house/studio, and did a behind the scenes tour of his studio, and the cameras were rolling as he chose the equipment for the next day’s assignment (lots of great tips here), he and his assistants loaded up the trucks, and then we drove into the city, to an incredibly cool location for two shoots, using usually just one or two Speedlights, and I gotta tell you—it was amazing.

We even interviewed Joe’s studio manager Lynn, who shared how she finds locations, sets-up shoots, and manages Joe’s crew for success on location. There’s LOTS of behind the scenes stuff, including candid interviews as we’re driving to New York, and honestly it’s the best, most revealing, and most insightful project we’ve done with Joe to date. You will learn an amazing amount about off-camera flash, but also, you’ll learn a lot about the man behind the lens. Seriously, an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Q. So….when will we get to see it?
A. These classes, which are also very much like a documentary in their production values and complexity (a traveling three camera location shoot), take a long time to put together in editing and post production, and a lot of thought and planning goes into them (ask anyone who saw the original “A day with Jay Maisel”), so I imagine it’ll be two months before it’s done (heck, the camera gear isn’t even back from New York yet). I wish it was sooner, because I learned a lot from Joe that day (seeing what Joe can get out of just one SB-900 off camera flash was nothing short of inspirational), and I want to watch the whole thing myself, but I won’t get to watch it a day earlier than you do (well, maybe a day, but not more). I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready, but just remember, after waiting a year for the iPad app to ship, 60 or so days for Joe’s class seems like nuthin’

Q. Scott, why did it take so long for the App to be released?
A. It was our own fault. Totally (and mostly mine for jumping the gun on mentioning it in the first place). It was our first time doing something like this—-we’re fairly new to the App game (my other Apps, like Photo Recipes, were produced by Peachpit Press—not by us), so it was a HUGE learning curve setting up a streaming video app that is along the lines and scope of a Hulu-type App.

The biggest roadblock was that we had to have thousands of individual lessons converted into six different formats (there was no way around this), but after we had converted more than half of them, only then we did learn that we had done them all wrong. Uggh! Back to square one.

It was really one thing after another (none of it Shawn’s fault—he was a champ!), but it was one of those things where we thought we were so close, but then we’d find a major problem, and we’d have to go back to the drawing board. It was way, way, harder and took WAY longer than we ever imagined, but at the end of the day, it came down to us, and our inexperience with something of this complexity (it had to tie into our Web back end, our databases, we had to be able to upload new classes and have them go live, and so on).

The good news is: although we took a lot of bumps and bruises along the way, we’ve learned a lot, and it will help us big time moving forward. In fact, we have some really cool announcements coming soon, but I’m not breathing a word of it, or even hinting when, what, or where about it until I know they are 100% ready and complete.

Q. So this was your fault?
A. Well…yes. I promised something we weren’t ready to deliver, and it made a lot of people really upset who wanted to watch Kelby Training online on their iPads, and I’m truly sorry. It wasn’t intentional—each time I mentioned it was close to being ready, I really thought it was, but nevertheless, I shouldn’t have jumped the gun and said anything until I was certain, and that’s 100% my fault.

I want to offer my humble apologies to everyone who waited so patiently for us to get our “stuff” together (and stuff is not the word I wanted to use), and I want to apologize to Shawn Welch, our App developer, who took lots of slings and arrows too, even though it was totally out of his hands. He did an awesome job, and he’s committed to taking this app to the next level (and I know he will). So, I’m sorry to everyone we let down in getting this App out so late, and my thanks to everyone who wrote on Friday, or emailed me personally, to say “it was worth the wait.”

Q. So what’s the next big thing and when is it coming out?
A. Why, I have no idea. ;-)

Hi Gang: I have been dying for Adobe to come out with a Lightroom App for the iPad, and although this isn’t from Adobe, it’s the next best thing, and I personally am really excited about it.

It’s called “Photosmith for iPad” and it’s designed to work as a mobile companion Lightroom by letting you create Collections, rate, tag, add keywords and metadata to your photos, and then (wait for it, wait for it) sync your Collections to Lightroom on your computer wirelessly. It’s the dream baby!!! The dream!!!!

Now, as I’m writing this, I haven’t spent much time with it—I downloaded it last night and started playing with it, and it sync’d beautifully with Lightroom—first time! (you do have to download and install their plug-in for Lightroom first), but after using it for a just an hour or so, I can see I’ll be using this a lot when I travel.

Although it doesn’t do image editing (just sorting and stuff) it does let you share photos from your Collections directly up to Facebook, Drop Box, Flickr (hugs), or you just email them directly from the App, but at this point, the real reason to have it is to make Collections, rate and sort your photos, and have that all go over to Lightroom.

Of course, this is just version 1, and I already have some features I would love to see them add, but one of the things I love about iPad Apps is how quickly developers are able to update and add new features, so although it’s not perfect yet—I imagine it soon will be. It’s $17.99. My hat’s off to the developers; Chris and Jonah—-way to go guys! :-)

Here’s a link to their site,  and here’s the direct iTunes downloads link (or, on your iPad, go to the App Store, and search for Photosmith).