Showing your photography portfolio on your own iPad is no problem. In fact it’s about the best showcase you can possibly give your photos on a screen. The iPad was born for this stuff. That’s not the problem.
The problem is what happens when people visit your web site on their iPad to look at your portfolio, which is probably a Flash-based portfolio (it’s tough to find a pro photographer’s web site that isn’t Flash-based these days. They’re out there, there’s just not that many of them), and the iPad doesn’t support Flash.
Now, this isn’t a debate about whether or not the iPad should have Flash. That debate is over—it isn’t there, and I don’t think you’re ever going to see Flash on the iPad period (just like we’ve never seen it on the iPhone), so let’s just deal with what we’ve got, and move on (in other words; please skip the debate. For more on the whole Flash on the iPad thing, you’ve got to read Terry White’s review today. It’s a must-read—here’s the link).
So, if you have a Flash-based portfolio (like me), what do we do now?
Millions of people are going to buy iPads. It’s estimated that nearly three quarters of a million people bought them just this weekend. But let’s put that aside for now. What about the iPhone users? They don’t have Flash support either.
Just how many of them can’t see your portfolio on their iPhones? Well, Apple sold about 25 million iPhones in just 2009 alone, so we’re somewhere in the area of 70 million iPhones sold total so far. None of those 70 million or so people can see your Flash-based portfolio on their iPhone.
When In Doubt, I Call RC
If we want iPad and iPhone users to see our portfolio, we’re going to have to use something other than a Flash-based portfolio, or keep the Flash for your computer-based viewers, but swap out iPad and iPhones users for some sort of HTML portfolio.
Now, I’m lucky. I’ve got RC Concepcion on my team. As you probably already know, RC is a Web/photography wizard, and in just two days, RC was not only able to come up with a solution for me, he added something that totally blew me away.
(ed Note: Single Finger Swiping on the gallery is now live – RC)
Now, he had some help from Alan Brusky of Fireleaf Design (link), and together they created this alternate portfolio, complete with thumbnails, finger swiping (or you can tap on the photo to advance to the next photo), and the good news is—RC is making all this a part of his new class called “Portfolio Power” (I’m not sure if it’s an online class or just a DVD), but either way—he’s including four templates you can use for this type of stuff today (which includes the one he using for me).
We Need a Plan Now
By next weekend, more than a million US users will be missing your Flash-based portfolio. Don’t wait. Come up with a plan now. I’m having to do the same thing here on my regular blog. I use a Flash-based player for videos I embed on the blog, but I can get around that, and make my videos playable on iPhone and iPads by simply uploading them to YouTube.com instead.
Now, I’m not giving up on Flash—-I love Flash personally, but I want to make sure I’ve got a Plan B—a back-up plan, for anyone visiting my site without Flash support. Also, I know a lot of photographers have been doing this “visit the HTML version” for a while now, so I’m not breaking new ground here, but Flash has received such wide support that few photographers have had to worry about a browser not supporting Flash. Until now.
Let’s Help Each Other Out
That’s my plan for now, but it’s still evolving, so I’m totally open to hearing your ideas for serving video to this market, and for having a way to show your portfolio online so it can be seen to iPad and iPhone users. I really want to hear what you’re doing—-my work, what you’ve tried, and I know a lot of others will be interested as well.
Thanks RC for helping me out (you’ve done it again, my friend!), and for passing on what you’ve learned to me, and my readers. Also, many thanks to Diablo for the incredible Flash work you’ve done for the community, and to Alan for helping make sure RC didn’t get any sleep this weekend.