Help me outfit my mom's ipad to include photography tools she will like
October 8, 2012 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Getting mom an iPad. She says she wants a camera connector (she has a Canon EOS 40D) and "Photoshop" for it. She uses Photoshop on her iMac. I see Photoshop Express and Photoshop Tools. Should I get both/neither/something else? Are there good ipad-based tutorials for how to use Photoshop or similar tools for the ipad? Any other suggestions?

My sister and I are getting my mom an iPad + camera connection kit as an early holiday present. Her brother thinks she really needs a new computer but she would prefer an iPad and that's totally fine with us. What she really wants is to be able to connect her camera to it and mess with photos, probably while traveling. And no, she did not want a laptop. We got her a keyboard and a mouse that she can use with it if she wants. She's a talented photographer and uses Photoshop a lot on her home machine, so she's looking for at least some advanced-type tools. She also asked that we set it up for her so I'm noodling around with that today. She has an iPod touch so she's at least somewhat familiar with the touchscreen interface and OS.

I don't do a lot of photo storage or editing on my own iPad so I'm not sure what's worthwhile for people who do this sort of thing and would appreciate some suggestions and advice. What have you used that you've liked? What seems not worth the money? What are common mistakes that I (or she) can avoid? Thanks.
posted by jessamyn to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The official camera kit seems not worth the money. You can buy a 5-in-1 camera kit adapter for the ipad from Amazon for all of $2.25 with free shipping.

(It does have some mixed reviews, but seemingly the same connector, without free shipping, has better reviews. I own the first one linked, but admittedly have yet to try using it.)
posted by namewithoutwords at 9:26 AM on October 8, 2012

I can't speak to the quality of Photoshop Express or Photoshop Tools but Snapseed is a great photo-editing tool on the iPhone and I imagine it's even better on the iPad.
posted by enn at 9:34 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Since she wants to load photos on her iPad while traveling, a connector kit makes sense to me. The photo tools on iPad are really not up to the same standards as the tools available on her laptop, so I definitely wouldn't toss that out right away. I'm definitely NOT a professional, but I like Photogene2 a lot. I like it much more than iPhoto when it comes to photo touch-ups.

I'm unfamiliar with Photoshop for iPad but with my experience of apps on iPad is it is probably a crippled version of Photoshop Elements.
posted by nickerbocker at 9:37 AM on October 8, 2012

Seconding Snapseed. It's really great on the ipad.
posted by tractorfeed at 9:38 AM on October 8, 2012

Photoshop Express is free, so she can always try that out before she decides whether or not she wants to use Photoshop Tools. Photoshop Tools has (afaik) a max resolution of 2048 x 2048 px, so that may be a constraining factor if she takes a lot of high res photos.

For advanced photo editing, I've heard great things about Filterstorm. Super accessible interface with both built-in presets and advanced fine-tuning, processes RAW images, options to save a set of adjustments as a preset that you can reuse, etc. PhotoGene supposedly has a bit more features in terms of super in-depth settings, but the UI isn't as user-friendly. Filterstorm is $2.50 and PhotoGene is $3, though, so either way not a huge investment if it doesn't work out.

In my experience, a lot of decisions about which app is best for a specific purpose often just comes down to personal preference for how a certain app handles things. Why not get her a few and walk her through the options and see which one feels most natural to her?

Note: Snapseed has recently been acquired by Google, and there are some people who are concerned about its longterm support as a result of that. I don't know how much that would factor into your decision.
posted by Phire at 9:39 AM on October 8, 2012

The software I am familiar with requires the camera to be tethered to a laptop/tablet with USB support. The iPad DSLR controller app is $50 and still requires you to leave your laptop tethered to the camera running server software and letting you use the iPad remotely (my android tablet has a free app that uses its built in USB port so no need to carry a laptop to tether the camera). I would much prefer to use my digital darkroom on my home computer to work on my prints rather than try to edit photographs on a tablet. If you are just going to crop and resize to upload to FB the tablet does that pretty well serious Photo shopping I wouldn't attempt. Red eye reduction yes clearing blemishes on a portrait no. YMMV but I don't know any app that the iPad can use to control a camera directly. Serious photo manipulation needs ram and cpu/gpu cycles leave it to full fledged computers/laptops.
posted by pdxpogo at 10:04 AM on October 8, 2012

Note: Snapseed has recently been acquired by Google, and there are some people who are concerned about its longterm support as a result of that. I don't know how much that would factor into your decision.

For what it's worth, Google has said pretty directly that they will continue Snapseed's current businesses. They do a lot with professional photogs and Google has reassured them that they won't mess with that (of course... you never know).

That said, I would agree that Snapseed is probably the best choice, but it is definitely no where n the same ballpark as real Photoshop.
posted by alaijmw at 11:50 AM on October 8, 2012

I'm not a serious photographer by any means, but I've been very happy with my Eye-Fi memory card. I have it dump my pictures to my iPad via wireless, and to PhotoBucket - there are quite a few options for online storage built in, plus you can FTP directly to your own server if you want. I don't have any kind of connection kit.
posted by candyland at 12:35 PM on October 8, 2012

I've been an Adobe Photoshop user on Macs and PCs since Version 2.5, and have a number of photo editing apps on my iPhone and iPad.

Snapseed, with it's very non-Photoshoppish user interface, is in my opinion the Rolls Royce of iOS apps of this type. In addition to being very versatile, it seems that the folks at Nik Software really "get it" when it comes to optimaizing iOS device capabilities.

Photogene is very powerful, with a UI much more like that of Photoshop. I only use it when I want to do something that Snapseed won't easily handle.

Virtually all of the iOS editing apps are so inexpensive (or free) that there's no real good reason not to try a number of them.

I have a couple of the super cheap knockoffs of the Apple Camera Connector kit from Amazon, and they all work great.
posted by imjustsaying at 12:55 PM on October 8, 2012

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