Author: Terry White

Terry is the co-author of The Best Selling "The iPhone Book" 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th editions. He has been active in the industry for over 25 years and is the founder and president of MacGroup-Detroit, Inc., Michigan's largest Macintosh Users Group, host of the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and a technology writer - Terry White Tech Blog.
Google Maps

Google Maps for iOS Updated with Contact Search

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Although we cheered when Google Maps returned to iOS as downloadable App, there was one feature missing that we had before. The ability to search your contacts for addresses to navigate to. Although this update is not using the built-in contacts, it will use your Google (GMail) contacts in all searches now. I don’t mind this since I sync my iOS and Google contacts with this great app. It would have been nice to use the built-in contacts since that’s where most users will have their contacts, but I can see Google (an iOS competitor) wanting to keep everything in their own eco-system (just like Apple does). This update also brings fast category searching such as restaurants, bars, cafes, gas stations, etc. and the ability to choose between Miles or Kilometers as your preference.

The more I use Apple Maps, the more I’m happy that we have alternatives. While Navigon is still my overall preferred full featured turn-by-turn navigation App, Google Maps is great for a free alternative.

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Haze

Haze – A Cool New Weather App

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There certainly is no shortage of weather apps for iOS. The iPhone has had one built-in since day one and it keeps getting better. So why would you download another weather App for your iPhone? The weather is the weather, so the difference between the apps is how well they present the information. Haze has a very simple and elegant animated interface. Tap it and you have the current temperature where ever you are. Swipe down and get the forecast, swipe through to see the sunshine hours, and chance of rain or you can enable the “Tilt” feature to quickly get to these readouts. The temperature can be set to °F or °C. Again this isn’t rocket science or anything that can’t be or isn’t displayed in countless other weather Apps, but it’s the simplicity of the App that draws me to it each day. It’s uncluttered and not trying to show me too many things at once. I recommend you try it.

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Adobe Photoshop Touch for phone

Adobe Photoshop Touch Now for iPhone

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Adobe just released its very popular photo editing tool originally for iPad, Photoshop Touch on iPhone and Android. That’s right you can now have the power of Photoshop Touch on your iPhone or your iPad. This new App offers a touch friendly interface to the functions that users will need the most when editing and compositing images on their iPhone. I have to say I’m even more excited to see Photoshop Touch on iPhone than I was when it was released for iPad. The simple reason is that I take way more photos with my iPhone camera than I do with my iPad and therefore I’m more likely to use a photo editing App on my iPhone than my iPad. Also since Photoshop Touch works with Adobe Creative Cloud I can start an edit on my iPhone and finish it on my iPad or Photoshop on the desktop if I choose.

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Adobe Photoshop Touch for phone offers powerful new capabilities for smartphone users:

·         Enhance images using popular Photoshop features such as layers, selection tools, filters, tonal and color adjustments

·         Apply effects and add graphical text for endless creative possibilities

·         Edit images as large as 12 megapixels with layers

·         Combine images together quickly using the Scribble Selection feature, and easily refine your selection with the Refine Edge tool

·         Automatically sync images to Adobe Creative Cloud™ with free 2GB of storage

You can get Photoshop Touch for iPhone here
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You can get Photoshop Touch for iPad here
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Yes you can also get it for Android here.

 

To make it even better, get one of these

Brushing with your finger is ok, but if you want more precision I highly recommend getting one of these Wacom Bamboo Styluses for touch screens.

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You can get one here.

Camera+

10 Best iPhone Camera Apps

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I use my iPhone 5 as my point and shoot camera and while the built-in Camera app works fine there are other Apps that work even better. In most cases you’re either going to want more control while taking your shots or you’re going to want to do something with them immediately after shooting them. That’s where these 10 Best iPhone Camera Apps come into play.

 

Camera+

Camera+ 2.0

Let’s start with Camera+. This App aims to allow you to take better pictures in the 1st place by offering both tap for focus and tap for exposure lock as well as stabilization features for anti-camera shake. After take your shot you’ve got a ton of great scene modes, filters and adjustments to use.

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Camera Awesome

CameraAwesome

Camera Awesome is by SmugMug and like Camera+ it aims to help you take better pics to start with by offering various composition features as well as tap to lock in focus and exposure. After you take the shot you’re one tap away from “awesome”. Just tap the Awesomize button to make your shot “awesome”. You can crop, apply effects and filters and of course share your shot on several social media sites including smugmug.com

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True HDR

TrueHDR

I’ve tried several HDR Apps and hands down True HDR is the best IMHO. It just get’s the whole process right and results are stunning! You can shoot in auto mode or manual mode, merge your 3 shots together and then adjust the Warmth, Contrast, Saturation and Brightness as well as one tap effects.

Hogwartz Express

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FolioBook Photo Portfolio

FolioBook Is My New Preferred iPad Portfolio App

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This review has been a long time coming. I remember when my buddy Scott Kelby first raved about FolioBook and I downloaded it and tried it based on his recommendation. However, and to be quite honest, I wasn’t that impressed. Don’t get me wrong, FolioBook did all the things that Scott raved about, but for me it didn’t do anything that any of the other major portfolio Apps I had didn’t already do. Sure it’s great for creating a custom branded portfolio experience complete with video support (in-app purchase), logos and music, but it was missing the same thing that most of the others were missing. There was no way to “sync” photos from Lightroom or cloud storage such as Dropbox.com. The developer contacted me for a review and like so many other Apps I actually declined to review it simply because there wouldn’t be anything really great for me to say other than it’s another fine choice for a portfolio App. I wanted MORE! I explained to him that it’s not good enough that I can get my photos into your App and display them, I need an easy workflow for updating my portfolios/galleries. My portfolio (galleries) is a “work-in-progress” that will never be done! I’m always looking to improve it. That means that when I take a better shot than one of the ones already in it, the old one gets replaced by the new one. I even have a “Recent Work” gallery that is updated every time I do a new shoot. It always has 24 of my most recent pics in it. For most portfolio Apps this means a manual update. I’d have to get the new shot it in, arrange it and remember to delete the old shot. Like most things, if it’s not easy to update you won’t update it. My portfolio on my iPad always seemed to be out of date and I’d have to scramble to get it up to date before showing someone or heading to an event.

He listened!

Lightroom to Dropbox to FolioBook – That’s My Workflow

Adobe Lightroom is where all my photos live. I have various catalogs for the different types of photography that I do and Lightroom is my mission control center for publishing and sharing my photos with the world. Thanks to The Turning Gate I even use Lightroom to create my Photography Website. I use Lightroom’s Publish Services to publish to Facebook, Google+ (Picasa), 500px.com, Flickr and Smugmug. However, I also use Lightroom to Publish to folders in Dropbox via the built-in Hard Drive Publish feature. This is also one of the ways I go from Lightroom to my iOS devices.

Lightroom Hard Drive Publish Service

Any time that I update my Portfolios (galleries), I just hit the Publish button for each Smart Collection in my Hard Drive publisher and the new JPGs are generated and sync’d with Dropbox. FolioBook could always “IMPORT” from Dropbox, but it was a very manual process. You’d have to pick which images to import and then remember to manually delete the old ones. In this latest update to FolioBook, FolioBook Now “Syncs” with Dropbox. That’s right! Real syncing. Simply choose the folder on your Dropbox.com account that you wish to sync with as a gallery in FolioBook and it will “sync” the new photos to FolioBook and remove the old ones. Hooray!

NOTE: Your initial sync could take several minutes as FolioBook has to look at every file in your Dropbox folder once and note the modification/creation date/time. Mine took about 10-15 minutes and I thought it was forever stuck on “preparing”. After the initial sync it syncs any other galleries/changes very quickly.

Sort order: The images in FolioBook will be ordered by file name coming from Lightroom/Dropbox. Therefore if you add an image later in the middle of your collection, you’ll need to rename all the photos in that collection with a preceding sequence number and mark all photos in that collection to republish so that they are all generated with a new sequence number/name.

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FolioBook_Sync_Dropbox

This is the update I’ve been waiting for. While FolioBook isn’t the 1st app to sync Photos with the cloud (Minimal Folio can do it and Adobe Revel can sync as well) the other Apps don’t have all the “Portfolio” features that I want/need such as slideshows, transitions, music, etc.. This is why starting today if any photographer were to ask me for a recommendation for a Portfolio App for iPad, I will say “FolioBook”. I’ve gone through more Portfolio Apps than I care to mention and it’s posible that I’ll change my mind again if something better comes out, but right now FolioBook is where it’s at!

 

The Bottom Line

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Until now FolioBook was a good option for having a portfolio of photos on your iPad, Today, it just became a “Best App” for having a portfolio of photos on your iPad. This updates goes a long way towards making FolioBook the “perfect” portfolio App for iPad, but there are still some things I’d like to see in the next update. Now that we have Dropbox syncing of galleries, I’d like to see an option to “Backup” and “Restore” to/from Dropbox. Currently the App offers backup/restore, but only via iTunes and a cable. I’d also love to see syncing of the order of photos between devices and yes I’d love to see an iPhone version since I have my iPhone with me more often than my iPad. I’d also like to see a slightly “smoother” manual swipe from image to image. Seems like you have to really “pull” to get to the next image.

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Dropbox recently made their “sync API” available to developers. So I’m sure we’ll see other Portfolio Apps follow FolioBook’s lead, but for now if you’re a photographer and you were looking for the Best Portfolio App for your iPad, currently this is it.

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