Your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad is great for photography since it’s the device you always have with you.

Easy Release - Model Release App

5 Apps That I Use On Every Photo Shoot


My iPhone and iPad have become an integral part of my photography workflow and while I have dozens of photography related apps on my devices there are 5 that I find myself using pretty much during every photo shoot. Some I use on my iPhone because it’s on me during the shoot and some I use on my iPad because of the bigger display. However, most of these are Universal Apps that work on both.



Since I’m usually shooting tethered to my MacBook Pro and into Lightroom the shots are going directly from my camera into my computer. Usually after the 1st look or scene I want to get one of the best images that I’ve taken so far over to my iPad so that I can have it ready for the model release process. Photosync is the easiest way to do this. I have an export preset setup in Lightroom that makes a JPG from the selected image(s) and then drops it on the Photosync companion app running on my MacBook Pro. From there Photosync wirelessly transfers the image(s) to my iPad (or iPhone) and drops it on the Camera Roll.


Easy Release


I get a model release for every shoot that I do. I moved away from actual paper releases a few years ago. I now do the exclusively on my iPad (and on my iPhone in a pinch). The App I use for model (and property) releases is Easy Release. You can of course input (copy/paste) your own custom release text in the app. I love that each release can include a photo (that’s why I use Photosync above). Once I add the model either manually or from my contacts, I then grab a photo from the Camera Roll and insert it in the release. Lastly the model signs right on the iPad/iPhone and lastly I email a copy to both of us right from the App.




If I’m in studio I’m usually shooting tethered right into Adobe Lightroom. However, if i’m shooting on location then I usually have an Eye-Fi card in my 2nd SD slot. In this case I shoot RAW+JPG where the RAW files go to the main card in slot 1 and the basic JPGs go to the Eye-Fi card in slot 2. Using the Shuttersnitch App the images wirelessly transfer to my iPad or iPhone for a quick review or to share out on social media. Although you can download the Eye-Fi App for free, Shuttersnitch offers a ton more features including several upload/sharing options, FTP support for my Nikon D4/WT5-A and rating options.




At some point during the shoot I’m going to capture some “behind the scenes” shots and videos either with my iPhone or DLSR or both. My favorite app for creating a collage of both the stills and the video is PicPlayPost. This App does a great job in letting you choose a template and importing stills or videos into each frame. From there you can pick any song from your device. It even lets you fade down or mute the original audio from each clip. After that you’re one tap away from sharing on your favorite social site.




When it comes to sharing status updates, Facebook and Twitter come to mind. However, when it comes to sharing photos my first choice is Instagram. Besides sharing my pics to my Instagram followers I can also optionally share them simultaneously with my Facebook friends, Twitter followers, Flickr followers, email and even do a Foursquare check in.



Wacom Bamboo

Also here’s my favorite stylus/pen to have models/clients sign their releases and contracts


My favorite stylus/pen is this one.

GoPro App

GoPro App that is as Good as the Camera it Controls



Last winter I was preparing for a trip to the Keys of Florida with some friends for some much needed relaxation.  The plan was to do some scuba diving, snorkeling, and boating and me being me, I decided that I needed to have an awesome camera to take some photos of it all. Up until this point I didn’t have much experience with underwater or extreme sports cameras but my buddy Frank had a couple of GoPros so I figured I’d start there. After doing some research I decided to pick up a GoPro Hero 3 Black along with all of the accessories that go with it. I figured that this camera would be fun to take along when I was doing something that chanced breaking a normal camera. What I expected was an average camera that took decent quality photographs and would work well enough to capture some crazy activities. What I GOT was a camera that is capable of some amazing photography and equally amazing video. With the ability to shoot 12mp stills and 4k video, these little things pack a punch! When I realized that I could control the GoPro with an App on my iPhone and iPad, I was hooked. I have since bought 2 more and use these things for everything from Wedding photos, to crazy extreme activities! Since we’re just talking about the App here, suffice to say that this is a camera that you SHOULD have. They are awesome and if you love taking cool photos you need this camera!



What It Can Do


Really we should list what it can’t do because that would be the shorter list. Let’s back track for a second and talk about why you would want this App. First, the interface is a little cumbersome on the GoPro itself. It’s easy to switch between modes but when you dig into the menu systems it’s a bit tedious to change things especially if you go past what it is that you’re trying to adjust because the menu system makes you circle all of the way back around to get back to it. With that being said, the App is AMAZING at picking up where the camera interface falls short. You can adjust any setting withing the GoPro from your iOS device. Want to change from video to stills? Done. Want to adjust the resolution of the video from 720 to 1080, easy. Want to set the camera to do a time lapse with photos every .5 seconds and then start the time lapse? Done and done. The GoPro doesn’t come with an LCD to frame your shots (that’s optional) but you can use the FREE iOS App to frame, preview, and watch right through your GoPro! How cool is that?!







But that’s not all it can do! GoPro just announced a MAJOR update to the App itself. They’ve made it faster, and added functionality to it. Now you can copy images and video strait from your GoPro to your iOS device in either low resolution or high resolution quality and share it RIGHT FROM THE APP! Now you don’t have to wait until you get home to pull your cards from the GoPro to see if you have the shot that you wanted. You don’t have to wait until you get home to upload the images to Facebook or Instagram. Do it right from your iPhone.

That’s still not everything that this App can do. Want to watch the GoPro video of the day? It’s in the App. Want to check out the GoPro photo of the day? Guess what? Yep, it’s in the App!



Viewing Your Photos

Once you’ve taken a bunch of photos and video with your GoPro, you can view them right on your iPhone or iPad. To do this you attach to the camera with your iOS device by turning on the WiFi on the GoPro and selecting your network name. Once connected, you will see the preview show up on the screen along with some options below. The box that looks like a small grid of squares is to see your captured video or stills. Selecting this will bring up a grid display like you see above. From here you can select the image to make it larger. Photos load quickly here. There is little to no lag and even the video is surprisingly fast to load. I was very impressed with the way that this App performs in this area.



Frame Your Shots


Like I mentioned before, the GoPro doesn’t have a LCD on the back of it so sometimes it can be hard to frame the shots. With the App you can not only frame the shot, but you can start and stop the video, snap the still, or begin and end the time lapse. I have some temporary house guests in the form of kittens right now. These kittens are cute, adorable, and easy to startle. I have tried to do a few photos of them but they don’t like the camera too close to them and while I could just put a long lens on my D4, I thought putting a GoPro up next to them and snapping photos remotely would be more fun! I attached an Icelight to a Manfrotto magic arm and suspended it out over them on my bed. Then I put a GoPro on a small GorillaPod near them. I just let them do their thing (which was mostly sleep) and I snapped some stills, and took a little video. All of this without touching the GoPro or disturbing their slumber!



Another example of framing the shot up. I was walking around a local car show a couple of days ago and decided to use the GoPro as to not stand out too much. I can hold the GoPro in my hand with relatively no “camera” visible and snap away on my iPhone. But it’s not just for snap shots…


Not Just for Snap Shots and Extreme Sports


I wanted to test what a GoPro could really do so about 6 months ago I started using them at weddings. This is a shot from a recent wedding where I took the bride and groom out at sunset to to enjoy some golden light. I used a Sunbounce Pro 4’X6′ reflector to light my couple and again, used my GoPro App to frame this up for a great sunset shot. Besides shots like this, I use the GoPros for remote cameras mounted above where the bride and groom stand, behind the unity candle, and more! These things do such a great job that I use them wherever and whenever I can!

The Bottom Line

The performance of the GoPro camera is second to none, but more important for this review, the GoPro App is also second to none. I can’t think of anything that I would add to the App that isn’t already there. The only little thing that I could nitpick would be the 3-4 second lag of the preview. When you move the GoPro or the subject there is a delay before you see it on the App preview. I can’t recommend this App or these cameras enough. If you don’t have a GoPro, you should get one! If you’re going to get one, this is where I got mine.


Get the GoPro App for your iOS device from the App store for free here: iTunes

Get the GoPro Hero 3 from Amazon HERE.







Watermark Your Photos Right from Your iPhone


It seems like just about everyone has an iPhone these days. Everywhere you turn you see someone texting, chatting, facetiming, and yes, taking pictures with their beloved iDevice. With the awesome camera on these things, along with all of the amazing Apps it seems that everyone is (or thinks) that they’re a photographer. “First kiss” photos from weddings are uploaded, tweeted, Facebooked, and Instagramed before the couple walks back down the isle now. With this increase in the number of photos taken come with an increase in the number of people that want to watermark their images. Whether it’s because they’re afraid that people are going to steal their images and use them without permission, or just because they want to attach their photography information to the image, people enjoy watermarking. The traditional way of watermarking an image is taking it into the computer, loading it into an image editing software like Photoshop or Lightroom, and adding the overlay there. This process takes time and also prevents people from uploading and sharing at the time that the image was taken. Marksta fixes ALL of that. With Marksta you can watermark an image with text OR a graphical overlay right inside of your iPhone or iPad and upload the image immediately!



How Marksta Does What it Does

Marksta is a very unique and well laid out App. Upon launching the App you can provide images to be watermaked in two ways. You can either us the camera function (built into the App) or you can import images from your camera roll/folders. Once the image is imported you simply tap the screen where it says “Tap Here” to display the text.


This brings up a box that allows you to input your information. From here you will either type whatever it is that you want to say on the screen (I used “Jason Lykins Photography”) or you can add a graphic watermark if you already have one saved in your pictures by tapping the small picture icon to the right of the text box. once you have added your text/picture you simply tap the screen to hide the keyboard. From here you can position the watermark wherever you would like on the screen. (A quick tip: if you want to resize your text, while the keyboard is still showing use a pinching motion to increase or decrease the size).


Next we can tap the small painter’s pallet at the bottom of the screen (second from the left) to bring up the opacity sliders for the watermark. Most people don’t like to do in your face full on opacity watermarks, rather they’d like to have about a 35%-50% opacity setting so that you can see it still but it doesn’t take away from your image. Here is where you would go to do that. From this tab you can also change the watermark hue and shade.


The next tab we come are the heavy controls. By this I mean from here you can add a drop shadow to your watermark, you can make the watermark (if text) act as a boarder and go all of the way around your image, you can left, right, and center justify it, as well as a few other specialty options. This is where you would go to really tweak your watermark and how it interacts with your image.


The next important tab is (to me) the coolest thing about this App. The third tab from the right indicated by three small lines is the layers tab. This tab will let you undo or remove certain parts of your watermark. For example, if I added text, then an image, and decided that it looked too cluttered (because it would) I could go and delete just the text and leave the image overlay completely alone. This is cool! It’s non destructive watermarking for your iPhone!

The Bottom Line

If you like to post images to the internet from your iPhone or iPad, and you want to watermark them, there is no better way to do that than with Marksta. About the only thing that I would like to see added is the ability to batch watermark images from my camera roll, but that’s just nitpicking.



You can get Marksta for both the iPad and iPhone for $1.99 from the iTunes store here:     iTunes

iWatermark - Watermark 1 or Batch of Photos. Watermarking with Text, Logo, & Graphics Overlays.

iWatermark Lets You Watermark Your iPhone and iPad Photos

Usually when I post my photography on the web I like to watermark it with my logo. However, when I’m viewing it on my iPad or iPhone or showing it to others via my portfolio I don’t want my images to be watermarked. This means that I put the images on my iPad and iPhone without the watermarks/logo. The problem comes in when I want to post an image or email an image directly from my iPad or iPhone. I don’t want to send or post an unwatermarked image. This is where iWatermark comes in. This Universal App has several built-in standard watermarks such as text “Confidential”, copyright symbols, etc. Yes, you can even put your own custom watermarks in such as your signature or in my case my logo. Now when I want to post or send an image with a watermark on it, I just fire up iWatermark, watermark the image(s) and then I can save them back to the camera roll or email them directly from the App. You can even put a QR code on your images.

Why watermark? Photoshop has become sophisticated enough and easy enough for just about anyone to remove a watermark if they are trying to steal your images. So don’t think for a moment that watermarking an image “protects” you. I do it for branding! Once you use iWatermark you can size the watermark, move it around on your image with your finger and even adjust the opacity. This app does exactly what I wanted. However, with that said there is room for improvement. For example, after watermarking an image, I’d love to be able to “shake” to undo. Sometimes I accidentally rotate a watermark. It would be nice to have an undo. While the App does have Email, Facebook and Twitter support, next on my list would be the ability to use the “Open in” command so that I can send it directly to the App I’m trying to post to such as Instagram. No need to save to the Camera Roll in all cases. Of course I’d like to see the App optimized for the iPhone 5 screen size. Also for some strange reason when I bring up my photos to chose one, my albums seem to be in some random order. Not alphabetical and not in the standard iOS order either. Weird. Lastly, while the App does allow you to watermark multiple images at once, I’d like the option to adjust the watermark on each image as I’m saving.

Despite these minor things I’d like to see done/added, It’s by far the best watermarking App that I’ve seen to date on iOS.


Dynamic Light

HDR for Any iPhone Image

I recently read a story about sports photographer Brad Mangin and his use of the iPhone to take photos for Sports Illustrated. Of course me being me I was very interested in seeing what Apps Brad was using to edit his images, particularly what he was using to get the vibrancy out of the skies. It seems that Brad is using a pseudo HDR App called Dynamic Light. Dynamic Light takes any image and gives it the HDR look without combining two photos like traditional HDR Apps. Just like any HDR App for the iPhone Dynamic Light works best when applied to images that already have some contrast. Also, images that have people in them tend to look a little funky because of the saturation and shouldn’t be used unless attempting a specific effect.













Amazingly Simple

What struck me when I launched Dynamic Light for the first time was the amazingly simple interface. You are given two options to bring in photos to edit. Option one is to use the built in camera button and take a photo from within the App. The second (and my method of choice) is to choose a photo from one of my folders on my phone. Once you have your image loaded there are two main options for adjustment. The first is the giant dial right below where the App name is. Rotating it left to right increases and decreases the effect. The red dial on the left of the screen rotates the control to the (newly introduced) light ball. This light ball adjusts the radius of the effect.

Below that, is the FX button which gives you access to 11 predefined filters/effects. I found these effects to be useful but when in used in conjunction with the settings menu’s finite controls, this App really shines. Within the settings section you will find a radius slider, surface smoothness slider, and color boost slider. Also housed there are quick preset levels adjustments low, medium, and high. Below all of these controls is the option to save images as full sized. I toggled this option to on because I like to have my images the highest quality possible.



Bottom Line

When it comes to making your images really pop a little bit of HDR mapping is the quickest, easiest way to do it. Dynamic Light is one of the best I’ve found when it comes to giving images the HDR look without the need for multiple photos like a traditional HDR.

Squaready - Smart Layouter for Instagram

Squaready for Instagram

I’ve been using Instagram more and more lately. The one thing I like about it is that I can post a picture to Instagram and simultaneously post it to Twitter (a link to the Instragram shot), Facebook, Flickr, email it to a pre-selected contact, and even check in via Foursqaure. Anything like this that saves me time is a plus! However, the thing I HATE about Instagram is the way it handles portrait images. If I post a landscape/wide image via the Instagram App then it will simply give me blank space at the bottom and top of the image. Yet if I post a portrait/tall image then it will CROP it! There is no way that I know of to post a tall image and see all of it via the Instagram App. Not sure why they don’t handle it the same way they do landscape shots, but they don’t. Instagram wants the image to be SQUARE. This is where Squaready comes in. If you have a portrait or landscape image and you want to get it into a square format before posting it to Instagram Squaready is your answer. Not only will it allow you to recompose your shot the way you want, but it will even send it directly to the Instagram app so that you can post it. Along with putting your image in a square composition, it allows you to pick the background color for the “white space”. The image doesn’t have to be in the center either. You can reposition it any way you like simply by dragging.

The Bottom Line

This app shouldn’t need to exist! These features should be built right in to the Instagram App. However, since they are not built-in this is a must have App if you’re an Instagram user and you’re tired of your tall images being cropped! Best of all Squaready for Instagram is FREE!


BT Journal

BT Journal – Moose Peterson’s Journal for Photographers

One of the photographers that inspires me is Moose Peterson. When it comes to wildlife photography, his name is the only one that comes to my mind. Moose also has an amazing skills when it comes to aerial photography. Needless to say I not only have an interest in photography, but I’m always looking to learn more and to be inspired. Moose Peterson’s New BT journal iPad App provides just the learning experience and inspiration that I’m looking for. Moose teaches by stories, videos and of course exceptional photography. This app (magazine) comes with at least 30 minutes of video with each issue as well as great written instruction. You can either buy single issues or subscribe. As a special bonus you get a step-by-step tutorial on how one of the key photographs was finished.

Best of all you can check out the Premiere Issue detailing the wonders of Yosemite in winter for free! If you’re into wildlife, landscapes or aerial photography then you’ll definitely want to check out Moose’s BT Journal.



Photosmith 2.0 Is The Closest Thing To Having Lightroom On Your iPad

I hear people asking for ways to integrate their iPad into their photography workflow. Things light tethering, image review, portfolio, tagging, etc. come up quite a bit. Lightroom for iPad sounds like a natural, but today it doesn’t exist. What does exist is the next best thing and that is Photosmith 2. Now before we get too far ahead of ourselves, there are several technical limitations preventing developers (like Adobe) from bringing full on tethering and Camera RAW support to the iPad. If you think about it for a minute, there would be a dozen or more tethering Apps out already if it were doable. Therefore Photosmith 2 will NOT allow you to connect your camera directly to your iPad and shoot tethered. With that out of the way, let’s see what Photosmith 2 IS…

Think of Photosmith 2 as the Lightroom Library Module on your iPad

Photosmith 1 allowed you to bring your images in via the Apple Camera Connection Kit or the cool M.I.C. All-In-One SD/Compact Flash Adapter. This means that you could bring in your RAW or JPG files directly from your camera/memory card right into the App and begin the process of tagging, rating and organizing your shots into Collections. Photosmith 2 brings native Eye-Fi card support to the table! This means that you can shoot WIRELESSLY directly to your iPad and even better directly into Photosmith 2. After you’re done tagging, rating and organizing you can sync what you’ve done to Lightroom on the desktop. This truly means that you have an iPad to Lightroom workflow for working in the field and then getting that work to your desktop with that tap of a sync button. Photosmith 2 also adds 2-Way Sync support via a Lightroom Publish Collection. Yep, you can drag images into the Collections on your iPad and sync images right back to the iPad. This is great for getting those images that you’ve adjusted in the Develop module on the desktop version of Lightroom or edited in Photoshop back to your iPad.

Photosmith 2 looks GORGEOUS! They really spent some time in this release making the interface LOOK BETTER! Not to mention making the app faster and manage RAM better. You can batch tag as well as use your existing iPad Albums as a source for importing. Great loupe and full screen support makes this a natural for showing off your images too. It just may become a candidate for my iPad Portfolio App of choice!

  • Wirelessly sync your unsorted backlog from Lightroom with our free plugin
  • Sort and filter your photos
  • Organize them into collections
  • Apply star ratings and color labels
  • Apply keywords and IPTC metadata individually, in groups, or with presets
  • Share highlights and rough selections to Facebook, Flickr or by e-mail
  • Support for RAW, JPG, or RAW+JPG
  • Support for 100% zoom for many cameras
  • Native support for Export and Publish Services in Adobe Lightroom
  • Directly receive from Eye-Fi cards
  • Very powerful sync options, allowing workflow customization

If you’re a Lightroom user and have an iPad, you want this app!


True HDR

True HDR Delivers Amazing Results

I spent some time in Sweden over the weekend hang out with colleagues and one of the places I went was just off the ocean. I walked down to the water front the scene was breathtaking and so serene. Although I had my Nikon D7000 in the back of the car, I just didn’t feel like walking back up the hill to get it. I pulled out my iPhone, fired up the True HDR App and captured the scene. Although I’ve had this App on my iPhone 4s for a while now, I hadn’t really used it much. I was blown away by not only the ease of use, but also by the results!

First of all I shot this HDR hand held and with an iPhone it’s impossible to hold it perfectly still for three shots. Therefore there will be some position shifting between the three exposures. Not only did True HDR merge them together, but it also automatically corrected for the overlap. I eventually transfered the image to my computer just so that I could zoom in on it in Photoshop and check the detail and it was very sharp!


You have the option of having the process fully automated in that it snaps the three exposures for you and then you merge them together as one High Dynamic Range (HDR) photo right inside the App. Or you can capture the shots manually. Once the HDR has been merged you can then use the built-in sliders to adjust the results to your taste. I know that HDR is not for everyone. Some people love it, some people despise it. I view HDR as something that is fine to use on occasion and have no real problem with it. This is by far the best HDR App I’ve seen on iOS.

I don’t really have anything that I would like added or fixed in the App. This is one of those rare occasions where I can easily grant this one a 5 star rating!


360 Panorama

360 Panorama

I love 360° Panoramas. I used to create QuickTime VRs back in the day. I still like to use them in my digital publishing documents for tablets. What I never expected to have was an easy way to create them directly on my iPhone or iPad. That’s where 360 Panorama comes in. This App is an interactive 360° panorama creation tool right on your device.

Simply bring up the App and you get a grid of the world around you to align on. Tap to snap the 1st shot and then simply turn left or right a little and the next shot gets taken automatically. Just keep turning until you captured the entire scene or until you stop the capture. The App will automatically stich the scene together and render it.

You can either output a rendered 360° to the cloud and share it with friends via email, Twitter or Facebook or your can export a flattened pano to the camera roll or email. If something gets in the way, sadly there is no way to edit it out. You’ll either have to take the shot over again or start over. Of course on a flattened version you can edit it in your favorite editing App such as Photoshop and clone out the thing that got in the way.

Here’s a sample one I did in Copenhagen on the way to my event. As you can see my buddy Jason walked through one of the shots.

This is amazing technology for the very low cost of entry. You can create good looking panos in the matter of a couple of minutes. I’d like to see a “re-take” button on the interace, but otherwise it’s hard to find things to complain about.



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