As a photographer I was excited when I watched the announcement for the iPad. I was excited for many reasons, but the biggest reason was the image presentation potential. I was excited to have a way to organize and display images, and play slide shows. While the Photos application included by Apple was great for creating folders and organizing images, it lacked a few features that really made it perfect for heavy business use. Portfolio for iPad provides these features, and a few more.
One of the biggest things I look for in a portfolio application is branding. I work very hard to incorporate my business logo into everything that that has to do with my business. From the website, and Twitter to the Facebook page. It just makes sense that when presenting a portfolio to a client, that portfolio should resemble the rest of your branding. Portfolio for iPad does this, and does it well. It doesn’t let you add just one photo for a logo, it lets you add 3! One for when in landscape mode, one for in portrait mode, and one for when attached to an external monitor. That’s right; this application supports the optional VGA out adapter. But that’s just the beginning. This app provides the ability to create multiple galleries for photo, or video content.
You can then hide any of these galleries behind a 4 digit pin lock to prevent unauthorized viewing of the other galleries, as well as administrator functions of the app. You can let your wedding clients browse through your wedding gallery without worrying that they will end up in your vacation picture gallery by mistake. Just like the built in photo app, you can control slideshow music, and slide duration. It offers both full screen and “film strip” view like the built in app as well. Just the branding, and the gallery control are enough to fulfill all that I thought that I wanted in a portfolio app, but there were features that I didn’t even think about included, and now they’re must haves.
When I first setup my galleries after I set the branding, I used images that I already had on my iPad (after all, I was already using the built in app so I had the images already loaded) but with Portfolio you have the option of loading images from your Dropbox account, or an external link. This is great! Say you’re out and want to add a few images quickly to a gallery to tailor your presentation for a specific client (hopefully you would do this beforehand but who knows) you can pull in images from your online gallery or from Dropbox quickly and as easily as if they were already loaded onto your iPad. The next feature that I wouldn’t have thought I wanted or needed is ratings and notes for each image. Like a friend of mine Don Giannatti says, when presenting a portfolio you need to tell what the goal of the images is. Along with these notes, ratings help you sort your images if you have a large gallery similar to the way ratings help you sort images in programs like Lightroom. Another time saver that I wouldn’t have thought to add to a presentation app is keywording. With keywords you can narrow down galleries to show specifically what the customer wants to see. For example, if you have all of your hardlight, “sport” style images open for a commercial customer, but they want to just see the female examples, you can do that(if you’ve keyworded diligently).
What I’d like to see
As well thought out as any application is, nothing is perfect. Portfolio for iPad is no different but I have to admit, there is only one thing that I would like to see different. This isn’t a big thing, but a bit of an annoyance all the same. When turning off, or hiding a gallery, you have to go a few levels into the menus. I would like to see that option on the main page.
If you are at all serious about using your iPad for presenting images to clients you need this application. It turns the iPad into a polished, branded, digital portfolio perfect for presenting your work to potential customers. It’s a little on the pricy side at $14.99 but well worth the money.
More Apps for Photographers
Also be sure to check out Terry's 8 Must Have iPad Apps for Photographers here