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11 Must Have Apps for Photographers in 2014

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As a photographer I’m using Apps on my iPhone and iPad with every shoot to help me through my workflow. In the case of the iPhone sometimes i’m using apps to actually do shoots with. In the case of the larger screen on the iPad I’m sometimes editing images, producing model releases and doing image review with the client. There are hundreds of apps on the App Store for Photo & Video work, but here are the ones that are my 11 must have apps for photographers for 2014:

Sylights

sylights-ipad

One of the things that makes for a good shoot either before or after the shoot is documenting the lighting setup. Sylights is my go to App for quickly and easily documenting lighting setups so that I can recall them quickly as needed or share them with others.

iPad  iTunes.

iPhone iTunes.

 

Sun Seeker

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When it comes to shooting landscapes or pretty much any on location work one of the most important factors is the light. It can very easily work for you at the right time of day or work against you. Sun Seeker is one of the slickest for showing you exactly where the sun will be and when based on your location or where and when you will be at a particular spot.
iTunes.

 

500px

500px

500px.com is one of my favorite websites for sharing my photography. However, it’s also one of my favorite websites and my go to place for inspiration. You can find images that are simply breathtaking on 500px and the app does a great job of showing you the best images quickly.
iTunes.

 

True HDR

TrueHDR

The best camera is the one that you have with you. That being said I have my iPhone with me way more than my Nikon DSLRs. Therefore I rely on great camera apps to help me better capture the scenes around me. One of my favorites is True HDR. It blows away the iPhone’s built-in HDR function and really helps be capture more dynamic range.
iTunes.

 

Shuttersnitch

shuttersnitch_iPad

If you have the ability to wirelessly bring images from your camera to your iOS devices it makes it that much easier to share those images. I often shoot with an Eye-Fi card or the Nikon wireless adapters for my various camera. The BEST App to do these transfers is Shuttersnitch. It has it all when it comes to features and broad range of wireless solutions that it supports.
iTunes.

 

Adobe Lightroom Mobile

lightroom_mobile_iPad

My new favorite app as a photographer is Lightroom Mobile. Because it has two way communication I can sync images (Smart Previews) from the RAW files sitting in my computer and review them on my iPad or iPhone. Any selections I make are sync’d back to the desktop. If I make any adjustments they are made non-destructively and sync back to the desktop and best of all if shoot any new pictures on my iPhone they will be waiting for me in Lightroom on the desktop when I return. Best of all I now use it as my portfolio app since each of my portfolio galleries is already a collection in Lightroom on the desktop. Any changes I make to my portfolio on Lightroom desktop is automatically reflected on my iPad and iPhone.
iPad iTunes.

iPhone iTunes.

 

Easy Release

easyrelease_iPad

After each shoot I get the model to sign a model release and I did away with paper releases years ago. Easy Release is still my favorite app for Model releases and even syncs with iCloud so that my signed releases are on both my iPad and iPhone for reference as need. I can include a photo from the shoot right on the release and send PDFs of the signed releases to the model and anyone else that needs them.
iTunes.

P.S. Also check out Top Model Release which was actually designed by a photographer. If I wasn’t already using Easy Release I’d probably be looking at this one pretty hard: .

 

Contract Maker Elite

ContractMakerElite-iPad-iPhone4

When I need more than a model release or something custom my go to app is Contract Maker Elite. This app let’s me create any form or contract and accept digital signatures with it. I use it fire off “Print Releases” as needed among other contracts. It’s great for photographers, but it’s also great for business needs in general.
iTunes.

 

iWatermark

iWatermark_iPhone

Now that I’m sharing more and more images from my iPhone and iPad via social media, I like the ability add my logo to those images before I post them. If I do them in Lightroom on my desktop, no problem I can just export an image with a watermark. However, if I’m doing the images directly on my iPhone or iPad from one of my galleries then I need the ability to do it on the fly. That’s where iWatermark comes in. I can either water with text or images including my logo. You can save back to the Camera Roll or share directly from the app to social media including Instagram.
iTunes.

 

Squaready Pro

squaready_pro_iphone

The social media site that I post to the most is without a doubt Instagram and Instagram wants a square aspect ratio. If you’re taking the shot with the Instagram app, no problem. It will capture a square image ready for posting. however, if your using images from your other camera, apps or sources and cropping them to square just won’t cut it then you have to check out Squaredy Pro. The Pro version rocks with many more effects and framing options to give your images that professional touch that most others won’t have. Once it squares up your photo to your liking you can post to Instagram right from the app.
iTunes.

 

PicPlayPost

picplaypost_iphone5

The ultimate app for sharing multiple pics AND videos in the same frame/video on Instagram is definitely PicPlayPost. This app has it all including customizable layouts, the ability to mix stills and video as well as songs from your music library to make the perfect clip or image for sharing on social media, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, etc. I use this app a lot for my behind the scenes shots/videos.
iTunes.

Yes it can be awkward signing with your finger so get a stylus!

If you’re going to be a doing a lot of these, you might want to make an investment in a touch screen stylus to make it easier for your clients to sign. I got one of these and I LOVE IT! Makes it so much easier to sign! If you want an even better one, go with this one from Wacom or this one which is also a pen.

wacom_bamboo_stylus_iPad



PDF Printer

Create PDFs on your iPhone or iPad with PDF Printer

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There are tons of good PDF Apps for iOS out there. My favorite one to manage and create PDFs with is PDF Expert. However, there is one small thing that most of them lack and that is the ability to create a PDF from text or an email. All of the apps that let you create PDFs are based on converting an existing document into a PDF or a web page. One day I needed to convert receipt to a PDF so that I could submit it with an expense report. The problem was the receipt was in the body of an email (shame on you Marriott). It wasn’t an attachment. It was just HTML text (it also hadn’t made it into my account history on Marriott.com either). Had I been on my desktop/laptop Mac it would have been no problem. I could simply hit “Print” and choose PDF as my output. However, in iOS when you go to print an email or anything else your only option is to AirPrint directly to a printer. This led me to search for a better PDF converter for iOS. My search led me to PDF Printer. Based on the name alone I knew I had a shot of this app doing what I needed. I thought for a minute it would show up as a printer in iOS. However, I guess the hooks in iOS don’t allow 3rd party apps to do that. Instead they do the next best thing. They let you convert to PDF from anything that is on the clipboard. All I had to do was select all of the email, copy it, open PDF Printer, tap the “Clipboard” button and there it was. My beautifully formatted HTML email was now a PDF. From there I could use the “Open In” command and send the PDF to any other App I wanted including my expense report App (Concur).

Since PDF Printer is a full blown PDF conversion app it can convert to PDF from: Documents, Web URLs, photos, a built-in scanner function, the Clipboard, Contacts and Messages. It’s a Universal App that works natively on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. There is also built-in support for Dropbox so that you can access whatever you have stored there  as well as send converted PDFs to Dropbox. This app does exactly what I wanted it to do and saved the day (or at least made it so I could submit my expense report on time while on the go).

You can get PDF Printer here from the iTunes.

Over

Easily Add Text To Your Photos with Over

over_iPhone5s

Believe it or not, one of the most frequently used tools in Adobe Photoshop is the Text tool. People use it all the time to add text to their images and designs. I guess you can say that there times when a picture is worth a thousand words, but you still need to a few more words to drive your point home. However, when it comes to most photo editing apps on iOS they seem to miss this important feature. Sure there are more image editing apps than I can count that will let you adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation and crop your photos, but when it comes to adding text the number of apps goes way down. Luckily there’s an elegant solution that is geared to do one thing and do it very well.

You can easily add text and artwork to your photos with “Over”. This App is very easy to use. Bring up the photo you want to add text to and tap the “Add Text” button. Sample text is placed right in the middle of your photo and from there you double tap to edit it to say what you want and then position it where ever you want on your image. You can change the color, opacity, justification and size very easily too. You also have a choice of fonts to choose from or you do an in-app purchase to buy even more.

over_sharing_iPhone5s

Once you get the text just right on your image you have a variety of sharing options such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Messages, email and more. This app handles my text needs perfectly on iPhone and iPad as it’s a Universal App.

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PDF Expert 5 - Fill forms, annotate PDFs, sign documents

PDF Expert 5 Now Native on iPhone Too

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My favorite all purpose PDF tool on iPad just went Universal and is now on iPhone/iPod touch too. There is no better app for editing and managing PDFs on iPad than PDF Expert 5. It does it all. Annotations, digital signatures. highlights, password protect PDFand even fill-in PDF forms. It syncs with a variety of cloud services such as Dropbox, iCloud and Google Drive. Now all of this wonderful power and updated UI is available on iPhone as well. There was a PDF Expert iPhone version before, but it lagged behind the iPad version. I’m glad that they gave up this two app effort and replaced it with a Universal App that is now the same on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

I primarily use PDF Expert to access my device manuals such as my camera gear manuals that I store on Dropbox. Anytime someone sends me a PDF via email and I need to comment on it I can simply choose Open In: PDF Expert 5 right from Mail and begin the markup process. However, my favorite feature is the ability to sign a document right in PDF expert. Recently someone sent me a contract as an email attachment. However, I wasn’t near my computer. Sure I could have waited til I got home, but being able to sign the form and email it back right on my iPhone meant closing the deal that much sooner. I could use my finger, but I prefer to use my favorite stylus. Once I signed the newly converted PDF I was able to drag it into the iCloud area so that it would be accessible on all my devices. I then emailed the newly signed PDF right out of PDF Expert to the person that sent it to me.

PDF Expert 5 has just everything I need to deal with PDFs on a regular basis, however, there are a few other PDF apps on my devices because there are a couple of features that PDF Expert 5 doesn’t do yet. For one, that contract I received above was sent to me as a MS Word document, not a PDF. So I needed to convert it to PDF first before signing. While PDF Expert 5 can import MS Word documents, you can’t really do much with them in PDF Expert 5 besides reading them, adding bookmarks and emailing them back out. It would be great if it could convert to PDF as well. It would save me the one extra step of sending the MS Word document to another App first. Next up I received a FAX and I was able to get into to PDF Expert 5 as a PDF, but it was upside down (that’s the way I received it). It would be nice to be able to rotate pages in PDF Expert 5. (Actually you can rotate a page. It’s buried a few layers deep in the UI, under the Action button, but it’s there.) Readdle is really good about updating their apps and I have no doubt that PDF Expert will continue to become more and more powerful. If they add the features I want above in addition to everything else they already have, I’d be 100% happy and willing to give it that highly coveted 5th star!

You can get PDF Expert 5 here iTunes.

FlightTrack 5

FlightTrack 5 Offers A Slick Interface for All Your Flight Tracking Needs

FlightTrack5_iPad_iphone5s

I’ve been a fan of Mobiata’s FlightTrack Pro for a few years now. It’s my goto flight tracker and since I travel for a living I’m using it almost weekly. When I saw that they released a brand new flight tracker FlightTrack 5, I was more than just a little curious. I wondered was this an upgrade of my Pro version or at least a peek at things to come. FlightTrack 5 is a completely new app, built from the ground up with a slicker more animated user interface. The layout is very clean and it’s optimized as a Universal app for your iPhone or iPad. This App gives you just about everything you could possibly want to know not only about your flight, but also where you’re headed. Sure you get the take off and landing times, but you also get details about the plane itself such as the model and seat maps. Flight delayed? Get alternate flights and you’re one tap away from calling the airline without having to look the number up. It can also automatically sync your flights to your calendar as well as share the flight details with anyone you choose via Messages, Mail Twitter or Facebook. flighttrack5-weather

On the iPad the experience gets even more detailed with Airport Details such as a beautiful weather forecast, and terminal maps. Unless I’m missing them I couldn’t find these extras on the iPhone. The seatmap is powered by SeatGuru and will not only show you a layout of the plane you’re going to be on, but also amenities such as WiFi, power, video entertainment, etc. You can input multiple flights and one of my favorite features is the ability enable auto deletion of flights 24 hours after they’ve arrived.

The Bottom Line

It’s hard not to love this flight tracker. However, there are definitely a few things on my wish list. First and probably the biggest reason I’ll stick with FlightTrack Pro for now is that this version doesn’t have integration with TripIt.com. All my travel plans are automatically sent to TripIt.com from my online booking tool. FlightTrack Pro automatically picks them up and populates all my flights in the app without me having to do any manual entry. I can only guess that there must be some contract negotiation going on here as to why they would omit this key feature from their new app. The other thing I’d like to see since it doesn’t support syncing with TripIt right now is at least the ability to sync manually entered flights with iCloud so that they show up on my iPad AND iPhone no matter which device I input the flights into. Lastly it would nice to send flight info to other FlightTrack 5 users so that they don’t have to manually enter my flight info as well. FlightTrack 5 offers the ability to add other contacts to your flights, why not let me send them the flights so that they can have them in their app as well? Other than those few things, this is a very solid app and I’d easily recommend it to any flyer that isn’t using TripIt.

You can get FlightTrack 5 here iTunes.

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