Photography

True HDR

11 Must Have Apps for Photographers in 2014

camera

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



Easy Release - Model Release App

5 Apps That I Use On Every Photo Shoot

iPad_with_DSLR

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.

Photosync

photosync_iphone_ipad

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.

iTunes.

Easy Release

easyrelease_iPad

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.

iTunes.

Shuttersnitch

shuttersnitch_iphone5s

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.

iTunes.

PicPlayPost

pic_stich_iPad_iPhone5

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.

iTunes.

Instagram

instagram_iphone5s

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.

iTunes.

 

Wacom Bamboo

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

wacom_bamboo_stylus_iPad

My favorite stylus/pen is this one.


GoPro App

GoPro App that is as Good as the Camera it Controls

gopro1

 

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!

 

Gopro2

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?!

 

Gopro11

 

 

gopro8

 

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!

 

gopro3

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.

 

gopro6

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!

 

gopro5

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…

gopro4

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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