Photo editing and organizing on the iPad

I recently decided that I want to try and use my iPad (3rd generation with cellular) for basic photo editing and publishing while I was on the go, and also use the iPad as a digital photo library where I can have photographs sorted in albums.

I purchased the Camera Connection Kit for the iPad which lets me import photographs directly from an SD card or connect the iPad to any camera with a regular USB cable and import the photos, and this works nicely. It even imports my RAW files.

I have purchased several photo editing applications from the AppStore:

iPhoto – very nice for editing once I got familiar with the interface, and nice quality.
SnapSeed – Also very nice, but a bit more basic.
PhotoGene – Also very nice and complete but I prefer iPhoto.
PhotoSmith – A Lightroom companion for the iPad. It works, but, I am not satisfied with it – at all. It is slow, the synchronization between Lightroom is buggy and it places all the photos that I export from Lightroom in the “Camera Roll” on the iPad which is a bit messy.

My goal is to have one (or several) applications which let’s me sort photographs in collections or albums, edit the photo’s (the JPEG’s – I don’t see any reason to edit RAW’s on an iPad), and publish some photographs to Flickr, 500px, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

As of today iPhoto seems to do the best job. But, I can’t find any way to synchronize the photographs from iPhoto to a Mac or PC. It seems like iPhoto can’t sync albums and photographs directly to iPhoto/Aperture on a Mac or Lightroom (Mac or PC).

Is there any way to get a seamless and synchronized experience between the iPad and a Mac or PC? If anyone has any workflow tips on this subject I would really appreciate your feedback.

  • Ray

    “My goal is to have one (or several) applications which let’s me sort photographs in collections or albums, edit the photo’s (the JPEG’s – I don’t see any reason to edit RAW’s on an iPad), and publish some photographs to Flickr, 500px, Twitter, Facebook, etc.”

    Here’s my workflow. Import to iPad. Edit in PhotoGene (or iPhoto, or SnapSeed), export to Camera Roll, open Camera Roll in Photo App and save to new albums, open any of the above apps, go into the new albums and export. Where you choose to export to determines the app you will use.

    “As of today iPhoto seems to do the best job. But, I can’t find any way to synchronize the photographs from iPhoto to a Mac or PC. It seems like iPhoto can’t sync albums and photographs directly to iPhoto/Aperture on a Mac or Lightroom (Mac or PC).”

    Not sure if this is applicable as I’m still on Snow Leopard and do not know what’s available in Lion. I have yet to find a way to “auto sync” new albums. Image Capture has some options including open Aperture when the iPad is connected. Given that all of the photos in the camera roll will appear in Aperture, you import within Aperture. Not automatic but works ok. Lower left in Image Capture has settings. If you are attempting this in order to upload from the Mac, suggest you upload from the iPad.

    I’ve been editing on the iPad for three years now. In a nutshell, what I found best (for me) is edit on the iPad, sort into albums with the Photo app, upload from the iPad and selectively import the Camera Roll and Imported images to folders using Image Capture. The edits I did on the iPad go wherever. The images I want to further edit in Aperture (be they RAW or jpeg) are imported into Aperture and uploaded from there.

    • Thanks for your long and informative reply Ray.
      I am currently using a Windows 7 PC and not a Mac. I would expect that it is probably a bit easier to sync between the iPad and a Mac than a PC.

      I am considering getting a Mac and I sort of expected that there was some integration between the iPhoto on Mac and iPhoto on the iPad. But I have learned that there is no integration there. No automatic syncing of libraries and folders, which would have been awesome.

      I have currently settled on using PhotoSmith which offers integration and sync between Lightroom and Photosmith on the iPad. You can basically import RAW and JPEG files on the iPad and use Photosmith to tag the files, rate the files, flag as pick or reject, add all sorts of metadata and categorize the photos. When I get home I can basically just trigger a sync between Photosmith and Lightroom and voila, all my files are imported directly to Lightroom (also RAW files) with the correct metadata, ratings, tags, flags, picks, and everything.

      It is not possible to edit photos in Photosmith though. But you can easily import photos from any photo folder or the camera roll in Photosmith. Basically I just use SnapSeed, Filterstorm Pro, PhotoGene or something similar, edit and export to the camera roll and tag, rate, add metadata and so forth in Photosmith which will then automatically be synced with Lightroom.

      It works, but it is not by any means a perfect workflow. A seamless integration between the iPad iPhoto app and the Mac iPhoto or Aperture application would be very nice for example.

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