By now everyone is well clued up about the iPad:
- its capabilities – that it is a ‘game-changer’
- the iPad’s popularity – selling one every 3 seconds in the first three months!
- the iPad’s wonderful display – just look at it. Images just pop off the screen.
- that it is like an oversized iPhone, but without the phone or a camera.
- the Pad’s limitations – that it seemed to have been designed with consumption of media in mind, rather than creation.
the iPad – not quite a review
So this is not quite a review on the iPad. That would be fairly redundant now, 5 months after release. Rather, this is some of the experience of using the iPad as a photographer’s tool.
I’ve used my iPad a few times now at consultations with potential wedding clients. Instead of carting my laptop when I have to meet them elsewhere than my office, I just took my very portable iPad. I have several albums in the Photos app, with which I can show my work.
An interesting observation for me is that the 5 minute Best Of slideshow now became a 15 minute conversation. With the laptop, the Best Of slideshow was something that the clients watched quietly, perhaps making a few comments to each other. However, with the iPad in their hands, the could control the tempo of viewing the images. They now lingered over any images that caught their attention.
There’s time now for anecdotes. There’s now more opportunity for you as the photographer to charm the couple. We can talk about the wedding day details they notice in the photographs. More than just a tactile experience, they control the speed of viewing and can pause over any photo while we chat about it. The clients now interact with the photographs they see.
This device really changes the way the consultation flows. For the better.
Other benefits of the iPad to the photographer:
- 3G connection: What I also like is that previously out somewhere with a laptop, I might not have a wireless connection to show them something on my blog or website. With the iPad, I have 3G connection, and can better answer some questions by showing them specific images on my website. The fee for the 3G connectivity becomes marginal when compared to that benefit – instant access to the internet when you need it with clients.
- The brilliant display of the iPad is obviously a huge benefit. Images look beautiful and punchy.
- The size of the iPad is just right – small enough to carry anywhere without it being a burden, but large enough for a great viewing experience.
- Instant start-up. Okay, it takes a second. Or two. But it is instantaneous compared to firing up a laptop to show something to a client. You really have the ability now to show a client your images within 5 seconds of switching it on.
- The tactile experience. Instead of your potential client (or anyone you want to impress with your photography), passively watching your computer screen, they hold the device in their hands and control it. I really believe this is important. We’re a tactile species. We need to touch things. And I think on a subconscious level this satisfies something in the person who then actually holds the device.
- I can keep access documents on my iPad, and edit them and email then to clients, either as the document, or as a PDF. A great way to have the ability on hand to create and fill in contracts 0r quotes or such. A neat idea is to keep certain documents online at a Dropbox account, and then have them accessible anywhere if you have 3G capability, or if you have a wireless connection. There are apps like QuickOffice and DocsToGo which allow you to access and edit Microsoft documents too. The Pages app and Numbers app are beautifully designed and are also very useful to create and edit text documents and spreadsheets.
- I can now use my iPad as a back-up device for my laptop when I do seminar presentations. It’s a huge concern to me that my laptop might die on me during a presentation at a workshop or seminar. The cost and bulk makes a second laptop just for backup a tough decision. With the iPad, I can keep my presentation on a device I’d travel with anyway. There is / was a frustrating hiccup here – the iPad doesn’t output the Photos app to the VGA connector, unless it is in slideshow mode. To use it as a presentation device, I need to have my images as a Keynote presentation. It’s a work-around, and not ideal. This is part of what makes the iPad a sometimes frustrating device – it has the potential for something, but the design purposely falls short.[ edited to add: On the suggestion by Raul (check comments here), I tried out the Portfolio app, and this app does exactly what I needed it to do, regarding showing images at my own manually controlled tempo. Problem solved. ]
Anyway, if you are a photographer and meet clients outside of the studio, then you need one. Yes, need one. Like this guy who set up his entire office in a coffee & sandwich shop. According to the person who snapped this scene on his phone, the photographer didn’t even buy one thing from the place, and even brought a bottle of water in. No shame!
An iPad just looks so much more slick than this.
Other things I just love love love about my iPad:
- Zinio app – I can now carry piles of magazines in one handy little device.
- Similarly, the ability to carry a library with me at all times, via the iBooks app and Kindle app, is fascinating. This was one of the things which initially drew me to the iPad the most – access to years of reading material, whether current magazines, or magazines like National Geographic (which never really date), or books. With the iBooks app, you can even download previews of a book you might be interested in, giving you a 30-page (or so) idea of whether you’d actually want to invest a few dollars in the book.
- Music via the built in iPod. (I live my life to a soundtrack.)
- Videos and movies via iTunes. Movies and TV shows look really crisp on the iPad.
- The Netflix app! Yup, I can watch your Netflix instant queue on this device.
- The entire (non-Flash based) internet is in my hands wherever I travel – Facebook, Twitter, websites.
- The wide range of incredible apps that are available, makes the iPad even more powerful and engaging a device.
I would also emphatically say that if you are someone who travels a lot, the iPad could be essential. You have your office with you – as well as music, videos, movies, games, magazines and books – years of reading material and entertainment and stuff-to-do. The battery life is also remarkable – more than enough to keep you happily occupied while you commute via bus or airplane or train. It might even make the wait for connecting flights less brain-numbingly dull.
The indifferent view of the iPad is that it is neither a MacBook Pro, nor an iPhone … so who needs it? Well, that opinion can only really be from someone who hasn’t used one for a short while – long enough to fall in love with the experience.
I see the iPad is one of those technological marvels for which other uses will still be found. It really opens up new possibilities, and I’d love to hear about anyone else’s experience with the iPad.