Category Archives: Photography

Lightroom 2.4 for iPad: RAW Editing, Keyboard Shortcuts, and More!


Lightroom 2.4 for iOS came out last week, and I’ve been using it quite a lot over the past few days. The big breakout features are RAW edits and local adjustments, so let’s dive right into those.


RAW files are big and harder to process than JPEGs, but they provide a lot more room to edit colours, highlights, and shadows. Until this update, there really hasn’t been any elegant way to manage and edit them on the iPad. So the simple fact that Lightroom can now handle RAW files — on iOS 9 no less — is awesome. I would have really enjoyed having this capability during my Japan trip (although it probably would have meant staying up later processing photos).

My 128 GB iPad still lacks the storage space to keep everything on board, but it definitely has enough room to download my shots after a few days of shooting. This matches the way I approch RAWs very well, since I tend to keep just the JPEGs, and only bring a RAW file out when I’ve messed up exposure and need more leeway for editing.
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Quick Look: Adobe Photoshop Fix

Adobe’s Photoshop Fix is a great, specialized app for quick touch-ups and spot healing. These tools are built right into Lightroom on the desktop, but they’re absent from Lightroom Mobile, so for now we require separate apps like Photoshop Fix and Photoshop Mix to achieve what would normally be possible in one app on the desktop. However, thanks to the sharing capabilities of apps in iOS 9, it’s pretty easy to send a picture from Lightroom into Photoshop Fix for touch-ups, and then send it right back.

The problem, until very recently, was that Photoshop Fix (and Mix) had some major issues with resolution. The app could import files at full resolution, but it would only save them at a maximum of 2000×2000 pixels. That’s far less than the 6000×4000 resolution that I was importing that. However, as of version 1.3, Photoshop Fix and Mix are able to export in full resolution. I took a little time earlier today to test this new functionality out.

While you can import files from Lightroom or the Camera Roll right into Photoshop Fix, the best workflow I’ve found so far is to start in Lightroom Mobile. I like to go through pictures in my catalog there and then use the Share Menu -> Edit In -> Healing in Photoshop Fix. I don’t do that much selective brightening (I usually use a tone curve for that), but I do like the Healing Tool in Photoshop Fix. This workflow works out especially nicely if I have Split View open. With Lightroom open on the left side of the screen, I can start to make selective edits to my shots in Photoshop Fix.

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Pixelmator 2.1 Enables Great New Photo Editing Workflows

Pixelmator 2.1 3

Pixelmator 2.1 includes a few housekeeping changes: iOS 9 support with bona fide Slide Over and Split View. On the surface, this is already enough to change the way you use Pixelmator on an iPad Air 2. Once the WordPress app is updated to support iOS 9 multitasking, I can see myself running WordPress right alongside Pixelmator as I finish up longer reviews.

However, the larger change to my workflow comes in the form of the “Save to Photos” feature. This is a big one, folks.

Previously, opening one of my photos within Pixelmator would create a copy within the app, and saving that photo to my camera roll would create another copy. I’d then have two such photos in my iCloud Photo Library — the original and the edited version. Pixelmator 2.1 changes things around by letting me save edits to the existing photo in my library. No more duplication. What’s more, these changes are non-destructive and completely reversible from within the Photos app. If I decide tomorrow that I don’t like my changes, I can edit that picture within the Photos app and tap the “Revert” button to go right back to the original.

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Transferring 24MP Pictures To My iPad With The PlayMemories App

I recently purchased a Sony A6000 so that I could take more dramatic videos and stylish review shots. One of the biggest changes I’ve been adjusting to is that modern cameras actually have Wi-Fi on board, and so I can transfer my 24 MegaPixel JPEGs right from the camera to my iPad for editing on-the-go. I can do all of this thanks to the PlayMemories app on the App Store, which allows me to connect straight to the ad-hoc network broadcast by my camera.

This is an awesome setup for me, as I can take a few hundred burst shots while I’m playing tennis with friends and then send all of them over to my iPad while we break for lunch. It takes about 5-10 minutes for each set of 100 shots, and so the transfer is usually complete by the time my friends and I are done eating. I can then cull all of the crappy out-of-focus shots from the iPad’s 10-inch screen, and even start editing photos with some of my favourite extensions.

When I get home, I don’t even have to worry about transferring pictures off of the camera to the Mac. iCloud Photo Library automatically uploads all of the JPEGs from the iPad to my iPhone and Mac. This workflow is a dream come true for me, and it’s a far cry from the days of requiring iPad memory card adapters, or worse: transferring all photos from the camera to iPhoto, and then syncing lower resolution versions to the iPad through iTunes.

I’ve been using the iPad as a computer substitute and a second screen for years now, and so it’s a thrill to be able to use the machine in a new context. It’s amazing how versatile this little tablet is proving to be.

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Flare 2 For Custom Photo Filters On My iPad

I took advantage of the current Mac App Store promo and picked up a copy of Flare 2 for $7, which I think that will really unlock the potential of the Flare Effects app on my iPad.

I now do most of my editing within the Photos app in iOS. I use the basic iOS sliders to adjust basic light and color, add a hint of sharpening in the Afterlight photo extension, and then save the changes. One thing that’s missing from this editing flow is the set of filters I used to apply within VSCO Cam. I love VSCO’s filters, but I don’t like having to import pictures into VSCO to edit, and then save those edits as new pictures in my photo library. That process creates a lot of clutter.

So on the advice of Ben Brooks, I’m going to give Flare 2 a shot. The Mac app can create photo filters and sync them to the companion iOS apps, which have working extensions in the Photos app. If I can manage to create a few filter sets I really like, Flare 2 should essentially act as a suitable VSCO replacement.

I still have to figure out exactly what kind of filters I’d like to try and recreate, but I’m excited at the prospect. If you’d like to pick up Flare 2, it’s still on sale for 50% right now. The Flare Effects iPad app is completely free.


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Save Those Old Photos: Pic Scanner for iPad Review

Scanning multiple photos
Scanning multiple photos

Anyone who is 25 and over probably remembers the analogue days of photography. The ‘good old days’ of not being exactly sure what your pictures would look like when you snapped them on your camera, and the agonising, up to a week wait for the photos to be developed. You then had the exciting moment of taking them out of the envelope, only to find half of them over or under exposed and a few ruined when you opened the back of the camera to see if you had film left. Despite all of this, these real photos are all the more precious, offering a tantalising glimpse to another time, when your parents were your age and you were a baby. I’ve probably got about 50 photos of me as a baby, compared to thousands of digitals which we have of my daughter. Our problem comes however when we want to share or preserve these old photos. Yes, we could scan them one by one, but Pic Scanner has kindly come up with a way to streamline the process somewhat. Continue reading

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Review: Snap Collage for iPad

Snap Collage iPad app

Snap Collage is an app that will create attractive collages.  It also has significant Photo Editing capability.

When you open Snap Collage, you are presented with a scrolling list of layouts at the top of the screen and a view of the albums on the iPad.  As you select photos, the  layouts at the top will change to accommodate the number of photos selected.  Touch the desired layout to begin creating the collage.  Photos can be rearranged and resized in the collage.

Photo Editing

Touch an individual photo to edit it.  Even though the photo has a shape in accordance with the collage layout, you can alter the shape by selecting from various possibilities, such as a heart, a triangle, a star and many more.



You can change the photo by selecting a new photo from your albums or taking a new photo with the camera. You can also flip or rotate the photo. Touch the pencil in the box to bring up the Photo Editor.

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Quick review: Instamap for iPad

The one thing all 3rd party Instagram viewing and browsing apps for iPad and iPhone have in common is they all tap into the secret of the success of the photo snapping and sharing community. What’s this secret? The images themselves. The panoply of multi-coloured images arranged attractively in grids that can be pleasurably browsed through and shared at whim.

And so, given such a visually unique point of departure, a lot of developers are riding the Instagram wave, hoping to drive the myriads of IG addicts to their platform. I’ve been looking at another offering that recently made its debut on the app store – Instamap for iPad. How does this new app measure up against others like Instagallery and Flipboard that I previously reviewed? Continue reading

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3 ways to enjoy Instagram on iPad today


One of my most-used iPhone apps is Instagram – the photo sharing platform/community that gives users an entertaining and pleasurable way to post, customize and comment on images (check it out here in case you haven’t had the chance yet) so it was no surprise that having gotten my iPad, I was soon itching to use it on the iPad as well.  Since Instagram on iPad is not yet available – what are the alternatives around today?

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Review: FX Photo Studio HD for iPad

FX Photo Studio HD

FX Photo Studio HD is a photo effects and image manipulation app for the iPad. Whether you’re just looking for a bit of image correction on a photo or to completely transform one, the app has effects that will fit the bill.

Here’s a bit of its introduction on its App Store page:

By pressing one button you can turn your shot into a retro photo or a picture drawn by a pencil or paints, or done in a Modern Art style. Alternatively, you can simply add a pretty frame of flowers or butterflies. Or whatever else you might desire – the choice is practically unlimited!

Here is just a short list of some effects contained in the application:
Vintage, Black and White, Night Vision, Pencil Paint, False Mirror, Ghost, Neon Light, Hue Green, Ripped Glass, Rainbow Palette, Scary Face, Ancient Canvas, Steamy Window, Stardust Frame, Mosaic, Burnt Paper, Explosion, Old Film Frame, Bump Mapping, Solarize, Tritone, Old Photo, Frost, Old TV and there are many many more!

The app is about to get a major update (due for release tomorrow, 2/14) and I’ve been fortunate enough to be using the new version for a few weeks now. Hit the break for my full review of the app and its latest update …

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Review – Photo Transfer App for iPad and iOS

Photo Transfer App

Photo Transfer App has rapidly become a favorite app for me – on my iPad and iPhone. As its name suggests, it’s an app that makes it easy to transfer photos (and videos) over WiFi – from iPhone or iPad to a computer, and between your iOS devices.

I’ve used a good number of apps that offer similar functionality, as I’m a big fan of avoiding cabled sync and doing things wirelessly – and I’ve found Photo Transfer App does the best job. Hit the break for lots more detail on why I like the app so much …

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