App Time: By Photographers, For Photographers

by Jessica Gordon

Courtesy of PIC • TAP • GO

April 22, 2013

Yearning to use your smartphone or iPad for even more photo-related functions? Four photographers tell us about the apps they’ve created for their photography community.

Pic Tap Go

Finally a solution for the age-old problem of simple photo editing on an iPhone has been mastered, and photographers Chenin and Doug Boutwell are the ones to thank for it. Developed by their software company, Totally Rad!, the app PicTapGo lets users edit and save their photo filter combinations so they can use similar recipes on future images, creating a unique photography style. The creation of the app took about five months, and the moniker represents each step in the process: Pic (choose a picture from your photo roll or shoot a new one), Tap (scroll through different filters and adjustments, choosing your “recipe” for the best-looking image), and Go (share your images on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter).

Aside from being photographers, the Boutwells are best-known for the creation of their flagship Photoshop action, RadLab. “We wanted to take the ideas behind photo editing in RadLab and make it possible on the iPhone,” says Chenin. Professional photographer Susan Stripling and Photoshop guru Katrin Eismann have climbed aboard the PicTapGo train, and have nothing but raving reviews about it.

Visit http://pictapgo.com to read them, download the app and start perfecting your iPhone photo style.

Padproof

Destination wedding photographer Timothy Beckford was working on a month-long charitable photography project in Florida in 2010 when he needed to quickly and easily proof and share a large volume of images.

“When it came to sending photos, or sharing to Facebook pages, I thought it’d be awesome if [clients] could just purchase and share [images] directly from the photos they’re looking at, while they’re looking,” Beckford says. “I searched for something like it on the market, and was surprised that there wasn’t anything. So I put together a team and we built it.”

As of March 2013, PadProof has a four-person, New York City-based development team, almost 60,000 downloads in 150 different countries, 1,000 photographers using it to share their images with clients, and another 4,000 on the waiting list (the app is in public Beta while the team massages out the kinks).  

Here’s how it works: a photographer logs into padproof.com with his or her account and uploads images of a portrait session or wedding. His or her customer then downloads the consumer version of the app, and views, orders prints and uploads his or her images to social media—without leaving the app. Images can be uploaded to the app via a computer, but viewing is designed for the mobile device.

While the consumer version is available for iPad only, Beckford’s future plans include a version 2.0 that will work on every mobile device (Kindle Fire, Android Tablets, smartphones, iPhones, etc.). Also in the new version, specific client portfolios will be available through a text message rather than online search. The consumer version is downloadable at
www.padproof.com, or get on the invite list for photographers at www.padproof.com/pro.

Modern Light

If you’re at a shoot that proves to be a lighting catastrophe, what you need are quick, on-location problem-solving examples. Photographers Charles and Jennifer Maring developed the answer in their app, Modern Light.

Released in fall of 2012, Modern Light—according to its website—“shares a wide range of examples and ideas on how to use both strobe and continuous light in creative ways.”

“I’ve been producing client-based apps [including Bride’s Guide to a Picture Perfect Wedding] for wedding and commercial clients for quite some time, and got the idea at WPPI 2012 to document some of the photo shoots we’ve worked on and create an app that shares the basics of lighting,” Charles explains.

Because Charles says he uses lighting on so many assignments, this app is ideal for beginning photographers (and videographers) still experimenting with light, as well as seasoned pros looking for a fresh perspective. It has examples that use tools like softboxes and beauty dishes, and it allows photographers to read, navigate and view diagrams, as well as video clips, where the Marings discuss why they’re using specific tools and setups.

With about 300 current downloads, Charles says, “there are no kinks, we’ve had great and mixed reviews from photographers, it just depends on where people are on lighting. For anyone who’s new to lighting, it’s fantastic.”

The app is available on the iTunes store for download now, and is optimized for both the iPad and the latest iPad Retina display. Visit www.maringvisuals.com/modern-light.html (click the link on the bottom to download from the iTunes store).

From Idea to Smartphone

The photographers we spoke to all took different paths in the creation of their apps. In Damon Tucci’s case, he posted an ad for developers on a freelancers’ website and hired his team independently. On the other hand, Timothy Beckford applied for an “accelerator” through StartFast.net, which chooses app projects to fund and help support. PadProof was one of nine projects chosen from 400 applicants in 2012, and as a result, was funded for the summer of that year. While Beckford found his own developers through personal networks, StartFast continues to mentor PadProof throughout the life of the company. For PicTapGo, the Boutwells developed the app in-house with their already-established software company, Totally Rad! For photographers who want a simple route into the app world, companies like InteractAlbums (www.interactalbums.com) have also popped up to provide custom apps that host images, videos and audio that clients can download and view on their mobile devices. Whatever your app path, make it happen!

Wedding Photographer's Field Guide

Orlando-based wedding photographer Damon Tucci is an app pioneer of sorts; he created his Wedding Photographer’s Field Guide about four years ago, just as apps were coming out. “I had made a [physical] index-card-sized pocket guide, which cost about $13 or $14 a piece to make, and I was selling them for only $20,” Tucci explains. Deciding that the cost of a paper pocket guide wasn’t worth the trouble, “the app was the perfect way to go because it was a way to disseminate the information on your phone, and [now] it’s only $2.99.”

The app, which its website describes as a “mobile reference guide with real-time solutions for the burgeoning wedding photographer,” offers before-and-after framing solutions with backstory, gear Tucci used to get each shot, and an inspirational image gallery.

It was, however, a little more difficult to find developers when Tucci wanted to turn his pocket guide into an app in 2008. His process was to put an ad on an online freelancing site where independent coders could bid on jobs. After getting responses from all over the world, Tucci decided on a couple from the nearby Tampa Bay Area. “Back then it was quite expensive, about $4,000, and took two to three months to do it,” Tucci says. But the investment has paid off; Tucci says although he’s not going to retire off the app, it’s paid for itself two-and-a-half times over. Plus, he says, “The students like it, I get a really good response from them when I travel and do teaching. It’s also nice to say to clients, ‘here’s my app’ as a credibility thing.”

To find the app, search for the Wedding Photographer’s Field Guide in iTunes. 




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