Five Reasons the iPad is a Great Tool for Photographers

April 8th, 2010 by Juan A. Pons

ipad-pictureWhen the iPad was announced, I immediately started thinking about how this device would work into my photography.  After a lot of thought, I boiled down the iPad's photography advantages to the five below.  Where they enough to make me purchase an iPad?  Yes, they were!

1. The Screen

The iPad screen uses a technology called IPS, the same display technology that is used by the coveted Apple Cinema Displays. The Cinema Displays' clarity and color reproduction are top notch. How does this help you as a photographer? Load up your best images on the iPad and use it as the most versatile and beautiful portable portfolio presenter ever made. When showing your images to prospective clients they'll be amazed!


2. Portability

The iPad is truly portable. It weights just 1.5 lbs, and the battery lasts for an incredible 10 hours. Apple makes a VGA adapter, and Apple's wonderful presentation program, Keynote, is available for the iPad. With the iPad, you have an incredibly portable solution to do presentations of your work through a digital projector, without having to carry a bulky laptop. You can show those same images you loaded for your electronic portfolio, or create amazing presentations with music and motion, and dazzle your audience.

3. Apps

Apple's iTunes store has over 170,000 applications for the iPhone.  Guess what? All of them run on the iPad.  On launch day, there were over 3,000 applications designed exclusively for the iPad. Out of these there are a great number of applications that I consider essential for photographers. Some of my favorites are LightTrac, Darkness, MagicHour, and Focalware.

4. Videos

All photographers, like most creative people, go through times when we feel uninspired, or when we feel out of ideas. For me, nothing cures the doldrums faster than watching some inspirational images or movies.  They get my creative juices flowing!  The iPad makes it easy to watch these movies anywhere, at any time.  I don't have to squint at my iPhone, or unpack and set up my laptop.  Some of my favorite and most inspirational movies include Baraka, Planet Earth, and any of the Natural History documentaries produced by Sir David Attenborough.  Now I can have them with me all the time.

5. Photo Websites Anywhere

One of the most important aspects of the iPad for me is that now I have a full featured browser in the palm of my hands, at all times. The iPad allows me to keep up with all my favorite photography related websites with ease, in any room of the house. Some of my favorites include, The Digital Photo Experience, The Pixelated Image, Planet 5D and of course, Outdoor Photo Gear.

I would love to hear from you about your views.  You can email me at  Or, take a minute to

we have attached.  It's a great way to see what other photographers are thinking!  Check back in a few days as we publish the results.


Juan Pons is the Co-Founder of The Digital Photo Experience along with Rick Sammon. Juan he holds workshops throughout the US as well as abroad. To learn more about his workshops visit

Editor's note: Juan has two last minute openings in his Yellowstone & Grand Tetons in Spring instructional photo workshop taking place June 5 thru June 13. He's offering a $500 discount to any OPG customer who signs up for the workshop by April 15th. Check out the workshop details here, and just mention Outdoor Photo Gear to him when you sign up.


Take the iPad Survey

Current Results

Would you use an iPad with your photography?
Yes – 54%
No – 29%
Maybe – 11%

What's your photography "status"?
In-between – 54%
Amateur – 25%
Professional – 18%

How do you think you will use your iPad with your photography?
Showing photos to friends and family – 20%
Browse photography websites – 19%
Read photography related eBooks – 16%
Presenting photos to clients – 15%
Use photography apps while shooting – 13%
Give presentations – 11%
Use as a photo frame – 5%

Have you purchased an iPad?
No – 68%
Yes – 21%
Not Interested – 7%



The Outdoor Photo Gear Blog is an outdoor photographer's resource for photo and camera tips about photography in nature, wildlife and other outdoor settings. Throughout the blog you'll find great articles on composition, lighting, general photography and imaging techniques used by professional photographers.

The Outdoor Photo Gear Store sells great photography equipment and accessories for the wildlife, landscape, and nature photographers. If you haven't visited The Outdoor Photo Gear Store to see all great camera and flash accessories for the avid outdoor photographer, you should check out all the great gear we offer.

7 Responses to “Five Reasons the iPad is a Great Tool for Photographers”

  1. Gary Mencimer says:

    Thanks for this post, Juan.
    I’m certainly thinking about the iPad. I’m wondering if the ability to download CF cards in the field exists. There is a way to plug SD cards with an adapter. But no apparent way to do the same with CF cards.
    Although the flash drives are not as large as the drives on the Epson P series media viewers, the iPad would be an viable alternative.
    Any thoughts or knowledge in the area would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Juan A. Pons says:


    Apple will be releasing a USB adapter as part of their camera connection kit, it is meant to be used to connect the iPad to the camera directly to download the images. I am not sure if you will be able to connect a CF reader to it, but as soon as the kit is available I will give it a try and see.


    • Scott Flaherty says:

      I’d be interested to see if you can connect the iPad to a USB hard drive for backing up images while on the road. I like to make multiple copies of my images when I’m on a trip and usually take two or three 500GB hard drives with me.

  3. Kev says:

    But will it display RAW files….its not much good to me and many others if it wont.

  4. Jay Groccia says:

    I LOVE the concept of the iPad. Here’s a device that I can simply hand to a client that will allow them to flip through my photos – zoom in and out – and even flip back and forth to compare before/after shots.

    I HATE that Apple still doesn’t ‘eat their own dog food’ and support QTVR (a technology they brought to market) on the iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. I can accept that Steve Jobs has issues with Flash, but to not support their own technology on these devices completely befuddles me.

    I shoot a lot of panoramas and high-end ‘virtual tours’ and will not buy any device that doesn’t allow me to show my work to clients. The user interface of the iPod is perfect for immersive media – the ability to use your fingers to ‘control’ the camera to point it left, right, up, down, and to use the pinch moves to zoom in and out is completely intuitive for the medium.

    So Mr. Jobs, when will I be able to display a website like this on the iPad?

    Yes, I know that site uses Flash elements, but I’m happy to publish the panoramas in QTVR format and will as soon as Apple supports it on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad.

  5. Bob Fisher says:

    I think if these are the top 5 reasons a photographer would want to use the iPad, it’s not an overly good tool for photographers.

    The only one that makes any sense to me is to use it as a sort of portfolio presenter. The ability to hand it to someone, rather than have people crowded around a laptop screen makes sense. The bright, transmissive display makes images look more lively than paper prints. But even then, even having an IPS panel, if it can’t be calibrated and profiled, it’s of limited use even in this regard.

    You’ve listed 4 or 5 ‘must have’ apps yet all seem to do essentially the same thing. My Garmin eTrex does this for free.

    I’ve already read of people talking about how irritating the glossy coating on the screen is and how it makes viewing the screen difficult in some situations and over extended periods. Truly critical reviewers (as opposed to Apply fanboys) aren’t hugely impressed.

    It really looks like you’re stretching pretty hard to find ways to make this thing useful for photographers. There are better ways to spend $500 or $800 for really useful photo-related gear. If someone’s got that kind of coin really itching and burning a hole in their pocket, send it to me and I’ll put it to a good use. ;)

  6. Donald says:

    Thanks for bringing out some high points, but “now I have a full featured browser in the palm of my hands” is not really a true statement. For instance, my photo website uses Flash. I wouldn’t be able to view my own website on this device. Flash maybe a battery drain and CPU hog, but either give me what I want or I’ll buy something else. The iPad is nothing more than an iPod Touch or iPhone (depending on options) for the visually impaired. Maybe in version 2 it’ll at least have a USB port. (No, I don’t want to have to use an(other source of revenue for Apple) adaper! (PS – Yes, I’m a Mac user)

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