I find myself straddling a line with my photography. One foot sits on the side where I don’t need anything advanced; the other foot enjoys taking photographs of sporting and musical events that require decent cameras and fast lenses. Today I’m going to share with you how Apple products have completely taken over my work flow.
The emergence of the iPhone as a preferred camera
Once the iPhone 4s came out with its great camera, and because of my own general laziness, I don’t bring my “real” camera out anymore unless I specifically need it. I feel the most important part of any photography workflow is to capture the moment first, and a technically correct photo second. Obviously, if you’re shooting an event professionally you’ll want both. For most of us, though, if we are skilled at photographic composition we can take a perfectly fine photo with the iPhone most of the time. And Apple is set to improve the sharing capabilities drastically — in iOS 6, which will be available to the public this fall, I can take a photo and have it posted to Facebook almost immediately thanks to the deep integration with the social network.
The iPhone as a camera also really impresses me. Below are two iPhone photos I snapped that I was pleasantly surprised with how they turned out. I was surprised for two reasons: For the shot of the kid, I was able to snap a credible photo, edit it, and post to Facebook all from my iPhone in about two minutes. For the shot of The Wall, I was amazed at how well a photo taken at night, from about 300 feet, came out on a cell phone camera.
There are two post-processing tools I use: Lightroom 4.0 and Aperture 3.3. Each is a great program, and you’d be well-served with either. I like Lightroom’s workflow a little better, and the fact that unlike Aperture, my photos aren’t contained in a single database. Aperture, however, allows me to also sync my photos directly to iOS, and take advantage of Photo Stream. Because I float between the two editors, I also keep a clean copy of my master images in a separate folder.
There are two Topaz Labs plug-ins I love: Denoise, and B&W Effects. Denoise is indispensable for reducing noise from high-ISO pictures. My DSLR images of rock bands tend to be in the 32000-64000 ISO range, which generates a ton of noise. Denoise allows me to drastically reduce, if not eliminate, the noise.
I’m color blind, so I tend to convert my images to black and white since I might not be able to tell if the photo is a little extra blue. I also grew up shooting black and white (even developing photos by hand in our bathroom with my dad), so for me, B&W holds a lot of nostalgia. B&W Effects by Topaz has a wide range of presets that allows me to get close to the image I want. It also has eight Collections that encompass a broad smattering of styles.
iOS and Sharing
I sync almost all of my photos to my iPad. Usually, it’s to show them off if someone wants to see my work. Or, I’m showing the pictures of a family event with the participants. One feature for sharing I absolutely adore is Photo Journals in iPhoto for iOS. I can group the photos I want into a Journal, then share them via iCloud and just mail off a link to the Journal. I was hoping that this feature would make it to OS X iPhoto when Mountain Lion shipped, but, alas, it didn’t. In fact, for most post-processing, I find that iOS iPhoto does a remarkable job with light adjustments and cropping.
Another valuable I keep in my camera bag is the Camera Connection kit. Often after a shoot with my DSLR, I’ll import the photos from my SD card into my iPad and quickly determine the keepers on the larger screen.
It’s amazing at how quickly technology has altered the photography field. It seems like just yesterday I was hanging strips of negatives up to dry. If you had told me even a year ago that more than 60 percent of the photos I take would never touch my Mac, I’d have laughed. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.