Essential Photography and Blogging Kit
Photo Geek 5

WordPress and Blogging on the iPad – Daily Photoblogs from London

It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it. ~ Albert Einstein

As I was preparing for my trip to London and my goal of blogging once a day while traveling, I decided my iPad would be the perfect way to do this. And who wouldn’t? Apple advertises how the iPad eliminates the barrier of technology, “When technology gets out of the way, everything becomes more delightful, even magical. That’s when you leap forward”.

A nice balance between portability and power. It allows me to handle nearly any office task and relax with a number of entertainment options. Serious photo editing can wait until I return to the office and my Mac Pro. But as I researched a workflow for writing content and uploading photos to my WordPress blog, I quickly discovered the shortcomings of the iPad.

I spent time reading, asking questions and calling my friends who had iPads. I bought a number of photo apps and the entire process quickly became frustrating. My friend JP encouraged me to write about it and what I ended up doing for my trip to London, so John, this is for you.

My objective was simple. Write daily content and include photos. I shoot RAW, which includes a high resolution JPG file. Using the Apple Camera Connectivity Kit, connect my camera to the iPad and import photos. Minor color corrections, black and white or special effects, crop and resize the photos to 900 pixels wide and finally upload to my blog for publishing. Sounds simple, right? Here’s what I’m bringing to London.

Essential Photography and Blogging Kit

1. Canon 5D and BG-E4 Battery Grip
2. Canon 580EX-II Speedlite
3. X-Rite ColorChecker Passport
4. Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi Noise Isolating Earphone Monitors
5. Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
6. Canon 35mm f/1.4L USM
7. Giottos Rocket Air Blower
8. ThinkTank Pixel Pocket Rocket CF Card Wallet
9. Apple iPad Camera Connectivity Kit
10. Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard
11. Apple iPad 1st Generation – 32GB Wi-Fi
12. Griffin iPad Stylus

Surprisingly, there isn’t a well written article on doing this aside from John Larkin’s post WordPress and the iPad. An educator in Australia, his article is one of the best I found when researching for my trip to London. His article primarily focuses on batch uploading of photos and my approach is different, so I hope you can benefit from both approaches.

The Apple Safari app or Atomic Web Browser and WordPress are exactly the same experience you have on a computer. I was frustrated that there was no scroll bar in the editing window, until someone showed me how it was done using two fingers on the iPad. So far, no problems at all. As long as I had internet access, I could easily do this from my iPad. Then I tried to upload a photo to my blog.

This is where it gets tricky and frustrating. Normally, within WordPress you can upload or insert a photo by clicking the media browser icon and browse for the photo you want to insert into your post. For whatever reason, Apple has limited access to the finder on the iPad. So you can’t access your photos as you would normally, meaning the media browser option doesn’t work on the iPad.

What next? Well, my research led me to the WordPress app. It allows you to write your post and upload photos to a folder on your server. At least that way, you can manually link to the photos and you’re blogging. The problem is, the app itself is worthless for writing. Aside from getting around the photo upload issue, I don’t understand why this app exists. But at least it got me thinking that there must be an app that would allow me to edit my photos, crop and resize them for my blog and then upload them to a folder on my server. My search now turned to photography apps.

The maximum photo size for the iPad is 2304 x 1536 pixels. That’s pretty stunning for professional photographers wanting to display their images in stunning HD quality. But for a blog post, it’s overkill. What I needed was an app that would allow me to edit, crop, resize and export.

iPad Photography Apps:

Adobe Photoshop Express – Adobe is the undisputed king of image manipulation and post production. I was excited to discover Photoshop for the iPad and quickly disappointed as it’s easily the most worthless app available for photo editing. Sorry, but this is a total fail for Adobe. If all you want to do is upload iPhone photos to Facebook, this may have some value to you simply because it’s free.

Photogene – One of the more highly rated apps for photographers. They offer cropping and exporting options, though I had to write support to discover where it was hidden. One of the better apps for serious photographers, they even have a PRO upgrade, which offers ftp support and watermarking. Their support was quick, friendly and professional.

Lo-Mob -Low resolution for iPhone. No HD iPad version. You can choose from 3 preset resolutions when saving or a variety of social media options, including email. Support is difficult at best. They make you like them on Facebook to ask support questions and then never respond to the questions. But the 28 retro effects are stunning and unique. Some of the effects are broken on the iPad and it’s not clear if they will ever fix it, as support has gone missing.

Plastic Bullet – Low resolution for iPhone. No HD iPad version available. Wonderful choice of effects, but it’s random and if you find something you like, save it because you may never see that combination again. The only export option available is saving to your photo library at a very low resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. Red Giant software is well known in the motion picture industry for their powerful color editing tools. It would be nice to see this app updated for the iPad.

PhotoStudioHD – Beautiful interface and lots of great photo effects. They offer cropping and resizing, but no way to export to WordPress or ftp to a server. There is the typical social media options, mail and saving to the Photo Library. My daughters really like this app and all the options for enhancing photos they share on Facebook.

Filterstorm -Hands down the absolute best app out there for professional photographers. Designed for photojournalists, this is the app Adobe should have created. The tools are familiar to professionals and powerful. Curves, color correction, noise reduction, sharpening, black and white conversions with the ability to fine-tune, filters, brushes… the list goes on. Best of all, the effects are applied on layers with powerful masking tools, so you can selectively apply or fine-tune the effects. And the ability to upload your photos to a server via ftp access.

Another piece of frustration is the DAM (Digital Asset Management) on the iPad. Apple has designed iTunes to be your digital media hub. This is how you load music playlists, podcasts, movies and photos. You can either sync with an iPhoto library or load a folder of images from your hard drive. Where it falls apart is in transferring content created or imported on the iPad. iTunes doesn’t give you a way to transfer images back to your computer. You have to launch iPhoto and import photos. You can also use the GoodReader app to transfer images to Dropbox, but all of this is ridiculous. Apple needs to improve this workflow.

In the end, the workflow I developed for blogging from my iPad is as simple as I hoped it would be. Import JPG’s from the day’s shoot directly from the camera into the iPad. From there, edit the images in Filterstorm or Photogene and upload to my server via the built-in ftp option in both apps. Using Safari or Atomic Web, I can write my content and hand code a link to the images. I prefer typing on a regular keyboard to the virtual glass keyboard. I can type emails with one finger pretty fast, but trying to write an entire post would be an exercise in frustration.

And finally, the beautiful moleskin case that I have is a Portenza handmade case for the iPad. It’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. The iPad is cradled in an eco friendly bamboo case with rubber grips on the corners. It’s low profile, professional and most people think it’s an actual moleskin journal.

Will all of this work in the real world? There’s only one way to find out and that test begins in less than 48 hours. What are your thoughts on blogging from an iPad? What are your favorite photo apps? Did my article help you? Did I miss anything? Have questions?

Inspire a conversation by leaving a comment. I enjoy hearing from you! And most of all, support me in my adventure to London and the challenge to share that journey with you by blogging every day.

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  • Brian Laurent says: April 25, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Traveling light and fast, in computer and lenses, respectively. Hope it works well. Where’s the external HDD or jump drive for backup?

  • Randy says: April 25, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I don’t have a laptop, thus the iPad. A friend offered me the use of an Epson backup device, but I’m running out of time to go pick it up. I do have a 16GB Sandisk USB stick. I was thinking of throwing that into the kit, along with a card reader. Surely I could transfer images at the hotel, right?

  • Gary Canazzi says: April 25, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Randy,
    I’m so excited for you and this trip. Looks like a great choice of gear to take along, just enough without it being a burden. Can’t wait to see what you come away with. I’ll be following you daily.

  • Randy says: April 25, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Gary… I’m actually reconsidering bringing my 50mm f1.4. I wanted the 70-200 because it’s a great portrait lens. If you look at the schedule of events, there is a lot of studio time. For walking around London, the 35 and the 50 would be nice options, don’t you think?

  • Tammy Kepple says: April 27, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Can’t wait for today’s blog. At least then I’ll know you’re there safely 🙂 Miss you!!!