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Tablets for photographers: Versatile tools when shooting
Devin Coldewey | Published: Sep 26, 2013 at 13:14:00 UTC50
We'll get further into this when we cover post-production on tablets, since most editing techniques aren't really suited for on-site work, but having a quick workflow in place to see for yourself or show others a final or experimental edit of a shot can be helpful.
Take a simple app like Snapseed or Photogene. You won't be doing all the sharpening, cropping, straightening and the rest in the middle of the shoot, and you may not want to do it in a lightweight editor anyway. But if you're planning on adding gradients, text, darkening or brightening things a bit, or other significant transformations, a few quick taps can let you know whether you'll want to recompose.
Again, it's more about preventing extra work in the future than getting everything done at once. Do a crazy crop and see if it fits with your end goal — if so, you can pop on a longer lens and get that close-up organically. Play with the levels and see if anything important disappears into the shadows — better to get a nice bracketed exposure now if you might have to dodge it back into the frame later.
Other useful tools
Artemis (iOS only; get the "HD" version for iPads) seems primarily useful for scouting and planning a shoot, but it's worth pulling out if you feel the need switch up your lens choice a bit. If you think you might want to switch from that 50mm to an 85 or 100, Artemis lets you compare frame lines without digging through your bag, juggling lens caps, and so on.
Your tablet can also supply a little extra light. Get one of the dozens of free "flashlight" apps out there or try a specialized app that's meant to turn your tablet into a softbox. Misused, it can look like someone's in an Apple ad, but it can also create nice warm highlights for "sunset" shoots or counteract otherwise insufficient lighting conditions.
Some photographers may find fitting a tablet into their worflow easier than others, but if used properly, there are many situations where a second screen makes things easier or faster. And considering there's little risk to checking out a cheap option like Eye-Fi Mobi or Triggertrap, it's probably at least worth a try. You might find that a small investment like one of the apps or accessories listed above saves quite a bit of time or effort during a shoot.
We'll also look soon at how tablets might fit into your preparative and post-processing steps, so even if you don't think having a tablet around during a shoot sounds like your cup of tea, check back for ways it can make other parts of your day easier.