The iPad mini for On-the-Go Photographers

I've always been fond of the iPad mini. But my affection grew deeper when Apple released iPadOS that opened the door to more capability. Now, a year later, I can't imagine work without it.


Even though I use this tablet for everything from reading the NY Times, to checking email, to running TheFilmCameraShop, my focus for this post is its usefulness for photography. Considering that this device fits just about anywhere, I'm impressed with how versatile it is.

Powerful Imaging Apps

Here are my "go to" imaging apps that I use with the mini.

  • Photos for iPadOS - Photos is one of those apps that I think photographers don't take seriously enough. The editing tools are solid, and if you shoot with a modern iPhone, there are amazing things you can do with this app, such as changing the depth of field of your portrait shots in post production.
  • RAW Power - Not only can it tap right in to your Photos library, once you're there, RAW Power puts an incredible set of editing tools at your fingertips. Whether the images are imported from a digital camera, or captured with an iPhone, you can get the most out of them with this app. It even has Depth Effect adjustments for iPhone portraits. (I also use it regularly for my infrared work because it has a channel mixer and LUT capability.)
  • Pixelmator Photo - Like RAW Power, Pixelmator lets me tap your Photos library, or work at the file level, and can easily switch back and forth. If there's a picture I want to edit on your iPad, Pixelmator can get to it. Plus it has fantastic tools including a Retouch Brush and Channel Mixer. Lots of creative filters to experiment with are included in the app. And Pixelmator has incorporated Machine Learning into the software for excellent automated results. I can even "sample up" my 12MP iPhone files to higher resolution. All of this on an iPad mini that goes just about anywhere.
  • Lightroom Mobile - For those in the Adobe ecosystem, Lightroom Mobile is the perfect addition to the iPad workflow. This app has continued to evolve intelligently, and add to the mix its big brother, Photoshop for iPad, and that's a powerful tandem. All of your work can be stored in Adobe Creative Cloud, so you can pick up right where you left off when you return to the computer (if you ever do...).

Apple Pencil

When Apple refreshed the iPad Mini, they added Apple Pencil capability. This is a feature that I wanted, but I wasn't sure how much I would use in day to day life.

As is turns out, the pencil is in my hand quite a bit. I particularly like it for marking up photographic illustrations when I'm trying to explain how to do something. But I also like it for image editing and making handwritten notes. It's as fun as it is useful.

A Real Web Browser

There are so many things about iPad OS that I like. But the most important is a real web browsing experience that allows me to use the device for administrating my blog and managing the store. I can now do anything on the tablet that once required a laptop. Fold in the touch screen and Apple Pencil, and it's an enjoyable tool for real work.

Related to this are its connectivity options. I do use WiFi when I can, but the cellular expands its boundaries. Since I use AT&T for the iPhone, I opted for Verizon with the iPad. Rarely am I unable to connect to get work done, regardless of my location.

For this photographer/writer, it's vital that I am able to work from anywhere. Combine the real web browser with outstanding connectivity options, and I can.

Final Thoughts

Nimble photography has been a mantra of mine for years. But that practice isn't limited to my camera gear. Everything has to work together for me to be truly agile in this world.

Last night, I transferred an IR shot from my Olympus E-M10 Mark III to the iPad mini via WiFi. I edited the image in RAW Power, then published it online.

Fantastic tools that fit in my jacket pocket. That's what Nimble Photography is to me.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.