On a recent holiday I decided to leave my trusty MacBook Pro 13” at home for the week and travel with only my 12.9” iPad Pro. I now want to share my experience in using iOS only over this time and will focus on a particular niche with each article, for this first one I am going to talk about my experience with photography.
I’ll start by sharing all of the gear that I took with me
- Canon 70D, I picked this up around a year ago and has become an essential bit of kit that goes with me everywhere
- Lowerpro Hatchback 22L, I wanted a backpack style camera bag that could take a MacBook or iPad and Lowepro bags have been good to me over the years so I know their durability is good
- iPad Pro 12.9”, picked up in November but this is the first time I've been 100% iOS only for a period over a few days
- Apple SD Card Reader, I've had this one for a while so bear in mind that mine isn't the latest USB 3 version
- iPad Pro silicone case, I've gone case-less until now but having used this case on my wife's 9.7" iPad Pro I really liked it and stops it slipping off the sofa
- iPad Pro Smart Cover, it's a habit now that whenever I buy a new iPad I automatically pick up the smart cover - I know it gets bad reviews for falling over too easily but I really like it
For my photo storage I am using iCloud Photo Library.
Getting the images off my 70D
My camera was set to take a RAW and JPG for each photo that I took, so the images get pretty big. I hadn't invested in a new SD Card Reader that took advantage of USB 3 speeds of the 12.9" iPad Pro so I was prepared to let it take a while, and it did. It took on average 15 minutes to show thumbnails then another 20 mins to import about 50 photos and the odd video.
Here is my first lesson I will be investing in the new reader so that the speed is a lot quicker next time. I also used this on my iPhone, something that really opened my eyes to how I could back up my images when out and about rather than wait for when I get home.
I'd recommend that even if you have an existing SD card reader you upgrade to the latest version if you have the 12.9" iPad Pro, I'm yet to test fully but it's going to be a good time saver if you make the £25 investment.
Backing up the images I took on my iPhone
This was easy, all of images were being backed up to iCloud Photo Library. When I was back at the holiday home with WIFI I could let it back up overnight, it wasn't the quickest connection in the world but did seem to at least trickle some of the images up to iCloud over the week I was there.
It wasn't all plain sailing though, read on for problems with iCloud Photo Library.
Suffice to say that the next time I am going to also install Google Photos and let my images backup via multiple services rather than rely on the one that I did.
Keeping it all (or not) in sync
When I got back home I had planned to connect my iPhone and iPad up to the home WIFI and get it all in sync on iCloud, this didn't go to plan...
- As I've already written, WIFI at the house we were staying wasn't the quickest (around 1MB up). I didn't think this was a problem as I thought I could just get it all in sync once I was back on my quicker broadband at home
- On arriving back home iCloud Photo Library decided to try to upload all of the images on my iPhone since 2005 (over 22,000 of them) to iCloud. The iPad correctly saw that I needed to upload around 300 but with the iPhone messing up I decided to cancel the update as I didn't want any in the master library being affected
The way out of my iCloud problem was to re-import all of my images from the SD cards to my main iMac Photo Library and then take the images off my iPhone and iPad by plugging them in (old school!).
Once I had a collection that I weeded through I.e. removed duplicates and less than average pictures I then let my main iMac do the work of uploading them to iCloud.
I decided to then take a rather extreme measure and wiped both my iPhone and iPad and started with a fresh install of iOS, they are all up and running again now looking at a correct master library.
In hindsight this error on iCloud Photo Library made the process of importing via the SD Card redundant but it did enable me to share them on social media and with family plus it was an important lesson - don't rely on one cloud backup for your photos.
I will be re-enabling Google Photos on my devices now and uploading all of my master photos to their servers when I get the chance.
I don't tend to do a massive amount of editing of my photos, I largely edit quickly in Instagram and post rather than spend hours in Photoshop but here is what I rely on
- Photos, I find although basic the editing functionality suits me just fine for crops and level editing
- Instagram, the main way I share and edit images
- Lightroom, I pay for a Creative Cloud Membership so if I want to do some finer editing I use it across both my iOS devices
- Pixelmator, my favourite editing app on MAC or iOS - easy to use and really powerful! (SIRI "Remind me to cancel my Adobe creative cloud membership")
- iCloud Photo Sharing, I'm a big fan of creating shared photo libraries for trips. First thing I did was create a shared album within Photos on my iPad called Holiday May 2016, shared it with my wife and we started to populate it with our favourite photos
- Social media, usual suspects Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Would I do it again?
I would do it again but would make a few changes
- I'd use the updated SD Card reader to take advantage of the USB 3 speeds of the 12.9" iPad Pro
- Invest in some high speed SD Cards to help the import process
- I'd install Google Photos before I leave so that I have an extra (reliable) backup
Let me know what experiences you have had with iCloud Photo library or importing photos to an iOS device.