Photographer on the Go: Replacing My Laptop with the 10.5" iPad Pro PART II

The results are in!!!

If you read my first post here, you saw that I was looking for a new mobile retouching solution while I traveled. My computer and Wacom setup was kind of a pain to travel with, not to mention my MacBook Air needed upgrading. Check out that post to read about my thought process behind purchasing the new Apple iPad Pro 10.5". 

Now, I had pretty high hopes, but pretty low expectations. Being able to retouch efficiently, with 42MP RAW files was not a small order for a tablet, even the brand new iPad Pro. But now that I've actually had a couple weeks with the iPad Pro, here are my findings.

IT FREAKING WORKED AND I LOVE IT. Let me break it down.

1. RETOUCHING/EDITING

The whole thing was going to be a bust if I couldn't edit RAW photos. Thankfully, Adobe added support for RAW editing in Lightroom Mobile a few months back, and I knew I could at least edit the file. But to be honest, I don't use Lightroom. I edit everything in Photoshop, and Adobe's Photoshop Mix/Fix didn't seem like they'd be able to really give me the control/power/tools I'd need to retouch comprehensively. 

And then I found Affinity Photo. This app is LITERALLY a rebranded Photoshop. Not some cheap imitation, but the kind you would use on your desktop. It's $20 in the App store, and worth every single penny. Layers/Masks/Tools/Selections/etc. are identical. I literally composited an image from multiple image files ON A PLANE. That's bonkers to me. Not to mention I can edit all on the screen with the Apple Pencil, which has no noticeable lag time and all the control of a Wacom Stylus. So. Rad. 

Here's an example of a quick photo I just edited.

Pulled in a RAW using my Lightning to SD card reader. (Apple brand. Tried a 3rd party from Amazon, and it didn't work)

Pulled in a RAW using my Lightning to SD card reader. (Apple brand. Tried a 3rd party from Amazon, and it didn't work)

Added adjustment layers, refined them using a layer mask, just like in Photoshop.

Added adjustment layers, refined them using a layer mask, just like in Photoshop.

Export options are super robust also (They support pretty much every file type/size/etc.) 

Export options are super robust also (They support pretty much every file type/size/etc.) 

2. FILE HANDLING

Being able to sync with Dropbox is amazing. I can import RAW files straight into Affinity or import them from the Apple SD Card Reader, and can also save to Dropbox. Perfect setup that removes the need for cables or external hard drives. (Another rad option sounds like the GNARbox, which allows you to wireless import RAWs, I believe.). And once iOS11 drops later this month, the FILES app promises to further integrate Dropbox and cloud support, making it even easier to handle files. 

3. OTHER TASKS

Another thing that makes me love using the iPad while I'm traveling or out of office, is my Logitech keyboard case. Basically turns the iPad into a functioning laptop with the keyboard, and holds my Apple Pencil. It still blows my mind how efficiently and effortlessly I can reply to emails, create documents (made a custom spreadsheet with a logo using Apple Numbers app), and handle all the needs of a small business from my iPad. Wild.

CONS?

Ummmm... the keyboard isn't full size? File importing is not super fast, but honestly not that slow either for my Sony A7RII 42MP files. I'm honestly struggling to find any downsides at this point.

Maybe the biggest drawback is that if you REALLY want to get into the nitty gritty of intense retouching techniques like Frequency Separation, you might be limited. But as I mentioned in my first post, this isn't meant to replace my desktop. If I could edit every image on my 27" 5K iMac, I would. But sometimes, on the go, you just need something simpler, faster, and lighter to carry. The iPad is definitely that and more.

Comment below if you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer them.

 

Edsel Photo specializes in cinematic and stylized fashion photography for advertising and editorial publications in Austin, Texas and New York City.