Image Editing on the iPad: Workflow


Contrary to their desktop computer counterparts, which try and cram as many features as possible into an application suite, iPad apps generally have a very limited set of functions and tools. There is no one size fits all solution for editing images on the iPad and so it really comes down to deciding what post-processing you commonly do and what are the best apps to accomplish that. Quite often this involves a few saves to the photo library as you move your image back and forth between multiple iPad image editing apps. As an example, Im going to go through the beginning-to-end post-processing workflow of a portrait I took of my kids a couple weekends ago after they returned from a karate class. The creative part of my mind was thinking things like Rocky, fighter & manager, The Wrestler and that was the theme on which I would base the final image.

Heres what I started with.

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Im sure you can already see the first problem. Yes, thats a electric socket in the wall. Considering that the rest of the wall is detailess white, cloning it out should work here. For any detail work I use Photogene with the Go-Pro package (my Photogene review). It has all the detail mask and retouch tools such as cloning, a heal brush, dodging, burning, and so on.

Step 1: Open the image in Photogene and use the clone and heal tools to make the outlet disappear.

 

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Step 2: Crop the image into a square to get rid of all the negative space, also in Photogene.

 

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Step 3: Export the image to the photo library to make it available to other apps.

 

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Were done with Photogene, although we will come back to it a little bit later. Now I want to do less minutia-centric tasks on the image and do more global things, specifically applying a filter. Just as with post-processing on the desktop, no other company has better filters than Nik Software. Niks app for iOS is called Snapseed and, while it does have a few selective-editing tools, it excels at plug-in style image editing.

Step 4: Open the saved image in Snapseed.

 

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Now to find a filter that will give me a final look suitabe to the creative vision I had when I took the original photo.

Step 5: Apply Drama filter.

 

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Step 6: Save the Snapseed image to the photo library.

Now on to the final touches and export. For both I use Photogene because with the Go-Pro package there are some very powerful batch tools to abuse, such as pasting IPTC data, watermarking, exporting, and so on.

Step 7: Open the image back up in Photogene and fill out the IPTC data.

 

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Step 8: Export the image to wherever you need it. Photogene supports exporting images up to 22MP to many different places, including Dropbox, Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, email … even good old fashioned FTP. I typically use Dropbox so that the image will automatically propagate out to all the other computers and mobile devices I use. I also have a secure FTP server running on my webhost and a folder in the account root just in case Dropbox is having issues.

Heres the final image.

 

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Whats your iPad image post-processing workflow? What apps do you use to do what tasks? Leave your suggestions and comments below.


About Brian Webb

Brian Q. Webb is a photography enthusiast from Los Angeles, California who spends most of his time in Taipei, Taiwan. He is especially interested in street photography as well as large format portraiture and pinhole photography. He also likes to shoot lifestyle portraiture and occasionally acts as an agent for foreign newspapers wanting event coverage in Taipei. He was also on the staff of deviantArt and is co-founder of PhotoMalaysia, the largest photography community in that country.