As an avid photographer one of my first thoughts regarding the iPad was “What can I do with my photos on this thing?” Of course one obvious answer is that it would be great for sharing photos. The answer may seem easy — sync my photo library and enjoy some slideshows. But it’s not so simple because, like many others who are as interested in photography as I am, I have a very large library with tens of thousands of photos. Hundreds of gigabytes. I can already hear the little 32 GB flash drive inside my iPad weeping. Heck, I’ve got 32 GB worth of memory cards in the pocket of my camera bag!
Granted, iTunes optimizes the size of your photos for iPad display during the sync process, but still… I guarantee I’ll max out my device with photos. And even so, I don’t use iPhoto to organize my library. That job is done by Adobe Lightroom.
So how do I get my photos on my iPad? I see a few options:
Use iPhoto’s smart albums to only sync the last 12 months’ photos.
That’s 17 GB of finished JPEGs. Yeah they’ll be optimized, but still… next!
Configure iTunes to sync only a few select albums.
My photo library changes too often — periodically switching up which albums I want on the iPad and re-syncing would eat up too much time.
Set up a “best-of” or “portfolio” album, and sync just that.
I like this idea. I’ll probably do it, but I still want more than just a few select images on my iPad.
Enter: SmugMug iPad App
This is the solution I’m looking for. I’ve been a paying customer of SmugMug for a few years because their service is extremely useful. SmugMug galleries feature large, impressive, high-quality images. And to facilitate that, they do not place limits on storage capacity nor traffic. That means you can upload as many images as you like, and share them with everyone you know.
With SmugMug I have a place online to store and share my entire photo library. And with the SmugMug iPad App I can access that library anywhere there’s a network connection.
- Access your entire SmugMug photo library on the iPad. Your photos are organized according to whatever category/album hierarchy you have chosen to follow.
- Photos are displayed full-screen and at high resolution. Color and details look great on the iPad’s display.
- Save photos from SmugMug to your iPad’s photo library.
- View albums as slideshows.
- HD video support.
The app supports multiple SmugMug galleries — in addition to your own, you can add shortcuts to any SmugMug page or gallery to the homepage. Unfortunately, every time I tap the “+” icon to do so, the app crashes. This should hopefully be fixed soon, since the app is brand new.
Category and album thumbnails load very quickly. Unlike the SmugMug site which randomizes which photos are used as thumbnails, these seem to be static. It really doesn’t matter to me one way or the other, but if they’re static it would be nice to have the option of specifying which image should be used.
Depending on the strength of your network connection, full-screen images can take a few seconds to load. When viewing a full-screen slideshow some photos skip the first time around, which I assume is also a symptom of poor network connectivity disrupting the slideshow’s timing.
Speaking of the slideshow timing, it seems to be very quick and I cannot locate an option to change how long each image stays on screen.
I’m not sure exactly how useful this might be since the iPad doesn’t have a camera, but maybe a function for uploading to SmugMug could be in this app’s future? Then again, you can just e-mail photos to SmugMug.
This is a really nice app for the sole fact that it lets you access a massive photo library wherever your iPad can get online, regardless of its storage capacity. SmugMug is the first app I think needs to be given a permanent place on my iPad dock. There are a few bugs that need to be worked out, but they are minor and that is to be expected from any new App. If you are a SmugMug customer and iPad owner, you need this free App.