Using an iPad as a Photography Portfolio


Not so surprisingly, photographers quickly gravitated to the iPad for its portability and coolness factor. Using the device in lieu of a printed portfolio is an obvious step, but we came across three photographers who have taken it to the next level in with the presentation of the device in a way that works with their branding. Let us know how you’re using the device and what the reaction has been from your clients.

Darren Carroll
Darren Carroll is an Austin-based editorial, advertising and portrait photographer, who also penned a fantastic tutorial on how to photograph golf. He recently added the Apple iPad as an alternate way to show his portfolio to art buyers, and has received a hearty reception. We talked to him about the impetus to adding another piece of technology to the mix.


PS: Your printed portfolio is atypical (i.e. you don’t have acetate “leaves” bound in a spiral binder). Can you describe the construction, evolution and reception of the portfolio?

DC: You’re right. I started that way (with prints in a book with acetate sleeves), but then I discovered there were a few things working against me. First, there was the glare problem. That’s self-explanatory; generally this can be mitigated by having the person looking at the book adjusting their viewing angle. But that really only works if there’s only one person looking at the book, and if they have the time and inclination to do it. As I began having more and more shows where multiple people attempted to view the book at the same time, I observed them as they contorted their bodies and craned their necks in an attempt to see the pictures, and it was just painful to watch. I figured there had to be a better way.


Now, I know people have been doing the print-in-a-clamshell box thing for years; that’s nothing new and it seemed like a good way to solve both the glare problem (no sleeves) and the multiple-viewer problem, as the prints can be passed around from one person to another. But I still liked the idea of being able to establish some sort of thematic continuity like you can do with a book. So I came up with the idea of doing multiple prints in a single unit.

Each unit consists of a piece of matte board with prints flush-mounted on each side, after which I score one side and cut the other part-way through down the middle, and fold it over so that it opens like its own little book. For my portrait portfolio, it’s a 22-inch wide by 14-inch tall board, which then folds down to an 11×14 “print size”–only now you can group together either 4 11×14 vertical prints or 2 verticals and a horizontal spread (or, for that matter, a multi-photo layout) on the reverse that measures out to 22×14. And you can organize each unit as a theme–music portraits, tight head shots, white seamless, six shots from the same assignment, whatever. And then you can organize each of those units into a more overarching theme, like you would a book. And since there are images on both sides, you can go through it as if you were literally turning pages in a book. It also allows me to customize the book on the fly by inserting certain types of shots and removing others depending on the audience. I also have an action book that I’ve done on 11×28-inch boards, which fold to 11×14 in landscape orientation.

The clamshell boxes were custom made by Brewer-Cantelmo in New York. The prints are from my digital files (which I process myself), which are then shipped off  for output on a LightJet by Austin Photo Imaging, a lab in my home town that has been great about working with me on what is admittedly a pain-in-the-ass project for them. The folks at API output the prints, then flush-mount them on both sides, trim the boards, and hand them back to me. For perfectly understandable reasons they’d rather I do any scoring, slicing, and folding myself. And so I finish the prints off on my own using a bone folder, a specially-rigged X-acto knife that allows you to set a specific cutting depth (so I don’t slice a hundred dollars’ worth of prints apart), a burnisher, and a lot of patience.


But the work has paid off so far. The reception has been great–people aren’t used to “unfolding” the boards when they pull the first one out, but once they get the hang of it they seem to really enjoy the process. And they like the idea of being able to hand them back and forth. I get a lot of comments like, “I’ve never seen it done this way before,” from people whom I know for a fact look at A LOT of portfolios, and they seem to enjoy not only the originality of it but also the fact that it’s easy to look at, and that the organizational qualities of it make sense.

PS: How much did it cost? How do you justify the cost?

DC: The books are by no means cheap. Each print “unit” (22×14 board + double-sided prints) costs about $100 and there are 12 units in my portrait book and 8 in my action book. So what does that work out to? About $2000? The boxes run about $300 each and will probably need to be replaced once every year to 18 months just due to normal wear and tear. And a shipping/carrying case for the boxes (also custom made by Brewer-Cantelmo) cost about $200. So all in, without getting into updating, replacing, etc., the finished product that I ship or carry around with me probably has about $3000.00 put into it.

How do I justify that? It’s my best work, work that I’m proud of. It’s not worth doing something like that half-assed. It’s what I want to show people, and it allows people to look at it in a highly impactful but convenient and different way. That’s justification enough for me.


PS: Do you create direct mail pieces? Do you use a designer? What’s a typical run size and cost?

DC: I used to do direct mail. It was expensive; I had a list service subscription; got postcards printed, etc. The run was about 3,000 and it worked out to a little under a dollar per card, all in. They got me work, but not a lot. So I switched to e-mail promos, which I design and do myself, and mail out to a list–part of it developed through a listing service, part of it through my own research–as well. The advantage to that, besides the cost–which is about a third of a printed direct mail campaign, is also the ability to track who’s looking at the e-mails, etc., and being able to quantify the effectiveness of the campaign beyond whether I get calls for jobs as a result.

PS: What was the impetus for looking at the iPad as an alternate portfolio?

DC: I was in the Boston area late last August, on a couple of assignments for Golf World and Golf Digest. As I often do before I go out of town, I researched places and people where I’m going who I think might be worth contacting. I e-mailed some art buyers at Arnold, the ad agency that has, among others, the account for Titleist, and on Wednesday I got an e-mail back saying someone would meet with me the following Tuesday. I had shipped my print books up ahead in the hope that I’d get such a response, but the more I thought about it, and the more I researched their various campaigns and the kind of work they had hired for them (lots of action, both posed and real), the more I realized that while I had one golf “unit” in my action book, it was a bit more abstract and not really action-oriented. There was no meat-and-potatoes golf in there, in other words. So there I was, at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence, Rhode Island with 5 days to a showing, the daylight hours of all of which were going to be taken up shooting assignments, and no golf action pictures in my book. But there was an Apple Store across the street in the Providence Place Mall, and I did have my laptop, and I did have all of my best golf stuff uploaded to (and therefore downloadable from) my PhotoShelter account. The iPad became a no-brainer in a hurry.


To make matters even better, the tournament I was covering ended on a Monday and was won by Charley Hoffman, a guy who endorses Titleist. So the morning after, I was able to show pictures of that as part of my presentation. It was well-received, and we’ll have to see if it leads to anything.

PS: You’ve spent a lot of thought into the construction of your iPad portfolio. Can you describe the components, software and cost?

DC: I like to think that I’ve put a lot of thought into making my print portfolio unique, and  the more I used the pad and developed portfolios for it I began to see that in addition to working as a stand-alone portfolio, it could also nicely augment the print portfolios if used in conjunction with them (more on that later). So I wanted the iPad portfolio to have a similar feel to it in terms of design. At the same time, I also wanted to be able to send the iPad out on its own.


Beneath the iPad, Darren has an iPad stand, wiping cloth, and leave behinds.


So I contacted Brewer-Cantelmo again, and asked them to make yet another clamshell box similar in design to my print boxes. I specified that its exterior dimensions would enable it to fit snugly into a large FedEx box, so that I could ship it on its own. Armed with that requirement, they then e-mailed back the interior dimensions, and I set to work designing a cut-foam insert that could hold the iPad to protect it during shipping, as well as provide room for a small folding display stand, a cleaning cloth, and some leave-behind cards. I then found a firm in Austin that would do the foam cutting (easier said than done, believe me) and went and visited them to discuss the idea. They assured me it could be done, even with a run of only one piece, and so we shook hands on a price. Done deal. Due to the nature of the machinery, which can’t do defined-depth cuts like, say, a router can, each different element had to be cut from a separate pice of foam, the thickness of which had to be determined by me with a ruler and some educated guesses. But the end result worked out pretty well, I think.

All of this cost about $450. The iPad was another $500. So it’s about a third of the price of the print books.


This has been the biggest problem I’ve run into. Apple makes a Keynote app, but it doesn’t include a lot of the functionality of the original application. I tried a .pdf reader app called “GoodReader,” which worked pretty well but couldn’t do slideshows. The one huge advantage of both of these apps is that they allow you to import .pdf documents directly on to your iPad and run your presentation that way, without having to rely on Apple’s byzantine photo-organizing software, which is a stunningly bizarre and barely serviceable platform for importing, sorting, and storing photos. The downside is that you have to create all of the .pdfs and that if you wanted to change something around in any of them, you have to go back in to your laptop and re-upload.

I looked and looked and frankly there are not too many presentation programs out there that cater to photographers. I finally settled on one called “Portfolio” (cost: about $15.00) that does what I need it to do, is pretty intuitive for its users, and displays images well. The drawback is that it relies on the photo software native to the iPad, so whenever you import a photo it gets renamed, and there’s no way to sort them (on the iPad itself–not in the app) other than by date unless you want to mess with albums in iPhoto (which I really, really don’t). The app has gotten better since I’ve bought it; the developer has actually been open to suggestions and has incorporated things into updates, and continues to make improvements. It’s not perfect, but I’m not sure that anything will be as long as Apple and the iPad OS continue to place crazy restrictions on development.

PS: Did you look into developing your own “app”?

DC: I did. And at a starting cost of about $20,000 it just wasn’t something I could justify.

PS: Who is your target audience with the portfolios?

DC: Art buyers at advertising agencies and graphic design firms, and magazine picture editors.

What has the reaction been thus far? how much of the reaction is the novelty of the device?

DC: I think it’s been around long enough that people aren’t surprised to see it used for portfolio presentation. What does surprise them, and what garners many positive comments, is the way the device is presented as part of an overall portfolio presentation and the way it’s designed into that presentation, i.e. with the packaging, etc.


PS: What are your frustrations with the iPad as portfolio?

DC: I don’t want to get into the app I use, as I know there are all sorts of things that I’d love to see but literally can’t be done given the iPad OS the app developer is working with, so that would be unfair. As for the iPad itself, I really wish that there was a way to set it to self-launch the portfolio app at startup. I wish there was a way to clear my screen of every other app icon so that, barring some sort of self-launch, it was blatantly obvious what the recipient is supposed to do  with it once they turn the thing on. I wish there was a way to change the look, design, and title of the app icon itself. All sorts of things. Who knows, maybe when the competitors’ pads come into common use there will be a much more open-sourced development process and things like that will be possible. I’d switch in a heartbeat.

PS: What do you think the iPad does better than a printed portfolio?

DC: Well first of all, it’s a back-lit device so certain types of images, especially ones with lots of shadow detail, look much better on it. A lot of my portraits have moody light, but I try to retain a bit of detail in the shadows no matter what. The iPad is a much better display medium for that kind of work.

The back-lit nature of it also eliminates a key variable in the viewing of a print portfolio: ambient light. And by that I don’t mean tungsten, fluorescent, etc. I just mean brightness. True story: I was showing my book to an editor at a major, big-time magazine. Fortunately he’d seen my stuff before and we’d worked together to the point where he’s not afraid to be critical–or in some cases, just plain give me shit. “This stuff is all just too damned dark,” he said. “You really need to go back and re-print most of this and make it brighter. I can’t see anything on half of these prints.” I really thought he was just giving me shit, and honestly I almost started laughing out loud, because–I am not making this up–it was dark outside and the only light hitting his desk was coming from the glow of his computer monitor and from a small halogen reading lamp on a credenza about 5 feet away from his desk. But he wasn’t joking. Next time I’ll just show him the iPad, and I don’t anticipate having that problem.

But the two places where the iPad really shines are in storytelling and versatility. For stories, the ability to show 15 to 20 pictures in an interactive format saves a ton of weight (no having to lug another 20 mounted prints around is a wonderful thing when the ones I’m already lugging around weigh in at close to 40 pounds), and allows the viewer to explore the images at their own pace. And I’m not limited to one story. Right now I have five on there. I like to show the portfolio and action books, and then one story on the iPad–depending on the audience, either a self-assigned piece I did on Smitty’s Market (my favorite barbecue joint), or a pice I did for Texas Highways magazine on legendary Texas musician Robert Earl Keen.  And if someone wants to see more, I can just tell them to keep going.

As for versatility, the ability to edit on the fly–with the Portfolio app, as long as the pictures are in the iPad’s photo library, you can add, delete, or create new portfolios at will, as well as turn them on or off so that they don’t appear in your gallery listing–is a godsend.

Steve Boyle
Philadelphia photographer Steve Boyle creates photographs for magazines, corporations and advertising agencies, and specializes in people and action photography.


PS: What was the impetus for looking at the iPad as an alternate portfolio?

SB: I last made a printed book in 2008, which was my first one.  It was an 11×17 horizontal leather book with about 36 pages.  I just felt that I spent so much money and time making it exactly how I wanted and then I couldn’t really use it again.  Sure, I could add and subtract pages, but I’d probably be using a different printer and color matching is a mild pain in the ass.  I’m a photographer not a professional toner / printer.  The main reason for using the iPad was cost savings, the possibility to display moving content, a little bit of novelty, and this was an area I felt I could be a bit of pioneer in.

PS: You’ve spent a lot of thought into the construction of your iPad portfolio.  Can you describe the components, software and cost?

SB: The software on the iPad that I currently use is Foliobook.  It’s not perfect but it’s available and easy to use.  There is a new product called PadPort of which I’m a beta tester on, but it’s just not there yet.   Once that product comes out I’ll likely switch to it, one of the main features is being about to lock out every other feature of the iPad allowing PadPort to be the only thing running so the focus is on my portfolio & images.  To date I’ve only shown the book in person, but that feature would be great if I need to send the book out.


The components of the book are quite basic.  I called, emailed and twittered everyone I could find at both Wilson Sporting Goods and Horween Leather in Chicago (they supply Wilson with the leather).  Horween Leather was extremely helpful so they deserve a shout out, their CEO Skip emailed me back.  Ultimately I had to get the leather from Wilson because I wanted the EXACT same leather that NFL footballs are made from (see the detailed shot with the little W’s) and Horween is legally only allowed to provide that to Wilson.  COST – about $70 for a half hide (image of that is attached)


The turf is a Pet Turf product from Synthetic Turf, which I had directly shipped to my bookmaker in a 12sq ft roll.  I must have called in about 40 samples of turf to review from about 10 different manufacturers.  You’d be surprised how many extremely ugly different kinds of fake grass there is.  I wanted the book to have the highest quality ingredients and the Pet Turf that I went with looked the best.  COST – about $50 plus shipping costs.

Apple iPad, pretty self explanatory.  I have a 32gb 3g version.  I plan to use it both personally and professionally while it’s it not out trying to get me more work.  COST – about $750


I owe 90% of the success of this book to my bookmaker, Nicole Anderson of NA Book Arts in Sacramento. Her assistant Eriko Yahiro made my last book because Nicole was pregnant.  Now Eriko is pregnant so Nicole made this one for me.  I’m taking 10% for the idea and for pushing her to create something she had never done before.  Countless phone calls, scanned drawings of my ideas and testing of materials on her end.  I used the die/stamp from my last book of my logo which was imprinted on the front of the book with black football, to somewhat mimic the Wilson logo on footballs.  I placed it at the center/bottom of the book since it would be opened like a box and not left to right like a book.  The iPad is displayed horizontally with my promos in the lid.  Total bill from Nicole was $583.50 but there was a lot of FedEx charges to add on to that both between her and I & between her sub contractors and her, let’s say about $250 worth.

I believe the total cost of my last custom made book, plus prints (ink, paper, etc) was around $1000, so while slightly less, the iPad and this case should have a longer life in my business.

PS: What are your frustrations with the iPad as a portfolio?

SB: The frustrations are more with the viewers than me I believe.  Some of the editors / art buyers that I met with come from a fine art background and want to feel and experience prints, which I totally understand.  I come from a documentary background and am doing my best to keep up with current market needs.  One issue that I noticed is the viewing angle of the iPad, depending on where it is viewed the glare can be an issue.  It was a problem when viewing in a room next to giant windows.  I was also limited by the program Foliobook, but PadPort should fix all of those concerns, mainly related to customization and user interaction.

One thing to note, which might be both a benefit and frustration depending on who you ask is that these images are displayed at 1024 x 768 at 132 dpi.  You can get away with a little lower quality image, mainly in the sharpness area.  I uploaded my images at that exact resolution because I found that to be best for that program.  You can upload higher res versions in iPhoto and view in the iPad photo viewer if you’d like.  I’m not sure what works best in PadPort

What do you think the iPad does better than a printed portfolio?

SB: The iPad allows for videos and multimedia content to be included with images which is a HUGE bonus.  Though I’m not creating that content just yet, it’s on the horizon.  It’s also much easier to be changed/updated/modified.  For example, I showed my book on Thursday & Friday October 28-29 in NYC at the Fotoworks review.  I included an image in my portfolio that I shot October 27.  It’s also an option to modify the iPad during the portfolio review.  It’s possible to meet with 20 people and save 20 different version of your portfolio depending on their likes/dislikes. 

Another bonus is that even though I spent $750 on the iPad, I can use it in my daily life as well for totally different purposes.  Find me a daily use for an 11×17 printed portfolio.

Once the novelty of the iPad as portfolio has worn off, do you think it will continue to provide a superior medium for displaying your work?

I believe that a screen has/will replace the printed book as time moves on.  Sure you could have modified a laptop screen and made this same type of book 10 years ago, but that’d be way more work and likely cost much more as well.  The iPad certainly lowered the barrier for entry into the “display my work on a screen” portfolio.  Magazines are starting to create content for the iPad so I think it’s use as a portfolio has some future.  With the industry moving towards motion and portable electronic content, I think some type of computerized screen will be the choice of many professionals, not only photographers, to show their work to others.  Imagine an individual who works as a designer, videographer and photographer to make ends meet.  They can walk into a meeting with an iPad and showcase all of your skills in one device.  The iPad created many possibilities and opportunities, it’s up to you take advantage of them and find it’s best use for you, until the next game changer comes along.

Shawn Corrigan
Shawn Corrigan is a Southern California-based photographer, documentarian and filmmaker. His experience building and designing everything from sets to camera components led him to a Do-it-yourself iPad portfolio case.



PS: What was the impetus for looking at the iPad as an alternate portfolio?

CS: For me my portfolio is constantly changing and not every image configuration is right for every client. I wanted the flexibility to show more work to more clients with a custom experience for every viewer. My work also encompasses about 30% motion content for which the iPad is phenomenal at!

PS: You’ve spent a lot of thought into the construction of your iPad portfolio. Can you describe the components, software and cost?

Steve [Boyle] and I collaborated on the software, both doing research and testing while sharing with each other. Steve had reached out to a company producing an app called Padport we both signed up to become beta testers.The product looks very promising but at the moment it is a little to buggy to confidently show clients work with! I settled
on showing my work with an app called Foliobook which is pretty straight forward, but has no built-in motion support and isn’t as intuitive as i would like it to be. What I have been finding when I show my book is that photo editors and art directors/buyers expect the iPad to function on a similar manner to the iphone image viewer which everyone is familiar with.  Unfortunately, neither of these apps offer that yet. Yes they swipe form image to image but that’s it. I hope that my experience beta testing Padport will help them make a stellar app.


Being that I come from a very DIY background (building sets, custom lighting modifiers, camera stabilization products) I opted to make my own unique book from scratch that speaks to who I am as a photographer and the type of creativity and problem solving I can bring to a project.  For my case, I was very inspired by Tim Robbins character in “The Shawshank Redemption” who hides a hammer which he used to escape from prison in a book which is cutout.

For my book I started with two 11/14 Panels purchased from Pearl Arts and some walnut veneer purchased from a local woodworking shop. I handcut a stencil and with the use of some 3M super 77 spray adhesive. I stenciled my logo on the front and rear cover with glue, then I set them with black powder (gun powder) and lit them on fire (this proved ineffective and I ended up using an black artists medium). Earlier in the year I had the chance to meet and photograph an amazing industrial designer Richard Von Saal. Richard taught me how to cast in resin so after I had my logo branded on my covers I cast them in resin.


From there it was a few trips to the fabric store to purchase some faux crocodile skin for the inside liner. I used a hinge that I reclaimed from a previous portfolio. For me the most complicated part was learning how to cut out the negative space within all the pages that the iPad sits in.

My Costs:

$599 iPad 32gb
$24 11/14 artists pannels
$30 Walnut veneer
$41 Resin
$45 Black powder
$12 Super 77
$7 Faux crocodile skin
$0 Donated paper
$22 Router bit (cutting paper)

Total Cost without ipad $180
with ipad $ 780

PS: What are your frustrations with the iPad as portfolio?

CS: I would have to say my major frustrations with the iPad as a portfolio are having to leave the branded iPad app that I am using to show my work and use Apple’s Movie Viewer to show motion content.  Also, as I mentioned earlier I would like it if the portfolio programs functioned more like the iphone in terms of how your finger gestures relate to image viewing. The iPad can also be slightly small, if you meeting with one person its great, but case in point I was meeting with an agency the other day about an upcoming Hennessy campaign, they asked my to some show my book for the agency and here we are 9 of us surrounding a conference room table looking at a 8/10 ipad, so it’s not the ideal medium for every meeting.

PS: What do you think the iPad does better than a printed portfolio?

SC: The iPad allows you to always have your portfolio on you. Let’s face it. You’re only going to take your case that you built for it when you’re on a “go see” with an agency. BUT there is no reason why you can’t have your iPad in your camera bag or shoulder bag at all times.  People are always asking to see my work and we all know the routine: Here’s my card, next time you’re at a computer with some free time, check out my site. Now I just reach into my bag hand them my iPad and its all right there at the finger tips, interactive.

As for motion content before the iPad you had to bring a projector, DVD or laptop to show your reel. With the iPad you just press play and it’s in there hands.

The iPad also allows you to easily customize a book for a specific client on the fly.

Backlit screens are beautiful and in my opinion, it’s where the world is headed to. With a lot of magazines going to a digital format, showing them the iPad is like showing them their magazine with your image in it already — as it will look if they commission you to shoot for them.

PS: Once the novelty of the iPad as portfolio has worn off, do you think it will continue to provide a superior medium for displaying your work?

SC: Yes, I do believe. However, I also believe that if you are reaching for the upper echelon of clients and production dollars, you should always have a printed book to show as well as not everyone is as embracing of technology as would like them to be. As hard as it is to believe, we are still among the early adopters of this technology.

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Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter.

There are 24 comments for this article
  1. Foliobook at 2:13 am

    Great to see that two of these photographers are using our FolioBook iPad portfolio app. This week (Nov 28-Dec 3 2010) we expect to release a new version of the app which is more iPhone like in terms of image browsing, it will include zooming and a thumbnail browsing mode. However, there are some criticisms (explicit and implicit) of our app in the comments that we feel we need to respond to. Our app isn’t a static thing, these accounts suggest that somehow FolioBook is not matching the features of an as-yet unreleased app, but we can assure you we are continuing to add features which will include motion and further customisation options. We will strive to keep FolioBook competitive in features while not compromising the design philosophies that have to date attracted the top level of professional photographers. As with all other app developers we are limited by what can be done with Apple’s operating system. While these limitations seem irritating to photographers who want the iPad to be a completely branded solution, they are there for the forseeable future. Until Apple supports an official ‘Kiosk Mode’ this will continue to be an irritation I’m afraid, unless the developer of an app is prepared to compromise the security of an iPad, or to contravene Apple’s developer policies. We wouldn’t go down that route as we think a little irritation is better than having a hacker compromise the security of a photographer or business. Anyone interested in finding out what features are coming out for Foliobook can sign up for our email newsletter on our website, or can follow us on twitter @foliobook

  2. Foliobook at 4:20 am

    Having considered the lock down issue on the iPad we believe we have found a partial solution to this problem for FolioBook. Please contact us via our support email or via @Foliobook on twitter if you would like to know more. This option will allow the photographers brand to be used as the icon for the app and will allow the disabling of some of the core iPad apps such as Safari (if desired) as well as the disabling of the App Store (ie:user prevented from installing apps), and the prevention of the screenshot capability. A full kiosk mode is not still not possible to lock a user into the app, but this option should be suitable for photographers who want to distribute iPads but render them more branded and less attractive for theft. This option will allow participating photographers to receive early releases of new functionality. This new ‘Premium’ option will carry additional costs.

  3. Susan at 1:26 pm

    Thank you for posting this! Very helpful info. Last June I took an iPad as a portfolio to see some clients and it was a great experience. Although I got the sense it wouldn’t replace a beautifully printed book, it is a great tool for quick, or long, meetings, it’s lightweight, and the images sing, just like 8×10″ chromes once did. (showing my age here…) I organized the portfolios in iPhoto so editors could go as deep as they like. It also allowed for me to put my personal work on there, which a traditional presentation would never allow. I am anxiously waiting for a great app that allows for both still and moving pictures so that I don’t have to use the awkward software that’s available for image viewing.

  4. Matt Baldelli at 7:32 am

    this is too funny, i literally brought my portfolio case to have foam die cut yesterday for the ipad! thanks for the post, anyone interested should check out an app called mediapad pro it works great for presentations. thanks again for the post -matt

  5. selina maitreya at 12:58 pm

    Great article HOWEVER its not about one or the other PRINT OR ipad. So first, lets stop with this attitude of everything or nothing. Photographers lose perspective when they start to see tools as “It’s either web sites or in person visits, direct mail or email ipad or print book.” Excluding any option for another new choice does not serve. Each portfolio format serves different functions .BE SMART Look at your business, your work ,your clients and decide if an ipad should be ADDED into your mix. If you are doing motion and print its a great option. If you are shooting warm evocative connected portraits its may not be. If you use an ipad make sure you do what these talented and SMART photographers have done. They created housing to hold the ipad. They know that their market creates a complete project. An an annual report, a website and ad campaign etc..they expect you to package your work in a manner that suits the feel and look of what you are offering to them. I love my ipad . I think for the right work they are another great presentation option for showing work. However remember,when you send your book in to respond to a request for an assignment your ipad will sit next to beautiful, complete print books. While the work inside is paramount to your success the format you choose to house your imagery within is critical as well. Look for a major announcement from me soon, announcing an international event I am hosting..a world wide Clarion Call that will discuss this topic and many others near and dear to photographers, Selina Maitreya

  6. Konstantin Golovchinsky at 1:56 am

    I went to World Photo Organization’s event in San Francisco last month and took my iPad to show for my portfolio reviews. I had five different people review and everyone took it in stride that I was showing on iPad. Granted most of them were photographers, but in all it didn’t seem to matter to them that it wasn’t print. Since I was presenting, I just used the built in Photos viewer rather than a paid app because frankly I haven’t found an app that I like yet. I carried the iPad in a hand made leather sleeve, and laid it out right on top of the sleeve. In the future, I do plan to make a custom case, which will be entirely DIY / Make Mag.

  7. Foliobook at 2:19 pm

    Although we produce an app, we don’t think that the iPad is ever going to replace what paper does. But not everyone needs and wants that in every situation. For ourselves we still have expensive bound portfolios with prints made on beautiful paper. But an app like ‘Portfolio for iPad’ can also show videos. You can’t do that on paper. Soon I hope our own Foliobook app will also allow motion as well, we think thats essential as the still image is becoming less and less the center of gravity in a world moving away from the printed image. What we do think though is that the iPad really is something new. Its not just a laptop, because of the touch interface it enables a more emotional relationship with the material than you can get with either a laptop or desktop computer. We’re still fighting to get our interface as sexy feeling as some of Apples native apps, but we will get there. We thing that ultimately the iPad portfolio is more like an interactive transparency on a lightbox than a mere computer!

  8. Simon Lunt at 8:41 am

    Hi Think we have a solution for all you photographers. Want your own app on the app store for everyone to download. Want it to look better and perform better than the Guardian Eyewitness App? Well it does. And want it for website money rather than pay 30k for development. Awe can do that – take a sneak peak at We are due to release soon. Have some other secret features we are working on. Cheers Simon

  9. Xtrafolio at 7:09 pm

    Hi everyone, Excellent blog. I do however want to you to pay attention to the portfolio app. Things move fast on the iPad and the apps that are available. Though nice to start of with, you soon want an app that gives you more control in showing your app to your clients. Check out Xtrafolio Professional iPad Photo Portfolio. You can change everything to your liking! So you could use your iPad as a professional portfolio. We also do custom apps! Your app in the appstore to be downloaded by everyone for free, which you can update online when you want! Please give feedback if you want Cheers Jeroen

  10. paulcpcooper at 12:46 pm

    I find the Ipad ideal for presentations, having an editorial/PR business as well as a wedding side also means I have several folios on my ipad which I can custom to relevant clients, even changing the style of the presentation to fit in with the client who may only be interested in food shots for example. I have a traditional leather bound portfolio which is now gathering dust in a cupboard, the clients these days seem quite like the interaction with the ipad, although I do get more gasps from prospective brides from showing them a 16 X 12 wedding album.

  11. Nathan at 10:28 am

    Great post. I love how each photographer is still taking it to the next level to make the already awesome user experience the iPad provides – and making it even more unique.

    Just the sheer amount of native iOS portfolio apps there are to choose from in the app store goes to show how intuitive it is to use the ipad as your portfolio. At stickyalbums we don’t try to compete with all of the bells and whistles these native apps offer. Instead we focus on their single greatest limitation – they are stuck on YOUR iPad.

    Yes a lot of them let you email off a pdf or something like it – but that is not providing the same experience. Because stickyalbums are HTML5 – you can still save them offline to your device – but you can share the exact same portfolio to your prospects and let them save it to THEIR device. Your own custom branded home screen icon – is a perfectly subtle reminder for them to take another look at your work. Even better they can also send the link and share your portfolio to all of their friends and colleagues iPads.

    You only have so much time face to face with your prospects – if you can afford it by all means buy a handful if iPads and send them off for your prospects to review. The bummer is even if you do that – they aren’t going to be caring around your iPad with them as they go out on meetings etc.

    Checkout and let us know what you think.

  12. Dallas photographer at 12:36 pm

    I’m surprised that so many people are having success with their iPad. I’ve found that handing over an iPad to a client ends up being a nightmare. The client always seems to close the app on accident and all i’m doing is reopening it. The whole process starts to feel a bit unprofessional.

  13. Liz B. at 11:39 pm

    I think the iPad is great to hand to clients who you think should see more specific work to their field, but the bound portfolio is still golden. I mostly use the iPad for clients to see their proofs and has a rating system below and notes so I can make sure I order the right products.

  14. Davi Trindade at 6:03 am


    I have an issue and you guys may be able to point me in the righ direction.
    I sync my photos to the ipad and give it to my guests (we do surf trips in sumatra, two weeks length) and they look through it.
    And they only decide if they want the photos at the end of the trip.
    As the ipad is left with them a couple of nights I’m affraid they will connect it to their computer and download the pictures onto their computers. If they do so they don’t have to buy the pictures from me.

    So, how can I password protect my ipad from downloading it’s pictures onto a computer?

    I don’t need a showcase app but if there is one that does have that function and that will not make my life any harder I would be happy to use it.

    Thank you,

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  16. Presentation Box at 3:06 pm

    It is seriously amazing how far we’ve come since this article was released. I remember first reading this years ago and to find it in my bookmarks was really eye opening. I can only imagine where we’ll be in 5 more year! Awesome article!

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