iPad Pro Is Now a True Photographer’s Tool

Has the iPad Pro finally become a true photographer’s tool? A year and a half ago, with the release of the first 12.9-inch iPad Pro, it was so close… but there were still some significant limitations.

Now, with the latest iPad Pro models, I think we’re finally there. Improved hardware is part of the story—USB 3 speeds at import, finally, for both sizes—and software is catching up. And the possibilities that will come with iOS 11 in the fall are still more intriguing.

At Macworld, I explain in more detail: The iPad Pro: Now a true photographer’s tool.

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

  1. Missing for ANY pro photographer with new editors like Affinity Photo is IPTC Metadata Editing. You can have a shit image, and it will stay shit if it doesn’t have attached proper full IPTC field caption editing. The new IPad Pro is STILL not a photographers tool without the apps to allow real captions. Sorry, the F_ _ _ k with presets, screen quality, Filters, etc. Gimme an app that offers IPTC editing or you can keep your iPad.


    1. I agree. Unfortunately, the apps that did specialize in tagging didn’t succeed. And so far none of the big apps are implementing it. Yet.


    2. Wholeheartedly agree. Can’t name an image in Photos app. Can’t tag. Can’t effectively triage to hero with star rating. Can’t add keywords. No sub-folders in albums. Working with photos on the iPad Pro is a joke. It’s a consumer non-pro device at a pro price-point.


  2. Hey Jeff,

    do you really think the “iPad Pro Is Now a True Photographer’s Tool”? If so what is your solution to do this just using an iPad…?

    I like to copy the content of my CF card to an external HDD and then I like to access my photo files that are stored on the external HDD from the iPad. I don’t want to copy all images to the iPad only the ones I need there.

    Any idea?

    Cheers and thanks!
    Greetings from Germany


    1. That’s a great question, Joerg. I have a WD My Passport battery-powered HDD with an SD card slot I use to make backups, which can then be accessed via Wi-Fi (it has a built-in Wi-Fi radio) from the iPad. But that doesn’t help you with CF cards. That’s the sticking point there. There was a Kickstarter for a product called Flash Porter that is a backup drive with lots of connectors, but I see a lot of, “When are the units going to ship?” comments, so maybe it’s mostly vapor. Digital Foci makes some devices, but they’re really expensive. So… I’m not sure. I’d have to look around some more to see if there are HDDs with just a simple USB 3-in port to offload photos in addition to, or instead of, an SD card slot.


      1. 🙂 Well currently I use a HyperDrive ColorSpace UDMA 3 the predecessor of the current UDMA 2. So getting my photos to the HDD is not a real problem. And I have an add-on that brings WIFI to the UDMA (the V3 has this build in).

        Now the more important question is, can I access the WIFI HDD over the iPad Pro like I would use an external HDD over my MacBook?

  3. Sorry I mixed the numbers 🙂 I have a UDMA 2 which is the predecessor of the 3 of course!


  4. I’ll be curious to know if you can browse the UDMA via Wi-Fi. You probably need an app that communicates with it.


    1. Hey Jeff, yes there is an app with that you can browse the images. How do you access your WD MyPassport?


      1. Similar: There’s a WD app.

      2. I can also use the browser, however if you can’t access from any app on iOS to a wireless HDD the iPad is to me not a replacement for a laptop.

      3. BTW the app is called iUSBport

  5. Im about to get the iPad pro and use it mostly to tether to lightroom. My question is, does it matter what size gb the iPad is to run this app best?
    whats the best way to go about working with the large files…?


    1. Hi Kristy,

      As with most photography, the larger capacity the better. If you can afford the 512 GB model, go for that; although the 256 GB model will also work.

      Photos imported to the iPad go into the Camera Roll (the Photos app) by default, and then Lightroom mobile imports those, so you end up with two copies.

      When you say “tether” to Lightroom, what do you mean exactly? The iPad doesn’t work like a laptop in that you can string a cable between the camera and computer and shoot directly to store into Lightroom. You’d have to use something like the CamRanger to do wireless tethering, and then import separately into Lightroom mobile. And keep in mind that Lightroom mobile on iOS is not the same as Lightroom on the desktop. It has a lot of the same editing features, but not everything.


      1. Thanks for your reply! Yes after more and more research I’ve seen you cannot direct tether to iPad. I have an iMac at home but trying to work out a workflow that allows me to tether on a location shoot without buying a laptop as i don’t need two desktops. Any suggestions? Sp basically the iPad is really just a preview screen when working off a lightroom desktop program.

  6. Hi,
    I am also looking at an iPad/iCloud workflow where importing images from a CFast card into the new 10.5inch iPad pro looks doable, using the Apple Lightning to USB3 Camera Adapter, which can also be attached to a power supply overcoming previous restrictions on SD only card import, has anyone tried this setup?

    For me the ‘trigger App’ in moving to an iPad/iCloud workflow will need to support viewing/culling/meta data handling in a similar fashion to Photo Mechanic on the desktop, lets hope someone is going to surprise around the time of IOS11 launch.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: