The ProShow Blog

Tips, tutorials & inspiration for making slideshows

Using an iPad as a Photography Portfolio

Today’s post comes from Michael Sweeney, a photographer based out of Orange, California who specializes in artistic portraiture, wedding and lifestyle photography.

Tablets like the iPad are a great way to show off your work

It used to be that a business owner would hand out a card and hope that someone might take enough interest in it to place a call. Now we have smart phones, tablets and all kinds of digital ways to show off more than just a phone number.

For myself, as a creative and as the owner of a visual arts business, my world revolves around visual media and the old style of business cards just do not present my visual services well. When the Apple iPad first came out, I thought it might be a very interesting way to present my art as a digital portfolio but I was not quite sure about the size of the iPad and if I would have it with me enough to make a difference. I was not one of the those that immediately embraced the iPad, in fact, I was very skeptical of it. I have since worked out my somewhat complicated relationship with the iPad and found enough uses to justify my use of it for more than a glorified picture viewer.

I use the current generation of the Apple iPad and I would in all honesty, be lost without it. I use it for a good many things but the one thing that it excels at is the ability to give me a way to really show off my skills as a photographer, re-toucher and storyteller. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words isn’t it?

It’s not just enough to put some snapshots on the iPad and hand it over to the client. Anyone can do that without too much trouble and you need to really wow the client. A well produced slideshow with the correct music will wow people like nothing else. Between the visual imagery and the aural hooks of the music, you can get an emotional response that is almost impossible to get any other way short of a movie.

Right then you have far exceeded what the normal static business card can do for you. Now the client sees images, they see action, they hear music and they FEEL emotions while watching the show. Most importantly, they want it for themselves. And once you have the client wanting something this badly, you have succeeded as a salesman.

The iPad is an awesome weapon in selling yourself and your products to a potential client. It’s also a huge advantage in selling the visual media after the shoot whether it be stills, slideshow or a fusion video. With the iPad, I can show the slideshow on the run, I can hook up the iPad to a 50 inch TV or I can plug it into my Epson projector and show the images at 100 inches wide. And that my friend will impress almost anyone watching. Imagine, a very emotional event like a wedding at 100 inch with the music playing tugging at the heart strings. The last slideshow I did like this of a wedding, the comment was “I felt like I was there”.

To make my slideshows for the iPad, I use Proshow Producer (or you could use ProShow Web on the Mac) to build up the slideshow and then I export it out using the Device plug-in for the iPad. This means I have the correct sizing and resolution for the iPad right away without any fussing afterwards. I then import the show into iTunes and sync it to the iPad. Now I’m loaded up and ready to go show it off to anyone who would like to see it.

Of course, I show it to the clients but also I have also shown shows to complete strangers while on flights, people in line at the movie theater or at a block party when someone brings up my services in visual arts in conversation. The iPad is never too far from me so I can almost always do a show and tell. My iPhone is always with me so at the very least, I’ll show the images and show on the phone. And boy are people impressed. Both from the technology and the images. I’ve had bookings take place right after I run a slide show for someone.

Along with the ability with the iPad to show off my stills and videos, I use the iPad to process credit cards with app called “Square“. I can have a subject sign a model release using another app called “mRelease“. I have an exposure calculator called “Exposure” that I like and I also run my ShootQ studio management software on it. I just got a new app called “Contract Pro” which lets me have some standard contracts at the ready for a client to read and sign right then rather then waiting till I get back to the office and email them out. A perk is that many of these same apps run on my iPhone so even I do not have the iPad with me, I do the phone so I can still show off my work.

None of this even counts the books I read on it, the training videos I watch and all the angry birds my kids have launched. The Apple iPad is an amazing feat of engineering and usability in one compact elegant package.

Michael Sweeney


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Amanda works in Photodex's marketing department and heads up the company's pr and events efforts. She loves photography, living in Austin and making slideshows.