I bought Photogene for iPad a while back. Maybe as a gadget or curiosity as all iPad owners do with lots of apps. I probably bought it on sale too knowing me and how cheap I can be ;).
Last week, I used it for the first time in a real life workflow. And I liked it. A lot.
I needed to take pics of colleagues at work. Stock pictures to be used in various office documents. Everybody was dressed to their nines and I had selected a nice backdrop with our company’s logo and corporate colors. Nothing very artistic, but simple and fun stuff to do.
I shoot RAW. This is not an issue with my iPad or iMac. It is however with my Windows PC at work.
This was a job for my iPad and Photogene v2.1, the latest version.
My first pleasant surprise was that I did not have have to “import” the album from the iPad Photo app into Photogene. PG had direct access to all albums and events. Unless I am mistaking, and I could be, earlier versions of PG required that I tell it to make a copy (an import essentially) of an album before I could start working on any pics.
I also liked the flexibility and ease of use of the adjustments: color temperature, saturation levels, shadows lightening, etc. Basic stuff, yet very handy for a quick post processing job on the go. All edits are non destructive, which puts PG in the “serious zone”.
Photogene also offers a large set of export options. Some of my faves are: Flickr, Dropbox, Facebook, FTP, and email. All exports are JPGs which is exactly what I needed considering the RAW limitations of Windows.
There are however a few things that I don’t like about Photogene.
First, it is tacky. OK, I will admit it: I am a snob of user interfaces. I like a clean UI. PG has a few buttons that are just “overdone”. Not the standard iPad UI.
Speaking of buttons, another thing that bothered me is when you are in “select mode” you will see two “cancel” buttons on screen. One is active, the other grayed out (inactive). Not working for me. Show me only one cancel button.
I would also suggest to the editor of PG to get rid of the non photo editing gadgets like photo framing and text callouts. Make a different software for that. Make more money maybe that way.
But I do like the photo editing tools.
So, is Photogene an Aperture for iPad?
No. Not quite.
It is missing four key elements that I outlined in a previous post. They are:
1) First and foremost, it does not sync with Aperture. To be fair, Photogene does not pretend to do so. I wish however that pics imported from the camera connection kit (CCK) in the iPad Photo app would sync with AP, through PG.
2) It does not allow rating (1 to 5 stars) of your pics. Simple stuff. But futile if, again, it does not sync these ratings back to Aperture.
3) Keyword tagging. A mobile version of Aperture should sync your keyword hierarchy and allow you to tag keywords to your pics.
4) GPS tagging. The iPad has a built-in GPS. It would be a natural workflow thing to add the current GPS coordinates to a project once you import in. As an option of course. But most of the time, I am close to the shooting location when I import my pics back into the iPad.
In conclusion, Photogene might not be the mobile version of Aperture that I dream about, it nevertheless is a great app that delivers what it promises and that should be praised for its RAW support, extensive export options and non destructive editing.