Looking for a Good Photo-Viewing iPad App
NOTE: Images with an icon next to them have been artificially shrunk to better fit your screen; click the icon to restore them, in place, to their regular size.

I'm looking for recommendations for a photo-viewing app for my iPad; Apple's “Photos” app has too many bugs and limitations for my needs. What I want seems simple — an elegant way with which to impose my photos onto someone hapless to come within an eyeball's reach of me — but I haven't found it yet.

Features that I hope for:

  1. Clean, simple, uncluttered interface.

  2. Photo update via FTP, Dropbox, or some other method where management is done on my computer and merely reflected to the device.

  3. Supports display of basic metadata on each photo, when asked.

  4. Supports display of a map for geoencoded photos.

  5. Supports large images.

  6. An arbitrarily-deep folder structure.

  7. Image sorting: at least via photo date and image filename.

Things that I don't care about:

  1. Any kind of photo management on the device (rating, flagging, moving, grouping, renaming, rotating, labeling, ...)

  2. Any kind of photo development on the device (cropping, filters, touch-ups, etc.)

  3. Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, or anything else like that.

  4. Passwords, slideshows, music integration, etc.

The best I've found so far is Photo Manager Pro by Linkus, after Scott Bourne recommended it. It's a great bargain for a couple of bucks, and it does many things I like. To boot, the developer is responsive, and the current version of the app contains some features and fixes that I requested. I like it so much that I built an FTP client into my new Collection Publisher plugin for Lightroom, so that I can instantly reflect changes in my portfolio to the app.

But alas, Photo Manager Pro's interface is anything but “clean and uncluttered” and I doubt one request from me would result in a monumental shift in aesthetics, so I'm looking for other options.


The 30 most-recent comments (out of 44; see all), most recent last...

Thanks Jeffrey. The problem is on that working computer, there is no lightroom… and actually it is a windows 7 X64 system…

But your advice is very intriguing. Thanks!

– Leon

— comment by Leon on March 9th, 2012 at 10:18am JST (5 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

At the risk of a lame suggestion – the iPhoto app released with/for the new iPad SEEMS like it might do what you want. While NOT a fan of iPhoto, on the iPad and with the alleged ties to iOS it could be useful. My pre-purchased iPad is currently winging it’s way from China – will post comments after I give it a go. BTW – LR is my go-to photo app on Win 7.

From Lindenwold, NJ (near Phila, PA)

=Alan R.

— comment by Alan Reinhart on March 10th, 2012 at 8:25pm JST (5 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

This article on FStoppers and the previous one they ran on the iPad might be of interest.

— comment by Olivier Pernet on March 16th, 2012 at 8:30am JST (5 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

By far and away I like WebAlbums, developed by a few former Google employees; however it has to wok with Picasa web albums. I just use your plugin to export from Lightroom to Picasa Web Albums and it does the rest! Been using it for over a year now and truly believe it is the iOS photo catalog app to beat!

— comment by Barrett on March 26th, 2012 at 10:06am JST (5 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

I have just purchased an iPad, and I have been looking at apps for Photographers. I am based in Hampshire uk. I have seen an app called Foliobook that looks interesting. I am wondering if you have considered it and how it compares with Photomaneger Pro.

— comment by John Livy on April 11th, 2012 at 9:58pm JST (5 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

How about Large Viewer, prime designed for corporate large pdf’s but also mentions super-res image files:
http://itunes.apple.com/app/large-viewer/id400600005?mt=8
A Mac app, prerenders on host Mac and thence to Dropbox et al….
I’m not ready yet to test it, and performance/memory usage tradeoffs will be important I guess but you are probably well placed to appraise the pros & cons…

— comment by cwinte on May 21st, 2012 at 1:28am JST (5 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Hmmm. they also do a Photos app to handle megapixel image viewing but the workflow is unclear (to me!)

— comment by cwinte on May 21st, 2012 at 1:39am JST (5 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Just noticed the followup option box, which is a good thing so I’ll use it now!
London UK

— comment by cwinte on May 21st, 2012 at 6:06pm JST (5 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I can suggest Remiew, app which I use after a long search.

App full name is Remote Photo Viewer; it is basically exposes all images stored on my PC and I can view them on iPad over the air, without copying them to iPad or uploading to dropbox etc.

Funny thing that actually app itself is installed on PC only, it is a kind of light photo server. And on iPad I use Safari to acces images.

— comment by Jerry K on October 20th, 2012 at 7:13am JST (5 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Amazing that after over half a year there still is not an app available with the wanted features..
I am also looking for an app of this kind. I have a whole lot of high-resolution-photo’s that I want to have available for offline viewing on my iPad. That doest not mean: first uploading to any sort of cloud and downloading to iPad after that. I want to copy them directly to the iPad.

— comment by Jeff on October 27th, 2012 at 6:15am JST (5 years ago) comment permalink

Was reading random articles on Flipboard today and found this new app that reminded me of this post. Not sure if you are still looking for a solution, but thought this sounded similar to what you had wanted.
http://smokingdesigners.com/showoff-design-finally-great-portfolio-app-ipad/

— comment by GT on November 2nd, 2012 at 1:21am JST (5 years ago) comment permalink

I have also been bemoaning the lack of uncluttered Photo browsers. So I wrote one 😉 It’s called Focus Point, and it has resizable thumbnails, display of titles and captions, a 3-panel metadata browser, search, plus several other features. Launches Friday Nov 9th, 2012.

If it is of interest have a look: Focus Point. I am also looking for passionate contibutors in helping define the evolution of the app moving forward. Drop me a line.

It looks nice (as does your web page), but having seen what iTunes does to photos, I’m not sure I want to put my photos through it. Also, the sort is very important… some albums must be presented chronologically, but for most I want all photos with the same aspect ratio to be together so that the viewer isn’t having to flip the iPad with each new picture, and within any one aspect ratio, images are random. I didn’t see anything on your site about image order…. —Jeffrey

— comment by Ash Mishra on November 4th, 2012 at 2:11pm JST (5 years ago) comment permalink

Thanks Jeffrey. We’ll be adding sort features in the next few weeks. I like the idea about the aspect ratio.

Best,
Ash

Good to hear. If you don’t mind, please ping me when you do, either here or via email. —Jeffrey

— comment by Ash Mishra on November 9th, 2012 at 5:39am JST (5 years ago) comment permalink

Discovered Focus Point through this post, also looking forward to any improvements in sync and sorting/management of files bypassing iTunes!

Minimal Folio is also very cool and beautiful presentation, although manual organisation means it’s more suitable for very selective sharing rather than batch exports.

Lastly, thanks for your great collection of plugins Jeffery! Awesome LR resource!

— comment by Pavel on November 11th, 2012 at 5:16pm JST (5 years ago) comment permalink

Is this thread up to date? I have a Retina iPad (Gen 4), and have a SmugMug account. I am also using LR4 on a Mac. I had bought Xtrafolio in the iStore and also installed SmugView and SmugMug apps.

Currently reviewing options. Also have DropBox.

What I sued to do, however is to have LR publish to disk, and set iTunes to sync photos from this disk folder to the iPad.

I am interested in “today” recommendations.

Cheers,
Paul

— comment by Paul Szilard on January 21st, 2013 at 10:07am JST (4 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, and everyone else!

It’s been a little while since I posted here about Focus Point. I’m happy to announce that Focus Point 1.3 is out, and has sophisticated sorting features, including one by Aspect ratio (which handles orientation).

You can check out the update here
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/focus-point-photo-albums-manager/id571326153?mt=8

or at our website
http://focuspointapp.com

I’m committed to making this app the tool hobbyist photographers want to use, so feel free to drop me a line should there be any feature requests.

— comment by Ash Mishra on March 16th, 2013 at 10:32am JST (4 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

I have checked the new features. Sorting files can now be done using multiple field-names like filenames, title, date, camera-settings, even lenses used. Captions can now be chosen to include filenames, titles, dates, again camera-settings, etc. Love it!

Great update!
This app beats Apple’s Photobrowser with ease

— comment by Jeff on April 11th, 2013 at 5:08am JST (4 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, It’s been a while since this post – I’ve been using Photo manager pro, and it doesn’t seem to have been updated or touched, apart from compatibility updates.

Are you still using and happy with it? Or have you found anything else worth using…

I’ve not found anything better, so am still using it. —Jeffrey

— comment by Nick on September 19th, 2013 at 6:53am JST (4 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

In the german iTunes there is a (user) warning saying that by using the Photo manager pro app one grants all copyrights and model releases and so on to the developer of the app. Do you know if this information is true?

It sounds so preposterous that I wouldn’t bother even checking, but to answer your question, I have no particular knowledge one way or the other. Why not ask the developer directly? —Jeffrey

— comment by Achim on October 14th, 2013 at 7:19pm JST (4 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Here is the answer of the developer: “It’s not true. Photo Manager Pro will not take over copyrights from you. You own all rights of your images. Your images won’t be sent to our server or anyone else.”
I have no idea where this german iTunes user has his “knowledge” from, but I will download and try this app and write some words about it to correct his review.

Thank you for sharing your experience – I was never happy with the Apple ‘Photos’ app, but now, with iOS 7, it’s become so faulty and impractical that it is nearly useless. — Achim

— comment by Achim on October 16th, 2013 at 5:57pm JST (4 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

I am puzzled why people think that the iOS 7 Photos is so bad. I don’t use it much, so I would genuinely like some mini review of it. I favour SmugView, as I am a SmugMug user, but also have Xtrafolio, MyPics, Focus Point, Gallery LR and Over – but hadn’t had the time to explore them much. I list them here more out of interest than recommendation.

Anyway, this is an interesting thread and I am looking forward to more discussion from the readers…

— comment by Paul Szilard on October 17th, 2013 at 6:14am JST (4 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

I don’t feel as much “expert” as to write a review of the ‘Photos’ app. What I liked of it – before iOS7 – is that it was able to simply reflect on the iPhone the folder structure I got on my computer. I knew where I had to look when I wanted to show a particular picture. This has been replaced by some collection based on date (useless for me, because the date is the date I made the jpeg file instead of the date I took the picture). I don’t see any way to search for a picture, no way to organize pictures, no colour mgt, the app decides that the pic has to fill up the frame completely, so it crops top and bottom parts of it. It never cared about EXIF data or filenames, it just serves a bunch of pics to you, no matter what you are looking for in your portfolio. That’s mainly why I don’t use it anymore.

— comment by Achim on October 18th, 2013 at 12:30am JST (4 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey

So which one do you use at the moment? Photomanager Pro or Focus Point?

I still use Photo Manager Pro. —Jeffrey

— comment by Philip on November 14th, 2013 at 11:18pm JST (4 years ago) comment permalink

Thanks to Jeffrey I installed Photomanager Pro on my iPhone and I am very happy with it: It just does all what the Apple App doesn’t do and it has even some features I didn’t expect. Very nice and extremely useful.

— comment by Achim on November 15th, 2013 at 10:40pm JST (4 years ago) comment permalink

Thanks Jeffrey. I just bought Photo Manager Pro on your recommendations, and it looks to be a great product. Now with 128GB iPads available, it makes good sense to carry a large number of portfolio images around and the ability to better manage, and to have password protected sections, is most welcome.

Cheers,

— comment by Paul Szilard on November 16th, 2013 at 7:32am JST (4 years ago) comment permalink

Hi,

A little off topic but thought you might know.
I want to use my iPad to view RAW files that I shoot on my trips. I dont need to edit or anything but view and delete if possible. I want to do this without importing the pics into my iPad. I am able to view the listing from the SD card or my external harddisk via Wifi using the RAVpower filehub. I have tried PhotoRAW lite and LR, both are not able to see the external HDD or open the file unless physically imported on the iPad.
I am so surprised that there isnt any app that lets you do that when this is a very logical need for a photographer.
BTW very easily done on my android phone but I was hoping that I could use the bigger screen of the iPad as I am lugging it around anyway

Cheers,
Rajneesh

With my limited knowledge of iOS, I don’t think you’ll find anything to do what you want unless someone who makes hardware also makes an app to view/delete photos on that hardware. I sure wish the iPad had an memory-card slot. —Jeffrey

— comment by Rajneesh on December 17th, 2014 at 8:06pm JST (2 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

I’ve actually started using Unbound (http://unboundapp.com/) lately – after wanting to show some photos I knew I had on dropbox (where I kept the photomanager sync base anyway) but not having photomanger on my iPad, synced up at the time.

It just reads off of dropbox, but I can narrow it to a specific section and tell it to keep albums offline. It’s replaced photomanager for me because of sheer laziness – I literally just export them in lightroom, and then they appear via dropbox, without having to manually sync anything.

— comment by Nick on December 19th, 2014 at 8:04am JST (2 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

I’ll be surprised if there is such a critter because each flavor of raw has different things and/or different orders of data. Also, there are several techniques to render what’s essentially three channels of gray-scale data into color. I think you’ll have to be content with seeing the jpg version that’s embedded in a raw file. I suspect that’s what the Android program does. Any jpg is a synthetic downsampling of 12 or 14-bit channels into a three channel 8-bit image, aka a jpg. No, I don’t know if such an app exists because I’m satisfied seeing the histogram, which is of the jpg, BTW.

— comment by Craig Lewis on December 19th, 2014 at 8:12am JST (2 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Hello Jeffrey and thank you for the great amount of resources and information you make available, it’s very helpful.
As far as a photo viewing app is concerned, there is one that is quite good, but involves possessing a specific hardware: DSPhoto+ , which is Synology’s app for viewing pictures stored on their NAS.
I think it provides most of what you require… If you get a chance to have a look it might be interesting to you.
For the time me main drawback is that I can’t find a real “offline” mode. It seems you can only allow a certain buffer size so it keeps recent picture available offline… As they keep developping it, I wish they will improve that part.
https://www.synology.com/en-global/dsm/5.1/software_spec#DSphoto
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ds-photo+/id321493106?mt=8
The rating is low, but the app works much better than what’s said.

I actually have a Synology unit, but I want offline (and only offline) viewing, so that’s a dealbreaker. —Jeffrey

— comment by Michel on January 22nd, 2015 at 11:59pm JST (2 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Just started looking at your workflow as I am a new Lr user with plenty of time spent in iPhoto. Currently migrating from iPhoto desktop / Photos iPad to Lr / Photos but interested in Photo Manager Pro. I see there is a legacy version and a version 5. Any guidance on one vs the other? Thanks

No insight, sorry. I fell away from using my iPad this way, so I haven’t kept up on things. —Jeffrey

— comment by Rod on September 18th, 2016 at 4:03am JST (1 year, 2 months ago) comment permalink
Leave a comment...


All comments are invisible to others until Jeffrey approves them.

Please mention what part of the world you're writing from, if you don't mind. It's always interesting to see where people are visiting from.


You can use basic HTML; be sure to close tags properly.

Subscribe without commenting