Those of us that have iPads know that they are a fantastic way to show off your favorite photos, wether it’s to a potential client or to grandma over the holidays. The problem is, syncing your photos to your iPad can be a bit of a chore. We’ve gone through loads of different options and ways to do this, which gets especially complicated when managing multiple libraries, but I recently realized that there’s a much better solution to this.
Use Shared Photo Streams instead
Shared Photo Stream is a Mountain Lion + iOS 6 + Aperture 3.4 and above feature, so you’ll need to be fully up-to-date to use this, but if you can run all that this is a great way to go.
Instead of syncing photos through iTunes, simply publish a Shared Photo Stream — even if you don’t add anyone else to it. As soon as you create it it appears on all your iOS devices, and you can add and remove photos from it at will, all automatically synced! You can have as many streams as you like, too, so it’s easy to keep projects separated as needed.
You can even add additional photos to the stream from other devices. Say you have a “best of the kids” Shared Photo Stream, and you capture an amazing shot on your iPhone that deserves to be in the batch. Just share the photo to that already existing stream, and it’s updated everywhere. Say you’re sitting at your desk and are about to dash off to meet a potential client, and realize that you really should add those most recent photos to your iPad before you do. Just add them to an existing stream in Aperture, or to a new one, and run out the door. You don’t even have to wait for it to finish syncing if you have a data plan; that’ll happen over the air on your way to your meeting.
The only limitation I’ve seen is that Places data isn’t shared, even though “include location data in published photos” is enabled in the preferences. I don’t use Faces, but I’d imagine that the same will happen there (if not please let us know in the comments!) It’s also worth noting that Photo Stream limits the size to 2048, but that’s the rez of the iPad 3rd and fourth generation, so unless you really need to pinch into photos at full resolution, I think this is a great option.
One more thing…
Another great advantage of this, and quite possible the best advantage for those of us that travel a lot and leave our main Aperture library behind, is that this makes it easy to change what photos are on your iPad. While you can’t temporarily turn off a single Photo Stream without deleting it entirely (removing it from one device will delete it from all, since you’re the publisher), you do at least have the ability to remove them to free up space as needed. More importantly though, if you’re traveling with a laptop and have a working library on that, you can add photos to your Photo Stream while on the road, getting them onto your iOS devices instantly. This has been a real problem for me in the past; I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to remove ALL photos, completely resetting my Photos sync on my iPad, because I really needed photos from the current project (i.e. client shoot) on my iPad right away — and my iPad was synced to my computer back home.
These days, the only albums on my iOS devices under the Albums tab are ones created by apps (Snapseed, Instagram, and HipstaPrints albums populate my iPhone for example); the rest of my photos I want to have ready to show can be found under Photo Stream.