While Santa didn’t bring me any new camera gear this xmas, I did receive a much needed new iPod and with it comes the wonderful world of the Apple App Store. I’ve only scratched the surface of the seemingly massive amount of photography apps for the iPhone and iPod touch, but I’ve already found my favorite new portable portfolio app: Photo Wallet for Flickr.
Very few will question the impact that the iPhone has had on digital photography in the last year or so, and I’ve made reference here at the blog more than once that it has become the leading camera in the total number of photos on Flickr. But alas, while I’m sans camera and a dedicated data connection (aside from WiFi) with the iPod Touch, I still wanted to leverage these awesome devices for showing my portfolio on the go.
While I initially started looking at just the out-of-the-box photo syncing with iTunes on my Mac, I began to believe there had to be an easier way to organize my favorite shots, and definitely not duplicating all the work I’ve put into my photos on Flickr over the years. Before I cracked open Xcode and my good friend the Flickr API, I took a look around first. Where else but the somewhat newly lauched Flickr App Garden.
Enter Photo Wallet
After a quick search for “iPhone” in the App Garden, there it was, the Flickr Photo Wallet. As soon as I read the initial description, I knew it was the possible end to my quest.
Why carry a few photos in your wallet when you can bring your entire Flickr account with you on your iPhone or iPod touch!
So I took it for a spin, and at only $1.99 you’re not really risking too much. In only a matter of minutes, my short search ended, I now had exactly what I was looking for. It was just that easy.
How it Works
Part of the beauty of Photo Wallet is that it’s simple to use and customize, and once you sync your photos, you’re all set. No need for a data or WiFi connection and your portfolio goes where you go, which is great for iPod owners like me.
The initial setup is quick and easy. Once you click on Settings, you have to authorize one or more Flickr accounts you want to sync. Since it uses the Flickr API like the hundreds of other Flickr Apps out there, the authentication is handled online and you don’t need to enter passwords or anything. And you caught that part about multiple accounts, right? How sweet is that? That’s definitely a plus for me.
Once you setup your accounts, you select which Collections, Photosets, and even individual photos you’d like to sync on your device. That works great because regardless of your personal organizing style on the Flickr website, you can do the exact same on your device, making it even more intuitive. After that, head over to the Sync option and you’re ready to download.
The time needed for your initial sync is going to depend on how many photos you’ve selected. If you have a large number of photos on Flickr you’re planning to carry with you (and you’re an iPhone user), you might choose to switch over to a WiFi connection just to speed things up. Again, if you’re an iPod Touch user, you don’t really have a choice, now do you. 😉
And that’s really it as far as setup. It probably took you longer to read this than it does to register your accounts and select your photos. Now that you’re sync’d, time to get to the fun part… browsing.
Browsing Your Photos
Browsing your photos with Photo Wallet is just as easy it was to setup. Remember how I mentioned that the sync options emulate Collections and Sets like on the Flickr website? Well, this keeps Flickr close to home when browsing photos, too. You’re able to browse your photos in three familiar modes: Stream (aka Photostream), Sets, and Tags.
Again, that’s incredibly useful because no matter how you organize your photos Flickr, you get the same experience on Photo Wallet and you know right away where all your stuff was downloaded to. Very cool.
Viewing Your Photos
Once you find the photo you want, just tap it and you’re viewing the full screen version.
As you’re viewing a photo, it’s just a matter of swiping forward and backward to see others. You also get arrows to move up and down between photos if you prefer, and that Play button there gives you the popular “Ken Burns” slideshow with your photos. It’s a neat little touch to polish off the other great features of the app.
Lastly, your photos in the Photo Wallet app aren’t hands off, either. Simply select one more images while you’re browsing, tap the Send icon and you see options to remove the photos from your wallet (but not Flickr), send the photo page links via Email, or even save them to your Camera Roll where you can use them in other apps or select one as your Wallpaper. Sure, the email option might not be ideal for iPod Touch users outside of a WiFi hotspot, but it’s perfect for iPhone owners.
So, quite a nifty app for just $1.99, isn’t it? For half the price of a latte, you get support for syncing your photos from multiple Flickr accounts, Flickr-like browsing of collections and photosets for sync settings, and Photostream, Sets, and Tags options for browsing your downloaded photos. Once you’ve sync’d your photos, you can browse one-by-one, show off a “Ken Burns” slideshow, or save photos to your Camera Roll, all without a WiFi or data connection. Yup, and all this works on both the iPhone or iPod Touch.
In short, you can have a fully portable pocket portfolio of your best photos, or even all your photos from Flickr in just a matter of minutes with very little setup or no additional time spent organizing. And, if you’re a photographer on Flickr and have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you probably want to show off your work to anyone in an instant. If you haven’t found that perfect portfolio app yet, this might just what you need.
Maybe you’ve tried Photo Wallet: Flickr already and are still using it today? If so, what do you think? If you haven’t tried it yet, give it a whirl and tell me it isn’t the greatest thing since, well Flickr. 🙂
If you’ve tried similar apps on your iPhone or iPod Touch and think they might be better, please mention those, too, and tell me why. I’m still a newcomer to the App Store, so I’d love to hear about other apps out there and what you like or dislike about them. Also, be sure to note whether you have an iPhone or an iPod Touch, as many apps that require the camera on the iPhone won’t work for the iPod Touch.
Looking forward to your thoughts,