iPad and ShutterSnitch — Like a Toilet in a Train

iPad and ShutterSnitch — Like a Toilet in a Train

IPad with Shutters­nitch on, Canon EOS 1Dmrk4 with WFT and a portable router. Static IPs of the devices (8) listed on the cover of the router for easy troubleshooting.

I’ve been planning — and promising — to write about the iPad for quite a long time now. But something has always gotten on the way. But — here we go.

This essay discusses an application called the ShutterS­nitch and how it is integrated it into my daily workflow. Then — hopefully in my next post — I try to offer a bit more in-depth look into the iPad as the possible savior of our daily print — a thought the majority of the publishers seem to cling on — and I perso­nally have hard time to swallow given the present situation. But, that’s next time…

Been playing with the toy (iPad 64gb w WiFI+3G) now for a week. No, I am not that impressed — but: that is only because I am totally used to Apple always delivering really what they promise. It is smooth, it is slick, it’s totally intuitive. I gave it to my six-year-old daughter, and within seconds she was browsing thru my images — with no guidance from me.

I got it for several reasons, all of them related to studying, photo­graphy and all things visual.

Most impor­tantly, I needed a real platform to test the stuff I do in multi­media. No simula­tions anymore, but the real thing. If I write something, develop an approach or a workflow, I want to see how it performs in the iDevices (iPhone I have been using for a long time already). Because: the future is in these devices, that is obvious.

As a photo­grapher, the second reason was simply one single application: the ShutterS­nitch. I’ve tested it twice now in real life situation — i.e. somewhere else than my study — and as the saying goes in Finnish — it works “like the toilet in the train” (our perverse way of saying it is smooth, reliable, robust and very easy to use — I guess from the times when the toilet was still just a straight tube through the floor…).

Basically what it does, is that within a LAN you either have or create you can transmit images from the camera to the iPad with extreme ease, i.e totally automa­tically or with a single push of a button. Fast as well, as the delay is only 2–3 seconds. Once you have it confi­gured, you really do not have to touch the settings anymore.

Yes, there are tons of apps related to photo­graphy and video­graphy for the iPhone/iPad — some of them really rock — but let me just briefly discuss this one, as I really see it making a diffe­rence in some situa­tions — and I’d say it justifies this toy by itself to me personally.

ShutterS­nitch by 2nd Nature

My ShutterS­nitch Workflow

The initial set up takes a while — especially if you are not used to setting up networks. Rob Galbraith has an excellent and very extensive article on this (a big “Thank You” to Rob) and I will not repeat it here. In case you are interested, it is absolutely worth reading (but it is loo-ong…).

Let me just pinpoint couple of the most essential features which I learned setting up my system. One: you have to use static addresses in your LAN. In that way, every piece of equipment you use has a unique name which you know — and which remains the same even after you power your gear off and on again.

Second: you need a router to establish a infra­structure network. Yes, you can do ad hoc as well, but it is a tedious and time consuming effort and definitely not a very robust set up. In addition, I cannot really conceive how one could use several cameras in an ad hoc confi­gu­ration — and to have it go smoothly.

The Gear Set-Up and a Typical Shoot

I typically shoot with Canon EOS 1D mrk4 or Canon EOS 5D mrk2 equipped with a WFT-trans­mitters, set to record both RAW and s/m jpeg. I set the trans­mitter to FTP-mode, button trans­mission. I have a MiFi 2352 router in my pocket, precon­fi­gured with a static IP, so it is basically a one button operation.

I switch on the iPad, open the ShutterS­nitch app, open a collection (or create one); flip the router on — and we are all set. The whole setting up process including the cam, iPad and the router takes c. 10–15 seconds — because all are preconfigured.

Now, when I shoot something, the moment I want to show it to the client, subject or the AD — or I want to check the image myself — all I need to do is to push the button in the camera and within 2–3 seconds (about) it is displayed on the iPad 1024x762 screen. With essential EXIF-data and histogram, zoom and pinch possible. No hassle, just one button. You can analyze and discuss lighting, your set up… that is, if you want to, some people (myself included…) do not easily like to have other people telling how they should or should not do their thing…

Curiously enough, during my brief testing period I found out that lots of people who are not used to being photo­graphed actually relax, when you show them what you can do with profes­sional lighting, how good you can make them look, even when they themselves thought that “I am always so bad in pictures…” etc.

Naturally, what you display is a jpeg — directly from the camera. Presently, Canon offers no way of cropping or enhancing your pictures in the camera as a post production process. But there is a shortcut — when it comes to tones, contrast, and other exposure settings: you can use the proprietary software which came bundled with your camera and create custom profiles — and then call up these profiles when needed. In that case your image trans­ferred will have the qualities/tones/properties you set up beforehand in the profiles — and you still have your RAW-image on the card on which to do your edit when you are done with the shoot.

Slick — really slick. Naturally, you can take it further from there, transmit the pictures further to the web or to your client for approval; share them in the social networks etc. — but that is basically the same stuff you could do — and would rather do — with a laptop, so I won’t get into it here.

In addition, the iPad can be used to see the images in a remote camera — or used to control that same remote — or several of them. You could even set a secondary trans­mitter (an EYE-FI card) into the SD-slot of the 1Dmrk4 — seems scary, I know, two trans­mitters in the same camera — and you’d have one channel for trans­mitting the pictures and another one for controlling the camera. Haven’t tested it myself — I doubt I will either — but Rob seemed pretty assured that it consti­tutes a robust system as well.

I won’t get more into remote set-ups here, as that would merit an article of its own. See Rob’s article for details, if you are interested.

But, as a photo­grapher doing what I do: definitely my thumbs up for the iPad. Absolutely worth it.

6 Replies to “iPad and ShutterSnitch — Like a Toilet in a Train”

    1. A quick answer: why would you then need ShutterS­nitch (as you can send directly (FTP) from the camera)? Sure, if you do “inter­vention” i.e. touch the image with some software (app) while in the iPad, then sure you could do that. Then you can basically do anything you could with a laptop. I’ve tried sending directly to FB and that’s totally straight forward. ShutterS­nitch allows you to upload to any FTP (or email) you specify, so basically anything is possible.

      My sort of goal all the time (as I am a one-man-band…) is to get the workflow smooth with minimal touches and inter­ven­tions in the path — be it laptop, iPhone, iPad or what ever…

      But, gotta go (thus a quick answer), I hope this was useful. More to come about the iPad in my next post.


  1. A question from Stateside (aka “The Telecom 3rd world”).
    When you set up your Mi-Fi network, does it go through your cellular network? What are the bandwidth costs involved? Anything I look up here costs around 60 USD for 5GB of traffic (which a photo­grapher can blow through in 10 minutes).

    1. Hi -

      no, as long as I go thru the router from device to device (ie. cameras, iPad, iPhone, laptop, iTouch, etc… it costs you nada… apart from the equipment naturally. The moment you send it to the world — i.e. upload to client, some photo­service, social media etc. — then it starts costing. I presently have like three (well, three and a half…) cellular connec­tions, all with HSPA. I think my router has a card which costs me c. 20€ a month and it is limitless: as many GBs I can send away and with the maximum speed always available. And that is my main pathway out if I cannot access an ethernet wire or wlan-connection (as in home, press center somewhere, comme­rical hotspot etc.)

      Main benefit there actually using something else than HSPA is not the price but the speed: nowadays we are talking optic fibers etc. by default in most cases, so bits just fly…

      My iPhone and iPad both have sim-cards which allow I guess up to half a gig with maximun speed available — after that they do not cost more to transmit data, its just that the speed drops. I pay less than 10€ each per month for those. Half a GB sounds nothing but remember: 95% of the time when I am trans­mitting data, I am either in Wlan or using the MiFI router.

      Yes, I know: when it comes to telcom services, you are still living in the stoneage (no pun intended…) over there. Like, I m not sure if you knew, but most of downtown Helsinki is WLAN covered — as is most of our public trans­por­tation (like e.g. trains)

      I hope this was of some help.


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