It’s no secret that people love taking pictures with their iPad, but it has always been a somewhat out of the ordinary behavior publicly considering the sheer size of the tablet in general.

It’s also true that Apple has made great improvements to the camera system on the iPad, and its large, vibrant display makes for one heck of a view finder when capturing an image.

Based on anecdotal evidence, various scenes from Apple’s iPad event yesterday, and data collected by photos shared on Flickr, I think it’s finally time we accept iPad photography into our lives with open arms. Responsibly, of course.

It’s been said that the best camera is the one that’s with you (there’s even a book on iPhone photography with the same name), meaning even if you own an expensive DSLR but it’s not with you, your iPhone or iPad is an exponentially better camera to capture a moment with because you’re already carrying it.

That’s the most important point in understanding the need for iPad photography: convenience. If you’re already using your iPad to follow a route in Maps and you see a beautiful scene along your way, why not use your iPad to take that photo?

It’s the device from which you’ll most likely want to view, edit, and share the photo, and you understand precisely what your photo will look like before ever capturing the image.

During Apple’s iPad event yesterday, it played a very a pleasant video celebrating all the ways people use the iPad in the real world, and no fewer than six instances included people capturing photo or video via an iPad (not including FaceTime or augmented reality apps).

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Yesterday’s event also revealed the future of iPad design with the iPad Air, which is 20% thinner and nearly half a pound lighter than its predecessor, taking on the design of the lighter, smaller iPad mini. The 9.7″ full-sized iPad now looks dramatically smaller in hand, much like the iPad mini does, which I believe severely reduces the awkwardness of using the iPad for photography.

I would even argue that it looks almost normal (seeing those images of folks taking photos and videos using the iPad gave me the impulse to walk around outside and see what I could photograph)!

It’s not just a notion either. Flickr provides excellent data supporting the popularity of iPad photography, especially with the iPad mini, and I strongly believe the iPad Air will help continue to push that movement forward.

Over a million photos shared via Flickr were taken with the iPad mini since it’s debut last fall, the site reports, and it’s no challenge to find fantastic photos captured by the device when browsing the site.

Possibly most importantly is the anecdotal data. I gifted my mom an iPad mini earlier this year and it quickly became her go-to camera. Tap-to-focus, built-in editing and sharing, and always having it with you makes for a seriously handy camera.

iPad Air only adds to the convenience with its thinner, lighter form factor and smaller bezel.

Still, instances remain where the size of an iPad deems it inappropriate for photography. Concerts and public events where you can potentially obstruct someone else’s view require consideration, of course, and might mean the traditional camera is more appropriate. Still, capturing a moment can be crucial.

Simply put, make good decisions, but I believe it’s time we embrace iPad photography. Besides, with state-of-the-art software like Camera Plus and the brand new iPhoto for iOS 7, your iPad is practically begging you to start shooting with it!

Let me know in the comments if you agree or think I’m severely out of touch on embracing iPad photography.

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28 Responses to “Is iPad photography finally gaining social acceptance?”

  1. I have been to multiple events where you can’t get a decent picture because people up front are holding up their iPads for photos or videos. I have an iPad and just wouldn’t even think of using it to take photos. An iPad mini, perhaps, but not the full sized model.


    • i have several friends who are wedding photographers, and it never fails to have someone in an isle seat pull out their ipad to take pictures of the bride and or bridesmaid. I think if I were to have an event like this, I would ask people to leave their ipads at home.


    • Zac Hall says:

      Hmm do you think iPad Air will be more acceptable than iPad 4 was?


      • Barely, the screen size is still the same, so it’ll still block a large portion of the view.

        That said, every wedding I’ve attended had a “no photography” rule during the ceremony, so that they could get good shots from their official photographers.


  2. RP says:

    Naw, there was never anything wrong with it, it was just another thing regurgitated by the gadget blogs echo chamber. Same with when they universally panned larger phones. Sme with how they all swoon over the “pure Android experience” even as consumers have rightly chosen the Samsung Applesque skin over any other “Android experience” I can go on and on, but just sat that the most avid readers of gadget blogs, and ones that hold them as gospel, are the writers of other gadget blogs.


    • degraevesofie says:

      Naw, there was never anything wrong with it, it was just another thing regurgitated by the gadget blogs echo chamber.



  3. No, it’s not acceptable!


  4. PMZanetti says:

    There are lots of uses for the camera. Basic Photography in public not being one of then.


  5. It makes me cringe every time I see someone holding their iPad to take a picture.


  6. It is a crime to pay $499+ on a new iPad (that has a 5 megapixel iSight camera built in), and feel ashamed to be seen taking pictures with it in public. $499+ of shame on people who care what others think. Get a life!


  7. There are many thing ‘acceptable’ in society that should not be, this is by far, the least of them.


  8. The original purpose of the camera on an iPad was for referencing things you were working on. The camera on the smaller and more acceptable iPhone was always better. Now there’s little to no line between the two, the sad fact is that people CAN take pictures with their giant pad. The same thoughtless photography (concerts, live events) that take limited, crappy pictures can now be done with a device that obscures lots of people’s views, rather than just one. Regardless of intent, it WILL be used like that by thoughtless idiots who autodocument their lives. Hooray for progress.


  9. I was unfortunate enough to be seated behind someone at Sea World who was photographing the dolphin show not just with her full-sized iPad, but with the cover trailing down below it, effectively doubling it’s size. She apparently spoke no English, and I didn’t want to be the “rude American” by tapping her shoulder and trying to communicate in sign language, but exercise a little common courtesy if you’re going to use these things as a camera!


  10. No. It should never be socially acceptable to take photos with an iPad.

    My one exception might be a business use case where you use a business iPad and need to take photos as a business need (maybe home appraiser or something like that).


  11. Why don’t they bring an iMac to take photos?


  12. shahilj says:

    No. Do not try to make this a thing. If you can afford an iPad you can afford a camera. Use the camera. Don’t be an idiot. It’s that simple.


  13. Alan Beebe says:

    I’ve always rolled my eyes at people taking pictures with iPads until my wife started taking photos with hers and I realized that being able to instantly look at the picture you just took in full size retina quality is quite amazing. Being able to see all the detail before you take a picture really does lead to some beautiful shots. Just look at flickr! Now I look at people taking photos with their iPad and i think its awesome.


  14. I agree with Zac. As long as you’re responsible and you use common sense, it’s definitely acceptable to use an iPad for photography — especially if it’s the only device you have with you at the time. I mean, is it really worth missing a good shot simply because others won’t agree? Of course not. Do what YOU enjoy. I’m tired of everyone judging others. We all use technology in different ways.


  15. I don’t care what anyone says. If all I have is my iPad at that moment, I will use it to take a picture.


  16. Nothing wrong with it. However I think if you have a better camera in your pocket (iPhone 5), then you should be taking pictures with that instead.


  17. As a long time large format film photographer, I have always found the iPad very familiar and welcome as a camera. Its size demands a much keener awareness of the ‘plane’ of the image, something that doesn’t happen with iPhone. Because of this I find myself going to the iPad just as often as the iPhone when photographing food for a new book. It’s not much of a stretch to see the large ‘viewfinder’ as an extremely high resolution ‘ground glass’ of large format cameras. Plus, it’s not upside down!


  18. It’s incredibly obnoxious and it’s seriously tempting to nudge people taking photos with their iPads, so that they drop them. People need to learn to be less selfish.


  19. RP says:

    People need to get over themselves.


  20. James Pruitt says:

    Who really cares what is socially acceptable these days. They wouldn’t have put a camera in there if it wasn’t intended to be used. Who are we to question Apple? :)


  21. Or are the cameras getting better?


  22. Does anybody know what is the application used in measuring the angle for ice skater?

    I like to use it for my kids sports. Thanks.