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.