I would like to give a big thanks to Robert Fisher for sending us his tips on how to use F-Stop Media Gallery as a professional presentation tool for your photos. The following is a condensed excerpt he shared from his book “The Mobile Photographer: An Unofficial Guide to Using Android Phones, Tablets, and Apps in a Photography Workflow“.
– Jason Seelye
Today, as a professional photographer, having a mobile portfolio is very important. Increasingly potential clients are happy to view images on a tablet rather than in printed form. This is not to say printed portfolios are obsolete. You still want to verify with the prospect what form they wish to see your work in. But mobile portfolios are definitely important in this second decade of the 21st Century.
Another benefit of the mobile portfolio is the ability to show your work to people in unexpected places. You never know when or where you may meet someone who will be interested in your work and being ready to show them can mean the difference between making a sale or generating a prospect and not. When I was starting to pull information together for writing The Mobile Photographer, a chapter on mobile portfolios was a key component to the book.
Getting Ready for Mobile Presentation
There are a few things to consider when prepping your images for mobile presentation.
One is the pixel density of the screens on mobile devices. Full HD 1920×1080 is almost becoming passé now as, increasingly, Quad HD or 4K screens become the norm. These small screens with the very high pixel densities mean that your images will appear sharper than on a traditional desktop display or in a print. Because of this, you will want to sharpen less for your mobile portfolio than for other methods of presentation.
The second thing to consider is the colour representation of your mobile device. We do not, yet, have system-wide colour management in mobile. It will likely come with time, but we do not have it yet. Some devices allow you to tweak the display – you may be able to make it more or less contrasty, more or less saturated, and you may be able to make slight adjustments to the white balance to make it marginally warmer or cooler. You will need to compare images viewed on your colour managed desktop system to what you see on the screen of your mobile device. Take note of how the appearance is different then make any necessary adjustments to the images you are going to use on the mobile device so that the appearance is as close a match as possible. Given that this is a visual exercise, there will likely be a bit of trial and error involved, at least at first.
Finally, file size needs to be considered. Storage on mobile devices is at a premium. Given that, we want to keep the file size as small as possible while retaining as much quality as possible. You will, of course, be using JPEG files. Even on the newer 4K screens, I have found that sizing to Full HD works fine. Sizing up to the larger dimension does not provide a benefit in terms of on screen appearance and it eats up precious storage space. Using a quality level of 8 (out of 10) gives a nice balance between file size and quality.
Presenting on Mobile
Android comes with a stock gallery app. Your device manufacturer may also have a gallery app included with the modifications it makes to the standard Android OS. These are not what you want to use.
Vital to presenting images in a professional manner is a high quality, professional viewing experience. That means images are curated and organised. It also means that the person you are showing images to only sees what you want them to see or that they need to see. A prospect who is interested in buying a fine art print is not likely interested in seeing your commercial work for a watchmaker. The stock gallery apps simply do not allow for this type of customisation. There are not many apps that do.
F-Stop Media Gallery is one that does. And it does so very well.
F-Stop is terrific because of the level of granularity it allows the user to have. You can create master albums that contain all of your, for example, landscape images. But then it also allows you to create sub-albums inside the master album to break down the portfolio even further. You can then create, say, a sub-album of Arizona landscapes, or New York State waterfalls. This is a terrific level of customisation and it allows you to be in complete control of how your images are presented to viewers and to ensure they only see what you want them to see, or more importantly, what they want to see. It is all about them, remember.
The app scales well to different sized devices, which not all do. It also allows you to do some initial culling and rating of images that you take with your smartphone, or JPEGs you capture with another camera and load onto the mobile device.
There are free and paid versions of the app. The paid version allows you to create the sub-albums as well as unlocks some other features and disables ads. Perhaps most importantly, the paid version allows to you determine which screen will be the startup screen for the app. I have mine default to the Albums view so that if I hand my phone or tablet to someone, they do not see all the other media that may be one the device. I highly recommend the paid version for the enhanced functionality.
Robert Fisher is a photographer and writer based near Toronto, Canada. He is the author of ‘The Mobile Photographer: An Unofficial Guide to Using Android Phones, Tablets and Apps in a Photography Workflow’. This article is a condensed excerpt from the book.