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|| News Item: Posted 2009-03-10

Photographer's Toy Box: Transmit photos from your iPhone
By Craig Mitchelldyer

Photo by
Like pretty much every photographer on the planet, I'm a total geek for new gadgets and technology.

I always had the newest latest and greatest phone. I was using a smart phone with Windows Mobile and had PocketPhoJo installed. I was able to tether my phone to my laptop and use it as a modem to send pictures and get online, everything was great. Then came the iPhone. Everybody knows the iPhone is the greatest invention since the wheel, it does everything, its super cool. I had to have one.

But, with all its bells and whistles it certainly has its limitations as well. You could not connect to it and copy files to it, you could not send files from it, you could not tether your laptop with it, etc, etc. So I held off. But then I read about a new App called NetShare that hit the app store, you could tether your iPhone! I ran down to the Apple Store that same day and finally got myself the greatest gadget I have ever purchased. But then, Apple pulled NetShare from the app store before I could download it. Oh well. I figured it would only be a matter of time before something else would come along.

Fast forward a few months and still no tethering app, but a new app called AirShare came out. With AirShare, you could finally connect to the phone and copy files to it. This was great, but you could not do anything with those files you copied over, just look at them. I needed something that could send the files I copied over.

Then one day I came across an app called iStorage ( It was basically, exactly like AirShare with one big improvement, you could email and ftp the files you copied over! Perfect! I immediately downloaded it and began to play with it to make sure it worked how I wanted it to. In the first version the FTP did not work, so I emailed the app developers and they pushed out an update that fixed the problem. I was very impressed that they answered my email and fixed the problem so quickly. So now, I finally had a way to send files from my iPhone remotely.

It's a little more cumbersome to setup than just having a laptop card, but it works and if you know your going to be using it, you can set everything up before hand and it actually quite fast to use. Here is how you do it. This is all assuming you are on location have no wifi Internet around. Say, a Friday night prep football game or a protest at Waterfront Park or something like that.

First, you need to create a wireless network on your laptop. Call it whatever you want and connect to it. Next go to your network settings and assign a static IP to your computer for that network, something like Then on your iPhone, also connect to that network and assign your phone a static IP on the same subnet, i.e. Start iStorage on the phone. Then, on your laptop choose Go -> Connect to Server. Connect to the phone by typing You can now drag and drop files to the iPhone using the finder on your laptop.

To setup your ftp servers, in iStorage, click on settings -> network -> add server. Once your files are copied over and you will see your folders, files, etc. Once you select a file, an option box will pop up and ask you what you want to do. From here you can open the file, upload (ftp) the file, email it or save it to your camera roll on the phone. Click upload, then select your ftp site and away it goes.

You can do multiple files at once. I tend to edit and caption a few photos, copy them over send them and edit and caption a few more while they send, wash, rinse, repeat. Upload speeds depend on the cell signal and can vary greatly as AT&T's network is not very good in some areas and areas where there are a ton of people. I just did a time test while writing this article and sent a 2MB file in less than 10 seconds.

You could also line up a bunch of photos in the queue, close your computer stick your phone in your pocket and keep on shooting while the images send. Perfect when you need to shoot an assignment, sent it and rive to the next one. Just let the images send while you drive down the freeway.

The process sounds like a pain, but really once you get it all setup you can copy files over and send them pretty quickly and it sure beats paying $60 a month for a laptop card.

It's not a perfect method by any means. I really miss PocketPhojo and wish I could copy photos from the camera, crop and caption on the phone. (You may be able to get files right to the phone using a wifi transmitter and setting it to copy to the address, but I have not tested that so I'm not sure.)

There is another app out there called XifPix that lets you caption and send photos taken with the iPhone camera or photos in the camera roll. So that is a start. That's the thing I love most about the iPhone, somebody somewhere will make the perfect photo app, Maybe the PhoJo guys will make an iPhone version. Until then, I'm happy using iStorage to transmit pictures on location.

(Craig Mitchelldyer is a freelance photographer based in Portland.)

Related Links:
Craig's member page

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