David Cardinal: Use Datacolor SpyderGALLERY To Strut Your Stuff On Your iPad or iPhone
Sep 2012 27

Increasingly photographers are turning to iPads as an alternative to printing paper portfolios or showing proof prints. Images nearly jump off the high-quality display and the benefits in terms of flexibility are obvious and substantial. But the iPad doesn’t offer any way to calibrate or profile its display — meaning there isn’t any built-in way to ensure accurate color. This has left most of us mumbling vague apologies in advance when about to show off our latest creations on an iPad or iPhone.

Fortunately Datacolor has an answer. The SpyderGALLERY product is a free offering that complements your existing Spyder3 or Spyder4 product by adding the capability to display color correct images on your Apple mobile device. Anyone serious about showing off their images in their best light should run not walk to iTunes and get started. In this article I’ll walk you through my experience with the product and how I use it to help you.

The first step is to download the SpyderGALLERY application from the iTunes iOS app store on your iPad or iPhone. Since the iPhone and iPad cannot directly hook up to the USB-driven Spyder, Datacolor has also provided a small desktop companion application that talks to the Spyder for you. Once you’ve downloaded and launched the SpyderGALLERY app on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll receive instructions for retrieving and loading the desktop application for your Mac or Windows PC.

After launching the iPhone/iPad version of SpyderGALLERY, it will give you instructions on how to get the download link for the desktop helper application you’ll need to use the Spyder.

Once you have the desktop application running, it begins listening for an iPad or iPhone running SpyderGALLERY. Typically this connection takes place automatically, although in my case I needed to type in the IP address of my Windows 7 laptop to my iPad2 to allow them to connect (this is easier than it sounds, since the SpyderGALLERY server application on your laptop or desktop dutifully reports the IP address information you need to type into your iPad or iPhone if the automatic connection doesn’t work).

Once your mobile device is connected to the Spyder application on your desktop — and your Spyder3 or Spyder4 is plugged in — you simply lay the Spyder on your screen the way you would to profile any LCD and let the SpyderGALLERY application do the rest. The result is a profile that the application lets you evaluate for yourself by showing a before and after test image.

Buddhist monk near outside monastery near Angkor Wat, Cambodia from our 2011 Photo Tour Shown in its full glory on my iPad2, using SpyderGALLERY and Datacolor calibration

Using the profile is a little different than on a desktop or laptop. Because iOS does not natively support color profiles, you need to use Datacolor’s own SpyderGALLERY application to view your color corrected images. Fortunately it is a solid replacement for the viewing piece of the Apple-supplied Photos application. Simply use the SpyderGALLERY viewer and you can see for yourself the effect of your profile by turning it on or off as you view images.

That’s all there is to it. You’ve upgraded your mobile slideshows for zero costs and only a few minutes of your time!

You can compare the improvement the profile makes using the included soft proof image.
This iPad2 screenshot of the proof images gives you a sense of the difference.

Tweaking SpyderGALLERY

You don’t need to do anything more to make use of SpyderGALLERY, as it automatically views images from the photo collections on your device – whether they are local or on remote systems like Facebook. But you can use its Settings panel to display your images with a watermark, or to change the default rendering from Perceptual to Saturation. In my testing, I found the Saturation intent to provide more vivid, saturated colors, which you may or may not prefer.

Going forward, I hope that in the future iOS will allow for system-wide color profiles and SpyderGALLERY will become even more useful, but at least for now it provides a solid leg-up for portfolio and slideshow viewing.

Travel Light: Photo Adventures with your iPad

Correct color is becoming more important than ever on iPads now that many photographers are traveling with only their tablet, leaving their laptop at home. Several clients on our recent photo safaris to Alaska and Asia were relying on their iPads to review their images and learn from each day’s shooting. With some of the new wireless hard drives which work with the iPad even the tablet’s own limited storage doesn’t have to slow you down. Image editing tools are still nowhere near as their computer brethren, but if you’re mostly traveling for adventure and are willing to leave the post-processing until after you return, Datacolor SpyderGALLERY helps make traveling light a reality.

*Editor’s Note: SpyderGALLERY for Android is currently in beta testing. You will soon be able to enjoy the same benefits on your Android phone or tablet.

is a veteran travel and nature photographer who specializes in Southern Africa and Southeast Asia as well as North American mammals and birds. His images of creatures in the wild help communicate the importance of our natural heritage and our responsibility to preserve it. You can learn more about David on our Friends with Vision page, or on his own website, Cardinal Photo, and its sister site, Nikon Digital, which are both full of tips, reviews and forums where photographers compare notes and tips. Or you can follow David on Facebook or join him on one of his Photo Tours and Safaris for plenty of experience