Nick Kuh of Portfolio To Go interviewed
The third in the series of interviews with various Photographers and iOS Developers. All of them develop portfolio Apps for Apple’s iPad. This interview is with UK developer Nick Kuh of Portfolio To Go.
Nick Kuh is a freelance iPhone/iPad Developer based in Brighton, UK. Nick is also responsible for various Apps on the Apple App store, one of them in particular is Tap To Facebook Chat.
Portfolio To Go can be found at any of the links below. A PDF version of this interview can be found here:
What gave you the inspiration to write Portfolio To Go?
I wrote and submitted the first version of Portfolio To Go before the iPad launched in the UK. I’d already authored a number of iPhone Applications and I wanted to build an app that would run on both iPhone and the new iPad. My wife, Nicole Carman (www.nicolecarman.com) is a photographer and when she visits new clients she often carries a large portfolio of her printed work. With it’s beautiful large, high res screen I felt the iPad could be the ideal replacement tool for photographers and artists who need to take their portfolio to go!
Who are you? Are you a photographer? Tell us a bit about yourself or the Portfolio To Go team.
I’m a freelance iPhone/iPad Developer. My wife is a photographer.
Is this your first App for iOS?
No – I have about 8-10 apps in the App Store, a combination of personal projects and commercial work.
Do you write any other Apps for iOS?
My most popular app is also my most recent. Tap To Facebook Chat (http://www.facebook.com/taptochat) enables users to Facebook Chat with Friends all on one screen. Built for iPhone and iPad in partnership with Chris Ross (http://www.hiddenmemory.co.uk) we developed a free, ad supported version and a paid version. Our app has been downloaded 60,000 times in the 3 weeks it’s been live.
Will you write other Apps for iOS devices? More importantly, photography related ones.
I will continue to write apps. I don’t have plans for further Photography apps at this stage although another of my apps – Buddies Facebook Browser also focuses on Photos for Facebook users.
What is notable about the photo function in the Buddies Facebook Browser? I read a 4 star review on iTunes, it stated that for a facebook app it seemed more concerned about the photo features (and chat) than anything else.
Buddies enables users to create Facebook photo galleries and add photos from their iPad. Buddies batch uploads multiple photos in the background while the user continues to browse Facebook. Users can even create Facebook galleries and add photos when they’re not connected to the Internet – Buddies just syncs their changes the next time they connect.
You released Portfolio before iOS 4.2. Did coding for iOS 4.2 make much of a difference compared to iOS 3.2?
There’s not much work involved if you’re a competent iOS developer. You have to be aware of Apps going in and out of the foreground rather than actually shutting down and restarting but Apple makes this process pretty straight forward for developers.
How long did it take to write Portfolio To Go?
Erm… I didn’t really keep count. It’s an ongoing process so the hours will have built up a lot over time. Maybe around 6 weeks development total.
Where do you want to take Portfolio To Go with future updates, where do you see yourself in a years time?
I get a lot of positive feedback from customers about Portfolio To Go which is always nice to receive. I don’t have imminent plans to update this app as it does everything I set out to do with the app. It does provide a beautiful way for photographers to show clients their work.
It’s admirable that you set out and achieved what you wanted to do. Not many individuals can actually say that. So you don’t feel any pressure from the competition then?
No, I don’t feel any pressure. Personal apps are my secondary source of income – I make my main living from working on commercial projects. Obviously I want my apps to do well though!
What do you as a Developer/Photographer want to see in the next iPad, either to aid your Apps or just for your own pleasure?
I’m pretty happy with the current iPad, it’s miles ahead of anything produced by the copycat competitors!
How do you see this market developing as we go forward? Are you concerned about the ‘race to the bottom’ and copycat apps affecting this class of applications?
Portfolio To Go was about the first Portfolio App specifically for iPad in the App Store I think. Now-a-days there are quite a few competitors. It does amaze me how expensive some of the competitors are pricing their apps. So high in fact that I haven’t checked out most of their products – so who am I to judge!
Some competitors are incorporating features so artists can display video work alongside photographic work. Other Apps offer the ability to brand a home screen using light editing tools. Do they sound like something you’d want to implement at some point?
Portfolio To Go is a Playback app. These kind of features would be better suited to an app that also incorporates editing. That’s never been my goal with PTG.
Are you a one-man operation or is this a group effort?
Where are you based and where have you seen the greatest uptake of Portfolio To Go at the moment?
I’m based in Brighton, UK. The US is the strongest market for every App I’ve developed.
Why is the US your biggest market do you think?
The US has the largest base of iPad/iPhone owners out of all the different App Store countries. Unless you’re making a country-specific app such as National Rail or London Tube apps you are likely to see that majority of your sales coming from the US. That’s been my experience.
I found the built in Photo Application rather lacking for a Pro Photographer, others will feel it’s good enough. Were you concerned of your App’s uptake by other Photographers before committing yourself to creating Portfolio To Go?
Portfolio to Go began as a learning experiment. I wanted to make my first iPad App and also something my wife would be able to use to show her work to clients. Portfolio To Go was less business driven (like some of my other apps) and more about learning iPad Dev skills. So no, I wasn’t concerned.
Can you explain anything about the creation process behind your app? Did you involve other photographers or even editors to ask what they would want in a digital portfolio that attempts to replicate the printed portfolio and presentation?
Primarily I see the iPad as a ‘Playback Tool’. It’s a beautiful device and it’s great that there are so many apps out there that enable you to achieve all kinds of complicated functions. However, I like to use the iPad for consuming content – browsing Twitter and Facebook using Flipboard, viewing photos, reading news etc. The default photos app is great but it requires you to connect to iTunes and sync photos each time you take a new set. My wife (and millions of other photographers) use Flickr.com to upload and organise their photos using Flickr’s online sharing service. Portfolio To Go updates itself automatically with your Flickr portfolio so it can be used as a Playback tool and not an Authoring tool. I think it does that really well.
That’s a clever feature because you actually start to spend less time ‘working’ on the iPad, those use to the keyboard and mouse will feel they are more productive. But Apps in general are trying to get us to do more with our iPads. So Portfolio To Go goes against the trend of enabling the iPad to do more. That philosophy also allows Portfolio To Go to literally live up to its name.
I believe in creating good user experiences and Apple encourages that. Less is often more when it comes to user experience if your app achieves its primary purpose well. Portfolio To Go has won an iPad App of the Week Award from Apple BTW!
How do you see Portfolio To Go existing alongside a traditional portfolio? I think such presentation apps done right are good enough to replace the printed portfolio. If the photography is good enough then it won’t matter how they are presented.
I think Portfolio To Go serves this process well. Numerous photographers have written to me to let me know how PTG helped them win new clients. Ultimately I see the App’s purpose as an introduction to a Photographer’s work and not a replacement of print in general though.
A review of Portfolio To Go can be found here: Portfolio To Go.
Coming soon: Interview and review for ‘Collections for iPad’ by Tiger Ng.