Travel photography setup for iOS and Android

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I've been traveling around Italy for a month packing an iPhone 12 mini as my main camera and Pixel 4a as a backup. It was glorious. Not only had I a chance to look at beautiful things, take photos, and indulge myself in delicious food, but I also didn't have to schlep around a photo bag.

I've been traveling around Italy for a month packing an iPhone 12 mini as my main camera and Pixel 4a as a backup. It was glorious. Not only had I a chance to look at beautiful things, take photos, and indulge myself in delicious food, but I also didn't have to schlep around a photo bag.

Switching to an iPhone as my primary camera meant that I had to revise my established travel photographic workflow. After trying several setups and apps, I ended up with a rather simple yet surprisingly efficient workflow.

Let's start with the camera app. Although the Halide camera app seems to be a popular choice among serious photographers, I've settled for ProCamera. Its real-time perspective correction is a boon for photographing architecture and singularly the most important feature for me. Sure, there are plenty of tools for fixing perspective correction in post processing, but the ability to see the crop in real time makes it immeasurably easier to nail composition. It also drastically reduces the time required for post processing.

To keep my photos safe, I subscribed to a 200GB iCloud storage plan. In the evening, I'd go through the photos I took during the day on my iPad, and apply light edits. Surprisingly, Apple Photos offers pretty much all the tools I need. And since all edits are nondestructive, it's possible to reprocess the photos later using a proper photo editing application.

Using iCloud for safe storage and synchronization was fine, but it only did the trick if there was a decent internet connection. That wasn't always the case. So I used the Little Backup Box appliance to back up RAW and JPEG files on iPhone 12 mini to an external USB storage device. The latter is an internal WD Green 240GB SSD M.2 2280 SATA SSD in a USB3 enclosure.

Having all the data backed up on a USB storage device had another benefit: once I was back home, it made it easier to import all original files into digiKam, as I didn't have to pull the data from iCloud.

I did share quite a few photos while I was traveling, and for that I used my own photo publishing application Mejiro running on an inexpensive virtual private server. I configured the Documents by Readdle app on the iPhone so that whenever I put photos into a specified folder, they were automatically pushed to Mejiro. And since Mejiro makes it possible to add texts to photos, I also used the application as a no-frills personal photo blog.

Things were even more simple on the Android side. I used the stock camera app, because it's as good as they get, and I relied on Snapseed for all my photo editing needs. Instead of Google Photos, I set up MEGA to automatically back up RAW and JPEG files. And to push photos to Mejiro I created a dedicated synchronization profile in FolderSync Pro.

There is also another home-made application I made occasional use of during my trip. I do have a couple of custom Hald CLUT presets, and the Lilut application running on my server allowed me to apply them to photos.

That's all there is to it. Honestly, I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't pleased with the resulting setup. The iPhone 12 mini and Pixel 4a and all the paraphernalia fit into a small Uniqlo bag that weighed almost nothing, and the simple automated setup meant that I spent very little time on fussing with backup and processing.


© Dmitri Popov