5 Best Portfolio Apps for the iPad

The iPad2 might not be a popular camera, but the iPad and iPad2 sure do make wonderful portable photograph displays.  Pictures rarely look brighter and clearer, and the finger-sweeping interactivity is addictive.  But in some cases the built-in photo viewer can be a little too simple for those who need his or her iPad to be more elegant.  To be a digital portfolio.  For that, my professional friends, it's probably a good idea to invest in an app.

While the main consumer base of for iPortfolios is the photographer (whether you shoot landscapes or nature or weddings or portraits), digital portfolios are great for anyone sitting down face to face with a potential client.  Maybe you're a graphic designer.  Maybe you bake cakes.  Maybe you paint houses.  Maybe you mow lawns.  Maybe you refurbish antique wooden chickens.  Who knows.  If you have a picture of your work to share, and you want to look like a pro in that important interview/meeting, a portfolio app may be just the thing for you.  

The trouble in this niche app market is that there's a whole mess of junk apps out there.  So be careful, friends.  Below you'll find five of the best (in no particular order) that will hopefully fill your needs.  As always, to learn more about the apps themselves, click either the app names (or any of the related pictures) to hop a link over to the App store.


Portfolio To Go for Flickr is an affordable, entry-level portfolio app.  Meaning, unlike some of the more professional photographer apps which we'll explore below, this app can be used easily with anyone who already has a Flickr account.  It works by downloading your Flickr photosets onto your iPad in the form of local cached galleries.  The bad news is you'll need Internet access (#G or WiFi) to set this up, view new photosets, or look at someone else's gallery, but the good news is once you've downloaded your galleries, your portfolio is fully explorable with our without the Internet.  Users can send all or specific galleries to a client (which can be accessed via the Portfolio To Go Player app), as well as save particular photos directly to your iPad Photo Library.  Granted, this might not work for everyone -- having to first load and organize your photo collections via Flickr can add an extra step to the portfolio process.  That aside, this is a really great app.


PRICE: $4.99
REQUIREMENTS: Compatible with iPad and iOS 3.2 or later.


Since we started with affordable, Xtrafolio Photo Portfolio Professional represents the other end of the spectrum -- the premium priced app.  Xtrafolio is super customizable, with settings for all sorts of fonts and text colors, background colors and styles (you can even upload your own). The whole system is divided into three different "presentation pages."  Loading Page settings allow you to show a logo or a photo as the system starts up.  The Info Page is about you and your business, and is accessible from anywhere in the portfolio.  Portfolio Pages are where you show off your photos (of course); you can zoom, email photos, and even set them up to play in a slideshow (with or without music).  Xtrafolio supports JPG, TIFF, GIF, PNG, and PDF files, which can be loaded from Dropbox, iTunes, or the iPad itself.
PRICE: $16.99
REQUIREMENTS: Compatible with iPad and iOS 4.0 or later.

FolioBook Photo Portfolio is another slick, minimalist app with lots of customization options (fonts, colors, titles, etc.), with the ability to have two different branding layouts in Portrait and Landscape orientation modes.  One particularly fun feature here is that your "home page" (that is, your introductory page about your photography and/or business) can feature a photo OR video background wallpaper as well as overlaid logo graphics.  FolioBook is also interactive, allowing you to utilize your iPad's touch screen gestures to control navigation.

PRICE: $9.99
REQUIREMENTS: Compatible with iPad and iOS 4.3 or later.

Flexfolios is an easy-to-use iPad device based application.  Meaning, you don't need the Internet to access any of its core features.  But, if you do happen to have a connection via 3G or WiFi, it's easy to share your (business) ecard or any image from your portfolio.  Flexfolios is for the professional who is tired of spending time and money assembling hard-copy portfolios in expensive leather cases. The organizational philosophy here is about making multiple, specialized portfolio presentations from one large picture gallery.  These smaller portfolios are customized to fit various genres, styles, or clients.  The only thing I question here is the use of the Flexfolios branding (and its bright red banner) may distract from the brand you're really selling to potential clients: yours.

PRICE: $9.99
REQUIREMENTS: Compatible with iPad and iOS 3.2 or later.

Portfolio for iPad is another nice, professional app with a focus on personalized branding and customization.  Simply design a logo / image for your home page and load it, along with all your pictures, into the app. Photos can be loaded from the iPad, the web, Dropbox, or your Mac.  Once you have everything organized by various portfolios, users can then lock the whole interface with a PIN to allow clients to enjoy all your photos without having to trudge through the the program itself.  Users can also select to see all galleries or just certain ones. Slideshows with music are definitely included, as well at the ability to use the (separately sold) iPad VGA adapter to show your work on an external screen and keyword tagging.  The one thing you have to consider, for pros who like to shoot very large images, is that Portfolio for iPad has a 4096 pixel limitation.

PRICE: $14.99
REQUIREMENTS: Compatible with iPad and iOS 4.2 or later.

Well, there we have it.  Five of the Best Portfolio Apps for our more professional readers.  What do you think?  Have you personally used any of these apps?  What's your favorite?  What did we leave off the list?  Hit up the Steve's FORUMS or our Facebook page to discuss.

And be sure to check out our other App articles: