Finally! After about a month of building and 7 days in submission at Apple, my 3 iOS apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch are live!
A while ago I saw a couple of photographers, including Scott Bourne from Photofocus use the iPad as a way to sell their work via the App Store. I really liked the idea and thought they were onto something. All of these photographers were selling their work through companies that build and publish apps for them for a cut of the sales. I was immediately interested.
I looked into using one of these companies, but didn’t like not being able to sell under my own name in the App Store. I also wanted my apps to look a little different. So I decided to just build them on my own.
About a year ago I started reading books on how to build your own app, watched tons of tutorial videos (filmed by 9 year old boys – that’s an ego boost), downloaded Xcode and began working. A few months went by and I had a horrible looking (but semi functional) app. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t just make the app do what I wanted it to do via Objective-C. I had the idea, the images and the execution down, I just lacked the actual source code for the app.
So I did what any good San Franciscan would do: I posted an ad on craiglist and found an amazing developer, Chris Bruce, who was available to help. A week later he had a fully working source code for the bare bones app. With this code, I then created all the images, home screens, metadata and sell text (edited by the talented Lauren Dupuis). I added it all to the app via Xcode and uploaded to iTunes Connect. Built them for distribution and submitted them for sale.
I wanted each one to be a sort of self published, mini-photo book. I think the iPad and iPhone are a perfect device to show off your art. But rather than having to physically bring my own device to people to show them my work, distributing via the App Store was the perfect way to go. With hundreds of millions of devices out there in the world, the results feel like having a virtual book published in a giant virtual retail store.
Then to give it a bit more value, I enabled the end user to save the images locally so that they can be used as wallpaper on their mobile device. Formatting each image to specifically fit the device it was being viewed on was very important. All of this for just 99¢ each.
Formatting for specific screens
Since these apps are universal, they will work on any apple device. You only have to buy it once, and you can use it with your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. With these devices having different screen resolutions, I had to create a set of images formatted to perfectly fit each of their screens. For example, if you launch my apps on an iPhone 4, the images will be shown and saved in the Retina Display resolution of 960×640; but when launching on an iPad, they are show and saved at 1024×1024.
Why the square ratio for the iPad? This device is the only one that has the ability to rotate the home and lock screens to be used in portrait or landscape mode. If you set an image optimized for just one of these orientations, it won’t work as well in the other. Black spaces occur in those cases, whereas the square ratio fills the screen perfectly without leaving any areas uncovered. It also creates 2 different looks, since you can see more of the image in landscape on the sides; or more on the top and bottom if viewed in portrait. Like so:
All in all, I feel that this method of distributing art to end users is something that has the potential to be huge. I have always wanted to have a full on photo book published and I feel that this is a great start. If you’re interested in the App, just click here to be taken straight to the App Store. I plan on releasing at least 2 other photo books in the future, and even city-specific books from any future traveling, but I’ll have to see how those turn out. Stay tuned!