Apps Can Enhance Your Marketing Strategy

By Lee Foster

Apps may become an important part of your future. However, as you may well know, the subject of apps can be confusing and frustrating. You might have experienced some of that frustration if you read my first column on the subject.*
But let’s look ahead to see how apps can display your photos to audiences and enable you to view the photos of other photographers.
Here are some of the basic issues to keep in mind:

Apps work only on mobile devices, not on your computer. They are designed for the mobile device world. If you download to your computer, you will need to sync up your mobile device to the computer to load them and play them on the mobile device.
Apple iTunes App Store apps work only on the Apple iPhone, iPod, and iPad. They don’t work on other types of phones, such as Google Android and Blackberry phones. This is frustrating to a consumer, who will, naturally, want a program to work on all devices.
Why can’t the apps work on all devices? Good question. Each of the main developer systems has its own software standards and its own range of apps. Unfortunately they are not compatible with each other.
Apple is currently the main player in consumer apps for photography, travel, and other subjects.

My suggestion, don’t buy any apps (even at $1.99) unless you have the compatible mobile device to play it on.


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APPS have gained popularity and attention in the computing world.
Here are answers to some basic questions you might have:

WHAT DOES APP STAND FOR? It stands for “application.”

WHAT IS AN APP? Apps are designed to expand the functionality of a mobile device. Apps can be things like games, joke programs, ebooks, weather reports, personal planners, and a wide variety of other types of helpful information. They are available in “App Stores.”

WHAT’S AN APP STORE? An app store is an online store where people can purchase applications for mobile devices.

WHAT IS A MOBILE DEVICE? A mobile device is sometimes called a “handheld device.” It’s an electronic device small enough to be easily carried around, that can be used for a variety of computing functions. Mobile devices enable people to take advantage of computing power without being shackled to a specific time or place. These devices are quite pervasive nowadays. Commonly used mobile devices include cell phones, pdas, and multi-media players. Their uses are varied. Tip: At most department stores (like Wal-mart) the attendant in the electronics section will gladly show you what’s currently popular.

WHERE DO YOU GET OR BUY APPS.? At an App Store. The original app store was the App Store run by the Apple Company to provide applications for its mobile devices called the iPhone® and iPod Touch®. Other companies picked up the concept so that they could create and sell applications to their users as well. Applications in an app store can vary in cost, from free downloads to pricey ones, depending on who developed the application and its purpose. Most paid downloads are relatively low-priced.

HOW DO YOU ACCESS AN APP? Users can typically access an app store from their mobile device, with some manufacturers providing a hot key which users can use to go straight to the store. Once there, users can search for an application by name, or browse by type. Often, many competing applications serve more or less the same function, with users choosing by price, design, reputation, or style.
The app store can also include apps from independent developers, with the manufacturer reviewing the applications to confirm that the apps are functional, safe, and work as intended. In order to be included in an app store run by a manufacturer, applications must generally be coded so that they conform to a very specific standard..

HOW DO YOU PAY FOR AN APP? When people download at an app store, they may be prompted for a username and password which is linked to an Apps Store’s financial information section, or they may be asked for a credit card or PayPal account.

SOURCE: HT White, PhotoSource International

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However, don’t hesitate to browse at the Apple iTunes App Store (at no charge),to learn about apps in your favorite subject area, which might be photography or travel. It’s free and easy to set up an iTunes account at http://support.apple.com/kb/ht2731 After you’ve signed up for an iTunes account, it will reside on your computer. Hint: As a photographer, choose Apps rather than other media, such as music.
In the iTunes App Store, as I write this, there are 173 pages of photo apps and 636 pages of travel apps, with 20 items on each page. That’s a lot of apps! In another year or two, many of the Apple iTunes apps may also be available for Google Android phones.

When you explore the description of an app, you will see a text describing it and view some screen shots showing what the app looks like. Look at apps in your area of interest (photography, travel, or other subjects) to learn what’s out there and who publishes that subject.

For example, you can see my two travel photo guide apps on San Francisco and on Washington DC by searching for my name, Lee Foster, or 2.) by searching for the actual titles: San Francisco Travel and Photo Guide ( http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide ) and Washington DC Travel and Photo Guide ( http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide ).

How can apps work for you? Suppose you are interested in publishing a portfolio of your best photography. You might consider looking at Peter Guttman’s fine app called Beautiful Planet as a model. It is a lovely collection of his worldwide photography, keyed to a map, with only a brief caption about the photos. I met Peter recently at an event in San Francisco. He indicated that his app is one of the best-selling apps in travel, which is why his publisher had versions optimized for the iPad as well as the iPhone. Peter’s publisher obviously has developed an effective way to present portfolios of photography.

The world of apps is a new publishing idea to most photographers, but the learning curve is short. I’m here to add to your knowledge about apps and can speed you in the process of learning how apps can benefit your marketing efforts.

So, don’t get discouraged about the frustrations sometimes associated with apps. It is likely that apps will have some role in assisting you to present your photography to others, and to enjoy the photos of other photographers.

* See The PhotoStockNOTES archive, in the right-hand categories column, to read my previous APPS/Ebooks column.


Lee Foster is an awarding-winning travel photographer and
writer, winner of eight Lowell Thomas Awards. Lee publishes 200 worldwide
travel photo/writing coverages to consumers and to content buyers on his
Foster Travel Publishing website at http://www.fostertravel.com/ There
you can see his photos, writing, books, and apps. His photo selling site is
at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com

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