Use Shared Photo Stream to deliver photos straight to your clients' iOS devices

Imagine the scene. I've just delivered a set of wedding photos on my iPad to the couple and the bride's parents and sister. Everyone in the family has either an iPhone or an iPad which in many cases they use as their primary computer. I've beamed all the photos directly to each family member's iOS device from my own iPad using Shared Photo Stream and in moments, the bride and groom are cuddling together swiping through their iPad together on one couch, while on the other couch the bride's father does the same on his iPad. Every now and then someone says "Oh look at this one!", showing their iPad to the rest of the room. 

It's a shared moment for the whole family. The couple, just back from their honeymoon, take the opportunity to set their Facebook profile pictures using the new photos and change their relationship status to "married" there and then, never leaving their iPad. Lovely comments from their friends roll in which is especially nice for the photographer too. The photos are beamed to the absent sister, studying abroad, who pops up on Skype a few moments later to take part too.

Sending the photos this way, straight to their iOS device's Photos app, is a much smoother experience than having to download a gigantic .ZIP file full of JPEGs, maybe through some unfamiliar Dropbox or Yousendit interface. It fits perfectly into the way people already love to use their iPads and iPhones.

Here's how to do it.

Shared Photo Stream

Shared Photo Stream is a new feature in iOS 6 that lets you share an album of photos on your iOS device with other iOS devices. Your photos are invisibly synced to iCloud which pushes them down to the other devices. You'll need the email address that your recipient uses for iCloud. (If they aren't sure which email this is, you can find it in Settings > iCloud > Account).

Getting the photos on to your iOS device

  1. When you've finished editing your set of photos, export them as JPEGs to a folder.
  2. Import the photos into iPhoto. An "untitled event" is automatically created; rename this to your own choice. (I'm using iPhoto '09 here which is fine.)
  3. Launch iTunes and connect your iOS device. Select the Photos tab, and choose your new event. I'm using my iPhone here but it works the same for your iPad.
  4. Hit Apply.

Creating the Shared Photo Stream

  1. On your iOS device, open the Photos app and select the Photo Stream button. Tap the plus to add an new Shared Photo Stream and give it a name. You can add email addresses later.
  2. Tap your new Shared Photo Stream, tap Edit and tap Add. Find the event or album you just synced and tap Select All Photos. Tap Done. You photos will now appear on all your other iOS devices without any further action.
  3. Check everything worked ok, then (on iPhone) tap the blue arrow beside the Shared Photo Stream, and add your email addresses to Subscribers. On iPad, browse to the Photo Stream tab, tap Edit, then tap your Shared Photo Stream.
  4. Your Subscribers receive a notification straight to their device which they can accept and the photos will automatically start downloading to their own Photos app.