Astropad for Freelance Photographers

Guillermo de la Maza

Architectural and Interior Photographer, Mexico City

What kind of projects are you working on? 

I primarily photograph for the furniture and architecture industry. I work with a lot of major office furniture brands. So when my clients outfit an entire building or space, I go to the site to take photos. Most of those photos end up in brand catalogues and websites, or in magazines. One of my photos was recently on the cover of Architectural Digest.

Do you edit on-the-go or in the studio? 

I travel a lot to the United States, Canada, and around Mexico for photos shoots. Sometimes there isn’t time to go back to the studio so I have a mobile setup: my MacBook Pro, a second monitor, and my iPad. Often I’ll travel to the photoshoot, then go back to my hotel after and do my editing there. I’m so in love with Astropad because it allows me to edit pretty much everywhere. It’s wonderful.

Why did you switch from a Wacom tablet to Astropad? 

Previously, I always used a Wacom graphics tablet. When you’re constantly traveling and you have to edit images on-the-go, it’s pretty cumbersome to carry all of your equipment around with you.

The whole reason I found Astropad was because one night (almost two years ago), I had a project that I needed to deliver the next day. My Wacom pen just fell from the desk and completely stopped working. I needed to either replace the pen or the whole graphics tablet, but I was traveling in a place that didn’t have anywhere that I could buy new equipment.

So I started searching the internet for something that could allow me to finish my editing, and I found Astropad. Since that day, I stuck with Astropad, and I haven’t looked back ever since.

How do you use Astropad in your workflow now?

1. RAW File Development – We use Astropad together with Camera RAW to selectively alter exposure/ saturation/ sharpness in areas that need just a little bit of a bump or a little step down. This way, we preserve more information on the file that could be possible out of a processed file and also save time later in the post-production process.

2. Bracketing Blend – We usually work using composite files containing at least 3 different exposures (with different EV stops between them) of each photograph. Since pen-generated masks tend to leave behind jaggy edges, most of the time we resort back to a brush in order to create masks with different flow and opacity values and hence obtain a better and more organic result. Takes more time, but it’s worth it.

3. Photo-Manipulation – Astropad is a great tool to shape light to better blend-in objects. Also is of enormous help using tools such as the Healing Brush, which allows you to create info into an image, when there’s none, or when you need to conceal what’s really there.

4. Enhancing Products – Colors and texture on products get directly affected when lit in different ways. When you’re shooting in a studio, the photographer is in control of whatever sources of illumination there are, but out in the field, it gets pretty tricky to control light in a location when you have several sources coming at your scene and not much time to display your trickery. In this instance, we try to preserve and highlight colors and bring out textures by directly painting over them with Astropad. It’s kind of our tribute to the good ol’ analog days, when this procedure was very common among commercial photographers.

What do you like most about Astropad? 

What I initially liked about Astropad is that it allowed me to directly see what I was drawing on the screen. And it’s fast. And when I spend so much time editing images right in the hotel lobby, it’s not useful to have a ton of cables coming out of your laptop. So the fact that Astropad works wirelessly is tremendous.

Now, I have a team of assistants who work with me – and I’m teaching them how to edit in Astropad!


Instagram: @guillermodelamaza