I love having my photos on my iPad, but I hate using iPhoto to get them there. To be honest, I just hate iPhoto, along with its more complicated and even more sluggish cousin, Aperture. I use Lightroom, and up until last week I was exporting photos from there into iPhoto just to sync them. Not only was this a headache, but it was a waste of space.
Now, you can tell iTunes to sync any folder of photos to the iPad, but with a little bit of effort things can be made much more elegant. By setting up Lightroom correctly, we can have any changes to our photos mirrored to the iPad at the touch of a button, and the whole process is near-automatic.