If you are on iTunes 11 on your Mac then you may want to re-enable the left-hand sidebar via View > Show Sidebar, which might make it easier to navigate and may instructions may make more sense.
To sync photos, connect and select your iPad on the left-hand side of your computer's iTunes (if you've enabled the sidebar), and on the right-hand side there should be a series of tabs, one of which should be Photos - if you select that tab you can then select which photo folders to sync to the iPad. There is a bit more info on this page. You will need to sync all the photos that you want on the iPad together in one go as only the most recent photo sync remains on the iPad - synced photos can't be deleted directly on the iPad, instead they are deleted by not including them in the next photo sync.
If you haven't enabled the sidebar, then from your library click 'iPad' at the top right of the screen and you should get a series of buttons along the top of the screen, including one for Photos
Photos, music, movies and some documents are transferred from a computer to your iPad by syncing your iPad with the computer.
In order to sync your Mini you need iTunes 10.7 or 11 on your MacBook Pro. Start iTunes and see what version it is. If less than 10.7 download and install iTunes 11.
The best way to organize your photos on the MacBook Pro is to use iPhoto. Although folders will work too.
Once you have your photo organized into albums on iPhoto, quit iPhoto and start iTunes on your laptop.
Connect your iPad to the laptop and select your iPad in iTunes. Once you select your iPad look for the Photos tab. Choose to sync all photos or just select the albums you want on your iPad. Then click on Sync or Apply.
To delete albums copied this way in the future. Do another sync but deselect the albums you no longer want. Then click Apply. Deselected albums will be deleted from your a pad. Hope this helps.
I realize that you answered this awhile but thanks for the info. I want to buy an iPad mini w/retina to use with my laptop. My theory is: when I go camping to put pictures on laptop, write stories on laptop, then "transfer" all to mini and only take the mini to a locate wifi spot.
What I am understanding of this: seems to be just like "syncing" from my laptop to iPod with iTunes. Is that right?
Now how can I get the stories to the mini? I was thinking of doing them in Notes and have Notes app on both laptop & mini. Does that make sense or is there a better way?