Tuesday, November 24

FCCP: #1 Learning Lightroom Nov 2015 Series - Preferences

This week's (Nov 23rd) meeting was the start of Jeff's Learning Lightroom Series could be titled 'What you need to know about Lightroom Preferences'. Jeff shared insight into all of the Lightroom preference settings, how they are configured, and why. We know Lightroom is a powerful tool, but like any tool, how you use it makes all the difference. Tweaking just a couple things can either make it lightning fast, or have you clock watching. Many of the tips shared as well as the two resources provided in the links below can help to further understand the options a bit better.

Lots of good information, many "I didn't know that" tips, and great insight into the 'why and how' Lightroom thinks. Two of my key take-aways were 1) in the second Preferences tab named 'Presets', several Restore options are available to use if and when Lightroom acts crazy before you may need to uninstall and reinstall the application. Also, the 'Interface' Tab to me is a tweaking tool that essentially allows you to personalize how you like Lightroom o look for you. 

Tips for Setting Up Your Lightroom Preferences provides an overview of most of the Lithroom preferences. While the short 10 minute video Important Lightroom Preferences and Catalog Settings offers a demo of Jeff's instruction.

Tuesday, November 17

Ten (10) Common Composition Mistakes

Here are ten composition mistakes we all have made at some time. It is a good reminder and can be made a part of your mental pre-shoot checklist to help with composition. The mistakes we all make relative to composition are:

... Subject becomes the center of the frame

... Subject is too small in the frame
... Nothing in the foreground
... Always shooting from a standing or staight on position
... Capturing distracting backgrounds
... Poor depth of field
... Sloping horizons
... Blurred images
... No focal point
... Not knowing the camera's controls and settings

FCCP: The Develop Module - A Review

(11/16) Monday night's meeting was a final review of the Lightroom series with emphasis on the Develop module. Included was an in-depth, step by step demonstration of all the tools available to extract the detail from a RAW image and convert that so-so photo into a 4 or 5 Star 'Keeper'. Members were able to see how all the available tools work together in a non-destructive way as Jeff walked us through the Tools of the Develop module.  My key take-aways from the meeting were:

... Make the Histogram my friend (to understand and adjust for 'blown out' whites and blacks)
... Take a minimum of three (3) bracketed photos (to allow processing options for HDR and/or ETTR (expose to the right)
... Don't avoid using 'Auto' in the Tone tool (this can provide positive photo enhancements, and can be adjusted afterwards)
... Always check and correct my horizon (crooked horizon is a no-no)
... Take advantage of and add a little Dehaze (in the Effects tool)
... When Sharpening - select an area of detail and adjust (detail not usually required for skies)
... Check for and use Camera calibration and Lens correction
... Finish editing with an amount of Post-Crop Vignetting that is pleasing (to draw the viewer's eyes to the subject)
There are so many quality tools available in the Develop module, and the FCCP classes and the web offer an abundance of instruction. This week, however, I will prepare for the start of the Lightroom instruction series by Jeff beginning November 23rd at Suite 4K. In the meantime, I am going to review instruction on some of my 'weaker' areas:

+ Tips on using the Basic Panel

Friday, November 13

Test - Centering Two Photos

I am learning how to use code to place/post images side by side but centering those images in the post needs more study (bob)

Tuesday, November 10

FCCP: Workflow (post-processing) and Faux-HDR

Workflow Definition: An end-to-end system for working with digital images, from capture to delivery. In general, it is comprised of a series of inter-connected steps: camera setup and image capture, importing, post processing, rating and organizing, exporting, backing up and sharing ... to simplify and standardize how we enhance photos. 

(11/9) Jeff shared his workflow that provides an excellent model to develop one's own workflow. The overall steps included:

.. Import (incl: Collections, Keywords and Destination)
.. Review and Rate (incl: Stars and Flags and initial 'Remove')
.. Develop (incl: Basic, Detail and other Develop panels)
The workflow demo provided detailed review of all the editing/adjustments in the Develop Module. Now we know Lightroom is very flexible and everyone's work flow can and may be unique. An good review of many of the details discussed at the meeting are found in the Digital Editing Photo Workflow article. 

I was not able to record specific actions and discussion, but one of my favorite instructors is Anthony Morganti who shares his work flow in a 24 minute video The Develop Workflow ... a tutorial.

Jeff finished the evening with a short demo on what I call faux-HDR. (Now 'real' HDR typically requires at least three photographic images of the identical scene with one shot under exposed, one properly exposed and one over exposed and then intergrated into one full high dynamic range photo. Creating a faux-HDR requires only one 'slightly over-exposed' (see ETTR link below) photo. Using the features and sliders within the Develop Module, Jeff created a beautiful high dynamic range photo from a not so special landscape image. 
Here is an approach and steps of one approach using many of Jeff's techniques to achieve an HDR-like Image from a Single RAW File in Lightroom.

Technical Reading: Expose to the Right ETTR         

Nov 24th Update: 7 Ways to Save Time with Your Workflow in Lightroom

Sunday, November 8

Using Geometry and Reflections

Sunset photo walk in Clearwater on the water. Early morning setup, camera checkout. (Lessons) Look to use lines; use a low camera position; take advantage of reflections; take advantage of  telephoto lens wide to long ... and watch more experienced photographers. See Bridge

Be Prepared for the Unexpected.

Sunset is a few minutes away. I grab my camera, jump in the car, drive to the pier and run to the beach. I am ready to shoot the sunset and I turn the camera on - "Oh No! I left the SD card at home." I quickly reach into my pocket and grab my iPhone to capture the moment. Whew ... (Lessons: always have my camera ready - SD, battery charged and ... bring a backup - iPhone). 

Friday, November 6

Tarpon Springs Photo Walk

I have been to Tarpon Springs (the Sponge Docks) many times, but never really looked inside of the area - the docks, Main Street, the street activities. The FCCP Group met for a photo walk (street photography) to capture more than pictures, but to capture the soul of the community. (Lessons) Decide what the subject is, include lines and include non-distracting background and 'see and shoot' what others don't see.

FCCP: The Histogram

At several meetings this week, the subject of exposure was raised often. We see the histogram on our camera and we see the histogram in Lightroom. The 'buzzwords' I heard were 18% gray, 255 tones plus 0, clipping, blinkies, and more ... I tried to put it all together after I left the meetings (I even nodded affirmatively as Jeff was explaining the how and why), but when I arrived home ... my head was spinning a little. So using my trusted non-Apple computer and the web's search engines, I found two sources that reinforce for me the points Jeff shared. Click each link below, they provide a nice review.

Bottom line: the histogram is a graphical representation of pixels exposed in your image from (left) blacks or shadows to (right) highlights or bright areas. It is definitely an aid to help us get a more correct exposure of your photos ... is it 'perfect' - No, but it is much better than checking your image's exposure in your camera's LCD.