Tuesday, December 29

FCCP: #6 Lightroom Learning Series - Develop Module 2015 - 2016 ... jumping in!

The 12/29 meeting at Suite 4K expanded on last week's Intro to the Develop Module by exploring in more detail the Panel Modules and sub-Modules. Jeff edited several photos demonstrating the many tools of Basic, Detail. Lens Correction and the Effects modules and as always hosted member Q&A. 

.. The Basic Panel sub-module initiates the workflow in the Develop Module (under the Histogram display. See Basic Panel Tips
.. The Detail Panel sub-module provides key sharpening tools: Amount, Radius, Detail and Masking.
.. The Lens Correction sub-module is another tool used to correct various optical issues commonly seen on all lenses.
.. Jeff continued with sub-modules: Split Toning, Effects, Camera Calibration 

In the Panel reviews (that can only be appreciated by attending the meeting), below are tips keyboard and Toolbar tips:
.. 'T' turns the Toolbar On and Off
.. 'E' brings up the Loupe View (single image)
.. 'G' returns application to the Grid view in the Library
.. 'Y/Y' provides a before and after view of edited image
.. 'P or X' allows you to Pick or Reject the current image in Loupe View (same as using the two flags in the Toolbr)
.. '**' Star ratings are one of several tools used to rate your photos. There is no set criteria for their application, however, it is recommended the user establish their own criteria apply ii (i.e. 0 = no edit, 1 = delete, 2 = maybe ...)
.. 'Color Tags' is an additional organizing tool (again, define your own critieria 

Throughout this review of the Develop Module all of the adjustment tools were used in many configurations. Here is a short overview crop, spot removal, red eye, gradient filter, radian filter, adjustment brush. More to come ...

Friday, December 25

Change Your Perspective

Jay Maisel says we should think about what we are shooting and ask ourselves 'how can I shoot this scene or subject to make it special?'. Reading about changing one's perspective (or better yet, asking myself how do I shoot a subject that captures the subject differently) I recalled a photo series that 'viewed' a basketball tip-off from underneath. So why not try it? One shot provided by a FCCP member straight on and the other from underneath looking up!

Wednesday, December 23

FCCP 100 Killer Tips

This year I joined the Florida Center for Creative Photography (FCCP). I actively participated in Meet-ups, Lightroom classroom training and Photo walks with a great group of members. Looking back, I honestly have to say that my understanding of photography composition, camera features and post-process editing has increased enormously ... and it is becoming a passion.

I have collected many notes and tips over the year and want to share them. Click the link the FCCP 100 Killer Tips.

Tuesday, December 22

FCCP: #5 Lightroom Learning Series 2015 - 2016 Develop Module Intro

Monday's (12/21/15) meeting continued FCCP's 2015 - 2016 Lightroom Series with an introduction to the Develop Module. Jeff provide an overview of each of the Panels and briefly touched on the Tools within each Panel - enticing the attendees to want more! Over the next several (4-5) weeks, Jeff will go into detail on all the tools. Something anyone interested in learning Lightroom SHOULD NOT MISS!

Below, I have attempted to capture several key highlights from the meeting and also provide members with other highlights of Jeff's Develop Module series captured in November's meeting on MyDigitalPhotoJourney Blog.

.. Expand view of photo and remove left and right Panel by using Tab
.. Further expand view of photo and remove all Panels and Toolbars (top and bottom) by using Shift + Tab
.. Just remove the Toolbar by pressing 'T'

Left Panel

Presets - Adobe provides several default presets you can use. Simply open Presets, then press/click Preset Group name and then using your cursor, scroll through the individual Presets Adobe provides and view in Navigator the effect that would be applied. When you find one you like Click and Apply. Note: you can also create your own..that you have post-processed. Click the '+' and rename if desired. You can then at any time revisit that image view at the time captured.

Snapshot - a Snapshot is a freeze-frame of your photo at that moment in time. I can see that during post-process you want to experiment, yet you do not want to scroll through lots of history, Snapshot may be the answer. Read more here Snapshot

History - History is just what it's name implies. It is an ongoing chronology of any and all edits made to an image starting at Import. History is forever.

Collections - Collections are Adobe's answer to those of us who are folder-holics (IMHO). Collections provides a powerful alternate to 'only' folders and has 'Search' capability that allows you to search all your Collection titles.
A tip Jeff shared is to create a Smart Collection named 'No Keywords' or 'Not Rated' and use that as a repository for future post-processing activities (knowing those Collections contain photos you have not vetted or reviewed)

Histogram - the Histogram shows any photo that is in Loupe view. You cannot remove the Navigator, only hide it, but it provides a great tool especially when scrolling through History or Presets (above). To the right of the Navigator twirl, view are options are available. We will learn more on these views, but Jeff noted, select 1:1 and at most 1:2 sizing when working in the Detail tool (in the right Panel)

Right Panel

The Right Panel contains the key editing tools starting with the Histogram. An important and 'first look' tool to check if your image has blown out backs and highlights (whites). More to come as Jeff goes into detail on the Right Panel
The tools, options and details that are available in the Right Panel could fill a book. At this point, and in anticipation of the next 3-5 weeks, it is best to say we will learn more than we can absorb in this Get Acquainted to the Develop Module overview meeting.

... and since we are talking about Panels, here is a Lightroom Guide to Panel Tricks to review.

Sunday, December 20

Photography Life's A6000 Recommended Settings

"The Sony A6000 has a myriad of settings that can be confusing to understand, so the below information is provided as a guide for those that struggle and just want to get started with a basic understanding of these settings." See Recommended Sony A6000 Settings

Tuesday, December 15

FCCP: #4 Lightroom Learning Series 2015 - Import Photos

The House was Packed!... the FCCP meeting was standing room only on Monday Dec 14th. This meeting concluded the Library review and we moved to Lr's Import features. To import photos, navigate to Import via File > Import and Videos. When the Import screen appears there are four (4) options for importing photos:
1. Copy as DNG: convert to Adobe RAW ( not necessary)
2. Copy: copies files from SD card, Compact Flash onto drive (and leaves orginals on source 'in case'
3. Move: used to actually 'move' photos from one drive/location to another, ( used rarely)
4. Add: allows Lightroom to note or record into database where the source photos reside

After navigating to the location of your photos (SD, external drive, folder on computer, etc.) the right 'panel' of the Import Module will open and show features avaialable for one of the above four import options above. Below are few Tips and Notes from the meeting:

File Handling drop-down
.. Always check 'Don't Import Suspected Duplicates'
.. Select 'Minimal' in Build Previews for improved performance
.. If shooting RAW plus JPEG (Lr sees these as duplicates) - use Preferences > General. select 'Treat JPEG files next to RAW ...'
.. For added backup protection select Make a Second Copy during import (remember external drives are inexpensive)
.. If you are NOT a folder-holic select Add to Collection during import (see other posts related to Collections versus Folders in Lightroom)

File Renaming

.. Tip:use Template 'Date-Filename'

Apply During Import

.. Keywords, Keywords, Keywords - very important
.. Note: the use of Keywords is NOT to be able to narrow photo search to the one photo. However, Keywords in combination with Ratings, Colors and Metadata search you are able to narrow thousands of images to a group to scan and select the desired photo
.. Below the photo view you can select Sort (most common is Capture Time)
.. One trick is to use the Thumbnail slider to see more or fewer photos


.. Here is your decision point. first, you select the drive destination; then you can decide either to select the Pictures folder or create ONE subfolder under Pictures i.e. Lr Photos, RAW photos as your destination with the 'acceptance' that you will utilize Collections as your folder structure. Alternately, you can choose and existing subfolder or create a new subfolder s your destination for the import.

Other Tips when in the Library View: See toolbar above the Photo Filmstrip
Use 'E' to access Loupe View and 'G' for Grid View
XY Compare View   when you want to compare similar images for Sharpness
Survey View is another tool to compare several photos
Remember: right click this tool bar to edit or change what tools you want visible

Thursday, December 10

Background Matters (lesson learned: shoot the entire scene)

In a recent family cruise I wanted to capture a few 'posed' images of the grandchildren. So in the midst of many guests walking around and through my setup, I asked everyone to line up in front of a 'blank' wall. Oops! I concentrated solely on the subject I was trying to capture and not the entire scene - foreground, subject and background. Lesson learned! So what did I learn? Two things: Set up the whole scene and Check the Background. My options: blur the background in Lightroom, crop out the distracting background, maybe remove the background from the photo and insert a plain background.

Wednesday, December 9

FCCP: #2 Lightroom Learning Series 2015 - The Library Module (Part 2)

Jeff continues his review of the Lightroom Learning Series 2015 - the Library (right Panel discussion) called Part 2. 

Now after the photos have been imported into Lightroom either directly from the camera, SD card or  from a folder and/or location on your drive (see
 How to Import Photos into Lightroom), we can now engage the right panel. Below I will share key highlights/tips shared.


.. the Histogam should be open all the times (contains basic image information)
.. Quick Develop is a minimized Develop Module for 'quick' processing and fast Develop adjustments through set adjustments vs. sliders
.. Quick Develop adjustments are saved and displayed in the Develop Module
.. any changes made can be quickly reversed using CTRL or CMD Z
.. Keywording is a key organization features. Every photo contain some minumum number of Keywords to allow you to find that photo
.. Keyword suggestions are the 9 most used Keywords
.. Metadata contains information that is automatically collected by your camera and assigned to each specific photo, called EXIF data
.. consider adding Title and Caption text information for advanced text searches 

For those who prefer visually seeing the features Jeff shared, check out the short video Library Right Panel Display and Navigation

Filters: the real organization power within Lightroom rests within Filters. When in Grid view, you will see several filters at the top of the view window: Text (fully searchable text of Keywords and EXIF data), Atributes (Flag, Rating Color, Metadata (customizable columns and search elements) and None (Finding Photos Using Filters. 
Adobe offers a short video on Using Filters to Quickly Find Photos.

Note: as with any tutorial or YouTube, each author has their own style and approach. You should do as I do and use these resources for information and understanding and then determine what works best for you.

Tuesday, December 8

Framing: a Composition Technique

Framing is the technique of drawing attention to the subject of your image by blocking other parts of the image with something in the scene. Using framing in composition: 

1. gives the photo context (can tell you something about the place you are by the architecture, foliage, etc.).

2. gives images a sense of depth and layers (puts something in the foreground which adds an extra dimension to the shot).
3. leads the eye towards your main focal point (can not only draw the eye into a picture but that it keeps it there longer)
4. intrigues the viewer (can leave viewer wondering what is behind your frame).

Here is a site with framing examples:  Framing - Photography Composition 

Framing is simply using other objects in your photograph to frame the main subject. This is probably one of the easier composition techniques in photography. Framing brings more depth to the picture and a better focus on what the main subject is.

The benefits of framing pictures include:
1. giving the photo context (framing a scene with an archway can tell you something about the place you are by the architecture of the archway)
2. giving images a sense of depth and layers (in essence framing a shot generally puts something in the foreground which adds an extra dimension to the shot).
3. leading the eye towards your main focal point (‘frames’ can draw the viewer into the picture just by their shape and keep the viewer's attention there longer).
4. intriguing your viewer (Sometimes it’s what you can’t see in an image that draws you into it as much as (if not more than) what you can see in the picture. Clever framing that leaves those viewing your image wondering a little or imagining what is behind your frame can be quite effective (get it wrong and it can also be quite annoying!).

Sunday, December 6

iPhone Photo versus A6000 Photo

I had a great photo shoot with the FCCP group at the Clearwater Library roof for a sunset opportunity. I have been always pleased with the quality of the iPhone so I decided to shoot (almost) similar photos with both 'cameras'. The first is the iPhone and the second (right hand image) was taken with the A6000 with some Lightroom post-processing. (see 10 Quick Tips for Better Photos with the iPhone)


Initial Conclusion: Sharpness and Clarity much better with A6000. But the lesson is always keep your mobile phone with you always. Remember "the best camera is the one you have with you".

Tuesday, December 1

FCCP: #2 Lightroom Learning Series 2015 - The Library Module

This week's meeting (Nov. 30th) introduced the first of Lightroom's Modules called the Library Module. 

Modules Overview: Adobe initially started with a set of core tools in Lightroom. Over years, it has been increasing the number of modules and enhancing their functionality with each new version. Each module went through a number of significant changes as well – existing tools have been enhanced and new tools have been introduced. Starting with Series 2 (this DIY Meetup event) Jeff will be reviewing each Module in more detail.

The Library Module is one of two core Modules users will be spending the most time in. The Library Module is there to help you organize and manage photographs. Everything you need to find, import, sort and organize photographs is here. Navigation options are located on the left-side panel. This panel grants access to all images within the current Catalog. You can also choose to browse them by source Folder or Collection. You can publish your images to online services with the help of “Publish Services” tab at the bottom of the left-side panel.

In the left Panel we have at our disposal multiple tools (Library Module - Left Panel) including: Navigator, Catalog Tab, Folder Tab, Collections Tab, Publish Services Tab, and the Import and Export tabs.

The meeting's full discussion, questions and insight of the Library Panel cannot be adequately captured here, and I strongly recommend that members and guests attend the Monday night meetings. I will offer below some of the key tips shared at the meeting and suggest you also visit the links highlighted in this Event description for more information.

Jeff's Tips:
1. Keep the Navigator open at all times (if you hover the film strip at the bottom, the Navigator window will change)
2. In the Navigator, use the 1:1 selection option when doing critical work in the Develop Module (for ease, Jeff also suggests using 2:1 in the drop-down/twirl)
3. In the Panel right-click and be sure 'Solo Mode' is enabled
4. Create and use one Catalog ... did I say ONE catalog!
5. Take advantage of and use Collections versus Folder-in-Folder organizing (Note: Collections allow placement of photo(s) in multiple grouping for improved locating ability (i.e. a photo of my Grandson can be placed in Collection named Family, Robbie, Disney, Vacations, etc) without requiring duplicate copies of that same photo in similarly named folders)
6. Explore and utilize Quick Collections and Smart Collections for quick, easy and productive organizing
7. In Lr CC 2015, Adobe introduced Collections Search - excellent!
8. Need Shortcuts? use keyboard CTRL + / or Command + / (when in a specific Module) and launch shortcut tips for the active module
9. Tim shared a link on the FCCP website where you can download PDF for Keyboard Shortcuts

More Collections 
Kelby - How I Use Lightroom Collections
Digital Photography School - 8 Things to Know About Collections 

Sony A6000 Resources

Sony Support Page Useful Info

Sony Download Page (slight duplication of above)

Sony Help Guide

A6000 Camera Settings Guide

Link to A6000 Friedman Book

A6000 Help Guide (UK)