Friday, February 26

Mac: Basic Photo Resizing for Social Media Sites

Your Mac’s Preview app doesn’t only contain PDF-editing features, it’s a great little image editor, too. Preview offers basic tools for cropping, resizing, rotating, annotating, and otherwise tweaking images. See Mac Preview.

Monday, February 22

FCCP: Import and Develop Module Refresher

With Jane at the controls, the Feb 22nd meeting at Suite 4K provided an opportunity for all to re-visit and refresh themselves on the features and tools within the Import and Develop Modules of Lightroom that were of most interest. 

Since this was a hands-on review meaning actual member's photos were imported and post-processed. The meeting summary below includes links to previous web tutorials and videos that were shared in meeting summaries on the FCCP site and My Digital Photography Journey blog. The topics of most interest by those in attendance are highlighted below.

.. Importing Photos: How To Import
.. Smart Previews: Using Smart Previews
.. Collections: The Library / Import, Catalog, Collections and Folders
.. Removing 'distractions: Adjustment Brush, 60 Second Post Process
.. HDR in Lightroom: Three Options, Faux HDR

Again, remember. Links above refer to authors who share 'their' approach and understanding of the tools and features n Lightroom. Lightroom is robust yet flexible, allowing YOU to create your own workflow that works for you! 

Saturday, February 20

Getting + and - Feedback of My Photo

I used one of my photos as a test balloon to my photography group - FCCP, for obtaining critical, yet positive feedback on a photo I have taken recently. It sounds easy, but we all (overtly or covertly) really do not like to hear negative feedback on anything you took your own time and effort to produce. But ... what the heck, nothing ventured - nothing gained. Bottom line - I received feedback and frankly, I learn a few things that I will share. Below is the image and the feedback:

The feedback included

1. Like the composition and angle
2. Flag adds focus and draws eye
3. Soften waves w/longer exposure
4. Add 'pop' by adding saturation 
5. Lower exposure/get more highlights
6. Like the 'lines' from corner
7. Add caption or title for the photo
8. Is the subject waves, pier or flag?
(Well, a win - no distractions noted !!)

Friday, February 19

Exploring HDR Inside of Lightroom CC 1-2-3

HDR (high dynamic range) is the 'hot' post-process more and more individuals consider using to capture all the details of a scene (that your eye would see and the camera typically cannot capture). It is accomplished by taking (at least) three photos - one under exposed, one at camera exposure, and one over exposed to capture the detail in the highlights, mid-tones and shadows. These three photos are merged into one Raw compatible format that can be further edited in Lightroom to your heart's content. Below are three sources to learn more info that can help you enter the HDR world without purchasing 3rd party software Photomatix or Aurora. 

First, see what using one RAW image can accomplish .. Faux-HDR
Then check Adobe's tutorial using Lightroom CC: High Dynamic Range Image
Finally, go wild in Lightroom CC .. Create Ultra High Dynamic Range

Monday, February 15

Critiquing 'Others' Photos - a discussion

Monday's (Feb 15th) meeting was a different agenda than our standard Lightroom Lessons hosted by Jeff. We opened questions and round table discussions which soon led to many topics but specifically how can we can best obtain positive feedback on our own photos shared on the FCCP website when we have an Meet-up event. Also, we spent time with Jane at the Lightroom helm sharing her experiences with HDR and Photoshop Content Aware editing.

Everyone felt that we have an opportunity to learn how to improve one's own photo composition and editing skills if we were open to positive criticism and received sincere feedback on posted images (when asked). I volunteered 6-8 photos to the group and asked for specific positive and 'negative' feedback. In this short 20 minute exercise, I learned several areas I can improve my skills including: 1) define what is my subject BEFORE taking the shot; 2) look for and avoid 'distractions' in my scene - or post process them out; 3) change my angle of capture - don't always shoot head-on; 4) use the Rule of Thirds if since I tend to always look to center every shot; 5) not every shot has to be horizontal - there is a vertical! Wow - great feedback - thanks!

We concluded that positive feedback is EXTREMELY beneficial. Therefore, if someone posts photos for any Meet-up they participated in, and if they truly would like to receive feedback ... they would add a comment such as "I am open for feedback" -or- "Please offer suggestions on how you feel I can improve the photos", etc. Now, if you decide to comment and offer feedback, it is important that you:
1. keep you feedback specific and to the point ... not a paragraph
2."nice pic, great shot, beautiful" ... does nothing to help improve skills
3. offer feedback that is about the photo and not the person
4. start with at least two positive attributes about the photo like "the composition is well positioned, I like how you framed the subject" etc. that support 
5. offer one or two comments on you feel can improve an already good photo like "my eye was drawn to the tree in the background versus the child, or I wonder how it would look as a vertical shot, etc.
... maybe more simply stated "offer feedback like you would like to receive it"

So, let's give it a try. Remember, if others see you are open to feedback they will be more likely to ask themselves.

Other meeting tips:
... Photoshop Content Aware is a useful feature for removing distractions and is integrated with Lightroom in Adobe CC
... One of the best photo re-sizer is Perfect Resize by On1 is the best image resizer on the market
... Lighten/enhance eyes in Lightroom Adjustment Brush > Click Custom > scroll down to Iris Enhance > adjust and enhance
... If you are new to HDR - use Lightroom HDR, then consider Photomatix or Audora
... Collections is not yet a universal tool for most attending. Several members shared that they use a hybrid approach: Folder and Collections where Collections hold there best photos
... Sharing photos was discussed with recommended sites and apps being:Flickr with Flickr Uploadr; PhotoVia by On1; Tackks; Mobile Lightroom

Tuesday, February 9

A 'Random Walk Down Lightroom'

Monday's meeting (Feb 9th) was an 2-hour spine-chilling episode of 'A Random Walk Down Lightroom'. Several RAW and JPEG photos provided by members were post-processed with Jeff providing attendees Q&A, rationale and reasons for tools selection, as well as Lightroom editing tips in the 2+ hour session of Lightroom Learning. Here are my notes (and reminders captured during the meeting, along with links to resources supporting meeting highlights.

A 60 Second Post-Process
  1. Decide what is the 'true' subject 
  2. Crop obvious distractions from your photo 
  3. Level or Straighten ... did I say level? 
  4. In Basis: try 'Auto' - then Keep, Delete and/or Adjust sliders
  5. In Presence: Clarity adjusts mid-tones, but with people this is little used; Vibrance adjusts contrast and has little affect on skin tones; Saturation adjusts all colors. VERY effective in Adjustment Brush.
  6. In HSL: Click Luminance and use select 'eyeball' and adjust color
  7. In Detail: If RAW image - ALWAYS add some sharpening 
  8. In Detail: If camera ISO setting was 300-400 or higher adjust for Noise
  9. In Lens Correction: Enable Profile Correction 
  10. In Effects: Slide Dehaze (left and right) to see if photo improves
  11. In Effects: End with Post-Crop Vignetting to 'darken' edges 
.. before Exporting, always verify 'sticky' settings in Export Settings Dialog Box
.. if you have a good vertical or horizontal photo - the Graduated Filter works effectively
.. if your photo has 'distractions' - you don't have to remove it all ... just do what you can using Crop, Adjust, Unsharpen AND get very familiar with the Adjustment Brush!!
.. .. Avoid objects (distractions) in the corners of your photo. Note: this can be effectively when used to position leading lines which emanate from the corners.
.. Brighten eyes by Enhancing the Iris again using the Adjustment brush

Sunday, February 7

Flickr: Combining Two Albums into One

I have several photo albums in Flickr and many images are duplicates. After researching features in Flickr, I found two 'reasonable' options.
1. Create a Collection and move all related Albums into that Collection
2. Open the album you want to contain all your photos, then in Photo Stream (all photos in Flickr) at page bottom, select all photos you want in the opened album. Once sure that all the photos are added to the open Album, Save and go back to Albums and delete (now) the Album(s) you no longer desire.
See forum dialog Combining Albums.

Thursday, February 4

Composition: 10 Photography Tips for Amazing Results

1. Declutter compositions: remove unnecessary components by framing.
2. The ‘rule of thirds’ is a well known, but does not apply to all shoots. 
3. Check your horizon. 
4. Don’t leave large empty spaces. Avoid uninteresting expanses of water or dark or very bright elements. 
5. Consider 2 or 3 compositions before a shoot. Take time and refine shoot.
6. Make both the foreground and background interesting.
7. Use leading lines like rock formations or water movement lead the eye.
8. Check the frame edges for distracting elements. Recompose if necessary. 
9. Try to keep compositions balanced to some degree, where possible. 
10. Be Critical of your own work and look at other photographers composition. 
Source: Picture Correct

Tuesday, February 2

FCCP #10: Lightroom Series 2015-2106: Develop Module 'Tips'

Tonight (Feb 1st), Jeff shared with a packed crowd at Suite 4K Studios several useful Develop Module Tips and Techniques to enhance our photos. Below are some of the take-aways and answers (not questions) to member's questions.

Export Settings Recommendation from 'Export/File Settings'
.. Move RAW images to a flash drive: choose Image Format/Original
.. Exporting Raw image as JPEG for web sharing, here are Recommended FCCP Settings:

   - choose Image Format/JPEG
   - Color Space/sRGB
   - Quality/100
   - Limit File Size To (for websites limiting file size) Check box and enter size
   - Image Sizing Resize to Fit/Long Edge and enter Pixels/1600
   -  Resolution/has no effect
   -  Output Sharpening/High 

.. 300 Pixels per inch - a 1600 pixels image provides 5 inch high res photo
.. Tip: Create Export Preset - after adjusting export settings and like to 'save', click Add (bottom left) and save User Preset
.. Tip: Use Camera Profile (see Explanation): select profile for your scene/subject  
.. Remember: Lightroom has 'sticky settings' it remembers previous slider edits
.. Tip: '\' shows before & after as does Before-After 'YY' box below edit
.. Tip: Copy/Paste/Sync settings - if you have several photos of similar scene and edited one the way you like you can apply those settings to one or several photos and then edit as you lile. See Copy/Paste or Sync. Be careful to select which settings get copied in the dialog box that will present itself when copy selected.
.. Tip: Dehaze (under Effects) is the new 'kid on the block' Jeff uses often