Monday, May 23

Quick Tip: Installing Presets in Lightroom

Here are the instructions on how to install presets in Lightroom.
1) On a Mac, on the top menu bar, navigate to Lightroom > Preferences. In Windows, you will navigate to Edit > Preferences.
2) When the Preferences box appears, select the Presets tab.
3) Click on the button labeled “Show Lightroom Presets Folder…”
4) A new window appears in Finder (Mac) or Explorer (Windows). Open the Lightroom folder, then the Develop Presets folder.
5) Copy and paste presets into this folder.
6. Restart Lightroom. New presets are located in the Develop Module under the Presets section, on the left side of the screen.
Source: FCCP - Florida Center for Creative Photography

Monday, May 16

FCCP: Develop Module - Let's Put It All Together

We completed the Develop Module Learning Series and now it is time to put it all together. Here is the Director of FCCP's work flow within the Develop Module.

After importing your images form an CD Card, Camera or other source, select the image you want to enhance and add your initial keyword and then begin:

1. Self Critique: take 1-2 minutes and critique the image by identifying distractions, looking for areas in the image that are too bright or to dark, observing any 'triangles' in the corners, noting if the photo clearly focuses on the subject, asking if there is too much detail or too little and finanally what would make this photo 'pop'

2. Camera Profile: make your first action to select the best Camera Profile by going to Lens Corrections>Camera Profile>Enable Profile Corrections>Select a desired Camera Profile from the drop down
3. Crop: selectively crop out distractions, blown out highlights, consider Rule of Thirds but not a fixed aspect ratio
4. Dehaze: add +5 to +10 of DeHaze (Effects>DeHaze)
5. Remove Chromatic Aberrations: Lens Corrections>Basic>Enable Remove CA
6. Sharpen: add Sharpening as needed (Detail>Sharpening>Radius/Detail/Masking)
7. White and Black Points: in Basic: adjust white and black points using Alt + Slider
8. White Balance: grab the eye dropper and select a white area and confirm White Balance
9. Histogram: balance Highlights, White Point and Exposure to insure no aras are blow out
10. Pop: bring Highlights down and Shadows up to add detail
11. Clarity: in Presence it does not hurt to add a touch of Clarity
12. Brush: view progress thus far and where needed use the Adjustment Brush to blur the background or blur Highlight distractions (Blur Brush - Adjsutment Brush>Clarity down>Sharpness down and noise reduction up with Auto Mask on)
13. Noise Reduction: check ISO - keyboard 'I' if under 200-300 you should be fine
14. Vignette: go to Effects>Post-Crop Vignetting and 'burn in the corners'
15. Final Check: go full screen (keyboard 'F') and do a final critique

That is what I captured from Jeff's workflow. Remember, with Lightroom there is no 'one' way to edit images. Lightroom will apply your edits in the right order from the 'recipe' you created.

As we say, there is no absolute 'right' workflow, but my second best teacher is Anthony Morganti. Check out his workflow in a 26 minute video The Develop Module Workflow

Tuesday, May 10

Photo (Self) Critique Checklist

It has been that said the most difficult thing for man to do is to judge his or her creative work, objectively.
Here is a checklist to keep in mind:

1. Intent – Could any viewer look at this photo and KNOW what you had in mind?
2. Emotional Impact – Can this photo be described with words of emotion?
3. Center of interest – When composing, do you successfully direct your viewer’s attention to a specific point? 
4. Illusion of depth – Have you used framing, balance, contrast, and other artful concepts to make your image jump off the page?
5. Subject/background contrast – Does your subject stand out?
6. Personal style – How will others describe your unique approach?
7. Selective focus – Do you choose where the viewer will look? 
8. Composition – Do you take control of where the viewer’s eyes are most likely to fall in your image?
9. Exposure – Do you always shoot at whatever the camera says, or do you take control of the light?
10. Story telling – Is there a feeling of movement within your image, or does it just sit there?
Read Photographic Standard: How to Critique Your Own Photos.

Monday, May 9

FCCP Suite 4K "Let's Put Lightroom to the Test"

Tonight, we had an opportunity to switch our learning approach - from classroom style - teacher/student to group editing, with attendees making edit suggestions on several member photos. Using the Develop Module, Jane took the helm and began enhancement recommendations 'from the crowd'. Below are essentially tips, hints and suggestions that were shared:
  1. Post-processing steps are not required to follow any specific order. 
  2. Recommendations on the web by varied authors are 'their' preferred approaches, but by no means represent 'the best way'.
  3. When Sharpening always select 1:1 in the Navigator
  4. If you find that you enjoy taking similar photos i.e. birds, landscapes, etc. and make very similar edits most of the time, consider creating a User Preset
  5. The Graduated Filter is a useful tool to improve blue skies and add a graduated tint, color or feature to an image. However, when this line tool goes beyond the area you ant to edit - use the Adjustment Brush - Erase to remove or erase overlapping changes that you do not want to apply features
  6. You can blur the background of a photo by creating a Blur Brush
  7. Note: in the latest Lr CC there exists an Auto Straighten
  8. Setting to Sharpen Birds: Sharpen to 100; Detail to 100; Radius to 0
  9. Photoshop Content Aware (generally understood to be the primary feature of Photoshop that Lightroom Kool-Aid drinkers use) was demonstrated. A great 'free' option within Adobe CC to easily remove distracting elements within your images (and 100% better than using brushes in Lightroom).
  10. Option for those that purchased Lightroom software outright - purchase Photoshop Elements version 12 and later. PS vs. PSE comparison
  11. Tip: complete all your Lightroom edits before sending the image to Photoshop for 'content aware' edits 
  12. Reminder: your primary Catalog and your backup Catalog should be on two different drives (if they are on the same drive and the drive fails = disaster)
  13. Reminder: when importing photos via the Library Module, save them on your computer hard drive and/or an external drive. However, saving them on an external drive where Lightroom knows their location, does not relieve you of backing up your photos to a drive that is in a different physical location. See Backing Up Your Catalog and Images.
  14. For additional safety and peace of mind several members use the online fee-based service called CrashPlan
    My Plan: 1) Import and Save Photos to Computer; 2) Daily Backup of Photos to Apple Time Capsule; 3) Daily (in the background) Backup to Online CrashPlan; 4) Manual Backup Monthly to an external drive of all Photos.

Wednesday, May 4

2016 Lightroom Learning - May 2nd 2016

As we near the end of this Lightroom Learning Series,  Jeff changed the student/class lecture to sharing post-process examples - emphasizing and reinforcing the lessons learned from the past 7-8 classes. It is hard (if not impossible) to capture stroke by stroke work flow steps Jeff shared. However, below I have attempted to provide a summary of those Lightroom 'gems'. Those 'gems' are below with linked references for further individual review. So, as were are still in the Develop Module here are key observations:

1. Graduated filter - Improve Your Images with the Graduated Filter 
2. Always check any Lr tool settings before using the slider(s) since many tools have sticky settings 
3. Radial Filter - Use the Radial Filter Tool
4. Blur the background with the Radial Filter Tool 
    4-1. Apply a Radial Filter around your subject
    4-2. Drop Clarity and Sharpness on the filter to low/zero
    4-3. Choose whether to drop Exposure to low as well (vignetting)
    4-4. Adjust Feather to your personal taste to control how gradual the effect is applied from around the subject matter
5. Pre Post-Process photo examination technique: Jeff shared a teaching approach for self critiquing your own photos - take the SOOC (shot out of camera) image and in 20 seconds list all the edits that would make that image a gallery photo. Now post-process! See 10 Ways to Self Critique and consider using the FCCP quarterly Photo Contest Judging Form on our FCCP Site
6. The Adjustment Brush has several useful properties. See Changing the Adjustment Brush Properties.
7. Lesson Learned: Global edits - use Basic Tools, Selective edits - use Brushes
8. Have many similar images - need to organize them - then why not try out Lightroom's Stacking Feature

Tuesday, May 3

Safety Harbor Photo Walk - Marina and Town

FCCP ran a Safety Harbor Marina Photowalk today. At first there was slight disappointment with the unexpected cloud cover at Sunrise ... but as we have learned God offers opportunities we cannot imagine. The sun came up, the colors shined and we enjoyed the canvas. The walkway photo will find a home in the Lines Collection on my website.