Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Tag Archives: Lightroom

How to use Lightroom: 8 mistakes every photographer makes

OK make that 9, this article which in general I agree with misses the first and most glaring mistake newbies ti LR make.

Setting up your system properly to make sure your images are safe and backed up, at the same time making sure your on board hard drive doesn’t give up the will to live in a few months as you stuff it with RAW images.

I teach a LR course, it is a great course even if I saw so myself, I hit the things that really matter and the first is the original set up. Most people just load LR then immediately start without paying any attention to where their images and catalogue will be stored, how the images will be filed and found and how that will be backed up. When they finally make it to my course I have to help them undo all the mess they have created for themselves.

This article from Digital Camera World is a good check on the things that can go wrong but I debate whether every photographer makes these mistakes.

Lightroom1

Keywords are an incredibly useful feature that allow you to find images quickly.

However, applying them takes a bit of discipline and forward planning.

For example, you need to give some thought to how far you breakdown keywords.

This will probably depend upon how many shots you are likely to produce of a particular subject.

SEE MORE: Lightroom vs Photoshop – why Lightroom has all the tools you need

Someone who only occasionally shoots flowers, for instance, is likely to find giving any flower pictures a keyword of ‘flowers’ sufficient, but a professional plant and flower photographer may require more detail with keywords for specific plants.

If you find that your collection of images with one keyword grows, you can always add another sub-keyword at a later date to help break it down at a later date, but it’s better to get things straight from the outset if you can.

Keywording an extensive back-catalogue of image is a pretty daunting task, so we recommend starting with new images and applying keywords as you import each new batch.

Once you’ve built up a collection of keywords you can start assigning them to older images.

Worst Lightroom mistakes: 1. Not using keywords
Worst Lightroom mistakes: 2. Moving image files outside of Lightroom
Worst Lightroom mistakes: 3. Clipped highlights
Worst Lightroom mistakes: 4. No blacks or whites
Worst Lightroom mistakes: 5. Over-adjusted Curves
Worst Lightroom mistakes: 6. Over saturating colours
Worst Lightroom mistakes: 7. Over-use of selective colour
Worst Lightroom mistakes: 8. Over-sharpening

How_to_use_Adobe_lightroom_5

Adobe Lightroom is an incredibly powerful image organisation and editing software package. With just a few clicks of your mouse it enables you to tag images and add key words so you can find them quickly and easily in the future.

It also has tools to help you correct exposure and white balance problems and adjust contrast.

Of course the downside to having such a powerful tool at your disposal is that it’s possible to make some pretty significant mistakes, especially when you’re first learning how to use it.

To help out we’ve drawn up a list of the most common mistakes that photographers make when using Lightroom and have some advice about how to get things right from the outset.

Read all the advice here

10 Reasons Why You Should Be Shooting RAW

Shooting in RAW rather than jpeg is such an advantage I am not sure why everyone doesn’t use it. OK I do understand, you will spend more time in front of a computer adjusting your images, you will need more memory cards as RAW files take up more space but that is about it. You might think your problem is that you don’t know how to process the RAW images on your computer, we recommend Lightroom, it isn’t nearly as confusing as some image manipulation programs and anyway we run a course to show you how. I only ever shoot in RAW and could not think of a situation where that would change for me. So do you want to get better quality images?

large_RAW

This article on Photography Concentrate just about says it all

You’ve probably heard over and over that you should be shooting in RAW. But do you know why it’s so important? And what it really means for your images? Let’s sort it out!
First off, what is RAW? RAW is a file format that captures all image data recorded by the sensor when you take a photo. When shooting in a format like JPEG image information is compressed and lost. Because no information is compressed with RAW you’re able to produce higher quality images, as well as correct problem images that would be unrecoverable if shot in the JPEG format.

And happily many many cameras these days shoot RAW, including point and shoots! So even if you’re using a little camera, you might still be able to take advantage of the RAW file format (just check your camera manual to see!).

So, the benefits. Let’s list ‘em out.

Get the Highest Level of Quality, Record Greater Levels of Brightness, Easily Correct Dramatically Over/Under Exposed Images

These are some of the 10 reasons you should consider shooting in RAW, go here to read the full article

 

Lightroom 5 Unmasked new ebook

From those wonderful people at Craft & Vision there is a new Lightroom ebook aimed at LR5 The previous edition for LR4 was invaluable and although LR hasn’t undergone the major changes it did from 3 to 4 if you have 5 buy this now

LR5_spreads_Cover-NewRelease

 

LR5_spreads_2

 

A Complete Guidebook to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Lightroom 5 Unmasked is a resource like no other. This PDF is full of high-resolution screenshots, step-by-step instructions, and the tips, tricks and ideas that make digital darkroom work productive and more enjoyable.

At 356-pages Lightroom 5 Unmasked is 13 chapters deep, covering everything from an introduction to Lightroom and non-destructive editing to full discussions and detailed instructions of the Library and catalogs, to every tool in the Develop, Map, Book, Slideshow, Print, and Web Modules. Download the Table of Contents.

This massive eBook also includes an amazing collection of 69 Cases which provide context and insights on the smaller topics that often get overlooked (nine more cases than the previous edition). These additional insights put the tools and features into context, helping you learn and apply what you read along the way. Every module is covered in-depth, even third-party applications and plugins are tackled head-on. Lightroom-to-Photoshop integration is also included.

At about £12.50 for more than 350 pages it is a snip

Get your copy here

Flower Photography

One thing that has become clear from the years of teaching photography is that many, many people want to take pictures of flowers. They are beautiful, colourful, delicate and last only a short time and do not answer back, be difficult, require extensive walking and can be readily available. That said it got to a point on one of our more advanced courses when I realised that half the class were only photographing flowers that I had to ban them as a subject. It was not that I dislike pictures of flowers but just that once the techniques have been mastered the main challenge is finding beautiful blooms to photograph. The impact on the class was initially concern, what were they going to photograph but once they started looking they found many things that captured their interest.

This article on Lightstalking by  Izabela Korwel explains some of the basics of flower photography. Check out Iza’s amazing macro photography on her blog,. 

All of this article is useful, I would add that most zoom lenses  that come as a basic kit with a dslr camera can close focus to about  8 inches and are great for macro/close focus work. If you want to explore this with your zoom lens put it in manual focus and set the focus ring to it’s minimum focus distance (usually when the ring is extended furthest out) then put the camera to your eye and move the camera backwards and forwards until something close comes in focus, this will be about 6 – 8 inches. Using manual focus with macro flower photography is a better way to work that auto focus because you get to decide what is in sharpest focus rather than the camera.

Here is the start of the article:

Flowers are the easy subjects to come by and to photograph, even close to home. You can go to local park or find a flower bed downtown or at the mall. You can visit a botanical garden, there is one in every major city. You can ask the neighbours if you can photograph in their garden. You can also just go the flower shop and buy potted or cut flowers, and set them up in your living room.

The easiest way, as I discovered this year, is to plant small flower garden in front of your house. Even for the sole purpose of having a photographic subject handy, they do not require that much work, especially if you choose the local wild flowers. The diversity in types and colors will help keeping you interested and returning often to add to the collection of images. Each day, the flowers will looks different, some will be already dying, and some will just start to bloom. There are new and different photos to be taken each and every day.

Click Here: How to Take Incredible Photographs of Flowers 

Lightroom Tutorials and Tips

We have recently started our first Lightroom course and it is going really well. What we have learned from our students is that many, prior to the course, hadn’t realised the vast array of processing options available through this wonderful program. Lots of people assume it is good for sorting out a bit of exposure problems or to correct colour vagaries but have not comprehended how much improvement both technical and creative Lightroom offers. I have gathered here some tutorials available on line that you will find interesting. Often, because of the space available, the tips and tutorials are more a bit, ‘do this and you will improve your pictures’ whereas when we teach we explain how and why there will be an improvement. Understanding the process is important because it gives you much better creative control and that is what we all seek.

3 Easy Lightroom Adjustments to Add Drama to a Landscape from Lightstalking

An old adage of photography is that you should try to create the image you want with the camera rather than relying on post-production. And that’s good advice. The less post you need to do on a photograph, the easier your life will be (as post-production throws up an extra set of challenges). But sometimes, for one reason or another, you might want to make your landscapes shots pop a little more by applying a little well-considered post production to them. Here are a few ways you add the drama you are looking for.

Play With the Blacks Slider – Lightroom has a convenient little slider called “Blacks” in develop mode that allows you to have more control over the contrast in your images. Dragging the slider to the right to increase your blacks will usually result in a slightly more dramatic image in landscapes owing to an increase in contrast. Be sure not to clip too much (you can see exactly how much clipping you’re doing by holding down the “option” key on a Mac or “alt” key on a PC as you use the slider with your mouse). For a great little video on using the black slider, check out this tutorial.

Click Here: 3 Easy Lightroom Adjustments to Add Drama to a Landscape

Using Lightroom 4 to Recover Almost Unusable Photos from Lightstalking

Adobe Lightroom 4 has some significant changes within its develop module that gives us photographers several new impressive tools when post-processing images. Adobe came out with a new image process version (2012) which is basically the image processing engine behind Lightroom and Photoshop’s Adobe Camera Raw plug-in. This new process version provides many significant updates, including more options when making local adjustments and the new highlights and shadows sliders (which essentially replaces the recovery slider in Lightroom 3). Because of these new powerful features in Lightroom 4 we can now, with much greater ease, recover those photos which we may have thought were unusable.

Tumihay the Hunter (before Lightroom 4 post-processing and then after) by Jacob Maentz

How to Import Photographs into Lightroom By on Lightstalking

Before you can truly harness the power of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, the most essential thing you must know is how to import your digital photography files into a catalog. As mentioned in the previous tutorial, Lightroom is a modular based program where you can organize, develop, print, share and display your photography, among many other things. In order for Lightroom’s vast number of features to be useful to you, you must first import your images into a catalog so you can work on them. The importing process is done via the “import dialogue box.” There are two ways to quickly access the import dialogue box:

There are endless numbers of site offering advice as well as the excellent Lightstalking here are some of my favourites  you might like to check out:

Adobe Tutorials

Lightroom Queen

Presets Heaven

A Killer Collection of Adobe LightRoom Tutorials

Lynda.com

 

Lightroom 4 ebooks

We are about to start our new course on Lightroom 4 (we have places, if you are interested please email). This is a fantastic program and one we use every day, it is invaluable if you shoot RAW for conversion purposes and a really great piece of library software to organise your images, I would be lost without it. There are a couple of ebooks we recommend from the Craft & Vision stable, we also like Craft & Vision very much, if you want to see all of their publications click on the box on the right of this page.

Essential Development

20 Great Techniques for Lightroom 4

ED_Spread_1 ED_Spread_Cover_2

Lightroom keeps changing, and most of us don’t have time to dig around under the hood to learn it all. Essential Development is no-holds-barred guidebook that can help you explore, modify, and dig deep into the Lightroom 4 tools you need to make your post-processing efforts more productive and produce the final images your portfolio deserves! The eBook is divided into 20 chapters, focused entirely on the Develop module, covering topics such as: Understanding The Histogram, Making White White, Beauty Retouching, Dodge & Burn for Beauty, Cross Processing, Achieving a Filmic Look, Image Toning, Tilt Shift, Effective Sharpening, and Correcting Lens Issues. Click on the pages above to buy at $5 (£3.

Lightroom 4 Unmasked

A Complete Guidebook to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

LR4-Spread_1 LR4-Spread_4-1

 This one is a big ebook and costs a bit more $20 (£12.70) but this is a complete guide to Adobe Lightroom 4 and we know you’ll love diving into this beefy book. At 312 spreads this PDF is full of high-resolution screenshots, step-by-step instructions, and the tips, tricks and ideas that make digital darkroom work productive and more enjoyable. If you’re looking to learn Lightroom 4 and need a resource to help you do that quickly, or you’ve just upgraded and need to get up to speed, this is a great value. Click here to buy this and download it immediately

Learn Lightroom 4 ebook

I am regularly asked if we run a course on Lightroom and it is something we plan but if you can’t wait for our return from Australia to OSP towers you might want to buy this very cheap ebook and get started yourself. I have always been super impressed with Craft & Vision books and have bought just about everyone they put out. They are full of excellent technical detail, inspiring ideas and are beautifully illustrated.

LIGHTROOM 4 UNMASKED
This is a complete guide to Adobe Lightroom 4 and we know you’ll love diving into this beefy book. At 312 spreads this PDF is full of high-resolution screenshots, step-by-step instructions, and the tips, tricks and ideas that make digital darkroom work productive and more enjoyable. If you’re looking to learn Lightroom 4 and need a resource to help you do that quickly, or you’ve just upgraded and need to get up to speed, this is a great value.

This rather expansive ebook with 312 pages costs just £12 or $20, get further details and purchase here

Lightroom 4 and Black and White

A week isn’t worth having unless I have time to visit some of my favourite sites on the web. One of these is  by David du Chemin. David duChemin is a world & humanitarian assignment photographer, best-selling author, international workshop leader, and accidental founder of Craft & Vision. When not chasing adventure and looking for beauty, David is based in Vancouver, Canada.

This week I found an article he had written about Lightroom 4 and black an white conversions, here is a bit of what he says:

One of my favourite improvements in Lightroom 4 is the ability, in the graduated filter and the adjustment brush, to dial in colour temperature and tint……It’s worth remembering that in Lightroom you aren’t really working on a monochrome image. You’re working on a colour image with a monochrome filter on top. So moving the colour values around underneath that filter – either with temperature or with the channel mixer (Black and White Mix) – will change the tonal values you see in the resulting image. Different tonal values, different contrasts, and different visual mass – in other words, a different feel for the image, and new ways for us to hone our expression. Want more read on here

©David duChemin

How to Choose Your Next Photo Laptop

What to look for when choosing a laptop computer for serious digital photo processing. by Andrew Darlow.……on Photo.net If you are in the market for a new laptop (a.k.a. notebook) computer, you are not alone. More photographers than ever are choosing laptops in addition to a desktop computer, or making a laptop computer their primary computer. A few reasons for making a laptop a primary computer are as follows: major processor performance boosts in recent years; decreased weight; increased storage capability; higher RAM limits; better screens and enough specs and features to make most photographers’ head spin. Plus, due to the nearly constant updates to applications, security patches, and applications like iTunes, it’s often just easier to use the same computer at home, in the studio and when traveling. Another option, thanks to recent advances, is to keep a high-powered laptop or desktop at home, while a lightweight, yet still powerful machine is taken on the road for card downloads, backups, image viewing, etc……READ more of this extensive article here

You might also like to check out the less specific for photographers, Laptop Review site

Black and White City Photographs

In some ways photographing in black and white has never been easier. In the past the usual places that would develop your films such as chemists and other high street stores made a real hash of black and white. Now with digital technology you can shoot black and white or monochrome in your camera although my preference is always to shoot RAW, and hence colour and make the conversion in the computer, I use Lightroom as my preferred RAW processing program. If you want to see the image in black and white on the camera monitor but still record in RAW many cameras do allow this. On Canon cameras you can go into Picture Style and select monochrome but in the menu under Quality select RAW. I am sure it must be possible with Nikon’s I just don’t know how to do it being a Canon user.

The subject matter for black and white can be as varied as you want but often urban environments give a bit  extra when shot in monochrome. This article on the Lightstalking website expresses that and has lots of examples.

Heading out with a camera in the city can be a heap of fun. Street scenes and architecture can produce some great scenes for photographers and when you shoot with black and white in mind, the results can be very powerful. We think these shots show what we mean. Share your own in the comments!

Here is a taste of what is on offer

Click Here: 27 Powerful Street and City Scenes in Black and White