Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Some Lightroom Shortcuts

By hitting the F key twice the screen view can be expanded on the top and the bottom. This is useful when looking at a vertical photograph. It will make the photograph appear a little larger when viewing an image in the Navigator mode of Fit. Hit F again to go back to the original view.

By hitting the L key twice everything is blackened out except for the image. This is useful when all the controls become a distraction. Hit L again to go back to the original view.

© 2012 Paul Light all rights reserved

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tabbed Window Removal in Photoshop

Photoshop does not need to be used with tab windows. To get rid of these go the Photoshop menu

Photoshop > Preferences > Interface
From “Panels and Documents” uncheck the “Open Documents as Tabs” option

© 2012 Paul Light all rights reserved

Monday, February 27, 2012

Photography Books vs Online Photography Presentations

Photography, as is all art, is becoming more democratic. Photography was first embraced by museums and book publishers and then galleries and now there is a new set of distributors of art online widening the audience. Who are they are and what they have to offer is still unclear. But it is clear they will become a major player in the distribution of photography as art. I have nothing against paper photography books or prints, but I have become increasingly aware that when I show someone a photograph whether it is my own or someone else's that it is on a computer or a mobile device most of the time. Online presentation reaches a much larger audience than galleries, museums are books.

Once someone determines how to monetize this new means of distribution, the number of players should increase and this could become the main way that all people are exposed to photography as art. I don't see this as much of a danger to the print market but this may seriously impact photography manuals and monographs in the same way that eBook fiction and non-fiction are currently challenging paper fiction and non-fiction. This change is already evident in the manual segment of the market. It has been a long time since I have bought a photography manual in paper and can't think of any reason why to ever do so again. There are no eBook monographs showing the work of photographers at the level of Andreas Gursky, Cindy Sherman or Jeff Wall. If and when this day comes it should be very interesting to see how their audiences respond.

© 2012 Paul Light all rights reserved

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lightroom Photographs Folder Storage

Recently while editing a photograph I got the message that my hard drive was almost full. I knew it was time to remove my Lightroom photographs folder from the internal drive to an external drive. Thanks to David Marx and two of his free video tutorials

I was able to understand how to do this. I was also very impressed how when I emailed him I got a response in less than an hour. His website

looks like a great source of Lightroom information. I'm sorry that I ever put my folder of Lightroom photographs on the internal drive. I shoot exceptionally slowly and filled up a lot of the internal drive of my computer very quickly.

© 2012 Paul Light all rights reserved

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Photoshop Starting Point

Photoshop is exciting and intimidating simultaneously. It is exciting because of all the amazing image editing options available within one program. It is intimidating because it is easy the spend a week setting up the program to process the first image. When I began using Photoshop in the mid 1990s I wasted countless hours trying to set the program up for perfect editing. What a waste of time. I somehow thought this was necessary to get even the most minimal results from the program. I now think it is better to jump into the program and refine the usage of it as it gets easier to understand the program.

Begin by transferring the camera photographs to the computer. Use a card reader rather than a connection cord. It's inexpensive and faster. That's probably why many new computers come with a built in card reader.

1 Choose a file to edit
2 Make a copy of the file by going to the the File menu and choosing Duplicate
3 Drag the copy file to the Photoshop icon to open it. Once it opens make the following changes.
4 Under the Image menu> select Image Size> Uncheck Resample Image Box. Change resolution to 360. Click OK
5 Under the File menu>select Save As. A dialog box type of window will appear. Go to Where and from the drop down menu choose Desktop. Go to Format and from the drop down menu choose TIFF. Click Save. A dialog box will open titled TIFF Options. Under Image Compression choose LZW. Click OK. A new TIFF will open and automatically close the JPG file. The file will appear on the Desktop. If not printing the image skip this step.
6 Under the Edit menu>select Convert to Profile. Under Destination Space there is a Profile submenu. From this pull down menu select Pro38 WCRW. Click OK.

If not printing choose Adobe RGB (1998). Pro38 WCRW" refers to the printer and the paper. In this example the printer is an Epson printer and Epson Watercolor Radiant White paper. Every printer and every paper has a different profile.

7 Go to the Image menu> select Mode> set for 16 bits per channel.
8 Adjust file in Levels

To adjust the brightness and contrast of a black and white image, or to adjust the brightness and color balance of a color image, Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Levels. "Levels" opens a complex window with several buttons and a graph. The graph is called a histogram and is showing the tonal range of the image with the shadows on the left, the midtones in the middle and the highlights on the right. The 3 little triangles running along the line below the histogram are referred to as the input sliders. The color of each one (black, gray and white) shows what part of the tonal range that each one represents. There are 3 boxes above the histogram showing the numerical representations of every tone in the image. 0 is jet black and 255 is paper white.

Begin by moving the either of the end sliders to modify the shadows and highlights. It does not matter as to whether the black or white slider is moved first. When the shadows and highlights look right adjust the midtone slider. For the midtones move the midtone input slider to the left to lower the contrast and to the right to increase the contrast. Click on the OK button to complete the procedure and then save the image.

If everything was done right the photograph should look better than before the editing. A camera can only capture part of the image. Every photograph looks better after editing.

If putting the image online rather than printing continue as follows

2 Go to the “Image” menu
3 Choose “Image size” and a window will open named “Image Size”
4 Go to the “Document Size box"
5 If the size is displayed in anything but inches, use the pull down menus to change the width and height to inches and the resolution to pixels/inch
6 All 3 of the boxes below this should be checked
7 Change the long side to 7. This will change the other dimension automatically. So if you change the width to 7, the height will change automatically. For some online posting a size bigger than 7 is better.
8 Change resolution to 72 and click on OK. This is screen resolution, so nothing is gained at a higher resolution.

© 2012 Paul Light all rights reserved

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lightroom Develop Module

Many photographers find Lightroom to be a better starting point for image editing than Photoshop. Lightroom is designed specifically for photography. Photoshop is not. Lightroom cost less, renders images faster, has easy to use editing sliders, offers easier sorting options than Bridge and is suitable for professional photography. The Develop module in Lightroom and Camera Raw in Photoshop offer many of the same options.

Lightroom cannot be used for photo compositing, but it works great for changing contrast and color. I generally start with the Recovery slider, although if the photograph is too dark or too light I then begin with the Exposure slider. If the photograph is excessively warm or cold I begin with the Temp slider. The Recovery slider must be used by holding down the Option key while moving the slider. The photograph will then appear black with some light areas. The light areas are highlights that are excessively light. If the whole area is black, there are no excessively light highlights and therefore no need to use this slider. Sometimes the slider can be moved to 100% and not eliminate all of the excessively light areas.

I do not use Fill Light, Blacks, Brightness or Contrast very often, although I have found these to be very helpful when editing photographs shot with very sensors like those found in cellphone cameras.

The Clarity and Vibrance sliders seem to add some extra punch to most photographs. This is generally the extent of my editing in Lightroom.
© 2012 Paul Light all rights reserved

Monday, February 13, 2012

Editing JPG files in Camera Raw

1 Go to Photoshop>Preferences>File Handling. A window will open.
2 Go to the section of the window labeled File Compatibility. Click on Camera Raw Preferences. A new window opens.
3 Go to the bottom section labeled JPEG and TIFF Handling. Under the JPEG option change from "Automatically open JPEGs with settings" to "Automatically open all supported JPEGs"
4 Close Photoshop and reopen to activate this change in file handling.

© 2012 Paul Light all rights reserved

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Setting Up Lightroom on a Mac

1 Open Lightroom
2 Go to the Lightroom menu and choose Preferences
3 When the Preferences window opens the options at the top from left to right are General, Presets, External Editing, File Handling and Interface
4 Below this is are two setting options. They should both be checked.
5 Moving down to the next choice "Default Catalog" choose "Load most recent catalog"
6 For "Import Options" check only "Show import dialog when a memory card is detected". This covers the General option.
7 Go back to the top and choose Presets
8 Check "Apply auto mix when first converting to black and white"

For everything else leave at the default settings.

Some useful key strokes

Press L key twice> limits display to just the image
Tab key>image fills display but leaves film strip on bottom
Shift+Tab keys > image fills display without film strip on bottom

© 2012 Paul Light all rights reserved