For years and years, Adobe has kept a wall between Lightroom Classic and Photoshop. There were a huge number of functions that could only be accessed with Photoshop, meaning if you are doing the main bulk of your editing in Lightroom Classic, you had to send that image to Photoshop to do things like selections or masking.
I expect this paradigm emerged from the idea that Lightroom was originally designed for bulk editing and organization, while Photoshop has been the graphic-artists’ go-to application.
Just this year, Adobe has taken Lightroom Classic to new, and very welcome levels, including a very effective AI-powered “denoise” function, and a pretty decent “selection” pallet.
I had a chance to use the selection tools recently, on an image I made in the early morning while driving to work.
The morning was mercifully cool, with soft light on the ground coming from a very interesting sky.
I got out of my car and tried to photograph a quickly-fading rainbow, but as I worked it, my eye was drawn to my car, with the mowed green grass and deep green woods along the highway. I made a few frames, and while I liked them, I knew I would need to edit them to get a product I could use.
As I drove away, I started thinking about how to do this. Run it through an HDR app like Photomatix Pro? Use the dodge and burn tools in Photoshop? What might Lightroom have to offer? Didn’t I see some new selection tools earlier this year?
I opened my images in Lightroom and went right to the image I wanted to edit, and clicked on the “masking” button, then clicked “select sky.” I was pleasantly surprised at home effective it was. That allowed me to darken and enhance the sky, then by inverting the selection, lighten the lower part of the image. In the past, selections required a lot of refinement, by hand.
So if you are a Lightroom Classic user, these selection tools are an exciting development in editing.
Wednesday, April 19, 2023 began as most Oklahoma spring days do, with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms, and a marginal risk of severe thunderstorms.
As it happened, fellow photographer Robert Stinson was visiting from Tulsa to do some photographic negatives scanning and archiving. We took a dinner break, and when we stepped out of the restaurant we discovered that the evening sky was maturing into something photographable, so we sprang into action.
Our first stop was the Ada Regional Airport, so we could use the Beechcraft Bonanza on display at the entrance as a compositional element, and it worked out pretty well.
As we drove the rest of the way into Byng, we started to see lightning coming from the clouds some distance to the north. We wanted to photograph it, but the evening sky wasn’t really dark yet, so I walked my wolfhound, then thought about where I’d like to be to photograph lightning.
I put my dog in the back yard, then went inside to grab a hefty tripod and my Nikon D700 with one of my favorite lenses, the AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 on it. I set it up facing true north, but as you know, thunderstorms move, and this one was moving northeast.
If you’ve ever photographed lightning, you know how fickle it can be. By the time you get set up to shoot it, the last bolt could have faded, and you end up with images of dark blue sky.
Another factor is being sure you are safe. In Oklahoma, thunderstorms can get severe pretty quickly, and lightning itself is very dangerous.
Wednesday night’s storm, however, was an entire county to the north, and as I was photographing it, unknown to Robert and me, it was spawning a destructive tornado in Shawnee, about 50 miles away.
I turned my camera more to the northeast, as that seemed to be where the lightning was moving. I started making images with 10-second exposures at ISO 400 with an aperture of about f/8.
There were quite a few strikes, but since they were far away, they were small in the frame, so I started thinking about loading all the frames into Photoshop and blending them, which I have only done a few times.
Robert left to go back to Tulsa, so I loaded my images, more than 200 for the entire evening, into Adobe Bridge, where I selected only images that had visible lightning in them, 21 total, and opened them using Tools>Photoshop>Load Files into Photoshop Layers. I then selected all the layers in the layers pallet, and selected the blending mode “Lighten.”
Wham. It was that easy. I admit to being surprised by the result. I’ll definitely use this technique again.
I use a couple of high dynamic range (HDR) programs to give an edge to my images once in a while. I really like Photomatix Pro, but I also take advantage of HDR in apps like Lightroom Classic.
HDR works by taking highlights from underexposed images and shadows from overexposed images and blending them together. The more exposures of a single scene you have, the more an HDR program can help. I usually shoot about five images of a scene at five different exposures when I am planning to use HDR.
I tell my photography students that HDR can be very useful, but it can also wreck an image pretty easily.
I wrecked an image just today, with interesting results…
I set up to photograph a handheld Citizens Band radio in my home studio, using a combination of window light, LED lights, and, in the background, Christmas lights. I made the first exposure mostly accidentally, shot at a super-low ISO and a very small aperture, as it had been set for an entirely different scene. On the camera monitor, I saw it was almost black and might have grumbled at myself for missing the exposure. The next frame was about right, using a higher ISO and, more significantly, a much larger aperture.
When I saw the frames next to each other in Lightroom, I told myself that I would merge these images just to see how bad the result might be, and yes, it’s bad. But, I always tell myself, it doesn’t hurt to try different things.
The internet got kinda crazy years ago with HDR when it first hit the scene, but it simmered down after a year or two and became a useful tool in the toolbox.
As a professional photographer, I spend nearly as much time editing images as I do in the field shooting them. My main photo editing tool is Adobe’s Lightroom.
Most of my editing is very straightforward, leaning heavily toward preserving editorial integrity. As a result, like hopefully many photographers representing themselves as journalists, I will be producing content that tells the truth.
History is full of pictures that lie. You only have to rewind one generation to find a photograph that was used both ways, as a true record of history, and as a manipulated, tainted fabrication: the Time vs Newsweek use of the police booking photograph of O.J. Simpson. One was right out of the police files, and the other was very obviously changed to create a prejudicial, unfair, compromised impression. I’ll leave it to you to look up the offending images; it only took me 10 seconds to find them side-by-side.
To that end, I have always been hesitant to over-edit my images. It is one thing to crop an image and clean it up with color balance, noise reduction, and sharpening, and entirely another to doctor an image to fool our readers. All photography is manipulation to some degree, but I don’t doctor images for our newspaper.
Personal photography remains more flexible, especially when I am trying to create moods, atmospheres, and memories. One interesting aspect of this kind of editing is the inclusion of dozens of presets that come with Adobe’s Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, and Photoshop, with the ability to buy and install thousands more. These presets can control any aspect of editing, from white balance and vignetting, to saturation and noise reduction.
Adobe users can also create their own presets, which is the way I’ve operated in the Adobe ecosystem since my first Photoshop experience in the mid-1990s.
Downloadable, installable presets are often bundled as specific packages, like night photography presets, landscape presets, or portraiture presets.
Between having COVID in January, and being cooped up for a few days here and there with inclement weather, I’ve had the opportunity to play with hundreds of these presets, and it’s been more fun than practical. I think for most of my photography, I’ll probably stick to creating my own presets, which I hope to expand in the coming months to include better color, noise, and sharpening settings.
If you get the chance to play around with Lightroom or Photoshop presets, by all means, give it a try. It’s fun!
We all cherish memories. Many of us have fairly accurate memories, while others struggle to keep dates and people and places organized in their heads.
I believe the very best way to preserve memories is to write down the events of your life. It can be in a journal or scrapbook, as text files on your computer (preferably then printed onto paper), or in some kind of personal web presence, like an online journal or blog, some of which, hopefully, can be marked “private.”
I also happen to think that if you let social media curate your memories, you are either dead inside, or are being played by global corporations. Think about it: social media has no idea what stirs you to tears, but it does know what you buy.
I thought about this as I was enjoying a different kind of memory visit: looking through computer folders of image files from some of those great times my friends and family had over the years.
I photograph and write about all our travels, both in my journal, and here on my web site. One I visited recently was a folder of only-lightly-edited images from the first vacation Abby and I took together in 2003, The High Road. (Click it.)
It was a great time for both of us, both as a couple and photographically.
As I searched these images, I found two instances of images I had passed over at the time, two of hers and two of mine, that both looked like they would be interesting to stitch into panographs.
Abby shot with the Nikon Coolpix 885, a tiny camera I bought two years earlier as a throw-in-a-travel bag camera. When we started dating, she adopted it, and it became hers. I shot with the Minolta Dimage 7i, which I still have to this day.
Both cameras came from the start of the digital photography era, and though they have some significant technological limitations, we made some amazing images, and, most importantly, we made memories.
For some time now, I’ve been intent on making a preliminary attempt at focus stacking. It’s not critical to my work, but I often think I should add as many tools as I can to my photographic toolbox. I’m already pretty good with High Dynamic Range (HDR), which is a form of exposure stacking, so focus stacking seemed like the next move.
Stacking is a way to blend more than one image. Focus stacking is blending several images, each of which is focused at a different point. The idea is to use sharp portions of each image to create a new image with more in focus. This can be useful for landscapes that have compositional elements at locations both very close to the camera, and very far from the camera, but it is an exceptional tool when it comes to macro photography of very, very small objects, in which focus ranges are so close that depth-of-field is razor thin.
The basic process is to import images of different focus areas into Photoshop, then tell Photoshop to blend them. You can put it into search engine to find a step-by-step, which is what I did. It wasn’t at all difficult.
For this attempt, I made one image for every rifle cartridge in the image, moving focus from one to the next.
This is my first try, and it’s incredibly rough. Obviously I need to read more about how to finesse this technique, and I need to practice. There are many more applications available in addition to Photoshop, but I have Photoshop as part of my Adobe Creative Suite, so it seemed like a good place to start.
Thanks to my relationship with the Pontotoc Technology Center, I have access to all the applications in the Adobe Creative Cloud 2020 suite. This software is super powerful, versatile, and complex. The suite includes applications for photo editing, video and motion production, design and layout, augmented reality and 3D, user experience and user interface, and social media.
I am essentially a photographer, photo editor, and writer, and have literally never even opened some of these very powerful programs, though I have a cursory knowledge of Adobe Premiere Pro I made myself learn so I could integrate it into teaching a class.
For day-to-day photo editing, I use an older version of Lightroom Classic at my office every day, which I don’t love, but the newest iteration of Lightroom Classic has become my go-to photo editing application. It’s not the image-altering behemoth that Photoshop has become, but it’s easy to stay organized and work to edit images in it.
Adobe struggled with their naming conventions when advancing the suite, so Lightroom is Lightroom “web,” and Lightroom Classic is the real thing. Yeah, lame, I know.
One thing I like about Lightroom is the ability to add “looks,” in the form of presets, which are available both for purchase and for free. I can also build my own “look” presets and save them… honestly, I expect that will be how I end up using presets in Lightroom Classic.
My bigger goal, though, is to learn, learn, learn. I want to learn how to use more of these software applications, but also how they can improve my storytelling narrative. Great things are ahead!
Sometimes when I remember events in my life from when I was younger, I wonder why I didn’t take as many photos as I imagine I should have. I am, after all, a professional photographer, and I should have been the one to document that ski trip in 1990, that nighttime glow-in-the-dark Frisbee game, that beautiful 105mm lens I sold.
So why didn’t I take all those pictures back in the film era?
It wasn’t like that back then. Digital photography, particularly smartphone photograph, has created the misperception that we all need a thousand photos of our lives every day, and if you aren’t photographing every meal and every sunset, you are a flip-phone neo-Luddite.
Shooting lots of frames equalled expensive processing, or in my case, laborious darkroom work. It’s easy to forget that one of digital photography’s most revolutionary aspects is its affordability. You can shoot 10 or 100 or a 1000 images, with very little added cost. Have you priced a roll of film and the price to get it developed lately? It was expensive in 1990, too.
I actually was taking a lot of pictures. If I shot 20 frames at a friend’s birthday party, his wife might have shot three frames with her point-and-shoot.
I often feel this way about the slim number of electives I took in high school. I see kids today active in sports, farm and ranch, yearbook, web development, cheer, and more, and wonder why I wasn’t. But, it wasn’t like that back then. My school allowed one non-academic elective, and for me, it was yearbook.
I want to marry these thoughts with a trend I have been observing recently…
There is a huge hipster/millenial move right now toward shooting film. I certainly find any efforts to amp our creativity to new levels very laudable. I don’t, however, think shooting film is the way I want to go, and here’s why…
If you are scanning your film to create a digital product, you are shooting digitally. The only way to shoot completely analog is to develop your film and print your film using an enlarger. Doing otherwise creates an unnecessary and wasteful step in creating a digital image.
Photographers are feeling out-competed by a crowded market, and want to step aside and be thought of as geniuses or magicians again. I feel this, too. Rank amateurs are learning to photograph the Milky Way by watching YouTube tutorials, taking that away from professionals.
When digital arrived on the scene in the late 1990s, it was the solution to all the problems we faced with film. With film, grain was obvious at even modest ISO settings, film stuck us with one ISO setting for each roll or film, film faced the possibility of accidental exposure ruining film or paper, film required a time-consuming process that created pollutants, film only allowed a limited ability to review images in the field (Polaroids) and and film had a higher-than-digital cost per frame.
Some photographers claim they like the “look” of film. But photographers almost always make some kind of “look” edit in software to their scanned film files, usually in a way they could do better with an original digital file.
It’s absolutely true that I made many great images on photographic film during the first half of my career, but it is equally true that I heard many great songs on AM radio when I was growing up, but I haven’t tuned to an AM radio station to listen to music in 20 years.
I feel convinced that this hipster movement is just a fad. I’m certainly glad that someone out there is having fun with film, I am aware that there are reasons to keep film alive, and I am in possession of a number of great film cameras in good working order. But there are very few new film cameras being made, film is getting harder to obtain and more expensive, and when was the last time you used an enlarger to make prints in a real darkroom?
If you feel like you are struggling creatively, maybe you don’t need either film or a new digital camera. Maybe you need to find a narrative. You need to take your imaging from technical recording to storytelling. You need to push the limits of fundamentals like light and composition. Nothing between your hands will inspire you as much as anything in your heart.
I am in the middle of one of the busiest times of the year: back to school. This involves, among many other things, putting together our newspaper’s football preview section. The photography, of course, falls almost entirely on me, and involves making hundreds of images, from player headshots to team photos to features of our “players to watch.”
One of my best strategies in these crazy busy August days is to stay as much caught up with my editing as I can. As I speak, I’ve shot four football media days and one softball media day, all on top of my regular schedule, and I have edited and submitted every image. No one ever waits on Richard at my office.
This “best practice” applies to all photographers. Unedited images sitting in your camera or on a computer hard drive somewhere might as well not even exist. No one likes to wait, and editors and clients hate waiting for their pictures. Don’t believe me? Wait a month before you start to edit a wedding you shot, and enjoy the constant phalanx of phone calls and emails. “Where are our pictures?!?”
Another reason this is a best practice is that staying ahead of the ball lets you stay better organized, both mechanically and in your head. I have seen students and fellow photographers browse through thousands of images on the backs of their cameras, on their phones, or, and this is the worst, one media card after another, trying to find just one image in a sea of images. Here’s a tip. You can’t find “Johnson Wedding 2016” in your camera or on your phone, but I found “Reeves-Milligan Wedding” in just a few seconds on my laptop. I just opened a search and typed the words.
If this kind of organization isn’t your thing, it might be worth considering hiring someone to do it for you – an office manager or editing partner. Most of the complaints I hear and read about photographers are about timeliness and organization. And nothing can sour your reputation like angering your customers.
As the photographic world knows, or at least loudly claims, amateur photographers shoot JPEG files and pros shoot RAW. I know this because photographers who make these claims trumpet them loudly, often with wearable memes like “I shoot RAW” t-shirts. There are even a few pictures floating around the web of photographers wearing such gear while holding a film camera, and at least one popular webizen has dubbed film to be “real raw.”
The day your camera was born, it was set to make JPEG files. When you pulled it out of that good-new-smelling Styrofoam clamshell and charged up the battery and were ready to shoot, you were shooting JPEGs. There’s nothing wrong with that. JPEG is robust and easy to use. Almost all of the images you see on the web, and every image you see here richardbarron.net, is a JPEG file.
When I first tell my students about raw files, I explain to them that while you might like the results of shooting JPEG files, those files are married to your camera settings. If you have your camera set to “vivid” color, for example, you are stuck with a vividly-colored image. The same goes for white balance – you are mostly stuck with the white balance you set in your camera – except that you can get white balance very wrong when you are shooting. RAW files are a great way to avoid this marriage of settings. Although your RAW file might be tagged as vivid color or tungsten white balance, you can change those values as soon as you open the image.
Why is this? The biggest reason is that JPEG files contain 8 bits per channel, meaning they contain 256 brightness levels per color: red, green and blue. RAW files record 12 bits of data, creating and storing 4,096 brightness levels per color, or 14 bits, creating 16,384 different brightness levels per color. Add to this the fact that we paid for all those colors when we bought our cameras, and then throw most of them away when we make JPEGs, RAW files make even more sense.
My students and I were shooting recently on the bridge over the pond at the Pontotoc Technology Center, and ran across some beautiful light. We took turns posing for each other, and the JPEGs looked great right out of the camera. In fact, since I had my settings on vivid, the images popped beautifully, and really made a great first impression.
I shoot in many circumstances that require settling for incorrect or ugly white balance, under or over exposures, and challenging lighting scenarios (like sports and spot news), and I am always glad when I can fine tune everything back at the office.
I can’t begin to count the occasions when having a RAW file saved an image. I tell my students to start by setting their cameras to shoot both JPEG and RAW files, but as the years go by, I have less and less use for that tagalong JPEG.
In the ocean of photography, there are few waters as muddy as the use of the unsharp mask. This filter, commonly found in Adobe editing software like Photoshop and Lightroom, but also used by a myriad of other programs, uses an algorithm of contrast enhancement to, typically, increase the perceived sharpness of an image. I won’t go into to much detail about how this is accomplished, but I will give some guidelines about its use.
Unsharp mask does not add any actual detail to an image. In fact, it is somewhat destructive, particularly if overused.
Unsharp mask should never be applied to an image being archived for your files.
Unsharp mask should never be applied to an already sharp image, except…
Unsharp mask is usually a necessary step when printing images, since most printers yield images with a slightly soft look, and…
Some degree of unsharp mask can make photos for web look better on most monitors, most of which don’t display enough pixels per inch to make unsharpened images look good.
Unsharp mask will sharpen everything, not just details. It is difficult to use unsharp mask on noisy images, since it sharpens the noise along with the details.
With that said, it is possible to use a combination of noise reduction and unsharp mask together to create a usable image from a not sharp file. This combination sacrifices resolution to make an image appear sharper in print on the web.
Occasionally I can rescue a not-very-sharp image with unsharp mask. Often this is the case in my work since I shoot news and sports and sometimes get images of great moments that aren’t quite sharp. It’s easy to take it too far, or to hopelessly pound a bunch of unsharp mask into a really soft image.
I use some kind of sharpening on all the images for my web site and social media. In addition to giving my work a little more “pop” than most of the images on the web, it helps overcome the image compression algorithms used by social media sites.
Finally, don’t let any know-it-alls on the internet (including me) tell you to “never” or “always” use the unsharp mask, or tell you your use of it was somehow wrong. It is a tool in the toolbox, for use as your creativity demands.
In many of my classes, people want to know how to organize their photos. They are mostly lost about how to arrange files and folders on their computers. I’ve known many professional journalists – people who should know better – who have essentially no clue how to organize computer stuff. I don’t fault them, though, because the truth is that life in the information age is bafflingly complex, and photography is now an information technology.
[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”An unhappy social media experience…”]”Sorry facebook friends trying to get my photo’s [sic] back. Got new cell ph [sic] & when they were transfering to my new Ph [sic] they lost my STUFF. Not happy…”[/stextbox]
When I got my first professional photography jobs, in college, we organized our image files, which at the time were photographic negatives, in traditional containers like spiral notebooks or cardboard boxes. Even the busiest of us on the busiest days were unlikely to shoot more than six or eight rolls of film – maybe 300 images. I kept the same basic organization until the digital era, ending with my last photographic negatives in May 2005, the year my newspaper traded away our last film camera, a Nikon F100.
On a big news or event day now, I can shoot a thousand or more digital frames in my efforts to provide something for print, something for the web, and something apart from that for social media.
It can be baffling to look at that many images on a screen, and the temptation is to either make no effort to edit them, or to grab the best five or six from a shoot and orphan the remaining files. The worst possible option is to tell your computer to upload them all to your Flickr or SmugMug or 500px or Pinterest account, since, as I have pointed out before, no one has time or desire to look at a thousand photos of anything. And consider that if you don’t have time to look at all your photos, why would anyone else?
On our phones the situation gets even more baffling. I’ve stood in front of someone who searched her phone for two minutes or longer to show me a photo, only to finally just give up. The reason is clear: most people shoot many dozens of photos every day, then make no effort to organize them.
[stextbox id=”download” caption=”Overheard As I Wrote This…”]
“I’ve got these photos on my computer at home, but I don’t know how to get them off.”
This is one of my biggest peeves in the digital world: people who print digital photos and bring them to us to scan to make them digital. It represents, in my estimation, a kind of willful ignorance.
I discuss all this as I sit at my computer at home and work to finish folder after folder of images. It’s a pretty straightforward process of deleting the genuinely worthless images, grabbing and editing the really captivating pieces, then going back to look at the rest of what’s left behind to see if there might be a pearl among the swine. It’s not a bad workflow, but it comes with a couple of caveats. 1. As you get tired, you tend to get less clear about how you want to edit your images, and 2. If you get in a hurry, you tend to throw out more images so you don’t have to deal with them. This sort of “get finished itis” is one reason I make myself edit in random order sometimes.
I am still amazed sometimes when people come to my newspaper and ask for photographs or their family or friends, but have virtually no additional information, as if every reporter and editor remembers every word we ever published. Or maybe it’s that their world view is so myopic that they really don’t understand how much information is out there.
On our office wall at home is a rack of CDs and DVDs, all with the spines labeled clearly, with names like “Ashford Wedding 2012,” or “Perfect Ten, Anniversary 2014.” It’s an analog approach to organizing digital files, and might be worth consideration if you have difficulty keeping your computer world in order.
Getting organized might be one of the most difficult aspects of photography, as it seems to be in much of life. Don’t rely on your phone, the cloud, or someone you know. Do it yourself. Take the time to learn how. It is hard work, but in the end, it’s worth it.
For the last 15 or so years, the main terminal for delivering photographs to our audience has been the computer and its accessories instead of their predecessors, enlargers and chemicals. The interface between the photographer and the computer is software, computer programs that allow is to view, edit, and deliver images in the 21st century. Here is a rundown on some of the software with which I have become familiar.
Adobe Photoshop: this is the ultimate in image editing, graphic design, and desktop publishing. It’s power to manipulate every element of an image makes it very attractive, particularly for artists and designers, but also for photographers who want control over every pixel. The down side is that it is expensive and complex, requiring a steeper learning curve than its contemporaries. There are a couple of features that make Photoshop my first choice. One is actions, which allows me to assign a function key to do groups of things to an image all at once; for example, I can create an action that will add yellow, darken the blacks, filter noise, apply the unsharp mask, and save the image, all at the touch of one key. Another is history, which allows me to got back through my edits one step at a time to see what I did and how it worked.
Photoshop is integrated with Adobe Bridge, which acts as a kind of digital contact sheet and file manager. You can do some edits to one image, like noise reduction and white balance, then apply those edits to all the images in Bridge.
My first experience with Photoshop was in 1998, when I was given a beige Apple G3 computer and Adobe Photoshop 5. There have been a long series of incremental upgrades to Photoshop, and it is now part of Creative Cloud.
Adobe Photoshop’s little brother is Adobe Photoshop Elements, in version 14 and priced at $99 as I write this. In all honesty, unless you are a graphic artist or designer, Elements can do just about anything to an image you will need. For a lot of professional photographers, the biggest item Elements does not have is the ability to work with 16-bit files. There is a comprehensive list of the differences here, but in the end, for day-to-day photo editing, Elements is a powerful and impressive application.
My friend Michael often uses Elements because it starts up faster.
A pitfall of Photoshop is that it can, as I have discussed on a number of occasions, make pictures lie by adding or removing critical elements, over or under emphasizing elements of human features (from supermodels to war scenes to O. J. Simpson), and creating images that imply someone is saying or doing something they are not. Over the years, such editing has mislead readers and ended the careers of several leading photographers.
Increasing in popularity in recent years is Abobe Lightroom. This combines some features of Photoshop with some features of Bridge, fusing them into a somewhat simplified interface. To me, Lightroom seems like Everyman’s Photoshop. While it has some powerful image management tools, I find its interface less intuitive than Photoshop. I actively dislike the way Lightroom pops hidden toolbars up when you mouse over them.
One serious downside to Lightroom for me as a professional who needs to quickly edit images is the fact that you have to import images into Lightroom before you can work on them, then export them to a file to use them. The reason for this is that Lightroom keeps your edits in its database so they remain “non-destructive,” so you always keep your original photo, but that’s a little patronizing to those of us who figured out how to manage files and edit copies 16 years ago.
Lightroom provides “Publish Services” like Behance, Facebook, and Flickr, with the option of adding more, it seems to me that over the years, applications that try to hold your hand are destined for the scrap heap. Social media integration is both ineffective and etherial, meaning that one day AOL is on top, the next day MySpace is on top, the day after that Facebook is on top, and so on. As I wrote this, I had no idea what “Behance” was, and going to its web site didn’t clear it up much.
Essentially, I need to double-click a photo, smoothly and quickly edit it, save it, then send it where I need it, to a folder on a server usually. Lightroom fights me at every turn.
Apple computer users, particularly those who use the iPhone and iPad products, are familiar with Apple’s Photos, which until recently was called iPhoto. Apple retired their fairly good Aperture application and merged it with iPhoto to create Photos with the goal of integrating desktop editing with phone and tablet editing. If Lightroom is an amateur product, Photos is the kid’s product. It has the few basic controls, but beyond that doesn’t have the tools, particularly brushes, that are critical for professional editing.
Maybe in the end, the applications that try to do everything for you are for people who always struggled with that. That’s not me: my photos are organized by date, and indexed according to name and caption information, since we had to do this from the start of the digital age, long before Photos and Lightroom even existed, and this will probably be the only organization method that will stand the test of time. The reason for this is that software isn’t developed for your needs, but for the software company’s profits. If it doesn’t make money, it will disappear. Don’t believe me? Remember PictureProject? MyPictureTown? EasyShare? Microsoft Photo Editor?
In conclusion, my first choice for photo editing is Adobe Photoshop, followed quite closely by Photoshop Elements.
I am in the middle of teaching another Digital Photography for Beginners class at the Pontotoc Technology Center. It’s a good group.
As my readers and students know, I am an advocate of the RAW file format. I feel that while JPEG is a robust and easy to use format, it can, in many situations, cheat us out of the imaging potential of our expensive, sophisticated camera.
[stextbox id=”info” caption=”What’s the Difference?”]
JPEG, Joint Photographic Experts Group, is a a lossy compression file format that almost every computer in the world can read. It is the default file format for nearly every new camera. It makes files with 8-bits of data per color per pixel, meaning each color is expressed by a number from 0 to 255. Additionally, too much JPEG compression can create JPEG artifacts, which can’t be easily fixed or removed.
RAW is a proprietary file type unique to each digital camera, that requires special software to access. It is a lossless, sometimes losslessly compressed, file format that creates up to 16-bits per color per pixel, meaning that each color is expressed by a number from 0 to 65535 or higher. Since RAW files don’t use the lossy compression that JPEGs use, it does not create compression artifacts.
One situation where shooting RAW is indispensable is sports in low light, particularly in weird low light. I was in that situation last week in Roff, Oklahoma, a small high school with a cozy gym that is always packed with fans. With lights that have a yellow-green spike, and yellow floor, chairs, uniforms and fan clothing, the yellow quickly overwhelms any effort to pick a correct in-camera white balance. The only solution I’ve found is to shoot RAW, then aggressively dial out the yellow-green in Adobe’s Camera RAW dialog. There’s just not enough color data in an 8-bit JPEG to accomplish this.
As you can see, between click-balancing with the eyedropper tool, and active correction and desaturation of the yellows, it is possible to convert a yellow mess into a very usable image…