Monthly Archives: May 2013

Lightroom Tip of the Week: HDR Info

For those of you who like to do HDR and/or bracket your images, it can be a bit daunting to figure out which is the bracketed set and, once you do, which image was assigned what exposure value 0r bias.  Here’s an easy fix.

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While in grid mode, right click on a cell and at the bottom, click view options.  Set one of your headers as above with Exposure bias and, if you want, exposure time.  Note below that now you can see the bracketed set with -1, 0 & +1 exposure bias.  This makes it very easy for you to see the range of exposures to ensure that you are using the right files for your HDR or composite images.

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RAW vs. JPG – Is RAW Really Better All The Time?

I consistently get asked which is better, RAW or JPG.  For a long time, my answer is “always shoot in RAW”.  But, the more I teach and the more I read, I’m thinking is changing a bit because it’s not a black and white (no pun intended) answer.  First of all, we’re talking about a file format.  Is it really that big of a deal?  My answer… depends.

First, for those that don’t know, what’s the difference?  A RAW file is not truly an image file.  You must have software such as Aperture or Lightroom to see it as an image.  The files are proprietary to the camera manufacturer (except DNG files, which is another topic).  They are uncompressed (ie, a 12 megapixel camera will create a 2 megapixel file).  The advantage is that they are the complete data from the camera sensor and have a higher dynamic range.  This means you can recover data from blown out highlights and shadows in post processing much more easily.  The downside is that they inherently are lower in contrast (ie, flat looking), not as sharp and MUST be processed in software to look good enough to print or even post online.

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I took a workshop this weekend with Jasin Borlan, a hollywood still photographer.  It was an amazing experience with a Seattle based stunt crew.  If you haven’t checked out Jasin’s website, do because he is a fantastic photographer with an amazing job. He photographs action films while on set as if they were real life.  Pretty cool.  For a brief moment this weekend, I got to do the same thing.  Here are some of my shots….

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Big Bird – Before and After

A Seattle Photography Club member, Anita Elder, took this awesome shot but, as you can see from the left image, the right side of the neck and beak was completely blown out.  She sent me the RAW image asking what I might be able to do with it.  With a bit of Lightroom and some Photoshop, here are the results.  Comments welcomed!

before after (2 of 2)before after (1 of 2)

Photoshop CC is here! But, do you need it?

If you have Photoshop CS3 or higher, you can now get the newest Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud) for $9.95 a month for the first year. Are the new features worth the upgrade from CS6 for a photographer? IMHO, not really. I’d wait and keep using CS6 until you either buy a new camera that isn’t supported by Camera Raw 7 (you know it is coming!) or they release a must have feature. But, right now, I’d stick with CS6. If you have CS4, or maybe CS5, that’s a different story.

Governor Inslee

This week, I had the honor to photograph Cascade Bicycle Club’s Bike to Work Breakfast where the keynote speaker was Gov. Jay Inslee. He was introduced by Mayor McGinn. I found that the most challenging aspect of the shoot was getting a good shot of a politician giving a speech where his mouth isn’t contorted in some strange or goofy way. Additionally, the lighting was terrible. More on that in a later posting. But, for now, here’s one of the images I was able to get.

Adobe Lightroom Tip of the Week

Q: I’ve attached a new external hard drive to my computer and want to move my past images to it, but Lightroom doesn’t recognize the drive.

Moving Files to Hard Drive

A:  I’ve gotten this question a bunch so I thought I would post the answer here as I’m sure many others have run into the same thing.  Here’s the deal… your hard drive files and folders show up in the FOLDERS module in Lightroom.  However, these are only folders and drives that Lightroom has been introduced to.  You can have 10 drives on your computer but if you haven’t told Lightroom about them, they will not show up in the Library module under FOLDERS.  Here are the steps to get Lightroom to recognize a new external (or internal) drive so that you can move images to a new hard drive.  REMEMBER… any time you want to move images on your hard drive, you MUST do it from within Lightroom or you will end up with question marks all over your library as Lightroom won’t know where they reside.

  1. Please any image on the new drive through Explorer or Finder.   Doesn’t matter what it is or whether it’s a JPG, TIFF, PSD or RAW file.  Any image.
  2. Import that image into Lightroom through your import module
  3. Now that you’ve imported an image from that drive, Lightroom will now show this drive under the FOLDERS listing in the Library Module.
  4. Now you can drag any folder listed in Lightroom to your new drive.  My recommendation is to create a master folder called PHOTOGRAPHS and then drag all the folders from your FOLDERS list that you want on that new drive into this new master folder.  If you have master folders (such as by year), you can drag the entire folder into the new drive and the subfolders will follow.