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A Scoop of DNG With Your PIE

By Gene McCullagh
October 3, 2011

Every camera manufacturer has its own way of storing the raw data that comes from the sensor. Several manufacturers even develop different formats for different cameras (or create a new format and abandon an older one). It sometimes seems that each new model introduces some wrinkle into the manufacturer's raw format. We see the effect of this in a lag between the release of a new camera and Lightroom's ability to interpret and render images from these new raw formats. While Adobe is rather good at deciphering new raw formats and providing support in a timely manner, they saw room for a new and open standard to store raw data. Enter the DNG, or Digital Negative, raw format.

Raw Resource

By Gene McCullagh
August 28, 2011

So you're having some problems opening your raw files? Don't worry. It happens every now and then. Especially if you have one of those fancy new cameras that just hit the stores yesterday! The problem is that new cameras often bring with them new proprietary raw file formats.

The Slideshow Module - Part 2: Tour's End and Some Tips

By Gene McCullagh
June 3, 2011

By now you've had a chance to wander around the Slideshow module and get familiar with some of the controls we looked at in The Slideshow Module - Part 1: Basic Tour. If you haven't spent much time in this module before, I hope the basic tour was helpful and encouraged you to try things out. Let's finish up our tour of the Slideshow module and then we can talk about a few tips/tricks to make your slideshows snappier. After that we should talk about some issues and concerns with how Lightroom has implemented slideshows and some possible alternatives if you still want more slideshow pizzazz than Lightroom can deliver.

The Slideshow Module - Part 1: Basic Tour

By Gene McCullagh
May 31, 2011

There are many articles, tips, and tutorials about the Library module. Even more has been written on wandering through the complexities and features of the Develop module. No doubt that these two modules are at the heart of Lightroom and where we spend the majority of our time. But Lightroom does have three other modules! The Print module seems to be the next most familiar. However, when I talk to users I am always surprised at how few ever really venture into the Web and Slideshow modules. Many have taken a look when they started using Lightroom. Few have returned. So let's take a tour!

Automating Your Workflow

By Gene McCullagh
April 18, 2011

There are quite a few features in Lightroom to help you automate your workflow. In every module you will find things to make your life easier! Well, workflow-wise anyway. Publish Services offer a streamlined way to keep your catalog and remote sites in synch. Develop presets let you quickly apply settings you have honed over time. Publishing a website? The Web Module assists you in putting it all together and even has FTP built in to get your masterpiece up on the web in no time! And so the list goes.

Super Photo Editing Skills Tutorial Available

By Gene McCullagh
March 17, 2011

Rob and Lauren over at Photography Concentrate were excited to send me their latest Lightroom tutorial Super Photo Editing Skills for review. I was happy to oblige having seen and reviewed some of their prior offerings. Before we get to the review, however, I have to say that Rob and Lauren are among the nicest people you will meet out there in cyberspace! The About section of their site says it all... We are two professional photographers who think this is the best job in the universe. We like it so much, in fact, that we want to help other people do it, so they can be super happy too.

Abbreviating Lightroom

By Gene McCullagh
February 16, 2011

Lightroom by its nature helps us be more efficient when working with our images. There are numerous features to speed us along the way when cataloging and processing. Presets, templates, keyword suggestions and so on, cut little bits of time off the tasks at hand. This makes our imaging life a little easier. However, let's not forget that Lightroom doesn't exist in an Operating System vacuum. There are many applications we can leverage to make Lightroom that much more efficient and powerful. We already know this. After all, we can round trip more complicated editing tasks to Photoshop. Many excellent plugins can be installed to fine tune our editing. So let's take a look at another way to enhance our Lightroom efficiency - text replacement utilities.

Make 2011 A Lightroom Year!

By Gene McCullagh
January 20, 2011

The decorations are all put away. The fog of the New Year's Eve party has lifted. Life has returned to something resembling a normal schedule. 2011 is now with us and poised to be a great year for you. That is, if you choose to make it a great year. Rather than let the year slip away why not plan to learn more about Lightroom? Lightroom can appear to be a simple and straight-forward application. But don't be fooled. There are subtleties and nuances in every module. It is a rich program with a lot to offer. Let's explore it more in 2011. Don't call it a resolution to learn more about Lightroom (because we all know what happens to New Year's resolutions). Just work it into your regular routine. To assist you here are a few suggestions for things to explore further.

Add a Drop of Photoshop

By Gene McCullagh
December 3, 2010

Lightroom has a great feature called Presets. Presets allows you to set up certain parameters and save them. Once saved, the preset can be applied to thousands of images at a time. If built properly, multiple presets can be combined for different effects.As powerful as presets are there are things they just cannot do. Ah, but Photoshop can help there! You see, Photoshop can also save things for later use. We call these saved sets of steps actions. If you aren't familiar with Photoshop actions here is the briefest of explanations. Whatever you can do in Photoshop (well, almost whatever) you can save in an action. That action can be played back on another image (or thousand images). The steps are dutifully executed as if you were performing them manually. By now you must be thinking "So what! Actions are in Photoshop and we're talking about Lightroom." True. But Lightroom has a very elegant way of passing images along to Photoshop and then applying an action. Remember that Lightroom's full name is Photoshop Lightroom. The secret lies in Lightroom's Export Actions. So let's take a closer look at how to do this.

Keywords and Exported Images

By Gene McCullagh
November 26, 2010

Last time we looked at how keywords are stored in your Lightroom catalog and where they live once saved to the image file's metadata. So now let's take a look at how keywords work when you export images and create new files. Each keyword has three export options associated with it: Include on Export, Export Containing Keywords, and Export Synonyms. These options are found in the dialog you see when creating or editing a keyword. While the options appear to be self-explanatory whether they will have an effect depends on whether or not Lightroom hierarchies are used for export or not.

Where Do My Keywords Live?

By Gene McCullagh
November 23, 2010

We've looked at keywords a few times before. But you can never get enough of a good thing right? Adding keywords to your images can be a simple thing or it can be very very complex. If you've ever done stock then you know that extensive keywords are one of the ways to get your stock noticed and increase sales. Lightroom has a deceptively simple keyword interface yet allows for some powerful keyword magic. You can create hierarchies. Utilize categories. Add synonyms. Import and export keyword sets. Still, how keywords attach to images and where they wind up remains a point of confusion for many users. So let's take a look at some keyword basics and see where your keywords wind up.

New Tutorials from George Jardine

By Gene McCullagh
October 24, 2010

Well George Jardine is back with a new set of video tutorials on the Develop module in Lightroom 3! George was kind enough to let me review the series. I always enjoy his tutorials and this new series is no exception. George presents with an ease and fluidity not found in many other tutorials. He crafts his presentations to make sure that the viewer is both entertained and informed. Don't take my word for it. Go and see for yourself. Click here to view one of the tutorials in its entirety. George covers the features that are new in Lightroom 3 in great detail including sharpening and noise reduction, lens profiles, new raw processing and more.

LIGHToperatingROOMsystem--Part 3

By Gene McCullagh
October 22, 2010

In LIGHToperatingROOMsystem--Part 1 we looked at relocating missing files. Missing folder were covered in LIGHToperatingROOMsystem--Part 2. Now let's take a look at some additional techniques to use in the Folders section of the Library module. Nearly anything we can do in the operating system with files and folders can be done inside of Lightroom. Gaining a proficiency with the Folders section will assist you in avoiding quite a few file/folder headaches in your workflow. Lightroom and your operating system are intertwined. What you do in one will impact the other. It is important to remember that Lightroom approaches your file system in a much different way than your operating system. Lightroom is only concerned with where the files for your images are located. Your operating system, on the other hand, must concern itself with the location of every file and folder. That lets you show as much or as little of the folder hierarchy as you like to see.

LIGHToperatingROOMsystem--Part 2

By Gene McCullagh
October 20, 2010

In LIGHToperatingROOMsystem--Part 1 we looked at the problem of missing files in Lightroom. Now it is time to turn our attention the the issue of missing folders. It is extremely useful to get acquainted with the Folders section of the Library module. Becoming familiar with these tools will help you solve any number of file and folder issue. It will also make it easier to manipulate the location of your images and folders. This saves time. It's easier to make changes using your operating system only because you are much more familiar with how to do things there. Take the time to use Lightroom and it will become easier over time. Then you won't have to help Lightroom find things after you've played with them outside.

LIGHToperatingROOMsystem--Part 1

By Gene McCullagh
October 17, 2010

Lightroom does an excellent job of keeping track of your images. But there are times when things don't seem to go so well. You open your catalog and several images have missing file icons or some folders appear to be missing. You scratch your head and wonder what happened. The simple answer, in most cases, is that you or another application has moved some files and no one bothered to keep Lightroom in the loop. This can cause some confusion, especially when you try to fix the disconnect. So let's take a closer look at how all this works and interacts. Lightroom keeps track of your images and their locations via a database (the catalog). Your operating system does pretty much the same thing. Location information is stored in some database-like table. The problem is that your operating system doesn't tell Lightroom about location and name changes. Lightroom, on the other hand, will keep your operating system informed about what it's up to.

Adjustment Brush Basics--Part 2

By Gene McCullagh
October 14, 2010

In Adjustment Brush Basics--Part 1 we explored the Effect section of the adjustment brush panel. Many of those concepts are already familiar to the Lightroom user. The ability to localize exposure and saturation adjustments lets us stay in Lightroom's non-destructive workflow longer and lessens to need to roundtrip out to Photoshop or another external editor. The more we can do to stay within the non-destructive workflow that Lightroom allows the more we can confidently play with our images knowing that no matter what we do we can always get back to out original or just undo any series of steps. No pixels are ever harmed in the creation of our image while we are in Lightroom.

Adjustment Brush Basics--Part 1

By Gene McCullagh
October 12, 2010

Lightroom provides a feature rich interface which can sometimes hide things in plain sight. Even if you have used the Adjustment Brush before there may still be some things hiding in the tool's panel. And that's one of the great pleasures of using Lightroom. Most tools are powerful and easy to use right out of the box. This let's a new user get quickly into the flow and start making their images dazzling. Yet, many tools have more things to offer with some additional digging. Let's take a basic tour of the Adjustment Brush panel and explore the many parts of the interface. There is a lot there so we should get started! You will find the Adjustment Brush in the toolstrip below the histogram in the Develop module. You activate the tool by clicking on the brush icon or pressing K. (Another memorable shortcut--K for Kbrush...the K is silent...just kidding).

Auto Oops!

By Gene McCullagh
October 4, 2010

Recently, I heard from a reader who had made adjustments to an image only to find that he had inadvertently applied them to a large selection of images. His question was how could he revert all of those images back to their import state without having to go into each image one by one. Apparently quite a few images were impacted and it would take some time doing each one individually. How does this happen? Well, Lightroom is very flexible environment in which to work. You can hide all sorts of things in the interface to cut down on distractions while you work. If you had selected multiple images in the grid and then pressed Shift Tab to hide all the panels followed by D to enter the Develop module you would only see the active image on the screen. If you previously had Auto Sync turned on then everything you do to that image will sync to the other selected images. If the filmstrip is hidden you might not notice until you return to the grid and see all those images adjusted!

Virtual Images Part 2: Virtual Copies

By Gene McCullagh
September 9, 2010

In Part 1 we took a look at Snapshots, a way to experiment with your images without the need to create multiple copies of the original file and use up more disk space in the process. Before we talk about the other virtual image feature of Lightroom I need to point out a correction to the Snapshots article. One of our readers, Thomas, pointed out that Lightroom no longer creates a snapshot on import. That, unfortunately, is true. Since version 3 the automatic snapshot on import feature has been removed. The consensus was that you can get to the original import state via the History panel or the Reset button. I think the removal of this feature is a mistake. Personally I found it useful to have that snapshot created. This would have been a great option to put in preferences so that those who use it can enable it. Anyway...on to our task at hand. While snapshots are very useful they remain encapsulated within the image. They don't appear in the grid and do not have any independent existence of their own. You can flip back and forth between snapshots but it isn't easy to compare two of them side by side.

Virtual Images Part 1: Snapshots

By Gene McCullagh
September 6, 2010

Some images only require a few adjustments and you're done. Yes. You're that good! Other images just ask to be taken down different paths. As artists we often try to find the best expression of the moment we captured. But we don't always know the steps from capture to masterpiece. We try different settings. Apply a preset or two. Dive into the adjustment brush. and so on. And, even though Lightroom preserves an endless stream of history on an image we don't always remember at which step we saw one of those "looks" we liked. So what do we do? Before Lightroom we might have saved multiple copies of an image. One for each different look. Now I know that storage is cheaper these days but how many times do you want to multiply a 25Mb file? Enter the snapshot!

A Tale of Two Views

By Gene McCullagh
August 18, 2010

The Library module is a powerhouse of organization tools. You can view many images, a few, or one. Zoom in for fine details. Add star ratings. Add color labels. Change landscape to portrait and back again! The list goes on and on. There is one small problem, however. Many new Lightroom users can be confused by Lightroom's reaction to some of their actions. Some seasoned users even get confused on occasion. Here's a typical question I get asked; "I select several images and press 4 to add a 4 star rating. Why does this sometimes add the rating to all the images selected and other times only to my active image?"

New Lightroom Tutorials from George Jardine

By Gene McCullagh
July 30, 2010

If you have been using Lightroom and involved with the Lightroom community for any length of time then one of the names that is sure to be familiar to you is George Jardine. George was involved with Lightroom from its beginning and was a Lightroom Evangelist at Adobe until he left in 2008 to explore new creative ventures. George Jardine started as a professional photographer. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Better Homes and Gardens, Interior Design magazine, and many other national publications. George first joined Adobe Systems in 1993, and in 2003, he began work on the Lightroom project. George currently teaches workshops, consults for digital photographers, and is a freelance video producer.

iPad Albums Via Publish Services

By Gene McCullagh
July 29, 2010

In the previous article, Creating iPad Albums With Lightroom, I talked about using Matt Kloskowski's export presets to create albums for your iPad. This method is accessible by both Lightroom 2 and Lightroom 3 users. However, if you have moved on to Lightroom 3 you can take advantage of one of its great new features--Publish Services. (Thanks to John Beardsworth whose comment on the previous article motivated me to get this article out of draft sooner rather than later!) A lot of the attention Publish Services has gotten revolves around the link between Lightroom and online services such as Flickr, Zenfolio, SmugMug, etc.. But the other side of this feature is the ability to create links between Lightroom and your drives. And it is this aspect we will exploit here.

Creating iPad Albums With Lightroom

By Gene McCullagh
July 26, 2010

The iPad is an excellent tool for showing off your work. Chances are, though, if you are a Lightroom user you don't want to fiddle with iPhoto just to get your images ready for your iPad and sorted into albums. And if you are a Windows based Lightroom user then iPhoto isn't an option for you.

Import - Where It All Begins

By Gene McCullagh
July 5, 2010

It's been a long ride full of adventure and discovery from Lightroom 3 Beta through Lightroom 3 Beta 2 to Lightroom 3. Along the way we all made suggestions and requests. Adobe listened. If one of your suggestions didn't make it into this version don't worry. This won't be the last version of Lightroom. I am confident that we have a lot of new and exciting things in the future. For now, let's get comfortable with Lightroom 3! As with any version of Lightroom it all begins with Import. And this time around we have an entirely new and improved import feature. While this has been the source of some consternation and controversy, once you dig in and look at what's new here I think you'll be on board.

Going Against The Grain

By Gene McCullagh
July 3, 2010

There was a time when film grain was a problem for some photographers. That concern translated into a concern with digital noise. Many words have been written on the techniques in many applications to remove or lessen digital noise or grain in modern images. Some even seek to find ways to remove the grain from old film photographs. Despite all of this, grain has its place in modern digital photography. Grain now brings with it the charm and nostalgia of bygone film days. When compositing images, grain can be the unifying effect bringing different images from different times together for a great composite. Adding grain to a black and white or sepia image can add a pleasing artistic texture to the work. Whatever the reason, many photographers add grain to an image. Sometimes after working diligently to remove digital noise! But, then, grain isn't noise.

Watermarks Take A Big Leap Forward

By Gene McCullagh
April 7, 2010

Since the beginning of Lightroom we've wanted a watermarking capability that was more powerful and more flexible than the anemic watermark of Lightroom 1.x or Lightroom 2.x. We had some creative possibilities with the identity plate feature but even that was limited and quirky. With the release of Lightroom 3 Beta 1 we saw the beginning of a new watermarking feature. A welcome change but still not much better. Now, Lightroom 3 Beta 2 bring the watermark a long way! There is still some way to go but this new feature is great.

Get To The Point!

By Gene McCullagh
April 5, 2010

Tired of only having a parametric curve at your disposal? Good news! Lightroom 3 Beta 2 introduces a point curve to the Develop module! That is fantastic news! Many users asked for point curve capabilities in Lightroom and Adobe has delivered. Lightroom's parametric curve has some great features. I like the visual feedback it gives for the logical limits of each tonal range (Highlights, Lights, Darks, and Shadows). While it has many uses and some strong points it does limit your ability to make adjustments by forcing you to stay within the boundaries of each tonal range. That's where a true point curve shines! It gives you the creative freedom to adjust at will and to any extent your vision requires.

Lightroom 3 Beta 2 Is Here!

By Gene McCullagh
April 4, 2010

It's here! Adobe released Lightroom 3 Beta 2 recently and there are some nice goodies to play with in Beta 2. Grab it from Adobe Labs now! And if history teaches us anything, Adobe is saving a few tricks up their sleeves for the final release of Lightroom 3. There's still no official information regarding the release date for the final version or what the eventual pricing might be. But in the meantime we have new features to try out. One place to watch and get up to date Lightroom information is over on the Lightroom Journal Blog published by the Lightroom team. Stop by for news.

Aperture 3: Is It Time To Switch?

By Gene McCullagh
February 22, 2010

Apple has finally released an update to its image processing software application. Aperture 3 arrived on the scene several days ago. With this release we photographer humans once again raise the question "Is it time to switch?"The answer may not...

Lightroom 3 Beta Help Now Available

By Gene McCullagh
November 18, 2009

Adobe today launched the help system for Lightroom 3 Beta! You can access it by pressing F1 while in Lightroom 3 Beta or by pointing your browser at http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Lightroom/3.0/Using/index.html . Commenting will be enabled shortly so get ready! for more...

Lightroom 3 Beta's Publish Services - Part 2

By Gene McCullagh
October 26, 2009

In Part 1 we examined how to use Publish Services to control target folders on the hard drive using the Hard Drive Publish Connection. There's another Publish Service that comes with Lightroom 3 Beta. The Flickr Publish Service allows us to connect Lightroom to a Flickr account (or multiple Flickr accounts) and manage our photostream from within Lightroom. However, there are some pitfalls to watch out for. Remember, this is beta software, so as you come across issues or areas that can be improved please join the conversation over at the Adobe Forums and tell the Lightroom team about it. You can help make this a great release!

Lightroom 3 Beta's Publish Services - Part 1

By Gene McCullagh
October 26, 2009

Prior to the release of Lightroom 3 Beta we had the ability to upload our images to various online sites via the Export dialog. Jeffrey Friedl provided several excellent plugins for the Export dialog making it easy to export to these online services. He is hard at work turning those into Publish Services. By the time the final release of Lightroom 3 is ready I'm sure we will have a lot to choose from! For now, let's take a deeper look into how this new features works! You can find Publish Services in the left side panel of the Library module. When you first start install Lightroom there are two basic services provided: Hard Drive and Flickr. Hard Drive allows you to create folders to receive images via Publish Services. This can be very useful for adding to a folder that is synched to your iPod/iPhone. Perhaps your screensaver is based on a folder of images. Make this a target and you can easily add and manage that. Or perhaps you are compiling images for a client to view and you first want to collect them in a folder from which you can FTP up to your client viewing portal. Interested? Let's take a look.

Lightroom 3 Beta Is Here!

By Gene McCullagh
October 22, 2009

Yes! It's here! Head on over to Adobe Labs and download the Lightroom 3 Beta! Adobe continues its laudable practice of releasing Lightroom as a public beta to get important feedback from its users! Thanks Adobe! First, a word of CAUTION. This is a true beta. DO NOT use this in production! Make copies of any images you intend to work on inside the beta. There are still known, and perhaps unknown, issues to be ironed out before Lightroom 3 is ready for production work. Whew! Now that we have the warnings out of the way let's dig in and see what's new!


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