The Fine Photograph

I am back from Indiana where I gave a seminar on Photography, Lightroom and Photoshop. Many thanks to a great group of people at the Goshen Photography Guild for their support for the program which sold out the available seats. The venue was great and the experience was wonderful and fun.

The day after the seminar a group of us went after images at Michigan City along the lake with the Chicago skyline visible (slightly) in the distance. Some were hoping for a sunset with the skyline, but cool air and wind were there instead.

IMAGE SHARPENING

As is typical when giving a seminar, you never know how the questions and overall flow will go until it happens. I wanted to include a section on image sharpening which time did not allow. So, I want to direct people to my Learning Page for more information and in particular the two articles, Smart Sharpen , and the High Pass Filter for sharpening images. There are, of course, many other ways to sharpen images, but these two are both powerful, versatile, and the most used.

The two gulls in the photograph above were surprisingly cooperative considering the exposure time for the image was 20 seconds. This was done with the aid of a neutral density filter that allows the moving water and clouds to appear as smooth tones rather than fine detail, while stationary content is registered in a normal manner. Great fun.

Photoshop Seminar April 29, 2017

A reminder that next Saturday, April 29th, 2017 is the Photoshop Seminar at the Hershey Public Library, in Hershey, PA. Doors open at 9:30. The seminar is three hours and will cover a number of Photoshop techniques for enhancing images including blend modes, selection techniques, and creating and modifying masks.

The library asks that you sign up and pay in advance. The fee is $45. Hope to see you there.

The abstract image above has been selected for inclusion in the online gallery of images by the Cultural Center of Cape Cod. It was selected from 711 entries from the US and Canada. I am delighted to be included.

Information on Photoshop techniques are always available on my Learning page at my website.

Much Ado

There are many things happening in April. Here are some reminders.

Saturday, April 1st, 2017 – Harrisburg Camera Club, Light and Creativity Workshop at Central Penn College in Enola. Information Here

Saturday, April 1st through 3rd – PPA of PA Convention at the Comfort Suites Hotel in Carlisle.Information Here

Doshi Exhibit at Susquehanna Art Museum – running currently and extended through  Sunday, May 21, 2017 with free “Third in the Burg” admission for the reception on Friday, April 21st from 6-9pm..

Sunday April 23, 2017 – Outdoor Lighting Workshop – Master Photographers Terry Blain and Bryson Leidich will offer tips on posing and off camera flash techniques at Terry’s studio in Carlisle, PA. Information is on my web page for the workshop.

Saturday, April 29th, 2017 – Photoshop Seminar – I will be teaching Photoshop image editing techniques at a workshop in the Hershey Library. Doors open at 9:30 a.m.

Learning Lightroom

Lightroom is an image mangement tool and a file processor.

Lightroom is an image management tool (database) and a file processor. This means it can manage your images for you allowing more efficient filing and retrieval of images as well as defining the parameters to use to process raw and other files for export either into an editor like Photoshop or a final file for printing or sharing. By defining parameters I mean that Lightroom writes data to a file that tells the processor what to do to that file on export. It does not directly modify the file – it creates instructions on how to modify the file. That is the database part, along with remembering where files are located.

Think of Lightroom as a library card catalog. The card catalog does not contain the books, but references to where the books can be found. Lightroom references where your files can be found on a hard drive. The Lightroom catalog is metadata; information about other data, which is your image file. Initially, the information is location of the file, resolution, color space, copyright, keywords, etc. As you process an image, more data is written to the catalog as instructions on how to process your image. I suggest you also set preferences to export settings to an XMP sidecar file. This copies the processing, ratings and other information to a file that accompanies the raw file in your hard drive and gives you an additional measure of backup, and the ability to open the file with modifications intact in Bridge or ACR.

If you modify a file outside of Lightroom the XMP file for that file will contain the changes, but Lightroom will not automatically update the database to reflect those changes. An icon will appear in LR (up arrow with lines at top right) indicating that the XMP file has changed. Click on the icon and you will be asked whether to import the modifications from the XMP file or not.

I will be presenting a 3 hour seminar on Lightroom next Saturday, March 11, 2017 at the Hershey Library starting at 9:30 a.m. You will need to sign up through the library. Sign up for the seminar at the Hershey Library. The cost is $45.

I will be presenting a Photoshop seminar at the Hershey Library on April 29th (same time, same channel). Hope to see you.

Create your own seminar

It is often difficult to know what topics interest people at any point in time. At the same time I am often asked when my next seminar will be. Seminars take effort to create, often considerably more time than the seminar itself. Specialty seminars can be especially time consuming making sure that appropriate sample material is produced.

I have created an alternative concept. I will let you create the seminar. I have an entry on my website learning page that will allow you and your friends to decide what seminar I teach. Some suggestions are listed, but topics related to photography and Photoshop/Elements are all options.

In Lightroom, Photoshop and Elements I can work with your images rather than my own, bringing the learning closer to your needs. Most students are amazed at how some basic and pretty simple techniques can substantially improve their output.

Some people can learn on-line from tutorials about certain techniques, but I have found that most people do not know what processes, tools and techniques they can use to begin with. This is where I can be particularly helpful.

Individual and group seminars can be created and made to suit your schedule. As an example I am offering any local camera club a seminar in Lightroom basic raw image processing and integrating Lightroom with Photoshop or Elements using club member images at no charge. Clubs outside of the Harrisburg/Hershey area are welcome to take advantage of the offer as well. Please contact me to make arrangements.

Cameras only produce source material; the image maker is responsible for creating the final result. There are many photographers out there who see interesting images but don’t know how to take their captures to the next step. Plugins and actions are not how you get where you want to be.

Resolve to make better images in 2016

You are the first obstacle to better image making.

All of us make New Year’s resolutions, and they usually involve something like “make better images”, lose weight, stop smoking, etc. I will give you better odds on the images if you approach the issue as a problem to be solved and work methodically toward a goal. There are several steps to image making and you have to break your photography into those steps to find the weak links and repair them.

The Photographer: Yep, you are the first obstacle to better image making. You need to analyze the images you are making and attempt to understand the weaknesses. This can be difficult depending on the amount of experience you have and how much time you invest in the process of looking at images, shooting, and processing. One aspect of this we can analyze is the mechanical process of capture.

Not everyone’s photography is suited to a tripod, but no matter how you shoot you need to fully understand certain physical limitations that might influence your image making. Images that are unsharp from camera movement are common with hand held shooting. Often there are mistakes made in decisions of shutter speed, choice of ISO, aperture and the physical way you hold and fire your camera.

The Hardware: The camera you own, the lenses you use, the flash, even the tripod you thought would solve the problems can all be a plus or minus in the capture. You don’t want the equipment to be in the way of a good outcome. If the camera can’t make a good image, you will not overcome that primary step in the image making. This doesn’t mean you need to own the newest, best, most expensive equipment. You do need to be aware of the ability of the camera system to make a good capture. Yes, good images can be made with small point and shoot cameras and mid-level equipment if properly used. But there is a lot of “junk” on the market and careful attention to competent reviews can mean a lot.

The Software: This should not be a problem as the processing software that came with your camera or a move into good quality software like Lightroom should mean that processing the image has the potential to produce a quality image. Secondary finishing in Elements or Photoshop is another level of control and refinement. The software available today is way more powerful than anything in the past and the biggest obstacle here will be the learning curve. There is more to processing than most people realize. Here again, you become a limiting factor and better processing means better images.

The Print: Print quality is essential to a good final image. Making the prints yourself sounds like a good idea until you realize that the printing process is anything but a button push away and you are back to a steep learning curve and the possibility of a lot of questionable decisions. Good printing is an art form.

Whether seen on a screen or printed the final representation of your vision very much depends on you. The processing step in digital image making is both a difficult task and a very important part of the process. It is a challenging part of better image making. If you have ever heard a piece of classical music performed by a junior high school orchestra you know that the performance is the issue, not the composer. If your captures are good and you see well, your images deserve the best possible performance. Training yourself to perform well is the hard part.

I will be speaking on these issues and detailing many of the aspects of shooting and processing at a meeting of the Hershey Camera Club this coming Thursday night, January 7th, 2016. The meeting is at the Country Meadows Retirement Community room on the second floor. The doors open at 6:00. All are welcome.

New image galleries are almost ready. I hope to have them on line in the next day or two.

Moving Your Presets to a New Photoshop Version

If you are moving to the CC version of Photoshop one of the first steps you may want to take is to move your presets from an older version. Depending on how many presets or changes to the default presets are part of your workflow this can be a bit of a project. Fortunately, there is an easy way. Under the Edit menu is an option labeled Presets and in the fly out is the Migrate option. When you choose this the existing older version will be found and you will be asked if you wish to migrate the presets from there. Pretty simple.

For more information visit this Adobe link.

If you are moving presets from an older version into CS6 you will find information here for similar options.

This can save you a lot of work if you have brush presets, actions, workspace, or a variety of other presets including gradients, tool presets and much more. I recommend visiting the Preferences settings on occasion to make sure you are familiar with what you have decided to modify to your liking. The preferences can get corrupted over time and reviewing them and resetting them can often resolve minor operating issues.