Lightroom Tutorial 6 – Exporting and Saving Photos

Why do we export photos in Lightroom (p.s. exporting is really saving)

As Lightroom is developing a virtual copy of your photo, if you exit Lightroom and find the photo in its original folder and click on it, you will not see the changes that you made in Lightroom because nothing has been saved.

However when you open Lightroom again, the photo will open with the changes that you have made. If we don’t export the developments that we have made to a virtual copy, then we can only access those developments in Lightroom. This is why we need to export photos when we are ready to use them. Lightroom doesn’t use the term save, it instead says export. However, when you export a photo, you are in effect saving it.

Before we exploring the export feature for the purpose of saving and then making use of your photo (publish on web or blog), there is a neat trick that Lightroom uses alongside Photoshop. In the photo below I am unhappy with the second bird that appears at the bottom of the photo. I have developed the photo in Lightroom and am happy with how it looks, other than that damn bird.

save-1

For this trick to work you need to export it to Photoshop. Press Ctrl and E and this box will appear.

save-2

Check the box “Edit a copy with Lightroom adjustments” and then click edit. Your photo is now opened in Photoshop. Make the changes that you need to in Photoshop, such as cloning part of the image or creating layers. While you’re at this point in Photoshop it may be worth using the auto tone and auto contrast as these can neaten up your exposure a little. The quick keys for this are:- Ctrl Shift and L for auto tone, and Ctrl Shift alt L for auto contrast. If you’re not happy with them just use Alt Ctrl Z to step back.

Now here comes the neat trick. Save the photo by pressing Ctrl Shift and S, don’t change the file name, and now save you photo as a TIFF file. Go back to Lightroom. Sometimes it will display a blank screen and at others it will show you the TIFF you have just edited (I don’t know why it isn’t consistent with this but it doesn’t matter). If you have the blank screen, check your photo ribbon at the bottom of the screen, and on the far right you will have two photos, your TIFF and the RAW or JPEG etc file that you had developed (see below). If you wish to make further adjustments to your photo then you can work on the TIFF file from here on. The key things when doing this is to keep the same file name and save as a TIFF. If you change the file name then you will have to import the photo into the Lightroom catalogue, whereas keeping the same file name means that appears in your catalogue automatically. This is really useful as you may wish to make further developments in Lightroom, or to compare the two photos. This technique keeps the process straight forward.

save-3

Exporting

Once you get the hang of it, exporting is a very simple process, and it can automate file names, sub folders, image size, sharpening and file type. You can also add a watermark, and embed your IPTC data.

Let’s imagine that I have 8 photos that I am going to post to my student blog for an assignment. I have developed them and added/saved metadata (see Lightroom Tutorial 2).

Go into the library module and select all that you wish to export/save. Ctrl A will select them all or you can Ctrl click to select several photos individually.

save-4

1 – all of the photos have a light grey surround to show that I have selected them all, any with a dark grey surround have not been selected.

2 – Click export and the following menu will appear (this is the top half, further down the page is the bottom half of this menu)

save-51 – File destination, 2 – Folder options, 3 – Sub-folder, 4 – Photo naming options, 5 – File type i.e. TIFF, JPEG etc

1 – File destination, you can export directly to email, cd/dvd or your hard drive. If you are saving to an external drive you would keep the hard drive option checked and then find the drive by choosing a specific folder from the menu numbered 2 above.

2 – Folder options. There are a few options here, including exporting to the original folder, but I choose “Export to specific folder”. Clicking the choose button I find the original file folder and then I am going to check put in sub folder.

3 – Sub folder. I use this option for simplicity. If I have exported to the original folder without following 2 above, then when it comes to selecting the photos for the web or my blog, I have to go through all of the photos and check their properties. However, by checking the sub-folder I can then export only the photos that I will use, they will all be in one place which makes it easy to use them without re-sorting them, and I can name the sub-folder as well. I name the sub-folder by the file size. In the above image mine says 1080  – which I use to show that I have saved these photos at 1080p (1080 pixels in height). For an assignment I may be asked to save at 2000 pixels on the long edge, so I would then name the folder 2000. This means that my photos are easy to find, and easy to submit, post, or upload. Knowing the pixel size is useful for me and saves me from having to check the properties, this speeds up my workflow.

4 – Photo naming options. It is not necessary to use specific names for your photos. The original extension that was imprinted by your camera is often good enough. I prefer to use a file name, so I check “Rename to, Custom name x of y”, and in the custom text I add the name. In the example above I have used the custom text “exercise 2.12”. This means that all of the eight photos will be named exercise 2.12, and they will also be sequentially numbered.

5 – File type. Here you can choose between JPG, PDF, TIFF, DNG and original. For some of the exercises in Foundations in Photography we are asked to submit TIFF files, and on my website and blog I use JPG. You can set your required file type here, along with the quality and the colour space. I tend to stick with sRGB – which is the internet standard colour space. Using this option embeds your colour profile. This is important, because there are times where you may save a photo in Photoshop or other photo developing software and you’re pleased with your photo. Then you upload it to the internet and your colours are all wrong. This is because the colour space has not been embedded. If you are using Photoshop then do not use Ctrl Shift S to save (unless you are doing so for the Lightroom/Photoshop tip above). In Photoshop use the save for web option by simultaneously pressing Ctrl Alt Shift and S, and this also embeds your colour profile. There are times when you have to limit your file size. Some competitions may require a maximum 2MB per photo, and you can set this by checking the “Limit file size to” button. Lightroom will then adjust the quality accordingly.

save-61 – Image size, 2 – Sharpenning, 3 – Metadata, 4 – Watermark, 5 – Post processing.

1 – Image size. For some assignments we are asked to submit photos that are 2000 pixels on the longest size, and occasionally to submit low res files of 600 pixels on the longest side. This is easy to set up. Click “resize to fit”, change the drop down box next to it so that it says “width and Height”, and then alter the figures in the width and height boxes “w” and “H”. In the photo above you will see that my width is set to 10000 and my height to 1080. This is so that the height of the photo is 1080 pixels. If I had the width at 1000 pixels than that may automatically reduce the height below my desired 1080. However, if you want a photo set so that the longest edge is 2000, then set both the width and height to 2000. If I want to export a photo in its original file size then I set the boxes both to 10000. This is larger than the original file size of my photos, so they wont be altered, but I will now have the photo saved as a TIFF of JPEG.

2 – Sharpening. It is advised that we only sharpen photos that we have finished developing and are ready to use. This way we don’t create blocky and pixelated images, which will happen if you sharpen too early in the developing process and then reducing the image size. It’s unlikely that you will export from Lightroom until you are ready to make use of the photo so you can sharpen at this point without losing your image quality.

3 – Although you have already added metadata to your photo, at this stage you can choose to embed it into your exported file, or to get rid of parts of it. I like having metadata saved in my photos. It means that my details are stored in my photos so that I can be contacted, and some search engines pick this up. You can search keywords in Lightroom if they are saved, so in two years time you can use a keyword search in Lightroom with the terms i.e. “red” and “Bugs”, and Lightroom can then find all of your photos that are labelled as red or bugs or both. It makes searching for photos at a later date easy. However, there are times when you need to strip a photo of metadata. The Societies of Photographers run competitions each month for members and non-members. They have quite strict conditions, i.e. 2000 pixels on the longest side, 2MB file size limit, and no metadata embedded into the photo. Lightroom makes it possible to strip the metadata from the photo that you are going to use.

4 – Watermark. You can add a watermark, and when I use one it is a copyright symbol and my website details (Lightroom Tutorial 7 will include how to set up a watermark).

5 – Post Processing. Once you have exported a photo you may want to open it in Photoshop or another application. I tend to have this set at do nothing. If I needed to clone or use adjustment layers in Photoshop I would have done this earlier using the Ctrl E, and then saved as a TIFF from Photoshop, so there is nothing further for me to do at this point.

Key Points

Lightroom develops a virtual copy of your photo. If you develop a photo in Lightroom and then exit Lightroom and view the original file folder and click on a photo it will appear undeveloped. This is why we export photos from Lightroom using the export button. Exporting the photo will save the changes that you have made.

Export an individual photo from Lightroom to Photoshop by pressing Ctrl E. Once you have finished developing in Photoshop you then press Ctrl Shift S to save, save as a TIFF and do not alter the file name. Your edited photo is now in your Lightroom catalogue.

Use the export button in Lightroom to embed your colour profile. In Photoshop use the save for web or Ctrl Alt Shift S to embed the colour profile.

Because you have exported to a sub-folder then your full size developed original remains in your Lightroom catalogue, so if you need a larger photo later, then it’s there waiting for you.

 

Look out for Lightroom Tutorial 7, which will cover the basics of making contact sheets, creating PDF files, and slideshows.

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Lightroom Tutorial 5 – Local Developing Tools

I am writing this tutorial for beginners and those with little experience of Lightroom. I will endeavour to write it in as simple terms as possible. It would help if you open Lightroom and follow along using one or two photos of your own.

Local Development tools

The local development tools are the ones that mean you can make changes to parts of your photo, rather than developing the whole photo. In the image below I have highlighted the tools.

11 – Crop/rotate, 2 – Clone/heal, 3 – red eye removal, 4 – Grad filter, 5 Radial filter, 6 – Adjustment brush

The key is to develop your subject first using the global tools that we discussed in Tutorial 4. Once you have got your subject exposed properly we can then use the local development tools to refine our photo. If you blow out the sky ensuring that your subject is exposed properly, then don’t worry because we can reclaim it using the local tools. In the above photo my subject is the dancers, so I develop globally to have the right exposure for the dancers, then I can use the local tools.

 

Crop

21 – Crop tool, 2 – Crop edge point

If you click on the crop tool (1) you notice that a frame is place around your photo (2). If you hover your cursor over the frame then you will notice a two-way arrow. Left click and then drag to move where the edge of your crop will be. Once you have adjusted the edges to suit the crop that you want, press enter. Don’t worry if you want to reclaim some of what you have cropped out. Click the crop tools again and the whole picture will reappear, with your current crop indicated by the crop edge point which you can now adjust to suit your needs.

With the crop tool clicked you can place your curse outside the photo and a twisted two-way directional arrow will appear. You can use this to rotate the photo.

My advice would be to rotate the image early on in developing your photo, but don’t crop until the end. If you crop at the beginning of the process then Lightroom has less pixels to work with and this may affect the quality of your photo and how smooth the result is.

If you have Photoshop and are working on a project for assignment, and want all of your photos to have the same crop ratio, then use Photoshop. In Photoshop, you can set the crop to any ratio that you like, and can have the same ratio for all photos in a series, even though they are different sizes.

 

Clone/Heal

My least favourite Lightroom tool. If you have Photoshop then use it for clone and heal rather than Lightroom. It is far more intuitive, and it can be used alongside the healing brush tool to give a smooth finish for complex cloning.

However, let’s explore the Lightroom version for those that don’t have Photoshop.

31 – Clone tool indicator , 2 – Clone, 3 – Heal

Clone – click the clone tool indicator and move the cursor over you photo. Notice that it changes to a circle crosshair. To decrease or increase the size use the  [ ] keys. Stroke the cursor over the area that you would like to clone out. It will paint a white line, and then when you release the mouse button a box of the same size will appear over an area that Lightroom analyses to be a suitable match to paste over your selected area. If you don’t like the match then you can change the selection. Move your cursor so that it is within with in the outlined source box, a hand will appear, left click and then drag the box to where you want the selected area to clone from. Press enter and your clone is saved but a grey circle still appears. You can either press enter again and the clone tools is then gone, or hover your cursor over the circle, left click, and now four options appear. Click heal at this point and Lightroom will blend your clone in with the background. You can also delete it from the four options. Press enter twice to exit the clone tool.

Heal – healing works in much the same way as above. It works better on dust or spots that have been caused by rain or dust on your lens. Adjust the cross hairs so they are only slightly bigger than the spot, and press enter. Lightroom will select a source, which you can manually move. Press enter once when you are happy with the selection and twice to exit the tool. Be aware that once you have pressed enter once a grey circle will remain around the area that you have healed and the source point. This will go once you press enter the second time to exit the tool. I initially thought this grey circle would remain and ruin the photo. It doesn’t.

Let us consider that you have used the clone/heal tool and pressed enter to exit the tool. You find that you are not happy with it and want to alter the selection. Click on the tool selector again. Notice that you have a solid grey circle where you cloned. You can hover your cursor over it, right click and then alter or delete. You can use the tools multiple times on each photo, and all of these are removable at a later stage without any image destruction.

 

Red Eye Removal

A useful tool for portraits of people and pets.

Click on the tool and cross hairs appear. Left click and drag so that an ellipse is produced and ensure that it covers the whole of the eye. You can then adjust the tool for the size of the pupil, and to lighten or darken the area using the sliders. You can do the same for pets by clicking on pet eye.

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1 + 2 – sliders for pupil size and lighten/darken.

 

Grad Filter

My favourite tool. It is my go to tool for developing my photographs. Once you have a bit of practice using it you will come to realise just how much you can do with this tool. I prefer this to the adjustment brush because of the consistency and smoothness of adjustments. When you use the adjustment brush, if you go over certain areas more than others, you can sometimes see the strokes of the brush, the grad filter prevents that from happening, and after the photo I will explain why.

51 – Grad filter selector, 2 – sliders, 3 – Colour tool

Exercise

Select the grad filter, hold down the shift key with the left mouse button depressed and drag down your page 1 inch. Notice that there is a black and white circle, with a line above and a line below. Now press the letter o. The area that will be affected by changes that you make are shown in red, and the blank area that won’t be affected is below the bottom line. Move your cursor to the bottom line and a hand will hover over it. Drag that down another inch. You can see that the red is becoming fainter. This means that any changes that you make using the sliders will be more intense at the top and graduate down to the bottom where they will be fainter still. Now hover your cursor over the black circle, a hand will appear, left click and drag. The top line will now appear part way down your photo. When you make changes using the photo, the space above the top line will have full affect, gradually feathering down to no affect below the bottom line. To rotate the area then hover over the centre line to the left or white of the circle, click and drag. You have more control over this if you do so further away from the centre circle.

Grad Filter Key Tips

To free hand the grad filter left mouse click without pressing shift.

For straight vertical or horizontal, drag down or to the side with shift depressed.

To have a colour overlay so that you can see which area of your photo you are adjusting press the letter o, to change colour of the overlay press shift and o.

The grad filter will produce a straight line, in any direction that you choose. So, as well as selecting the area that you want to change, it will also select areas that need to stay as they are. Here the fun begins. In the photo below I want to make changes to the sky and not the buildings, but as you can see the grad filter has selected them too.

61 – Feather to horizon, 2 – Brush, 3 – Type of brush, 4 – Auto Mask, 5 – Centre circle, 6 – top line, 7 – Bottom line.

There is a lot in the above image, but with practice it becomes quite easy. The following exercise will guide you through the process of masking out the areas that you do not wish to change, and leave only the areas that you do.

Exercise

Open a photo and click on the grad filter. Use shift drag to open the filter for 1 inch, press shift the letter o so that you can see the overlay colour. Hover over the centre circle and when the hand appears drag it half way down the page. Half of your photo is now red. Press the shift and t keys simultaneously, and notice that the word brush is highlighted (as 2 above). Now click the word erase at the bottom of the sliders (as 3 above) and then click Auto mask. The auto mask button detects edges, so when you make a brush stroke it will only work up to the edge. Set feather to 0 and flow to 100%. Move your cursor onto the photo and then press the ] key until your brush is around 1 inch in diameter. Now drag the brush over the parts of the photo that you want to be masked out so that the grad filter doesn’t affect them.

71 – Area that I have erased using the erase brush, 2 – buildings that I haven’t yet erased

I only want the grad filter to change the sky in this photo, so I am deleting the red overlay from all other areas. Tip use brush strokes, don’t try to do brush out a whole area in one go. This way if you go over the edge you won’t have to go back to the beginning. Tip – Zoom in and then use a smaller brush to ensure you delete areas of fine detail, such as the street lamp above. Tip – The grad filter selects by tone and colour that the centre point of your brush goes over. It will then delete all within your brush that match when automask is selected, so you will need to go over areas of different colours if they appear within the circle of your brush. Tip – Use the automask to brush out edges. Once the edges have gone you can remove the auto mask and erase the other areas as block brush strokes rather than tone/colour match (in the above photo I used automask to delete the edges of the buildings, and then stroked down towards the shops and people without automask.

If you then want to paint an area back in that you have deleted then select either brush A or B next to erase, move the feather slider in between 10 and 20 and the flow to 100% for anything above the grad filters top line and progressively reduce the flow for areas closer to the bottom line. You can test to see if the red overlays match up, if they don’t then press Ctrl Z to delete and adjust the flow, and try again.

Now press o so that the red overlay disappears, then press Shift T. This takes you out of the brush mode and means that you can use the sliders to adjust the areas that you have selected with the grad filter. Reduce the exposure to -4 and notice how the area goes almost black. Reset exposure to 0. At the bottom of the sliders there is a little box with the word colour next to it. Click on the envelop and select a blue colour, and then reduce the exposure. You will notice that the sky is now blue.

81 – Colour opacity slider

You can now adjust the opacity of the colour so that you have the right hue for your photo. Press enter when you have the colour that you want and then you can use the sliders to make further developments. I rarely make use of the colour adjuster, but it can enhance a sky where you have shot into the light.

If you now hover your cursor over the circle and right click, notice that you can duplicate the settings. This is great as it means you can make slight adjustments with the sliders, and then duplicate to slowly build up the effects, rather than trying to do them all in one go. I have found this to be useful when I have needed to make subtle changes. Hit enter twice and you are now out of the grad filter. However, you can click the grad filter tool again and set a different filter (be aware that where your two filters overlap both changes will combine, so erase out the overlap), also note that a circle appears where your last filter was applied. If you left click on the circle it will bring up your current slider settings which you can now re-adjust.

Grad Filter warnings – Making too drastic a change using the grad filter will mean that you get halo’s around the edges. If you have a halo, then use brush A, click auto mask, and go to the outside of the area that you just erased, and mask back in up to the edge. If you are developing a photo for assessment, then take it into photo shop and view at full size. If there is still a halo, you can clone the correct colour match and take it up to the edge. Its time consuming, so only do this for assessment or photo competition pieces. Trees – trees are a bloody nightmare to be honest. When you use the grad filter and the filter goes over trees you will need to erase the branches and leaves. Use the erase brush a) make sure that you use automask, B) Increase the brush size to as large as possible, C) Zoom in close. Click on the leaf rather than drag. Because you are using a large brush then it will change all of the leaves (of the same colour) within your circle, thus targeting a larger area which speeds up your process, do the same with tree trunks and branches. Why bother to do this? If you are using the grad filter to change the exposure of a sky and don’t mask out the leaves, then you get horrible coloured leaves and your photo will look awful. If you decide that the process is too time consuming and decide to erase the sky between the leaves, you will be left with a noticeable change in sky tone between the whole sky and the sky between the leaves (I have tried the lazy way and it ruins your photo). The grad filter is the best tool for adjusting the exposure of the sky as it gives a smooth, consistent and feathered finish. If you use the adjustment brush instead of the grad filter you will have streaks in the sky from where different brush strokes overlap, and still won’t have altered the sky between the leaves. Trees annoy me when it comes to developing my photos because they are time consuming. However, I take my photography seriously and if a photo is going to be assessed, is being entered into a competition, or is one that I value, then It deserves the effort that it takes. With portrait photography you will have to follow the same slow process with hair.

In the before and after photo below, I have drastically reduced the exposure of the sky to show two things. The first being that using the grad filter selectively means that you can isolate the subject by reducing the impact of the background. Secondly, take a close look at the church spire and notice that it has a halo around the edges. The more extreme your changes are the more pronounced the halo. More subtle changes mean less halo.

Before-and-after-2

 

Grad Filter, Sharpness, Noise Reduction, Depth of Field

There are many occasions when we want to reduce the noise from a photo. You can do this by using the global develop tools and reduce the noise over a whole image, but that comes at the cost of reducing the detail and its sharpness. Using the grad filter we can selective reduce the background noise. A common tool to improve the clarity of a subject is to reduce the clarity of the background. You can do these individually or together. It is the same technique as above, but to keep the changes completely smooth, click on the grad filter, Shift drag for half a centimetre. Hover over the centre circle and drag to the bottom of the photo. This means there is no feather so the changes apply equally over the whole image. Then Shift T to open your brush, erase, automask, erase from the subject so that isn’t affected, then slide clarity to the left but move the noise slider to the right. The noise slider is counter intuitive, but it reduces noise to the right, and increases to the left. Reducing clarity is also good for isolating a person or object in a complex picture, and it decrease the depth of field in doing so.

Top tip for grad filter and automask – zoom in, be precise. Take your time. Taking your time now, will save time in the long run.

 

Radial Filter

I rarely use this tool, but it can be useful to make changes to a circular or elliptical area of a photo. I made use of it in the following photo to create two areas of light that were not in the original photo.

Bed-Time

Click on the radial filter, click and drag to create a circle then us the squares to adjust size and shape. Move your cursor outside of the circle and you can now rotate it. Then use the sliders to make your development changes.

Top Tip

You can reset your sliders by double clicking on effect, you can also click on the custom button and use a preset adjustment. This works for all of the local development tool sliders apart from red eye removal.

91 – Effect button, 2 – Custom/presets button

 

Adjustment Brush

The strength adjustment brush is demonstrated in complex scenes where overlapping strokes are not going to be noticeable. It’s great for dodge and burn, and if you click on the adjustment brush and then on custom you will find the settings pre-programmed for dodge and burn. Make your global developments first to create the overall exposure that you want, then use the adjustment brush like a paint brush. You can use the presets or use the sliders to create the changes that you require. If you want to see the areas that your brush has touched then remember to press Shift o.

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On the left we have the before image. Notice how flat the photo is. There is no movement through the picture and the eye wanders around. For the after photo I made global changes to tone and exposure. Then I have used the adjustment brush twice, with different settings for each. Firstly I used the burn tool and brushed over the people and flowers to the left, and the buildings behind the street performers on the right (avoiding the people). Then I used the dodge tool over the paving and the performers, to increase their exposure and light. This creates a pathway through the photo that the eye then follows naturally.

 

Experiment, have fun and I promise that with practice you will find that using these tools becomes intuitive.

 

The next tutorial will cover exporting, saving, and watermarks.

 

 

 

 

 

Lightroom Tutorial 4 – Global Photo Developing Tools

This tutorial is written for those with little or no experience of using Lightroom for developing their photographs. I am only going discuss the histogram, basic sliders, tone curve, sharpening and transform.

Why develop photos? We develop photos so that they look the way that we want them too. When we plan a series of photos, or take a photo, we often have a vision in our mind of how we want it to look. We begin the developing process by shooting in manual mode and changing the settings to begin to get the photo how we want it to be. Then we move to Lightroom or Photoshop to make further adjustments.

What do we mean by global developing?

When we develop our photos in Lightroom there are a whole host of tools that we can use. Some of these are there to help us make changes to only part of an image, these are local development tools. Others help us to develop the whole photo, global develop tools. In tutorial 5 we will explore the local developing tools, but today we will focus on making changes to the whole photo.

It would be helpful if you imported a folder to Lightroom and mess around with each tools as you work through the tutorial.

 

Tools for Global Development

The tools are on the right hand side of the screen and some can be seen below.

1

 

1 – Histogram, 2 – Develop tools used most often, 3 – Scroll, 4 – these tools are used for local developing, and cropping. Click on the triangle next to these words to open the menu for those tools.

Histogram

You can make changes here by moving your cursor into any of the five sectors (blacks, shadows, exposure, highlights, whites) and moving the cursor to left or right. There is a triangle at the top left and top white of the histogram. If you have any black or white clipping (lost details in the blacks and whites because the exposure is to black or too white) the triangle will appear white, as in the photo above. I am going to hover my cursor over the triangle. This is what happens.

 2

Where the photo has white clipping it has been highlighted red. If I move my cursor away the red clipping warning has now gone. I can click on the white triangle and it will keep the red warning there until I either re-click on the triangle, or I remove the clipping by using other develop tools.

 

Develop Tools

Lightroom gives us a lot of tools to develop our photos. These “basic” tools are used most frequently and they are straight forward. However, they are worth getting to know well. The sliders are there to increase or decrease. For example, to increase exposure you move the slider to the right, and to decrease it you move to the left. This is not the case for all of the sliders though,  some work in reverse and increase to the left and decrease to the right. I will go through them one by one.

3

Treatment – Gives you the option of developing the photo in colour or black and white

WB – is your white balance. To the left of WB there is a colour picker tool. If you click on it now and move your mouse over your image and look at the navigator mini photo, you will see that your dropper is being used to change the white balance of the photo. Click on a spot you like and you have changed the white balance manually. Ctrl Z to undo or you can use the Previous button below “vibrabce”. Now press W and the tool vanishes. Press W at any time and your white dropper tool will appear.

To the right of WB it will either say Auto or As Shot. Click on that and you can reset your white balance by clicking on any of the options.

Temp – Add coolness or warmth to your photos. Mess around, get to know the tool. If you mess something up badly then remember to use the history brush tool from the last tutorial, to go back to an earlier stage in your developing process.

You generally don’t need to change these numbers by much, sliding too far to the left or right will bring extreme results, some of these can be fun though.

Tint – to increase the magenta or greens. Use sparingly, and double-check the sky and grasses and leaves if you do use this slider. It can throw these out dramatically. Nothing looks worse than a magenta sky or distorted leaves.

The Temp and Tint sliders are part of adjusting the white balance. I do use them occasionally, but if I am going to change the white balance manually, I prefer to use the dropper tool for this.

ToneExposure and contrast are tools to adjust the tone of your photo. There is also an Auto button, which can be useful for either a starting point for further developing, or for those photos that you want to make use of, but aren’t important enough to spend too much time over.

Exposure – Slider left to decrease exposure and right to increase. If you hold down the Alt key when you move the slider, your screen will show areas where you have lost details in the whites by showing white on the black background. You do not need to use the Alt key. It is better to visually get the exposure that you want, and then use the Alt to just to check for clipping.

Contrast – to decrease the contrast slide left, and to increase slide right. The Alt key doesn’t do anything with the contrast slider. Decreasing contrast slowly removes the highlights and shadows, it softens the photo, and removes some of the detail in doing so. A high contrast image, reduces the mid-tones, and increase the gap between blacks and whites. It can sharpen some of the detail because of this, but can also make some colours appear quite harsh and over saturated. If you are developing portraits or photos with people in them be very cautious with adjusting contrast. If you use the contrast slider you may want to use an adjustment brush later to bring back the skin tones (tutorial 5). Be more cautious when developing photos of people who are black or Asian. increasing  contrast will distort their skin tone more quickly than white skin. The better option is to get the exposure right for the skin first, and then using a grad filter, and erase tool to mask their skin, and then make adjustments to the rest of the photo. I will discuss that in tutorial 5.

Highlights – Left to decrease and right to increase. Holding the Alt button whilst sliding means that white clipping will show as white.

Shadows – Our first reverse slider. To increase your shadows, and therefore darken the image, move the slider to the left, and to the right to decrease the shadows and lighten the photo. Adjusting the shadows is altering your mid-tones, so your photo can be lightened or darkened considerably. Moving the slider to the right and decreasing the shadows can reveal details that were under exposed. Holding down the Alt key and sliding left, the screen will be white this time, and black clipping will show up as black. If you have black clipping you are losing detail in the blacks.

Whites – Slide left to decrease whites, and slider right to increase. This slider affects the whites predominantly, but it also adjust the highlights and softer, pastel colours. You can set your white point by holding down the Alt key and sliding right. As soon as you get black marks on your screen you have gone past your white point and moved into white clipping. Explore whether you need to adjust the whites or the highlights, its different for different images.

White and black clipping – When you clip blacks and whites it means that have moved into the purest tones. Pure white and pure black have no details, and this means that the more clipping that you have, the more detail that you lose. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have any clipping. This is where holding down the Alt key whilst adjusting whites and blacks is important, as it shows you exactly where you have the clipping. It may be that you want to increase the whites to ensure that you have true white in a particular area of your image. Increasing this area to pure white may mean that you have white clipping and lose detail in another area where the detail is not important. Losing some detail in the blacks is something that I occasionally use, to add contrast, depth and shadow in areas where the detail doesn’t matter.

Things to remember – You need to be cautious with sky, sea and snow. Keep the detail by ensuring that you don’t have white clipping. Use the Alt click method, slide the whites to as high as you can get before clipping. Slide the shadows and black slight to the left to darken a little, so that the detail is enhanced. Just a touch though, you want to keep the realism.

Presence – is defined by the clarity, vibrance, and saturation sliders.

All of these brushes decrease by sliding left and increase by sliding right.

Clarity – to the untrained eye it can appear that increasing clarity is increasing the sharpness of the image. It produces a similar effect by increasing mid-tone contrast, and this brings out texture and detail, but it is not sharpening the photo. Like the contrast slider, be careful not to overdo it. I tend to set clarity and vibrance to 17 in my photos. I’m definitely not saying that the right thing to do, but I like the light and detail that this produces. It’s a medium contrast finish.

Saturation – Hang on a minute, you’ve left out vibrance. Well, we will get to that, Promise. But we have to start with saturation. Increasing saturation moves all of the colours up towards their purest hue. Try it out and see what happens? Decreasing it reduces everything to grey, all of the colour has been removed. There is no selection of what colours are affected, they all are.

Vibrance – Ummm, vibrance does not mean anything outside of Lightroom and Photoshop. Technically, vibrance is an algorithm that allows Lightroom to work out which colours are saturated, and which are un-saturated. When you increase the slider, the algorithm allows Lightroom to only increase the under-saturated colours in your photo, when you decrease, it only decreases the saturated.

Warning – Be careful not to over use vibrance or saturation as this will posterise your photos and make colour too vivid.

I like using vibrance, I find that it can bring and added touch of light and richness if used cautiously.

 

Tone Curve

The link between tone curve and histogram is evidenced in the following image.

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All of the peaks and troughs of the histogram are the same as in the tone curve, except they are bunched up. You can adjust, shadows, darks, lights and highlights. Sliding upwards in any of these areas lightens, and downwards darkens. As you move the line, notice how it also moves the corresponding slider below it.

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1 – original tone curve, 2 – darks decreased (darkened), 3 – lights increased

 

You can move the sliders and see how the image curve moves accordingly. The tone curve tool is a very quick way of improving your photo if you understand what needs improving; underexposed – bring up your lights and darks, over exposed bring down your highlights and shadows. Adjusting the tone curve works separately than the basic sliders. You can make developments using your basic sliders, and then use the tone curve to just nudge things a little. The classic “s” tone curve (above right) increases the contrast as it increases the range between your darks and lights. Once you have made changes using your tone curve you can return to using the global development sliders. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Lightroom gives you the reset tool and the history brush. All adjustments in Lightroom are non-destructive. Remember that in Lightroom every development is done on a virtual copy. Experiment, mess up, reset, experiment, mess up, step back – without losing any data, and without ruining a photo.

 

Detail – Sharpening

When you click on the detail triangle to open the detail panel, you get a close-up sample of your photo. Use the hand to move around your photo until you find the area that you want to enhance.

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1 – Masking, 2 – Amount

The radius and detail settings above are good settings that ensure that when we sharpen we are targeting a narrow pixel area (radius) and are targeting areas of detail and not background (detail).

Masking – Hold down Alt key and move the masking slider to the right (do this before using the amount slider). Notice that as you move the slider to the right, you have more black appear, and the white area become more defined. The black indicates areas that are being masked off, and will not be sharpened and the white is the area that you will sharpen. The further to the right you move the slider, the narrower the area that will be sharpened becomes. This is targeted sharpening. I usually have the masking slider set in between 50-80.

Amount – Once you have selected the masking area you can now increase the amount of sharpening (you do not need the alt key for this). By looking at the close-up picture whilst you move the amount slider to the right, you will notice the gradual increase in sharpness. Be cautious not to over sharpen as you can create posterised style photos. Not pretty.

Alternate to sharpening – There is a way to enhance a photo so that it looks sharp, and the technique is especially useful for photos where there has been a very small amount of lens shake, high ISO or for photos where your lines are deliberately soft. It involves using local development tools for noise reduction and decreasing clarity. Please don’t do this with the global tools because you will lose the clarity and detail from all of your image (tutorial five will discuss how to do this). In tutorial 5 we will learn how to use Lightroom and Photoshop collaboratively with each other to reduce noise effectively, without purchasing noise reduction software.

Lens Correction – Always ensure you check tick boxes for remove chromatic aberration and enable profile correction. This removes the distortions that a lens produces.

Transform – This is a useful tool. Most of the time I use the auto transform button. It picks your strongest edge and makes it upright, and tries to correct the profile to ensure that you have an upright image without converging lines.. Ever taken a photo of a high building from a low vantage point? When you look at the photo the building will tip backwards and the edges will lean into each other (converging lines). Or have you taken a wide-angle shot and your subject looks fab, but the surrounding areas are pulled towards the middle? Our eyes correct this perspective for us, but cameras don’t, as you can see in photo 1 below.

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For the original image (photo 1) I bent down and pointed my camera up. In photo 2 we can see how the Lightroom Auto transform has tried to correct the perspective and straighten the building by pulling the top towards us and the bottom away. Lightroom isn’t a miracle worker , it has improved the photo though (which is a very poor photo). However, take a look at photo 3. It’s much more upright. Transform has features that you can manually control. I have moved the vertical slider to -94 and rotate to -0.9. A great improvement. Warning 1 – See the red arrow 1 – when Lightroom transforms your photo it distorts your image, so you will sometimes lose part of the photo and have to crop the blank area away. Arrow 2 shows how the vertical transform has meant that I lose the top of the tower. The corrections are great but do be aware of areas that you do not want to crop, or how cropping will affect your overall composition and balance.

With the majority of photos that you take Lightroom will be able correct the perspective and produce great results. When you take a photo if it is possible find a slightly higher vantage point and try not to point your camera up and use the smallest focal length that you can.

Please mess around with the manual tools and see what they do. Get used to them. We are only ever going to use them sparingly, but knowing what you can do will help you develop your photos more accurately.

Warning 2 – The Auto transform tools occasionally produces awful results, when it does press Ctrl Z and remember that you can make rotation changes by clicking on the crop tool, and click drag on the outside of your photo.

In Lightroom tutorial 5 I will explain how to use the local development tools. This will help you to make adjustments to small areas of your photos, such as the sky, the background, the subject, and to dodge and burn. Tutorial six will cover exporting, savings and making virtual collections.

 

Photoshop Tutorial – Cloning Between two or More Photos.

Here are my before and after photos and after them is the tutorial.

I do not use the Lightroom clone tool. Its good enough for small uncomplicated areas, but it isn’t as effective as Photoshop for more complicated scenes. If you are using Lightroom then find the photos in the Library module select the images that you are going to use and then press Ctrl and E, and they will export into Photoshop. If you are only using Photoshop then open the files directly (for this tutorial I recommend using only two photos)

Next click on File at the top of the screen and then new. Your screen will look like this

Cloning-3

1- Select custom,

2- Change the width and height (check the dimensions of your prime photo – the one you are cloning into. Go back to the photo in Photoshop, click on image and image size) Input the height of your prime photo, BUT double the width – My image dimensions are W4000, H 6000, so I would input W 8000, H 6000),

3- Resolution, change to 240 (or whatever your raw or JPEG resolution is) then press create.

Press CTRL 0

In the Photoshop ribbon click on your prime photo so that you can now see that. Press Ctrl A and then Ctrl C, Next go back to your new blank document and press Ctrl V. Your prime image is now in the centre of the screen and has opened as a new layer  – see arrow 2 below.

Cloning-4

Use the move tool (arrow 1) and move your image to the right.

Then go back to the photo that you are going to clone from, press Ctrl A, then Ctrl C, then go back to the blank document (which now has one photo in it), press Ctrl C, and move the photo to the left. Next press the layers tab at the top of the screen and click on Flatten Image.

Cloning-5

Once you have done this you will have your two photos side by side, and only the one layer.

I am going to clone the man on the left of my source image into my prime image on the right. Zoom in tightly to the area that you want to clone from (Press Ctrl + as many times as you need to) and then select the clone stamp tool (see Below)

Cloning-6

Arrow 1 is the clone stamp tool, and arrow 2 is my reference point (source). My reference point is the area that is most important to get right to clone from your image. My reference point is the mans foot, as I want to move him into the arch. Hard areas are often good, such as the edge of a wall. It’s easier if you make the tool large enough so that it covers part of the hard edge and part of the surrounding area. That way you can line up the clone accurately. To increase your clone stamp tool size press ] and to decrease press [. If the size is too large then you will include too much background (which you will then need to re-clone, and too small will take too long, and can create streaks).

Press Alt and click on the reference point and you have now selected where you are going to clone from. Now hold down the space bar and drag your mouse to find the area that you want to clone into (having the space bar pressed means you have a move tool so you can scroll around your image).

When you are ready you can let go of the space bar, position the clone stamp tool so that the markings within the tool, line up with the surrounding area. Then left click and clone in the area or object that you wish to clone. Try and do the clone in one go by keeping the left click down, or you will have to return to the source and find the next area to line up with again. It takes practice because you are working from memory as you cannot see the area of the photo that you are cloning from. Try not to include too much unneccessary background or you will have to clone it out.

Here’s my effort.

Cloning-7

1- Clone source, 2- Clone target, 3- Blurred edges that I need to clone out.

Before cloning out the blurred edges, go to the Layers tab and click flatten image. Then go to the crop tool, and crop so that only your prime photo is in frame. You now have your prime photo and can tidy the edges. We are still going to use the Clone stamp tool, and we will also use the healing brush tool.

Press Ctrl + until you are close enough to have your background and blurred edges in view. I am going to select a source point that is close to the edges and blur that I want to delete. As you can see in my image, where I have cloned the man in, I also have part of the wall that he was walking past, and a fuzzy outline on his right side.

Cloning-8

The red dot is my source point so that I can line up the pavement and road. I have a medium size clone stamp tool. The reason is that if the tool is too large I would go over his clothing and legs and ruin the outline, and if the tool is too small, you create a halo effect around the area.

Cloning-9

I also have clone stamp tool settings that I have found are most effective in producing the correct tone and colour. If you have the Opacity at 100% and the Flow at 84% you get a fairly good tone and colour match (which can then be easily tidied with the healing brush tool). You can now clone in around the area.

I have finished cloning but am now left with a blur on the left hand side of the mans legs, so I will use the healing brush tool to smooth out the join.

Cloning-10

1- Blur, 2- Healing brush tool, Red dot – Source point.

Press Alt and click to select your source point, this needs to be to the side of where you are going to heal, close enough to create a colour match, then brush down the line where the colours don’t match.

And here is the final result.

Cloning-11

 

Lightroom Tutorial 3 – Develop Module Presets

Lightroom Develop Module

It would be helpful if you opened Lightroom and then clicked on the folder that you used for tutorial 2, Library module. If you didn’t make one then any folder will do, but it would be best if there were only 5 or 6 photos in it.

Once we have opened a folder we are in the Library module. You don’t need to click on develop as there are keyboard short cuts. Press D to go to the develop module and then if you want to go back to the library at any point then press G. To remove the side and bottom menus press tab │←→│.

Your screen should now look like this.

Develop-1

There are small arrows in the circles. If you click on arrows 1 and 3 you will notice that the develop menu has now disappeared and so has your row of photos at the bottom. This is really useful as you can then develop your photos in a larger format, and you can click on any of the arrows to bring them back. However, you don’t need to even do that. Hover over any of the arrows and the menu will show, and you can then use those features. I tend to have the develop menu (top) and the tool menu (right) permanently open, but you will find out what’s best for you by experimentation. For now, press tab and bring all of the menus back up.

The first thing that I always do when in the develop menu is to remove chromatic aberration and enable profile corrections. Chromatic aberrations are sometimes known as “Colour Fringing” and it is to do with how light at different wavelengths are brought to the focal point slightly differently, so you can get a blurred edge, more often of one colour. The lens correction is based upon the known distortions produced by a specific lens.

It’s best to adjust this with all of your photos in this collection at once. If I do this individually I forget some of the time. To choose all of your photos press Ctrl A, then use the right hand side slider until you find this.

Develop-2

Tick the check box for remove chromatic aberration and also for Enable Profile Corrections. You can choose which lens you were using. If you use a camera without interchangeable lenses then I don’t think you can correct the profile. My Fuji bridge camera doesn’t have a profile here so I can’t correct it. Once you have ticked the boxes press sync. (The above photo says auto sync, but it will say Sync on your screen).  If you have used multiple lenses you will need to go through them individually, but I mostly use one lens on one shoot. Your screen will now have this check box.

Develop-3

Although you can sync all settings and it can speed up workflow, I wouldn’t reccoment this until you have got an understanding of the different develop tools. Some photos will require different settings for optimal developing, so it isnt best to sync everything. When you are used to the develop tools and can make a fair assumption of how they will affect other photos you can then sycn settings by selecting multiple photos (Ctrl and left click). The settings will be synchronised with the photo that you are currently editing and applied to the others.

At the moment just tick the same 7 boxes that I have ticked above (deselct the rest by clicking on them if they are already ticked) and then press Synchronize.

Lightroom Presets

Lightroom presets are global develop settings that Lightroom has built in as options for you to use if you wish. They provide a range of options to develop photos and can speed up our workflow. You can use a preset and then add your own adjustments to these, or you may choose not to use them at all, but they are definitely worth exploring.

Develop-4

1- Change background colour, 2- Navigator preview image, 3 – Lightroom presets

Before we use the presets consider changing the background of your screen. Right-click to the side of your photo and click the background colour of your preference. I have recently moved over to a white background. My reason being that most of my photos are displayed online, on a white background. Having the same background in Lightroom means that I am developing a photo as it will be seen online. The colour of the background alters the way that our brain views the light and colour (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checker_shadow_illusion)

The navigator is brilliant. You can change the image ratio to zoom in or out, which you can also do with Ctrl + – (no Ctrl 0 in Lightroom like there is in Photoshop). You can increase the zoom further by using the double arrows next to the 2:1 ratio. The fab part of navigation is when you then start to explore the pre-sets. Most frequently I use the General Presets, occasional use of the Colour Presets, and rarely the Black and White Presets.

Exercise

Open the General Preset menu by clicking on the arrow to the left of it. Hover over each of the options whilst looking at the image above in the navigator. You get a preview of how the pre-set will adjust your photo. Do the same with the Colour Pre-sets. Click on one of them and it will adjust your photo, and then you can press Ctrl Z to undo the change.

There is also a + – symbol next to where it says pre-sets in the same panel. This is useful when you realise that you make a lot of similar global changes in your photo developing. You can make the changes to a photo and then press the + symbol, give your preset a name, and you have your own preset. This saves time, but get used to developing your photos first (Tutorial 4 and 5 will explore global and local developing).

I don’t use the copy and paste, you can add your own develop settings into the currently selected preset, or you can copy a presets settings and then paste them into a photo. I am not familiar with this process and I don’t feel comfortable changing around these settings by using the copy and paste. You do not need to use the copy and paste option as once you have used a preset you can still make your own local and global developments to your photo anyway.

Lightroom History

When you are developing photos in Lightroom you are developing a full size virtual copy in a non-destructive manner. It doesn’t matter how many changes that you make, you can always go back to the original settings. You can do this by using Ctrl Z, which is fine for going back a couple of settings, but what if you have used the tools (tutorial 4 and 5) and have made lots of brush strokes and altered a lot of settings and don’t like what you have done? Use the slider on the left of the screen and go down to history. As you haven’t adjusted anything other than chromatic aberrations and lens profile then your History won’t reveal much. However you can see that in my history settings it shows a few of the developments that I have made:- Dark tones, dark tones, lightones, vibrance, clarity, add brush stroke etc.

Develop-5

I have made some awful edits on mine and I don’t like them. I can now step back to anywhere in the history. By hovering over any of the settings, I can view how my photo looked at that point by looking in the navigator as I hover over the history changes. Then click on a change that I want to go back to. Being able to view our adjustment history in the navigator is an excellent tool from Lightroom (Adobe)

Exercise

Click on one of the Lightroom Colour Presets, we are doing this to ensure that you have made a change to your photo (a basic development), now you can compare your developed photo with the original. Press Y and your screen will look like this.

Develop-6

By clicking where it says YY you can alter how you compare the before and after settings, side by side, above and below, or split view side by side and split view above and below. Give it a go. To go back to having just your developed photo (after) on screen press Y.

When you are developing a photo and you want a quick view of the original photo, you dont have to see it side by side. Press the \ and it will bring up the original and then press it again to return to your current stage of development.

I personally do not use the three boxes to the right of where it says before and after because I don’t fully understand how to use them. If I want to go back to any previous settings I just use the history brush.

Next time, in tutorial 4,  we will look at the global developing tools and see how we can begin to develop the whole photo. In tutorial 5 we will make local adjustments.

Lightroom Tutorial 2 – Library Module

As we are going to begin our process of developing our photos it would help if you were to create a new folder on your desk top and copy six photos into it. We will then be able to use these as a practical means of understanding and making use of Lightroom.

If you open Lightroom it will begin in the library module, and with the last catalogue that you developed. It will look something like this.

Library-1

There are four numbered arrows and four circles. Before we consider their importance press the tab key, its above Caps Lock “│←→│”.  The tab key removes the side menus so that you can see a larger grid view of your images. If you now repress the tab key. There are other ways to remove the side menus, and that is by the tiny white arrows that are in the circles in the image above. This gives you the option of seeing more of your photos, or a larger photo if you are in Loupe view.

The numbered arrows are parts of the library that we will explore in this exercise

1 – This arrow is pointing at metadata

2- Folders that you have previously imported into Lightroom

3 – A menu that gives you the option to view images that contain certain text, metadata and attributes.

4 – Quick Develop, Add/View keywords, Add/View metadata, Add/View comments

Exercise

Import the folder of photos that you just made by going to the top menu, Click File, Click import photos and videos. We are importing in this manner rather than using the import button at the bottom left of the screen so that we don’t add our photos to the current library.

Locate the folder from your desktop. It will then bring the photos into the library. There is a button at the lower right of the screen that says import but don’t press it yet.

Your screen will now look like this.

Library-2

1 – Build Previews. Lightroom generates thumbnails and full pictures as virtual copies in the library and the develop module. I use 1:1 previews because they are the highest quality. It may take a while for Lightroom to build the previews, but you can still work with your images while it is doing so. If you set this to standard or minimal then Lightroom will import more quickly, but each time you edit a photo it will build a 1:1 image each time and this slows down your workflow.

2 – Develop Settings – Until you are sued to the develop settings, which isn’t necessary right now, then either select auto tone or none.

3 – Keywords – Keywords are an important part of recording metadata into photos. Keywords are not the only metadata and I will explain more later. Lets add some keywords. Why? Over time you will process thousands of photos and will want to find one or two really quickly. If you have keywords then you can search all of your photos in Lightroom via keywords and it will take you to the photos with those words. I have added Lightroom library module walk-through, followed by a comma. Adding the comma after each word or sentence means you can add another keyword or phrase, so I have then added Lightroom, and FiP. Adding keywords here will add them to all photos that you are importing, but you can add photos to individual photos later on. Now click Import.

Library-3

Because I had my develop settings as auto-tone, my photos have been imported with the tone corrected. The first photo with the light grey around it is the active photo.

The screen that you are seeing is called grid mode. You can select a different photo with the arrow keys, left click or Ctrl left click for multiple images. You can also click on one photo, then move to any other photo and press the Shift key “↑” and click with the shift pressed down. This will now select all of the photos from your orignal selection to this photo.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Press Ctrl A and all images are selected and then Ctrl D to deselect the images.

Press E – you now have one photo selected in full screen and this is Loupe mode. Press G and you are taken back to grid.

Click on any image to select it.

Press 2, and a message set rating to 2 flashes on the screen, now press { (next to P) this will decrease the start rating “attribute” and the key next to it will increase it. Keys one to five will do this. Keys 6-9 add a colour rating. 6=red, 7=yellow, 8=green, 9=blue. I use the attributes to select photos that are either worth developing or to review again as Maybe’s.

Press 2 on three of your photos, and on one of these press 6.

Above your photos is a short menu, text, attribute, metadata or none. Click attribute and your screen looks like this.

Library-4

Where it says rating click on the first star and your screen will now only show the photos with an attribute of 1 star or above, so you now only have three photos showing. Now tick the red box, and you will only have one photo showing. Click on the red again to deselect it. This is a really good way of reviewing your photos, and sorting through which ones that you want to develop so that you don’t take them all into the develop module and feel like youre wading through photos to find the ones that you wish to develop.

The right hand side of your screen will now look like this

Library-5

Click Metadata, then where it says preset None, click the arrow to the right and then edit presets.

Library-7

Edit Metadata Presets is an important tool. Once you have this set up you can then import your photos with your presets, copyright and contact information embedded into your photos.

IPTC metadata

IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) state that “Photo metadata is key to protecting images’ copyright and licensing information online. It is also essential for managing digital assets. Detailed and accurate descriptions about images ensure they can be easily and efficiently retrieved via search, by users or machine-readable code. This results in smoother workflow within organizations, more precise tracking of images, and increased licensing opportunities.” https://iptc.org/standards/photo-metadata/

Not all search engines look for photographic metadata, but some do, and Adobe are encouraging Google to do so. Many Stock libraries use metadata and WordPress has a widget that can tag your photos by reading metadata. We can add lots of information.

Here are the settings that can be most useful

Camera Info

IPTC Copyright – in this section there are four boxes.

1 – Copyright – I add my email as my copyright but you can add your name.

2 – Copyright Status – I tick the Copyrighted box

3 – Rights usage terms – I use a creative commons license and add the details of my specific license https://creativecommons.org/

4 – Copyright info – I provide a link to my copyright page on my website

IPTC Creator

I don’t fill all of the boxes within this section but I do add my name, email, Country and website details. You can add your address and phone number if you wish, but I am not comfortable with this at this stage of my development as a photographer.

IPTC Status

Title – If I am producing a series such as Northern Pride then I will add a title here, as its OK for all of the images to have the same title. However you can add individual titles to photos later quite easily without using the user preset that you are now creating. I then add my name in the credit line and my website into the source.

Keywords

I then skip down to the last section and add keywords. These are words that fit the whole series generically, and then can add photo specific keywords to the individual photo later.

Click DONE and then you can name your preset. You only need to do this once, and then in future you can import your photos with your preset. You will need to add title and keywords in future but nothing else.

Warning

I have found that sometimes Lightroom has not saved my keywords to photos, so whenever I close Lightroom, I go to the menu at the top of the screen – Click Metadata and then Save metadata to files. NOT ALL FILE TYPES RETAIN METADATA, but RAW, TIFF, JPEG and PSD do.

PNG files do not retain metadata, but we don’t need to worry about this in Lightroom. Be aware of this if saving photos in other editing software such as Photoshop. If you save photos in formats other than TIFF, JPEG or PSD you will lose the metadata that you have spent time adding.

Metadata for individual photos

Click on a photo to select it. Using the slider on the right hand side of the screen find where it says title, add a title to a photo. Then go up slightly to where it says Keyword List, there is an add button + and you can now add keywords to individual photos. Once you have done this you can again go to the metadata drop down at the top of the screen and save metadata to files.

You can also use the quick develop module by moving the right hand slider to the top of the screen and adjust tone, white balance, exposure, clarity and vibrance, but I prefer to do this within the develop module, which will be the next theme.

 

Lightroom Tutorial 1 – Setting up Preferences and Catalogue Settings

I know that we all want to get on with developing our photos and brining the best out of them, but if we get this bit right at the beginning, then Lightroom will run efficiently for our PC, and we will have a smoother workflow process.

The aim of this walk-through is to help us set Lightroom up in a manner that is calibrated with our PC and monitor, and to ensure smooth transition when switching between Lightroom, Photoshop and back to Lightroom.

 

I am going to write as if you have no understanding of Lightroom. There may be some things here that you are familiar with and you may have other tips to share. Feel free to leave comments with your own tips and guidance.

I am no expert, I have been using Lightroom for 5 months and it is becoming more intuitive as my experience develops. Some menus are different on a MAC, but for this you will only need to find the Edit menu.

Some of this may seem a bit Techy, but once it is done, you shouldn’t need to do it again and it will keep your work flow smooth.

Library and Preferences

There are alternate ways to manage folders:- Our own way, using Bridge, or using Lightroom. However Lightroom will not create folders unless you export to a specific folder that you ask Lightroom to create.

As a beginner I would recommend using your own system. I do this so that I know where the originals are kept. I don’t move them once edited, because Lightroom remembers the file path in order to find photos at a later date. Heres an example of my folders

Folders

When you import photos into Lightroom it creates a virtual copy. So you’re not editing the original photo. You’re editing the copy, and then Lightroom creates a catalogue of those copies. It also creates an XMP side car file and places it next to the original image in your folder and looks like this.

XMP-side-car

This may sound a bit technical. Its nothing to worry about. As long as you don’t move folders around then Lightroom will find them and open them with the develop settings that you have made.

When you open Lightroom, the last folder/catalogue that you opened will appear and will look like this.

Library-Mode

We are going to focus on the left of the screen.

Library-Mode-2

The red arrow which points to file and edit are where we can import images and edit our preferences. The second red arrow is pointing to folders that you have previously opened in Lightroom. At the bottom of the screen you will notice an import and export button. If you use this button to import, then it will add images to the collection that you currently have open. It won’t move the photos around in your hard drive, they will stay in the same folder. However Lightroom will now have a catalogue with two separate series of images in the one catalogue. This is the difference between catalogues and folders. Originals stay in folders unless we manually move them. Catalogues have virtual copies and Lightroom creates a pathway so that it knows which folder to look in to find them. We will look at Import and Library settings in the next walk-through, but now we will set up Lightroom preferences.

Press Edit and then Preferences. You should now have a grey box appear that looks like this.

Preferences-2

I have watched a few YouTube videos by Julieanne Kost and set my preferences up from her guidance. These settings are a good starting point.

Presets

Preferences-3

Leave all check boxes blank for now.

External Editing

Preferences-4

This is an important box. Why – Lightroom is excellent for developing photos, however it is not so good at cloning and healing large distractions. There are times that we need to quickly pop over to Photoshop and then return the edited photo to Lightroom. The settings in section 1 will ensure that you can easily transition between Lightroom, Photoshop and back to Lightroom. We will discuss exporting in a future walk-through. Lightroom also gives us the option to export photos to other photo developing software and you can alter those preferences in section 2.

File Handling

Preferences-5

I leave most of this alone and have only altered the camera Raw Cache settings. The cache settings are Lightroom’s editing memory. The more space we can use the quicker Lightroom will operate. What size you set this too will depend on the speed of your computer and the amount of spare memory. With this in mind, when I set up my folders – I set them up on my D drive – it has more space for storage, so I have no pictures on my C drive which is where Lightroom operates as a programme. This means I have the 20G spare on my C drive. Only you can know how much spare memory you have – but I believe as standard Lightroom has this set to 4G. If you are unsure about your spare memory then leave this alone and allow the Lightroom preset to run as it is.

We don’t need to worry about any more of the preferences. Click Ok, go back to the edit menu and click catalogue settings, and this box will appear.

Catalogue-1

I have changed the Backup drop down, so that it backs up the catalogues every time that I exit Lightroom. The catalogue back up, is part of how Lightroom recognises where your photos are stored and what virtual changes have been made. Lightroom only edits virtual copies so having the catalogue backup means that if your computer crashes then Lightroom knows what it has done to your virtual photos. Photos remain virtual unless we export them – that’s for a future walk-through.

We are advised to back up our original images somewhere other than our PC and it is important to back up the Lightroom catalogue separately.

The red arrow points to the location of my Lightroom catalogue, so I find the catalogue and copy it to my cloud account.

File Handling

Catalogue-2

Ensure Standard Preview size is set to auto – it will detect your screen resolution and ensure the preview fits your screen.

Preview quality – Medium is good if you are not running a fast PC with lots of memory, but if you have a good PC then set this to high. I have the 1:1 previews set to discard after 1 week. It doesn’t delete your image after one week, but it means the virtual image preview will be stored in your catalogue but NOT in your working memory, so your editing memory will not be slowed down with photos you have finished editing.

Metadata

Catalogue-3

This is the standard setting. Keep it at this and we will discuss metadata in more detail in the next walk-through – Library Module. The library module is where we can begin to develop our photos.