Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Book Review: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Workflow - The Digital Photographer's Guide by By Tim Grey

Written by T. Michael Testi

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Workflow is aimed at digital photographers who want to maximize the efficiency of their workflow. Since Lightroom is such a new product, you can either try to figure out how to use it on your own, or you can take the advice of someone who has been using the product since it was in beta.

What is Tim Grey's goal in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Workflow? To reduce the time and effort you spend in storing, selecting, and editing your digital images. According to the author, for years photographers focused on improving their skills at creating images, but when digital came along they became more interested in improving their computer skills. This reduced the time they spent behind the camera. The purpose of this book is to put the balance back in the two areas. By reducing the time that you take managing your images, you will have more time to shoot images.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Workflow is broken down into seven chapters and one Appendix. The book covers the full workflow for optimizing your images and will introduce you to a good pathway to get you started.

Chapter one, "Workflow Foundations," helps you prepare for a workflow that revolves around Lightroom. In this chapter, the author goes over the fundamentals of workflow and how it relates to Lightroom. He goes over what Lightroom is, what it is to be used for and what you can accomplish by using it. He explores how he thinks about Lightroom and how it relates to Photoshop in general.

Chapter two, "Configuring Lightroom," shows the many configuration options available in Lightroom. You will be shown what options you have and how to set them. You will need to understand the interface before effectively being able to use it. You will learn how to customize Lightroom's behavior for workflow efficiency.

Chapter three, "Library," explains the best techniques for managing your images. The Library module is the foundation of Lightroom since it provides all of the tools to manage your images. It functions like the light table that you may have used if you ever worked with slide film. Here you will learn how to import, review, process and export your images. It is here that you will rate, add informational metadata, and keywords to properly manage your images.

Chapter four, "Develop," covers many of the non-destructive manipulations that are available to optimize your images. Here you will make the adjustments to your images in order to fulfill your original vision of your photos. The develop module contains most of the tools that you will need to process your images. You will learn to crop, clean up spots, and adjust temperatures, tones and details.

Chapter five, "Slideshow," teaches you everything you need to create slideshows for sharing your images. This provides a method of sharing your images with your clients, friends and family in a dynamic way. Here you will learn how to build, configure, and play Lightroom slideshows.

Chapter six, "Print," shows you how to print your images to meet a variety of needs. Although on initial look it may appear that the Print Module is for creating contact sheets, it is really geared for creating quite powerful print images. Here you will learn how to select photos, use templates, determine print layout and configure output settings.

Chapter seven, "Web," highlights the process of creating galleries to share your images on the web. Although prints are a major part of sharing images, it is the web that has been overtaking the format. Lightroom makes it easy to share your images with the world. Here the author walks you through creating a web gallery, configuring the website, and publishing your photos.

The Appendix contains a checklist of steps to follow to build a professional work flow using Lightroom.

Although this is a slim book — a little over 200 pages — it gets down to business in a succinct and pointed manner. It is easy to read and easy to follow. The Appendix workflow checklist could have been a little more detailed and perhaps, had it followed an actual "from photo shoot to publish" flow, it could have been more effective, butat onlytwo pages, it is really not a factor.

If you want a no nonsense book that provides the details in a clear and concise manner --one that gives you all the steps to create a professional workflow that you can use to evolve into your own workflow — then Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Workflow is just the book for you.



Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Software Review - DxO Optics Pro v4.5 From DxO Labs

Written by T. Michael Testi

With the release of DxO Optics Pro v4.5, DxO Labs became the first company to have a photographic software application that builds a common work flow with Adobe Lightroom. Pioneers in establishing compatibility with Adobe technologies, they found out early that Adobe Photoshop Lightroom would be an important platform for photographers and are now taking advantage of it.

So just what is DxO Optics Pro? According to DxO Labs, it is "The Next generation automatic image enhancement." It can perform image corrections to your photos without human intervention; but once you have the skills you can take control. In fact they have three different levels; Auto, which automatically adjusts your images, Guided, which takes you by the hand and lets you choose which corrections to implement, or Expert in which you handle everything.

So what kind of corrections does DxO Optics Pro do? First it will eliminate distortion, vignetting and lens softness. It does this by requiring you to enter in the kind of camera and lenses that you are using. In fact you should check out which cameras and lenses that are supported by which version before purchasing the product.

Second, it will remove camera noise and chromatic aberration; that purple fringing that is sometimes seen on photographs, especially when enlarged. Third, it fixes exposure and contrast problems without degrading the image. It does this by using local correction techniques. That is each area of the image is treated separately so that the image is fixed where the image needs to be fixed. A lot of other products try fixing the whole image as one. DxO Optics Pro does it without seams or halos.

Fourth it has Advance color control and adjustment. It does this by incorporating all new color functions that include Color Rendition Profiles through Color Modes and DxO Multi-Point Color Balance to give you more flexibility and control. Color Rendition Profiles let you switch from one camera body to another as well as between film looks. It even allows you to achieve color fidelity when developing RAW files. Multi-Point Color Balance allows you to exploit the full range of available color space for RAW or JPEG files. As seen in the picture below, you can see the before and after image side by side to compare.

Image courtesy T. Michael Testi
Fifth, DxO Optics Pro v4.5 gives you the ability to correct perspective using the Auto-Crop feature. This is a keystoning correction feature that fixes a perspective problem when a picture is shot; usually when shooting a building up at an angle, the top of the picture appears wider than the bottom. Previously this could only be corrected by having a specialized "shift" lens or other technical camera.

Sixth, it allows you to make the best optical, lighting and noise corrections on RAW images including a tight integration with RAW applications that support the DNG format. There are some cameras that this RAW engine support is not available for. Please check with the DxO Labs website for current information on product support.

Finally the seventh major feature is Highlight recovery. This happens when one or more of the color channels are maxed out. If only one of the channels is clipped, DxO's Highlight Recovery can correct this when working with the RAW image.

Ok, this is what you got if you bought version 4 of DxO Optics Pro. Version 4.5 has been just released and what new features do you get with it. You get integration with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. This version has an exclusive plug-in that you can send your Lightroom images to DxO Optics Pro for processing and once processed they can be sent back to Lightroom. This can be done from either product.

Next there is the Flickr plug-in that will allow you to send your DxO Optics Pro processed images direct to a Flickr account. Then there is the Auto-Crop tool that can automatically crop a batch of images that have been corrected for horizon alignment or perspective. There is also the fact that this version is 25% or more faster than before, it is a pretty ambitious upgrade.

There are things that I haven't covered like the fact that DxO Optics Pro also has the ability to build projects and organize your photos. You can work with images as a project in which you can prioritize your photos by giving them star rankings. You can stack related images together for processing. You can also remove and rotate your images as well. This would be handy if you did not have Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or similar product to handle these tasks. It could then be as simple as pressing Process.

One point to make is that with using DxO Optics Pro, you need to begin with original camera files. If you do a bunch of editing of files; especially if it affects the EXIF data, DxO Optics Pro may not be able to process the file properly.

This program works so well because the people at DxO Labs test every camera/lens combination to make sure that it is accurate. They measure and test for each camera and lens that the product supports so that the software can apply the corrections as seamlessly as possible.

There are three versions of DxO Optics Pro; Starter, Standard and Elite. The Starter version does not include the DxO Raw Engine and supports only non-DSLR, high end digital cameras and lists for $79 USD. The Standard version supports all of the Starter level features along with the Raw Engine as well as amateur and expert amateur DSLRs and their lenses and lists for $159 USD. Elite supports the Standard level features as well as the high-end professional DSLRs and their lenses and lists for $299 USD. All can be purchased from DxO Labs Website.

If you take your photography seriously and you want a professional image correction product that will analyze your images and apply corrections; whether manually or automatically, then DxO Optics Pro will make a fine addition to your tool chest.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Book Review: Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-On-One by Deke McClelland

Posted by T. Michael Testi

Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-On-One may be one of the most interesting training systems I have ever seen. It is a straightforward, step-by-step guide to the features and functions of Photoshop. It has many real-world projects, insider tips as well as coverage of new features in CS3 such as Adobe Bridge. Add to that, it has the entertaining teaching style that has made Deke McClelland a legendary trainer in the Photoshop world.

According to the author, he created Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-On-One for three different audiences; graphic artists, designers and photographers. He created the book as a highly visual, full color multi-media presentation that will allow you to read, watch and do! His goal was to meet the needs of beginning and intermediate users but has found that even the most experienced users have learned new techniques.

The book contains12 lessons, each of which contain three to six step-by-step exercises. Each lesson contains a corresponding video lesson; a DVD-Rom disk is included with the book that contains over two hours worth of training video,in whichthe authorintroduces concepts that you will need to complete the exercises. Each exercise culminates in a real-world project for you to complete.

While I won't go in to each of the lessons,McClelland does cover all of the fundamentals of Photoshop such as color balancing, cropping, selections, masks, filters, text and layers. When each tool is introduced, all of the important options are explained so that you will be able to work with the tool and get a good understanding of what it can be used for. On top of that, the instruction is high quality, as it not only includes the "how," but the "why" as well.

What I like about Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-On-One is the whole concept of multi-media training. McClelland starts a chapter, say lesson four "Making Selections," by giving a brief overview of what the chapter is about. In this case he explains "Photoshop doesn't perceive the flower as an independent object. Instead, the program sees pixels ... Photoshop sees a blur of subtle transitions without form or substance." Where a lot of authors would stop at the word pixels,McClelland takes the time to get you to understand the concept.

He then explains where the project files are on the DVD. He tells you what the lesson is about, and the ways to select a region of an image and edit it independently of the other regions of the image. You are then instructed to watch the DVD. In this case it lasts 11 minutes and 45 seconds. Then it is on to the lesson where you learn to isolate an image element - in this case the top of an umbrella. He guides you on how to select color areas using the magic wand. You are shown how to use the marquee tools as well as other techniques. All the time he is dropping "Pearls of Wisdom" which are additional techniques that you will find invaluable. Then at the end, there is a "Chapter Test" where you can see how much you have learned.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 One-On-One has been updated throughout to take into account the new features that are in Adobe Photoshop CS3. Some of the new sections include "Aligning Layers and Blending Photographs," which introduces the new Auto-Align Layers command that allows you to match multiple images captured from a single vantage point, and "Smart Filters," which are the long-awaited means of applying Photoshop's wide-ranging filter effects nondestructively and reversibly.

I feel that if you are new to Photoshop or have been working with Photoshop for many years without formal training, you will grow by magnitudes in your understanding and ability to use Photoshop.

Lesson overview
Lesson 1: File management and Navigation.
Lesson 2: Brightness and Contrast Adjustments.
Lesson 3: Color Balance.
Lesson 4: Selection Tools.
Lesson 5: Cropping and Transforming an Image
Lesson 6: Painting and Retouching.
Lesson 7: Masking.
Lesson 8: Focus and Distortion Filters.
Lesson 9: Layer Functions.
Lesson 10: Text and Shape Layers.
Lesson 11: Layer Styles and Specialty Layers
Lesson 12: Print Functions.


Jezebel's Photoshop Of Horrors Winner!

Jezebel's Photoshop of Horrors has been razing a ruckus about the Redbook front cover of Fait Hill and the retouching that was done to it. You can read about it below.

"It's time for the big reveal for our unretouched cover-image contest, and, well, our winner is the July cover of Redbook, on which country singer Faith Hill (and, on a separate cover, her hubby Tim McGraw) appeared as beautiful and accessible-seeming as usual. What's uncanny about this cover is that when the image was passed our way, we had just been flipping through Redbook, reminding ourselves that we'd stop hating women's magazines as soon as our lives became shitty enough to warrant reading Redbook and our husbands and immune systems suddenly replaced celebrities and consumerism on our personal Most Toxic lists, when we paused to think, "Wow, Faith Hill is really hot."

Read it all...

You can also read my article on manipulation done for magazine covers as well.


Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.1 Workflow

Terry White has just released a video segment on Lightroom 1.1 workflow. It is an indepth Podcast that highlights the new features as well as explaining how to use Lightroom to it's best advantage.

From the CS3: The Creative License Podcast Series: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.1 Workflow

"This is the one you've been waiting for. In this episode I will take you through the complete Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.1 workflow. From start to finish. We'll import photos, manage them in the Library, work with metadata, develop them in the Develop module, export them for email and then wrap things up with the Slideshow, Print and Web modules. While it's not possible to show every single feature of Lightroom in a single episode, this episode covers the bulk of what makes Lightroom such a great tool."

Get the Video...



Friday, July 20, 2007

More Than Meets the Sensor

Here is an interesting article from

"When you first open up an image in Photoshop, it may seem like nothing special. But almost always there is something more in my captures than what initially pops up in Photoshop. As Jim Miotke said in his introduction to his interview with me on betterphoto radio, you can often have a lot of interpretive and creative control with your images and find something quite different than what you originally see using the digital darkroom (Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or other image editing software). While I enjoy photography, what makes the journey really complete for me is exploring what I can do with what I have captured during image editing to make the most out of the results.

For example, on a recent trip to Nantucket, I had combed some lightly tread beaches in my early morning walks along the shoreline, and found some fairly sun-bleached snail shells that were large and whole. After returning home with them, and later that evening, I tried arranging them and shooting a bunch of exposures just toying with shape, shadow, depth-of-field and various lenses on an old picnic table.

When the trip was over and I reviewed the images, none seemed terribly special immediately. I could make out muted colors that would probably have been more brilliant had I used a spray bottle to mist the shells. But even so, I selected a few images out of the bunch to play with like the one here..."

Read it all...


Monday, July 16, 2007

Histograms: Huh?

Security update for Photoshop available

From John Nack's blog

" Adobe has posted a security update for Photoshop CS2 and CS3 that addresses a potential vulnerability reported earlier this year. We're not aware of anyone having been affected by the vulnerability, but obviously we don't want to leave it unpatched, so it's a good idea to take a minute to run this update. It consists of revised versions of the plug-ins that read BMP, PNG, RLE, DIB, and Targa files. "



Friday, July 13, 2007

Softboxing the world - a home grown softbox

Here is an article on building your own Softbox from DIYPhotography.Net

"A softbox is a studio thingy that professional photographers use on their studios. Why? for a couple of reasons.

For one thing, softboxes create a smoother light - less hotspots (yea - those are the bright, burnt our noses in your photos), anther is smoother shadows. Most professional models are shot with softboxes to get that glamorous, look. Softboxes are also great for macro shots - they produce even diffused light.

The only trouble starts when you head down the road to the store and want to get one of them nice wonders. They usually cost something like a small county side house. In this article I will demonstrate how to build a homemade studio softbox for just a few $$. "

Read it all...


A Taste of Vanishing Point 2.0 in Photoshop CS3

Here is a really cool article from Deke McClelland at O'Reilly on the Vanishing Point filter that has been improved in Adobe Photoshop CS3.

"The Vanishing Point filter was one of the way-cool additions to Photoshop CS2. And it's gotten even better in CS3. Now you can connect non-perpendicular surfaces and wrap an image around multiple surfaces at a time.

To demonstrate, I'll wrap Bruce Heavin's artwork for my Photoshop Channels & Masks video around a photograph of a naked DVD case, captured by Chris Mattia. For those of you who'd like to follow along, I've included both components here for download. "

Read it all...


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Bert P. Krages Attorney at Law Photographer's Rights Page

I thought that this is something every photographer should know. It is a pamphlet from Bert P. Krages, A lawyer who is Registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

"The Photographer’s Right is a downloadable guide that is loosely based on the Bust Card and the Know Your Rights pamphlet that used to be available on the ACLU website. It may be downloaded and printed out using Adobe Acrobat Reader. You may make copies and carry them your wallet, pocket, or camera bag to give you quick access to your rights and obligations concerning confrontations over photography. You may distribute the guide to others, provided that such distribution is not done for commercial gain and credit is given to the author. "

Read all about it...




Here is an interesting item if you want to see what your what your web creations will look like on an iPhone. It's iPhoney from In fact they have just made it open source. The only downside is for Windows users. It runs on Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later

"Looking for a way to see how your web creations will look on iPhone? Look no further. iPhoney gives you a pixel-accurate web browsing environment—powered by Safari—that you can use when developing web sites for iPhone. It's the perfect 320 by 480-pixel canvas for your iPhone development. And it's free.

iPhoney is not an iPhone simulator but instead is designed for web developers who want to create 320 by 480 (or 480 by 320) websites for use with iPhone. It gives you a canvas on which to test the visual quality of your designs. If you have questions about iPhoney, visit our issue tracker on SourceForge, as our support team doesn't provide technical support for iPhoney."

Read more about it...

Getting Photos from Lightroom to the iPhone - O'Reilly Digital Media Blog

What is the hottest gadget on the market today? Anyone? Anyone? OK, in case you have been hiding under a rock, it is the iPhone.

Now, second question; How long will it take someone to move a photo from Lightroom to the iPhone? Anyone? How about less than a week!.

Here is an article from James Duncan Davidson over at O'Reilly who will show you how.

"One of the things I’m sure many photographers thought when they saw the iPhone for the first time is, “What a wonderful way to take my portfolio with me wherever I go!” With it’s brilliant screen and easy pocket-ability, it’s a natural way to take your work with you and show it to anybody you happen to meet. But what’s the easiest way to get images from Lightroom to the iPhone? After a few hours playing with all the other features of the iPhone, I took a bit of time and set out to find out for myself.

The start of our exploration is in iTunes, which controls syncing of data to and from the iPhone. In the Photos section of the iPhone sync screens, we can control where to get photos onto our iPhone from. The following screenshot is from my computer where I’ve got the options of iPhoto, Aperture, and a folder on my hard drive:"

Read Full Story...


Rob Galbraith DPI: Italian fresco captured in 9.85 Gigapixel photo

This is a story about an Italian group that created a 9.85 Gigapixel Photo of an Italian Fresco from Rob Galbraith.


"HAL9000, an Italian group that specializes in art restoration, preservation and high-resolution art photography, has once again useda Nikon D2X to create anultra-high resolutioncomposite of an Italian fresco that fills the curved ceiling of a church in Rome. The 9.85 Gigapixel final photo, which is viewable online at full resolution, is a stunning example of the use of stitching to create photos with incredible detail. "

Read the full Story...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Nature's Best 2006: Image Gallery

Posted By T. Michael Testi

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has posted select images from the Nature's Best photography exhibit. The author's have provided additional information about the shot, the equiptment used and other insights. Check it out!

 Select Images from the Nature's Best Photography Exhibit


Monday, July 02, 2007

Exposing the Night Landscape - O'Reilly Digital Media Blog

I thought that this article was pretty interesting on how to get the correct exposure with night landscapes from Harold Davis over at O' Reilly.

"Photographers often ask me how to get the right exposure with night landscapes. It’s a tricky topic. My experience is that the light meter in my dSLR is pretty much worthless for anything that is dark enough to need an exposure of longer than about 15 seconds at ISO 100. This can be OK for night cityscapes, which typically come in at between 15-30 seconds at ISO 100. But it does mean that the internal light meter is useless in darker landscape situations.

Once exposure times get beyond this city night range, I switch to manual exposure mode, and use the feedback from the camera’s LCD to see how I am doing. The problem with this is that you can’t always tell with night exposures from the LCD whether you’ve exposed properly, or whether you got anything at all. Also, it can be very hard to switch between a bright LCD panel and the almost total darkness of the true night landscape. You want to get your eyes accustomed to the darkness, and checking out the LCD breaks this concentration."


Read full article...


LRG One with PayPal Shopping Cart

Lightroom Galleries now does PayPal

LRG One template with PayPal options!

This template includes the following features:

  • Ability to change font and font size for all the text
  • PayPal shopping cart buttons
  • Multiple Currency support
  • PayPal Options and prices can be set on a per image basis
  • The PayPal feature can be turned on or off
  • Option to Disable right clicking on images (good for image theft protection)
  • And more
  • Goto Lightroom Galleries

    Why Photoshop doesn’t provide secure metadata

    Source: John Nack on Adobe
    Author: John Nack

    Certain feature requests come up over and over, and customers wonder why Adobe doesn’t address them. In many cases it’s a matter of time, resources, and priorities (i.e. good idea, we just haven’t gotten there yet). In other cases, however, there are conceptual issues that make addressing the request impractical or impossible.

    One of those cases concerns something that seems simple: letting Photoshop users apply copyright & other info, then lock it so that it can’t be removed. Photographers in particular request this capability year in and year out. Unfortunately there are good reasons why things don’t work as desired. If you’re interested in the details, read on for an explanation from Photoshop architect Russell Williams.

    If I understand what you’re looking for — a way to distribute your image so that somebody can’t strip out the copyright, the only way to come close is to embed the copyright in the image with a watermark, either visible or invisible. Digimarc can do it with a mostly-invisible watermark. The less visible it is, the less robust it is to image manipulation.

    Read the full story…