Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Isolate Color in Lightroom – create a color pop effect

Create an isolated color or selective color effect in Lightroom

You will have seen this effect in advertising and wedding photography but it is equally as effective for other photos. Here I will show you how to take an image which has a lot of detail which is a single color and make that color pop in the image. You will see how to play down other colors – without necessarily turning the image into a black and white and how to change colors that aren’t quite the right color to make them look better. In this image I will take some orange tones and make them more red, for example.

This is a fun effect and you might be surprised at just how many images in your photo collection it will work with – I didn’t have to look very far at all to find a few images that this will be appropriate to use this effect with.





Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Perspective Correction in Lightroom

How to fix perspective issues in Lightroom

Perspective problems vary – they include keystoning issues where a building is smaller at the top than at the bottom. There is barrel distortion where the sides of the image bend out and pincushion distortion where they are sucked in. Luckily, for all these distortion and bending lines issues Lightroom has a tool that will fix them for you.

In this video you will learn to use the Upright tool and the manual adjustments for fixing lens distortion and perspective problems in Lightroom.

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Find Unflagged Photos in Lightroom

When you need to find everything you haven’t flagged, here’s two ways of doing it

The long way (using the menus) is to:

1.  First click on the Folder containing the photos to check

2.  In the Library module, choose Library > Enable Filters (if it is already checked then don’t select it!)

3.  Choose Library > Filter by Flag > Unflagged Photos Only to see the unflagged photos.

If you flag any photos with this filter in place, they will immediately disappear from view – because they are no longer umflagged – they won’t match the current filter.

When you are done, click Filters Off to go back to viewing all the photos.

The second way to isolate unflagged photos:

Again, is to click on the Folder containing the photos to check

Now, on the Filter bar, just above the Filmstrip click the middle of the three flag icons. You will see the Unflagged Photos alert appear temporarily to indicate you have selected to view unflagged photos only.

When you are done, click Filters Off.




Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Delete Unused Keywords in Lightroom

Clean up your Lightroom keyword list

I recently imported a heap of stock images into Lightroom so I could easily find images I wanted to use for various projects. When I added keywords to the images I ended up removing a lot of the images’ own keywords before replacing them with my own.

The problem I then encountered was that I had a heap of Keywords in my Keyword list with 0 images associated with them. In short my keyword list was bloated with useless keywords.

While you can right click a keyword and click to Delete it – this was an impossible task it would have taken hours. Instead you can clean up the list instantly with one simple command. In the Library in Lightroom click Metadata and choose Purge Unused Keywords – instantly all the keywords that aren’t associated with images are deleted. Simple!

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Select Unflagged Photos in Lightroom

Need to check what you didn’t pick in Lightroom – here’s how!

My workflow for choosing the best of my photos in Lightroom is to go through the photos in a folder and either click the Pick flag, the Reject flag or simply move past the photo onto the next one. Now sometimes I’d like to review the photos that I  haven’t picked – they aren’t the best but they aren’t rejects. I will do this just in case there are some good images I have overlooked.

So, how do you display only the unflagged photos? Luckily it’s dead easy to do this.

These icons across the top of the filmstrip are, from right to left: Show Flagged Photos (ie Pick Flag is on), Show Unflagged photos (no flag present) and Show Rejected photos (Reject flag on).

So, click the middle flag to see only those photos that don’t have either the Pick or Reject flags enabled.

Now, if you add a Pick (or Reject) flag to one of the images it will immediately disappear from view – that’s because this filter is a live filter – it only shows the unflagged photos and as soon as a photo has a flag it no longer matches the filter so it is removed from view.

Of course, when you are done, make sure to select Filters Off from the Filters: list (or click the same flag a second time) to return to viewing all your photos.



Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Lightroom – Process an image

Process an Image in Lightroom

Learn how to process an image in Lightroom. You will see how to evaluate an image, how to process the entire image and then how to bring out details in the image using the Graduated filter.

See how to add multiple graduated filters to the photo, how to stack them and how to get around the problem where a filter which adjusts the skies also affects areas in the image you don’t want to affect.

Helen Bradley

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

Lightroom – Hand Tint a Photo Effect

Create an Old Time Hand Tint Effect to a Photo in Lightroom

Learn how to apply an old time hand tint effect to a photo in Lightroom. You will see how to convert the image to black and white and then how to color it using the  Adjustment Brush. This technique can be applied to a range of images and the effect works well when you want a hand tinted look for your photo.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

JPEG vs RAW – what’s the difference and what should you use?


Learn the difference between capturing in jpg and raw and when to use each.

One key decision that every photographer needs to make is whether to capture images in jpg or raw formats. With newer and more advanced tools on the market for processing raw images, the incentive to move to capturing in raw is attractive. However, raw images will require additional processing and they are very large so, to help you understand the issues behind the question “jpeg or raw?” I’ll explain the difference between capturing in jpg and raw and why you might choose one over the other and when to do so.

What is in a format?

Before exploring when you might want to capture an image in jpg or raw, it’s worthwhile looking at the differences between these two file formats. The raw file format is a format which is a camera specific so the format of raw images from a Canon camera is different to the format of a raw image from a Nikon camera. The reason for this is that a raw format image contains the data captured by the camera’s sensor and it is unprocessed. Because each camera’s sensor is different, the basic raw format is proprietary to that camera manufacturer and it may even vary from one camera to another within a camera manufacturer’s own range.

Before you can use a camera raw image in a program such as Photoshop, you need to process it using either your camera manufacturer’s raw processing application or a tool such as Adobe Camera Raw. One downside of  capturing images in the raw format is that you need to do this preprocessing before you can use your images. If you capture in camera raw, you will be reliant on special software to be able to read your raw images in future in, say, 10 or 15 years’ time.

As a move away from the notion of a proprietary raw formats that are created by each camera manufacturer, Adobe recently released the dng or Digital Negative file format. This is an open format which can be used by camera manufacturers as an alternative to their own proprietary raw formats. It frees photographers from being tied to a specific manufacturer’s raw format and offers protection for the future simply because of the sheer number of people who will have images stored in this format. The format’s popularity should ensure that there will be programs available in future for most operating systems that can read and process these files.

Camera raw images, when captured in the camera manufacturer’s own format such as crw, cr2, nef or pef cannot be written to and can only be read from. For this reason, if you make changes to a camera raw image in a program such as Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom, then the changes that you make to the image cannot be written to the original image file. Instead, they’re written to what is called a sidecar xmp file which stores details of the changes that you’ve made to the image. Camera raw image processing applications read the original camera raw file and the sidecar xmp file and display the image with the changes you have made to it. However you need to be careful that you do not move a raw file to another location and leave its sidecar xmp behind – if you do, you will lose any changes that you’ve made to the image. The Adobe dng file format avoids this problem as it is a file format that can not only be read from but also written to so changes can be stored in the original file.

Differences in data

The advantage of recording all the data captured by your camera’s sensor in a raw file whether it be your camera manufacturer’s own raw format or Adobe dng is that you have a wider range of image data than you would have if the image was saved as a jpg image. When an image is saved as a jpg image by your camera, it is scaled down considerably so that it is no longer a 32-bit image but is now a 8-bit image with only 256 levels of brightness.

Other changes that are made to the image include sharpening the image and the camera will also apply any white balance setting you have selected to the image. If you have other “in camera” settings configured such as variations to the image saturation, contrast and brightness then these adjustments will be made to the image before being saved as a jpg file. In addition because the jpg file format is a lossy and compressed file format you will lose some detail in saving the image even if you opt for saving at the highest quality.

In contrast, a dng or raw image is not adjusted and all the data that was available from the camera’s sensor will be in that file. Situations in which this can save you some grief is where you have under or over exposed the image or configured an incorrect white balance setting. If you capture in a raw format then you have a larger range of exposure adjustments available to be made inside a camera raw processor than you would have with the corresponding jpg image. In addition, because the white balance setting is not applied to a raw image, you can change the white balance setting later on without compromising the image.

The tools in Lightroom make it easy to apply changes to a range of raw images all at once.

File size differences

Because jpg images include only a subset of the data that the camera captured and camera raw images contain it all, there are significant file size differences between images captured in the jpg and the raw format. For the equivalent pixel size image, a raw image might be around 20MB in size where the corresponding jpg image would be around 5Mb in size. The reason is, of course, that the jpg image has less data in it and the data is also compressed.

One drawback to capturing raw images in the past has been the difficulty of processing these images. Many programs simply couldn’t read the wide range of raw image formats in use by the varying camera manufacturers. This meant that you were either limited to using your camera manufacturer’s own software to preprocess raw images or you needed to purchase an expensive application like Adobe Photoshop to do so. These days the dng format and many proprietary raw formats can be read by a number of applications including the free applications: Picasa and IrfanView.

IrfanView is one of the popular free programs that can display and edit dng and some other popular raw format images.

However, operating systems like Windows Vista and Windows 7 still do not include native support for dng or other raw formats so, when viewing a folder full of dng images you will see icons instead of thumbnails. There are some downloadable codecs available from but they have limited application.

When to use which format

Now that we’ve investigated the difference between capturing in jpg, raw or dng, it’s time to look at when you might opt for one in preference to the other. If you already use a program that includes built-in support for camera raw images such as Picasa, Lightroom, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or Corel Paintshop Photo Pro then you may opt to always shoot in raw or dng because of the ease at which you can work with your images – this is particularly the case with programs like Lightroom and Picasa.

On the other hand, if you typically shoot images to share online on sites like Facebook or Flickr and you don’t usually do much, if any, processing then jpg may be the best option as the files are smaller and you can quickly download them and then get them uploaded to your sharing site. For example, Flickr will let you upload full size jpg images but you can’t upload raw or dng images.

One advantage of capturing in jpg is that you have the flexibility of being able to determine the pixel dimensions of the image you will be capturing in the camera. Most cameras have varying size options available when capturing in the jpg format and also different compression options. If you’re only shooting snapshots for uploading to the web, then you don’t need very big images and you may find smaller jpg format images work as well.

That said, you need to accept that if you are capturing jpg format images you’re reducing the amount of image data that you have available and, if in the future, you decide that you want to do something special with a particular image, you won’t have the full range of image data there to do anything with..

If you’re shooting to sell images for stock, then you absolutely must capture images using the camera raw file format so that you have all the data in the image available to you. Many stock agencies will not accept images captured as jpg images because of the processing that’s applied to those images by the camera including the image sharpening. Stock agencies prefer unsharpened images so that the purchaser can then determine the amount of sharpening they want to apply in each specific case.

There is a way to “have the best of both worlds” and you can capture in both jpg and raw formats. Most cameras can capture jpg and raw or jpg and dng so you’ll get both files for each image that you shoot. You can then download both formats – use the jpg images for your day to day use and store the raw originals in case you ever need to work with those images in future.

 Picasa supports many raw formats so you can view and work with raw images in the same way as jpg images.

Helen Bradley

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Reinstate a RAW or DNG image in Camera Raw


Remove all the edits you’ve made to a raw or dng image in Adobe Camera Raw

No doubt you’ve encountered the situation where you have a raw file or a dng that you’ve worked on in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom and you one day look at it and think – “what was I thinking?”

You decide you want immediately to remove all the changes you’ve made to the image. Easy? Not really!

If you’re working with a raw image then you can locate the image on disk and alongside it will be its sidecar xmp. Shall I say that again, because to the uninitiated ‘sidecar xmp’ just sounds so cool doesn’t it. What it is is an .xmp file with the same name as the raw file and it contains the edits you made to your image. The sidecar xmp file is used because you cannot write data to a camera raw file so the edits have to go somewhere. They go in this little xmp file as a set of text entries – delete the file and you remove the edits, permanently – in fact just remove the xmp file to another folder where ACR can’t find it and you’re done.

In Lightroom you can wind back edits to an image from the Develop module in the History panel on the left of the screen. Open the panel and select the bottom-most entry to wind back the changes you made to the image.

Unfortunately this won’t work if you made changes in a program that wrote an .xmp file and it won’t work if the changes were made to a dng file, written to that file and then the file was imported into Lightroom.

In that case, go to the Library panel and open Quick Develop and click Reset All – that removes all the edits.

In ACR, go to the small menu in the top right of the edit pane and choose Reset Camera Raw Defaults. This removes the edits and returns the image to its out of camera state (see image at the top of this post)

This is also very handy for teachers who teach using a set of images – if you need to start over editing an image with a new class, this option will help you start over with a clean image.



Helen Bradley

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