Lightroom 101: A series of entry level editing tutorials: Part 1: Intro and the Histogram

 

I am now 56 days into lockdown and I am a week into a three week furlough period from my day-job.  I started my YouTube channel to learn new skills (making movies, learning to talk to camera) and to begin to get down, if not on paper, some of my ideas about what I have learnt on my ‘journey” (gag!) as a photographer in the past few years.  I bought my first digital camera in 2006 (some 20 years after my first SLR camera was stolen) and I  spent the first number of years trying to work out how to take photographs with little or no effort, studying or training.  My hit-rate (number of decent pictures as a percentage of all pictures taken) was poor.  In recent years, I have upgraded cameras, and undertaken some study (reading books, watching, videos) and have begun to understand how to take better images and how I might maximise the impact of those images in the digital darkroom.  I now have an inherent passion and desire to make the best pictures that I can; to justify my investment in equipment, and my investment in myself.  As somebody once said “anyone can have a world record, but only you can can have a personal best”.  I am working hard to being the best photographer I can be. In short my hit-rate is getting better, and my tolerance of poorly images is reducing as I analyse why a particular image does not work.

As I try to distill my learning, I am producing a number of entry level tutorials for Lightroom (and eventually Photoshop), that were I brighter 20 years ago, I might have benefitted from.  Each video will only be three or four minutes.  This one introduces the series and talks about why the histogram is important and how to use it.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

Creating pastel shades: New Video tutorial

In this Lightroom tutorial I share how to create a pastel feel for a beach hut image taken on the fly. I show how to correct a horizon, use the colour mixer to make adjustments to the light of individual colours in the image, and use the basic contrast, highlights and shadows controls to give a pastel feel to the image.

My first instructional video on YouTube

I have recently (March 2020) started a YouTube channel.  In coming months I will be adding short instructional videos about:

  • Lightroom and Photoshop techniques and workflow
  • Theatre photography
  • Gig photography
  • Portraits and family photography
  • Wedding photography
  • Travel photography
  • Landscape and seascape photography

Vancouver, Leg in Boot Square

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I shot this image in 2007 one during an extended work break in Vancouver.  We had a good meal in some bar & grill place. I dusted it off for a Getty stock call but the image.  I found out that I used to shoot in JPEG (not RAW) and it’s a little soft and therefore not up to get over the Getty quality bar, but I quite like it nevertheless.

New Lightroom in the Cloud!

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(Update – I signed up for the new mobile version and have managed to work out how to edit on the mobile version but export pictures from the old system with my watermarking – this is a picture from a trip to the Grand Canyon in 2015)

Not my normal picture blog, but my views of the new offering of a cloud based version of Adobe’s Lightroom editing software.  The offer for current subscribers to Adobe’s Photographer bundle (which has the more controllable but more fiddly Photoshop and it’s easier, more user friendly, lower functioning Lightroom – now called “Classic”) is the new cloud based software plus a measly 20GB of the cloud.  Seeing as the card on my camera is 32GB it is sufficient to say that the upgrade to 1TB at an extra £10 per month (or thereabouts) is necessary if you are going to go to the cloud.

So Cloud based Lightroom? Yay or Nay?

The advantage of a cloud based service is effective “handoff” between devices.  I have a laptop which I do most of my editing on (sitting at my day-job computer in my open  plan office and editing photos is not really on), but if I can use my iPad to scroll through and rate raw images is easier than on my laptop, and then making first go around edits on either iPad and/or laptop before finishing/finalising images on desktop is a nice possibility.   So certainly worth having a look at the packages effectiveness.

The first thing I did was to look at storage capacity.  I currently store all my RAW files on a cloud solution called Livedrive.  I have just over 1TB of data stored on Livedrive – RAW pics from 2004 onward. I would either need to port all my files over to Lightroom and have more than 1TB or come up with a system that archives older files in Lightroom cloud over to Livedrive perhaps annually – More data storage costs.

I already pay a tenner a month for Adobe CC and £15 for Livedrive so an extra £10 a month for Lightroom CC upgrade is not going to break the bank but If I could get the additional service with the same storage I already have at a cost neutral basis I would.

So I’ve downloaded the software (without the storage upgrade) to see if it’s worth jumping across.   Therefore these are my thoughts as I use it for the first time.

The first thing I noted was whether edits I’ve already made on the local version will be recognised in the cloud. Then work out whether I still need Livedrive and how to use them in combination. Then decide whether the jump is worth it. And whether it eats space on your mobile devices (iPad/phone/etc.)  The answer seems to be “no”.  It would  seem that I now have two catalogues (“Classic LR” and new LR in the cloud).  These catalogues are separate and therefore edits made on one is not recognised by the other. What you can do is move from the new cloud based LR to edit an item in PS CC.

Functionality – The tools etc., seem to be largely similar to those on “Classic” LR, although the interface is simplified to feel more like Instagram app style.  There is still the ability to add grad filters and also localised brush-based edits, plus the same LR clone/heal functions.  Whether these are as effective in my workflow as “Classic”  remains to be seen.  Whereas “Classic” records your workflow in History.  This seems to be missing form Cloud LR.  A definite retrograde step for me.

Presets – I have a bunch of preset which I use to kick off my workflow and not sure if I an import these for quicker editing.  UPDATE – Yes, you can  import hose to use within the system

Export options seem limited. Can’t work out how to add watermarks yet (if at all possible). (December update – Yes, I did find out how to watermark from the Lightroom cloud system.  It was probably in the settings the whole time!)

Further update …. Storage and location.  For many years I have been backing up originals to a cloud service (Livedrive).  I have had separate LR catalogues on my desktop and laptop (not smart), but in both cases,  I can access the original files and upload them to Livedrive without a problem.  I have subsequently merged my desktop catalogue with the new LR but as I haven’t quite finished editing some photos on my laptop catalogue didn’t want to write over those images and start over (which would have been necessary if I have merged that catalogue with the, now primary, catalogue on my desktop).  The trouble is that the location for files on the desktop catalogue is on the harddrive but you cannot see the original RAW files.  I have managed to import pics to the laptop and with the catalogue stored on an external drive and for some reason there you can see the file structure and the RAW files, so it makes sense (NOTE TO MYSELF) to import to laptop and then upload from external drive to Livedrive on my desktop.   Once I have finally worked out an appropriate work flow, I will update this but for not – IMPORT TO LAPTOP (EXTERNAL DRIVE), then UPLOAD FILES TO LIVEDRIVE (FROM EXTERNAL DRIVE) VIA DESKTOP.