Posts Tagged ‘Adobe’

Color Management Made Simple – From Computer to Print

June 29th, 2013

Color Management is the science of getting the colors you want in your photographs – consistently.  And in my workshops I hear all too often that people are disappointed because the colors they get in their prints are not what they saw on their monitors.  They often go to a lot of work preparing an image and when they print it it’s as if all that work was a waste of time.

Color Management is indeed a science and can be very complicated and technical.  But getting the same colors on the print that you see on your monitor is essential if you are to have control over the creative process.  For that, color management is the key and in these series of articles I’m trying to break it down to make it more understandable and accessible for all of us.


In the previous two articles I presented the concept of a color space and what happens behind the scenes when you move the image from the camera to your computer.  See Color Management Made Simple – Color Space and Color Management Made Simple – From Camera to Computer.  In this article I’ll be covering the all important aspect of getting your prints to look like what you see on your monitor; that is, from Computer to Print.

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Color Management Made Simple – Color Space

June 6th, 2013

Color Management is a very complex topic.  And it’s possible to get bogged down in a lot of technical details.  But it’s extremely important, especially if you want to print your photographs.  And it can be broken down into a few simple concepts.

On my workshops I often get asked questions about color management and the topic is huge and a bit technical to get into the details.  So I thought I’d give an overview of the topic in a few blog posts.  Who knows, maybe I’ll create a presentation that can be used during  a workshop.

Color Space

Let’s start with color space which is the whole reason we need color management.

A color space is all the colors that can be rendered using a given technology.  Think if it this way.  You all enjoyed coloring with crayons when you were young. And I don’t know  about you but I was always envious of my friends that had the big giant boxes of crayons with 120 different colors.  They had every color under the sun.


We can think of the 120 crayon box as being the color space of the real world with every color under the sun.

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Lightroom Tutorial – Workflow Made Easy

March 2nd, 2013

Lightroom is a great tool. It’s quick and easy to use – once you get the hang of it. But sometimes mastering the workflow, the steps you go through to take a raw file to a ‘final’ image, can be a bit daunting.

Let me say up front that Lightroom is an important part of my workflow but it’s not the only part.  Every photograph I work on starts in Lightroom but is completed in Photoshop.  Nevertheless, Lightroom gets a photograph to about 80% of the final product.  I know many people who use Lightroom exclusively and Photoshop only in rare circumstances if at all.

So back to the workflow.  Can it really be made easy?  Yes it can.  There are four major steps (not counting import – see Lightroom Tutorial – Importing Photographs):

  1. Mechanical adjustments like dust spot removal and cropping
  2. Tonality adjustments
  3. Hue adjustments
  4. Saturation adjustments

Let’s skip the first step and start with the second.  The example will be in Lightroom 4.

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Lightroom Tutorial – When You Get Home

June 17th, 2012

I recently returned from seven fantastic days of an exciting photography workshop in the Eastern Sierra (any day or night in the Eastern Sierra is fantastic).  I organized all of my photographs in Lightroom.  And I thought it would be a good idea to share the steps I go through in case you might find it useful.



I try to keep up with importing the photographs from the day’s shoots into the copy of Lightroom running on my laptop.  I’m not going to go into the specifics of the import process but you can read about it here.

Lightroom Tutorial – Importing Photographs

I’ve set up Lightroom to apply certain adjustments to the files as they are imported.  For example, Lightroom applies adjustments in the following Developer areas – Basic, Tone Curve, Detail (capture sharpening), Lens Correction (lens make and model) and Camera Calibration (Process and Profile).  The details are spelled out in this post.

Lightroom Tutorial – Camera Specific Presets


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Lightroom Tutorial – Importing Photographs

March 19th, 2012

An important part of post processing is importing your photographs into Lightroom.  The goal is to copy the files from your camera or laptop and store them on your desktop computer.  At the same time you also want to make a backup of all of your files.

You might be interested in the configuration of my desktop computer.  It has about 5 terabytes of storage.  This is where the image files will be stored.  I also have several terabytes of external storage – external hard drives.  This is where the backup copies go.

In this example I’ll be copying files directly from the camera.  The plan is to copy the files as they are to the backup storage.  But the files I store on the desktop storage will be converted to DNG format.  More on that in another post.

So with the big picture in mind, let’s get into the details.

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Lightroom Tutorial – Diamonds in the Haystack

March 11th, 2012

I got a comment on a recent post on workflow.  (Lightroom Tutorial – Workflow)

The question was if there was a way in Lightroom to sort through a large number of photographs to select the ones you want to work on.

Here’s the situation.  You’ve just returned from a five day workshop.  And you have a thousand or so photographs.  Now we know that not everyone of these images is a keeper.  Personally, I’m delighted if I get four or five keepers from a five day workshop.  Hey, given the vagaries of weather and light, I’m happy if I get one.

But the prospect of sifting through hundreds and even thousands of images can be a bit overwhelming.  So here’s what I do.

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Making a Photograph – Black and White Points

February 26th, 2012

There are a lot of instructional books on how to use Lightroom, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements and the like.  They provide a comprehensive and in-depth review of the various adjustments and filters available in these powerful tools.  And as such they serve as excellent references.  I own many of these fine books.

Now, a lot of workflows are built around the concept of seeing what needs to be fixed next and fixing it.  I advocate a more structured approach; namely, fix the tonality first, then the hue and finally the saturation.  See my recent post on Workflow.  But I often hear the statement, “I look at my photograph and just don’t know what to do.”  Many people often don’t know where to begin.

So I want to take a different approach.  I want to look at an image and identify what it needs and then talk about the various techniques for achieving it.  In other words, I want to start with the question, “What makes a compelling photograph?” and go from there.  It doesn’t help to know all of the tools and tricks available in Lightroom and Photoshop if you don’t know when to use them.

We’ll start with this image.  It is photographed in the Mesquite Flats Dunes of Death Valley.  The dunes provide an inspiring variety of compositions and ligh.  (You can click on this and all other images in this post to enlarge it.)

BP WP Dunes-1

Let’s start by examining the images tonality and see what improvements can be made.


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Lightroom Tutorial – Shooting RAW

July 19th, 2011

Last night I ran across an example of why we shoot in RAW (not in the RAW – puhleeeze).

Digital SLR cameras and a few point and shoot camera support the RAW file format for our images.  RAW is essentially what the sensor captured – unprocessed, uncompressed, unadulterated.  It takes a bit to get used to but once you do you’ll not go back to JPEG, the other file format.

One of the benefits of RAW is it gives you a lot more flexibility including recovering from poorly exposed images, especially over exposed.  Now, if you’ve read any of my histogram posts (search this blog for Histograms to find them), you know that the single most important thing to avoid as far as exposure is concerned is highlight clipping.  But with RAW you have a chance to recover an overexposed image and turn it into something very acceptable.  It doesn’t always work but sometimes it does.

big_sur_scouting_110424__A1P2014-1OK, so I was scanning images in Lightroom last night and ran across this one.  It’s washed out except for the foreground and there is a tremendous amount of highlight clipping in the upper right hand corner.  (I wouldn’t blame you if you stopped reading hear and said, “There’s no way he can do anything with that image.  It’s a mess.”  Which it is.  But humor me and read on.)

By the way, you can click on the images to see them in a larger format.

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Computer Upgrade

June 19th, 2011

A little over a week ago my new Dell Inspiron 580 arrived at my doorstep.  My wife and daughter finally convinced me to buy a new one.  I think they were getting tired of me storming around the house all grumpy and such when the old on acted up.  Disclaimer:  Computers act up after years of use not because they wear out but because of all the junk you load on them as time goes by that literally clogs the operating system.  So, with a little persuasion from my girls I gave Dell a call.Inspiron 580

If your one of those that gets into these things, here’s what I ended up with:

  • OS: Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)
  • Processor: Intel Core i% CPU 760 @ 2.80 GHz (it’s a 64 bit quad)
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Internal storage: 1 TB
  • Display adapter: ATI Radeon HD 5450 (supports dual monitors – VGA, DVI and HDMI) with 1 GB memory)

So that’s the starting point.  And from here on it gets more interesting – not exactly the Chinese curse interesting but kinda-sorta.  I got a good deal on the Dell but it as it turns out I wasn’t even close to being done spending money.

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Lightroom Tutorial – Camera Specific Presets

September 11th, 2010

I’m a landscape photographer who likes to do it all himself.  I don’t want my camera making decisions for me.  That’s one reason why I shoot RAW.   And I don’t want Lightroom doing it either.  Lightroom has default presets that it applies to your photographs when you import them. 

To make things interesting, I shoot with two cameras (three if you count my iPhone).  My main camera is a Canon 1Ds Mark III and my don’t-leave-home-without-it camera is a Canon G11.  These cameras have widely different characteristics to say the least.  Lightroom applies the same default preset to files from both cameras when they are imported. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could set up separate presets for each camera and set them up the way you like them.  Well, that’s exactly what you can do.  In fact, you can go a step farther than just undoing the Lightroom defaults.  If there’s something you always do to every file you can create presets specific to each of your cameras and apply all the adjustments you want.

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