Tag Archives: Adobe

The Adobe Lightroom CC / Lightroom 6

Lightroom

I have just read this book for a better understanding of Lightroom.  I first discovered Lightroom when I took up photography again and began to learn about the art of digital photography.  After a bit of research I purchased Adobe Photoshop Elements and got the basic principles of how it worked but I struggled to understand the connection of Adobe Bridge and I only understood that Adobe RAW was to be able to read my camera’s RAW files and nothing more.  I then came across Lightroom read the reviews and decided to try it.  It seemed to do all the things I needed and it didn’t need Adobe RAW however, I was a little confused as to why and Adobe had made it and where it sits in the workflow for a professional.  I found Lightroom easier to understand and use; so I have found it my best programs for photo editing.  Talking to other serious photographers, it appears that they all tend to use it more than Photoshop, which has been kept for just more extensive and complicated editing, as when required.  This book co-oberates this idea as the intention of Adobe to create a more user friendly photo editing package and also recognising that not all photos will want or need extensive editing and also the feather in the cap of this software is the batch editing capability for commercial photographers who will need to do basic adjustments to RAW images for straightforward output.

However, Photoshop is much more than just an editing suit it offers photo management tools that allows you to archive and retrieve your photos in lots of different ways; so you can cross file your images and retrieve them using all sorts of methods from date, location, camera, lens, or search words.  Lightroom is also compatible with Photoshop and an edited picture can be exported to Lightroom for further editing.  This is a very good book to read it is 700 pages of detailed information and I would highly recommend reading it and keeping it handy on your book shelf.

 

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Langford’s Basic Photography, 10th Edition.

Langfords_Basic_photography

I first read this book when I was a teenager studying photography for an O-level.  I have been reading through it again and although much in the book I already know, it does no harm to re-cap on previously learned knowledge to both freshen up my memory and  discover additional information that that I previously didn’t take in at the time.  This edition was published in 2015 and refers to new features in Photoshop, Photoshop Cloud and Lightroom.

More importantly for me, this new edition has two very good chapters for digital workflow and Photoshop which I found very useful and helpful and good referral material for the future.  One very valuable piece of advice was to set up the colour spacing in Adobe RAW and Lightroom; so that all future photos that are imported are correctly set for the appropriate colour spacing for print and can then be later down graded for screen use if necessary.  This insures that valuable information on the original RAW file is not automatically thrown away before you even get started and can future proof your images.  Although the chapter on Photoshop is not a training manual in itself, it covers enough to get you started.

This book also covers working with and developing film and I may refer back to those chapters at a later date.  I still have much of my old darkroom equipment although I haven’t used it in over 30 years.

There is also a very useful chapter at the back on presentation of your final work, which I am sure will be valuable referral resource later in my degree course when I am required to produce work for assessment to exhibition standard.

No matter how experienced you think you are, I would always recommend that you have this book on your book-shelf anyway.

Exercise, project 5, it’s a fake!

In this exercise, my task is to create a fake documentary photograph.  An example of what now has become a very famous if not iconic phoney is that of the Tony Blair selfie, see  http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/oct/15/tony-blair-selfie-photo-op-imperial-war-museum

In order to conduct this exercise I first decided that rather than simply find pictures off the internet and blending them into a montage it would be fun to take a number of photos and create my own ‘constructed narrative’.

I first put down some ideas on paper, Ideas

from these I sketched out a couple of ideas, Sketches

I then chose from the sketches my preferred idea and as it was a single image I wrote out a rough storyboard.

Storyboard

I then set about preparing my set.  De-cluttering my kitchen, selecting various clothes to wear, additional lighting from a speedlite in a softbox and camera set on to a tripod.

I took a separate light meter reading using a handheld lightmeter that can measure ‘incident’ from flash and ambient to choose a setting for my speedlight and camera to give 30% from the speed light to keep a natural look.  Camera was set to manual, JPEG normal, W.B. – Sunny, ISO-250. 1/20sec, f/6.3.  Speedlight was connected via a Pocket Wizard and positioned left of camera approx. 45 degrees from subjects and I made some notes.  Storyboard

I usually photograph in RAW and use Lightroom to finish off; but as this was a montage I decided to let the camera save me the work and produce lower res imaged to work with.

I then loaded all these shots in to Adobe Photoshop Cloud and starting with the empty table and the background I loaded each image in turn using Open, select image to open and opening, Ctrl A, Ctrl C, Ctrl W, Ctrl V to add each image and create layers.  Then imaging if you will that the image with the empty table is at the bottom of the pile of layers, starting from the top layer and working down I then used the eraser tool to erase all the surrounding area around the subject or subjects introduced to the empty table until I had cleaned each up to only show the subject.  This I did by clicking on the eye symbol for all the layers I was not working on so when I used the eraser tool I was left with a chequerboard background.  When I had cleaned up all the layers except the last when I turned the eye symbols back on for each layer the subjects in each layer all started to appear on to the final untouched background layer.  Some final erasing in some small areas tidied up the full image.  I then flattened all the layers and resaved a JPEG version.

DSC_8287-resized

A documentary picture documenting Shaun brainstorms ideas for a documentary picture for his exercise.

On Being a Photographer by David Hurn & Bill Jay

I have very recently read a very good book titled On Being a Photographer – A Practical Guide. Published by LensWork Publishing.

The book is mainly a conversation between David Hurn and Bill Jay. Bill Jay sets out the argument as to what are the qualities and characteristics for a professional photographer and producing quality work.

David Hurn is a world class professional photographer who was a member of the elite photographers cooperative, Magnum Photos Inc. and has also lectured at Gwent College amongst his many achievements. Bill Jay a good friend and colleague is an author and editor.

This book is not a technical book on how to compose, expose, light or frame but covers basic fundamental principles of how to get started on deciding what you want to photograph and why. An explanation of what a reportage photographer is and has good tips on selecting subject to photograph and creating photo essays.

This book has helped me to rethink my approach to creating photographs and has helped me with ideas of how to formulate ideas which up to now has been my biggest stumbling block.

The book was first published in 1997 and digital cameras were still very new and photo editing software still in it’s infancy; so much is discussed refereeing to film cameras and there is a section on contact printing which is pretty much no longer relevant. However, Adobe Lightroom uses a type on contact print display when you now down load your photos which offers a similar opportunity to review your photos and select those wanted for further processing and also offers an easier method of filing. with similar ideas of marking pictures as David Hurn uses.

David Hurn’s negative comments regarding the internet potentially offering new photographers opportunities to get noticed was very true, although he could not have foreseen the social-networks and sites like Flickr, etc. He could clearly see that already by 1997 there were so many websites and many thousands more joining all the time that any photographer simply believing that creating a website and adding photos to it would make them famous was at best naïve.

A good read not too intellectual and I would recommend this book to both students and hobbyist alike.