James Popsys explains how he picks the best photos from his shoots. Video is pre-pandemic. It’s refreshing to hear someone mention going out to photograph and not mention social distancing.
“In the field” shoot a black image if you see “the one” that works.
In Lightroom import your photos immediately. Do not sort and choose when you get home.
He uses stars in Lightroom. In the first round he awards up to three stars:
Single star – photo must be interesting and sharp (in the right places)
Another star – does the composition work?
Another star – is it exposed correctly?
For the second round, he only shows photos that have two stars or more. So that should show photos that are interesting and sharp, and either composition works or exposed correctly. In this round he changes composition by cropping and/or fixes exposure. Should have a few more three star photos.
At this point he’ll do more editing, and the best photos get another star. The very best get five stars.
I’m blogging this because I’ve had this video open in my browser tabs for months, meaning to try out this technique but I learn a process like this better if it’s written down. Hope it helps somebody!
Lightroom Classic comes with 20GB of space on Adobe’s cloud service (Lightroom CC/Web/app) but did you know that you can sync photos to the cloud and then edit them on your phone without using that space?
The original photos are not synced, but a smaller cut down smart preview is which in most cases will be indistinguishable from the original.
If you create a collection all the photos in that collection can be synced with the cloud. They’ll appear as an album of the same name in the Lightroom app on your phone or iPad. They also won’t take up any of that valuable 20GB of space.
Unfortunately Adobe won’t allow you to sync smart collections, and I presume that is intentional for whatever reason. However, with the help of the Any Source plugin you can configure it to sync smart collections with the cloud. This very handy plugin syncs the smart collection with a dumb collection that can then be synchronised.
I use it to synchronise the following smart collections:
Photos on my TODO list.
Recent Photos from the last 3 months.
The plugin has a free trial but is PWYW and well worth paying for!
Syncing my recent photos with the cloud is simple.
Create a smart collection.
Call it “Recent Photos”.
Add one rule: “Capture Date” “is in the last” 3 “months”.
That will create your new smart collection. Now follow the instructions to synchronise smart collections on the Any Source homepage. It might take a few minutes for the album to appear in mobile Lightroom but it will eventually.
I noticed that a lot of Instagram users, such as Alan Schaller to name but one, were posting images with thick white borders to make their images into the square images that Instagram favours. I like the striking look these images have in the Instagram gallery.
I wondered for some time about the best way of adding this border and from brief searches there are apps that will add the border but my workflow involves Lightroom so I wanted to integrate the border making into my export process.
I work on a Mac, and already have ImageMagick installed so I knew a little shell scripting would probably go a long way.
A couple of searches later, and I found this page describing how to use ImageMagick to create a floating image within a square canvas without changing the aspect ratio of the image.
Instagram resizes to 1080px wide so by using the following code I could make a rectangular image into a square:
convert -background white -gravity center input.jpg \
-resize 1080x1080 -extent 1080x1080 result.jpg
Once I could do that, the rest was simple. I have a Lightroom export for Instagram images that resizes them and places them in a folder where they are synced automatically with my phone using Syncthing.
Export actions have a “post processing” section where Lightroom can call an external script. I created the following script, made it executable with chmod a+x add_instagram_border.sh and added to Lightroom using “Open in Other Application”.
# Square and add white borders to images.
for i in "$@"
/usr/local/bin/convert -background white -gravity \
center "$i" -resize 1080x1080 -extent 1080x1080 \
mv /tmp/out.jpg "$i"
The script goes through the exported images from Lightroom, adding borders to them, and then at the end opens the folder in Finder for review.
Hopefully this will be useful to someone else. If you add borders to your images, how do you do it?
If you apply the spot heal tool to an area in a RAW file (in this case, a Sony ARW one) and convert it to lossy DNG the spot heal will become a pink square. It’s easily fixed by applying the spot heal again but of course this shouldn’t happen.
While on the subject of Lightroom bugs, a long time ago I also noticed that the Transform tool acted differently on the compressed DNG version of a photo compared to the RAW (CR2) version. Hopefully that’s been fixed because that was a couple of years ago and I’m sure someone else has noticed by now ..
Lightroom Classic CC supports a wide range of lenses but if you're not shooting in RAW you'll probably be out of luck if you want to apply a lens profile. All the built-in lens profiles were made with RAW files in mind. If you're shooting Jpeg then you're out of luck.
I usually shoot RAW but a few weeks ago I used Jpeg to do some street photography. All was well until I tried to correct the lens distortion. Lightroom couldn't find any lens profile! I thought my Lightroom install had been corrupted somehow. The list of lenses only included one Tamron lens, and not the right one.
After much searching and testing I figured out what to do. Paths are for a Mac. You'll find Mac and Windows paths in this blog post by the Lightroom Queen but the ideas are the same. Copy file, rename, edit, restart Lightroom.
Custom lens profiles go in the directory ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRaw/LensProfiles/1.0/
The built in lens profiles are packaged with Lightroom, so find Lightroom in Applications, right click on it and then "Show Package Contents" to browse into it. You'll find the lens profiles in Contents/Resources/LensProfiles/1.0/
Look for the profile for your lens and copy it into the same camera/lens/ directory structure in the ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRaw/LensProfiles/1.0/ directory.
Rename the new lens profile file, removing the " – RAW" string from the end of the filename.
Edit that file in a text editor and change every instance of stCamera:CameraRawProfile="True" to stCamera:CameraRawProfile="False". There will be quite a few of them for a zoom lens.
Restart Lightroom, apply lens profile to your Jpeg file.
There are many articles out there that explain how best to store your photo archive if you use Lightroom. I was going to write one too but I don't think the world will really benefit from me rehashing what other writers have already said.
You may have read elsewhere or seen YouTube videos that encourage you to put descriptive titles in the folders where you store your photos, but I would urge you to keep the folder names as simple as possible. I agree with Peter Krogh that you keep the directory names simple but instead of using project names as he did above, I use dates. I use YYYY/YYYY-MM-DD as the folder name when importing. Using project based folder names makes things complicated. Occasionally I won't bother copying photos off my camera, especially if they're just snapshots, so it would be an extra hassle importing first my cat photos from Friday, and then my street photos on Saturday. It's much easier to go into "Previous Import" and add a few keywords. This won't happen that often, but I guarantee it will.
When you're looking through your photo archive it probably won't be through a file manager, it'll be in Lightroom, so the folder names don't matter, but the dated folder names provide a logical and predictable naming convention that will always be the same.
Instead of relying on folder names use keywords and collections to sort your photos. Use ratings or colours to refine further. You can then use Lightroom filters to quickly find whatever photo you need. This short tutorial on collections explains how to use them.
Use Import Presets
As well as DSLR photos, I import photos from my phone into Lightroom, and now that I'm doing a 365 day photo project too I'll be importing fully edited photos from my phone. I use Snapseed to edit those photos so I wanted some way of identifying those photos. Import Presets were the answer!
I use import presets to configure import options like destination folder, file renaming, metadata information, keywords, and even develop settings:
Away: used when I'm not at home with my laptop. Usually on a work trip or holiday. The destination folder is on the local drive. Everything else goes to an external one. When I get home I move the files to external storage and tell Lightroom where the missing files are.
Jacinta's Photos: my wife's camera phone photos go in a specific directory with different keywords and metadata.
Mobile Import: import photos I've already synced from my phone. Adds the keyword "phone" and puts the photos into a different directory structure.
SD Card: settings used when I'm importing DSLR photos.
Snapseed: my newest import preset. This adds the keyword "snapseed" and moves photos into the same folder as the Mobile Import preset. I use the keyword to
identify these files.
Use Publish Actions
These allow you to export photos with particular settings. This allows you to tailor your photos for different sites. For example, Instagram uses 1080×1080 pixel images. Your blog will have a different width. Facebook has other restrictions.
Use the WordPress Lightroom Plugin
The Lightroom Exporter for WordPress allows you to export photos from Lightroom into your WordPress.com or self hosted WordPress site (if you're using Jetpack).
There has been so much written about Adobe Lightroom it's not hard to find answers to whatever questions you have. This was just a short summary of my thoughts about photo organization. I have a photo archive going back to 2001 and it has worked well for me. It'll probably work well for you too.
If you post to a WordPress blog on a regular basis like I do on In Photos dot Org you’ll no doubt recognise the fatigue that comes from adjusting the publish date every single time on a new post so it appears a day later. If you have multiple posts like on a daily photoblog you have to remember what day the last post was made and adjust the date accordingly.
A few years ago I wrote a small plugin that I never released to help schedule posts. In the media uploader you could select multiple photos and click a few buttons to be brought to a new page where you could enter title, content and tags for each image. Based on this experience, I suggested it as an idea to one of the teams at Automattic who built Post Bot. I used that for a long time and it has its strengths. If you’re posting content that has the same or similar tags you can copy and paste the tags from one post to another. I posted lots of black and white street images from my home town this way and it was super useful!
I got tired of manually typing out tags, and unfortunately the site broke a few times, with posts not scheduling or one time they scheduled all in one go. Luckily the problems were quickly fixed. However, I started using the WordPress post editor again and scheduling a bunch of photos that way.
Manually editing the publish date quickly became a chore. Lazarus, the form saver Chrome extension, would sometimes popup if I didn’t click exactly on the date, or as I said before I had to remember when the last post was made. They say there’s a plugin for everything, and there is for this too. Check out Publish to Schedule.
You tell “Publish to Schedule” which days and how many posts should be published and when you go into the post editor the next available date is picked for you! The date doesn’t change until you hit Publish but I already used it to schedule a number of posts and it works really well.
Edit: I forgot to mention Daily Image a new plugin by Sam Hotchkiss that does the same sort of job as Postbot but it runs on your own server. The first time you load the plugin it will show you every single unattached image in your media library which can be quite a number of images but it allows you to enter tags and quickly schedule images for posting in a simple manner.
Since my focus here is on image posts I should really mention the WordPress Export Plugin for Lightroom. When installed you can create a new export target that will resize and sharpen your image and upload it to your blog, even if it’s not a WordPress.com site.
If you updated your Mac to MacOS Sierra and you use an old version of Lightroom you may get a shock when you try to import anything.
The destination and rename panels are missing from the sidebar! Luckily there’s an easy way to fix it, at least temporarily, thanks to The Lightroom Queen who figured out how. Right click on one of the panel headers and you can enable the missing panels again in the menu that appears!
Unfortunately the change doesn’t stick and the next time you import photos you’ll have to enable those panels again if you want to check those settings.
I can’t imagine Adobe will update LR5. I didn’t think Lightroom would start to break down so quickly after an OS upgrade as the app isn’t that old but I guess we’ll all have to jump on the Creative Cloud bandwagon sooner or later.
Anthony Morganti uses an interesting technique to create photos with a black and white HDR look in Lightroom. It can transform a photo so it looks something like this. (I added a vignette as well.)
It doesn’t suit all photos of course, it’s also only a starting point as you should develop your photos in whatever way you desire. To avoid repeating all those steps every time I created a Lightroom preset.
Grab that file and install it in the same way you’d install any Lightroom preset. What d’you think?
I had to develop a bunch of photos I took at an event recently and some of the faces in the photos had distracting highlights. The shine wasn’t too bad, but it mocked me and my initial attempts to fix it!
Lightroom is limited in it’s editing tools but it does have a powerful brush tool. The instructions I found here worked a treat. You can use the brush tool, healing tool or a combination of both.
Select the brush tool and change the colour to a shade close to the skin colour. Do this by clicking on the colour tool and when the colour picker popups up drag the cursor to where you want to grab the colour in the picture.
Set the brush to a low opacity and colour in the shine. Go slowly, it’ll take a number of passes.
You can also use the heal tool, but again make sure the opacity is set low.
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