Categories
Photography

Pick your best photos faster

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!

Categories
Photography

Howto sync recent photos in Lightroom Classic

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:

  • Published photos.
  • Unpublished photos.
  • 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”.
  • Save.

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.

Categories
Photography

HOWTO: Square Instagram images with white borders

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

Here’s an example from my street photo today. See it on Instagram here.

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”.

#!/bin/sh

# Square and add white borders to images.
# https://odd.blog/

for i in "$@"
do
    /usr/local/bin/convert -background white -gravity \
        center "$i" -resize 1080x1080 -extent 1080x1080 \
        /tmp/out.jpg
    mv /tmp/out.jpg "$i"
    open "~/Sync/Instagram"
done

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?

Categories
Photography

No need for camera straps on the ISS

The astronauts living on the International Space Station are in a microgravity environment, so no chance a camera will fall to floor. Just leave it next to you until you need it again!

‘Course you might need velcro to keep the camera stuck to a surface for the same reason. Gravity won’t keep it down but air currents in the station will blow it around.


From the NASA live stream of the Dragon 2 capsule that has just docked with the ISS.


Selfies are easy too. 🙂
Categories
Photography

Lightroom: spot heal bug after DNG conversion

I discovered a bug in Lightroom!

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 ..

Categories
Photography

Sony a7iii: AEL in Manual Mode

One of the Facebook groups I’m part of is Sony a7iii/a7riii setup Tips. It’s a relatively quiet group but it’s chock full of great tips for Sony’s latest cameras.
One of those tips was posted yesterday and Daniel Ockeloen, the group administrator, made a video of it which I have embedded above.

In manual mode, the AEL button can be used to maintain the exposure while you change settings. With AEL activated changing the shutter speed will change the aperture and vice versa. In effect it’s the same as going back to Aperture or Shutter Priority modes but it does allow more flexibility since AEL can be deactivated and you get full manual control again, with the same exposure.

Do other cameras do this? My Canon 6D doesn’t. Apparently Pentax cameras have a hyper-manual mode which operates in much the same way, but others have been saying for a long time that manual mode is manual mode and you don’t need auto exposure.

Categories
Ireland

CervicalCheck Protest in Cork

More than 800 people marched through Cork on Saturday to protest the CervicalCheck scandal where 209 smear tests were misread and 18 women have died already.

Terminally ill Emma Mhic Mhathúna appeared at a protest today in Kerry.

In a poignant protest in Tralee town centre on Monday evening, the very day that she was told that her cancer has spread even further to her vertebra, Emma, in a moving and emotional speech, said that she would continue to fight for reform of the health service. 
“I am sick of being treated like nothing. Our health is the last thing that these people care about. The Dáil needs to realise that if they are going to take responsibility for our lives they better do it well or they need to be fired,” she told the crowd. 
“I promise my death won’t go unnoticed. I will make sure that they pay for what they have done to every single family in Ireland, whether you are on a waiting list too long or whether you are not being treated fair. Tell them you’re my friend and I’ll come and sort them out.”
“I can’t save my life but at least I can save yours and your children’s lives.” 

https://www.independent.ie/regionals/kerryman/news/kerry-stands-together-in-solidarity-as-emma-faces-death-sentence-36910803.html
Categories
Photography

Bye Bye Google Backup & Sync

I’m a huge fan of Google Photos. It’s an amazing service that lets me quickly share photos with particular people, creates interesting images from my photos and it’s a convenient way to bring my photo archive with me on my phone.

Evening in Cork City

However, the new “Backup & Sync” app from Google that replaced the old uploader is problematic.

As well as uploading my photos to Google Photos it would backup to Google Drive. I don’t care about this feature because I use Backblaze for backups. I didn’t really realise what this meant when I first installed the app.

Slieve Liag

I told it to sync my “2018” folder and it dutifully started backing up to Google Photos but I soon noticed that the storage used in my Google account was decreasing. Eventually I found the computers section of Google Drive. All my files were backed up there.

It appears that “Don’t sync to this computer” doesn’t mean “don’t sync this computer to Google Drive”. However it does mean that any files deleted in the synced “Computers” section of Google Drive will be deleted locally. I found this out when I tried to save some storage space by deleting files off Google Drive. Later that day I fired up Lightroom and it reported that a large number of files were unavailable. I opened the folder in Finder only to see the images magically disappear before my eyes.

It was “Backup & Sync” deleting my local files. It was syncing deletes “to this computer”. Thankfully the files were still in the Trash so I could restore them quickly.

Cork City Hall in the fog

So, instead of wasting my storage I need to upload things manually. I see two options:

  • Drag and drop files on to a Google Photos browser window.
  • Sync one temporary folder where I copy duplicates of my photos. I need to periodically delete those files off Google Drive which won’t matter locally because they’ll be duplicates that are deleted immediately after upload.
Grand Parade under construction in 2007

It’s disappointing that Google merged the backup and sync functionality. Google Photos is not a backup service unless you pay for storage and upload full size images. For that reason I can see why they did it.

Categories
Photography Photos

Dealing with Lightroom Lens Profiles

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.

Categories
Photography

Organizing Photos in Lightroom

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.

If you watch the video above by Peter Krogh, who wrote the book on Digital Asset Management, you'll have a good idea of the basics. I organise my photos in a very similar fashion.

Use Dated Folders

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.