Category Archives Lightroom

Hi Gang: I have been dying for Adobe to come out with a Lightroom App for the iPad, and although this isn’t from Adobe, it’s the next best thing, and I personally am really excited about it.

It’s called “Photosmith for iPad” and it’s designed to work as a mobile companion Lightroom by letting you create Collections, rate, tag, add keywords and metadata to your photos, and then (wait for it, wait for it) sync your Collections to Lightroom on your computer wirelessly. It’s the dream baby!!! The dream!!!!

Now, as I’m writing this, I haven’t spent much time with it—I downloaded it last night and started playing with it, and it sync’d beautifully with Lightroom—first time! (you do have to download and install their plug-in for Lightroom first), but after using it for a just an hour or so, I can see I’ll be using this a lot when I travel.

Although it doesn’t do image editing (just sorting and stuff) it does let you share photos from your Collections directly up to Facebook, Drop Box, Flickr (hugs), or you just email them directly from the App, but at this point, the real reason to have it is to make Collections, rate and sort your photos, and have that all go over to Lightroom.

Of course, this is just version 1, and I already have some features I would love to see them add, but one of the things I love about iPad Apps is how quickly developers are able to update and add new features, so although it’s not perfect yet—I imagine it soon will be. It’s $17.99. My hat’s off to the developers; Chris and Jonah—-way to go guys! :-)

Here’s a link to their site,  and here’s the direct iTunes downloads link (or, on your iPad, go to the App Store, and search for Photosmith).

I just found out that OnOne Software has just released a Free Public Beta version (a pre-release version) of a plug-in that I think is going to be a real game-changer for Lightroom (and Aperture) users.

It’s called “Perfect Layers” and this plug-in brings layers functionality to Lightroom (I got to work with OnOne on this plug-in, and although this public beta doesn’t have all the features the final shipping version will have, I can tell you—it’s going to expand what you can do in Lightroom to a whole new level!. We’re talking multiple layers, blend modes, layer masks, a brush—the works!)

You can download it now for free, and have a chance to try it out, and share your feedback with OnOne’s development team. They’ve got a sample movie and just a few examples of what you can do. I’m working on a video to show some collaging, portrait retouching, and other stuff we wouldn’t normally be able to do in Lightroom.

My hearty congratulations to OnOne for giving us the tools we need to work faster and more efficiently!!!! Yay!!!! :)  Here’s the link to download it in case you missed that one above.

I had a number of people comment about the Duotone look I applied to my “Sessions” images” series (link), so I thought I’d share the exact settings I used (just promise me you won’t be surprised or disappointed that it’s so incredibly simple).

I did the conversion completely in Lightroom (though I’ll show you the camera raw equivalent in a moment). Start by pressing the letter “V” to convert the image to Black & White. Then go to the Split Toning panel—don’t touch the Highlights at all—just drag the Shadows Hue slider to 28, and the Saturation to 17.

That’s it. One letter—two sliders. :)

If you’re using Camera Raw instead; go to the HSL / Grayscale panel and click on “Convert to Grayscale.” (Does it bother anybody that photographers don’t use the term Grayscale for converting to black and white? That’s a graphic designer’s term, not a photographers. Don’t get me started). Anyway, then go to the Split Toning tab. Don’t touch the Highlights controls at all—just move the Shadows Hue slider to 28, and the Saturation to 17. That’s it.

Anyway, I know it doesn’t have a lot of fireworks to it, but that’s exactly how I did the conversions, and the exact settings I used.

Have a great Monday everybody!

Scott Kelby's Lightroom 3 Book for Photographers

Scott’s Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers is now available in a very limited spiral-bound edition! All the details, including a coupon code for NAPP members to receive the book for free when they renew their membership for two years, are over on the store.

Speaking of Scott’s Lightroom 3 Book… After reviewing three different books on the program, new Lightroom user Daniel Bailey chose Scott’s book to help him quickly get up to speed with the software and blogged about it. Thanks Daniel!

This is one of those things you just kind of stumble upon, and think to yourself, “Hey, that looks kinda cool,” but you’re not sure why (well, now I know why, but I didn’t when I first found it).

The idea for this came to me while I’m working in Lightroom one day. I normally work in a view called “Fit” which fits your entire image inside the center preview area, with a bit of gray canvas area around it (as seen above).

But for some reason, on this particular day I had my View set to Fill (so your image fills the entire center preview window, as seen above). Probably did it by accident.

Normally, when I want to focus on just the photo, without all the distractions of Lightroom’s panels, I press Shift-Tab, which hides the top, bottom and side panels from view, so all you see is the photo, but on this particular day, instead I hid just the side panels (as seen above), and I’m looking at the screen and I’m thinking “Man, that wide cropping really looks kind of cool.” I didn’t quite know at the time why, but I went over to Matt Kloskowski’s office and he loved it. Next stop, RC Concepcion’s office and when I showed him this on one of his photos in Lightroom—he loved it.

But it was when RC said, “I kind of makes it look like a widescreen movie,” that it hit me why I liked it so much—it’s got that cinematic movie feel to it. So, he and I spent a while trying to figure out exactly what this wide cropping ratio was, and how we could apply that widescreen crop to our images in Photoshop the easy way. We made some screen captures of the image in Lightroom with that on-screen cropped look, and then starting counting pixels. We even brought Corey Barker over to look at it, since he’s a total movie freak, because we though if anyone would know how this relates to a movie style cropping, he would know.

As it turns out, Photoshop has a built-in New Document Preset that was literally within a pixel or two of being the exact same cropping ratio as what we had captured in Lightroom. To find this, press Command-N (PC: Ctrl-N) to bring up the New Document window, then choose Film & Video from the Preset pop-up near the top. Now from the Size Presets choose NTSC D1 Widescreen Square Pixel (as shown above), and it creates a new document with guides already in place for a widescreen image like the one we captured in Lightroom.

However, when you size the image to fill within the inside guides, there’s white space left over on the top and bottom. But, at least now I could drag my image onto this document, size it to fill left to right, then I could crop the document down so just the image is visible, and then I would know in inches (or pixels) how large to make my Custom Crop. That way, I could just create “Cinematic Style Cropping” from here on out, without having to create this new document, and all extra these steps.  The cropped size turned out to be a 12.111″ x 5.389″ size at a resolution of 240 ppi (or in pixels, 2907 x 1293).

So, now you can create a custom crop in Photoshop you can apply to any standard digital camera image to give it an instant “Cinematic Style Widescreen Crop” by simply clicking on the Crop Tool, going up to the Options Bar (shown above) and then typing in 12.111 inches as your width and 5.389 inches as your Height, and then set your resolution at 240.

Now, when you drag out the crop tool so it fits side-to-side in your image (as seen above), the area that appears inside that cropping border will get the Cinematic Crop.

Here’s what it looks like (above) with the crop applied to that image.

If you want to take it up another notch, and really give it the Cinematic feel, add the letterbox look you get with anamorphic widescreen movies. You do this by going under Photoshop’s Image menu and choosing Canvas Size. When the dialog appears (seen above), turn on the Relative checkbox, then for Height enter 1 inch. Lastly, for Canvas extension color (at the bottom of the window), choose Black from the pop-up menu (as seen above), then click OK.

Here’s what it looks like with the black Canvas area added in Photoshop.

And here’s what the final image looks like, with the Cinematic cropping and letterbox added.

So, at this point, it’s just a simple custom crop, and you can save that custom crop, with those dimensions and resolution as a Tool Preset by clicking on the Tool Preset icon at the top left corner of the Options Bar (as seen here), then click on the New Preset button (shown above). Now, anytime you want this crop, you’re just one click away.

Now, it’s entirely possible that there’s a way easier way to do all this—-to create a Cinematic Cropping inside Photoshop, but I haven’t figured it out. Yet. ;-)

UPDATE: Just learned from @ersphoto (Enrique San Roman, who follows me on Twitter) that you can enter the Crop Ratio 2.39 to 1 in Lightroom’s Crop Tool to get the same cropping. Just click on the Crop tool, then click on the pop-up menu to the immediate left of the lock icon and choose “Enter Custom” then type in 2.39  and 1.00 in the Aspect Ratio pop-up menu (as seen above), and you’ve got that crop. Enrique noted that the crop ratio is based on Panavision film. Thanks Enrique, and I’m sending you a signed copy of my Lightroom 3 book today for helping me out! :-) Also, thanks to Mike Reeves who pointed out that this also works with Camera Raw’s Crop tool as well.

Anyway, give this a try on some of your photos and see what you think. Of course, if you have Lightroom, just open any image, set the View to Fill (in the Navigator panel), and then just hide the left and right panels from view (press F7 and F8 to hide them), and there you have it—Cinematic Style Widescreen Cropping (without having to actually crop).

Blue genie goes out of the laptop

Hi Gang: I wanted to do a follow-up to last Friday’s post about “What I’d Love to See in Lightroom 4” because you guys came up with so many other great feature requests, ideas and enhancements to what’s already there, I wanted to share some of the ones that really resonated with me.

There is one that would be high on my list, and I totally forgot about it, until I read Bryan’s comment: “Why no Vibrance in the Adjustment Tool?” I second that. You can leave Saturation, but add a Vibrance slider.

Also, I sent my post to Adobe’s Lightroom Product Manager Tom Hogarty, and then Tom and I talked on the phone about all this on Friday (I was just happy we were still talking). ;-)

Anyway, while I can’t go into specifics about what what Tom and I discussed, I can tell you two things: (1) Adobe is listening. Big time. At a level that was unthinkable just a few years ago. The Lightroom team is full of photographers (Tom included), and they use the program themselves, and they want the same things we want, and they’re fully committed to giving us the tools we need. And (2) I was very, very, very happy at what I heard from Tom. That’s all I’m saying.

One more thing: There were a number of features that people are asking for that are already in Lightroom, which is a good thing (and some folks kicked in with their own comments pointing them in the right direction, which is something I love about the people who frequent this blog. They want to help each other out, which is really what it’s all about).

Now, on to highlights from your comments (By the way—-Adobe is reading all your comments. These are just my favorites):

“Relative presets. I don’t want a preset that setss my exposure to 2.0. I want a preset that adds 2.0 to the current value. Most presets are useless unless the original exposure is spot on. If presets could create relative values instead of absolutes, it would be so much easier to browse through lots of different effects until you get the look you want.”

“A healing brush with Content Aware would be #1 on my list.”

Trevor King
“Watermark positioning is my other gripe. V. 3.0 limits where watermarks can be positioned through the 0-10% vertical movement limitation. Please allow 25% changes in positioning so that I get my watermarks in my preferred position halfway between centre and the bottom of the image.”


“The ability to export as a file that you can burn straight to DVD would save me hours of work when doing slideshows for clients. Being limited to a compressed file format for the web is only half way there.”

“It’s not a matter of loyalty (for us photographers), it’s a matter of productivity and competitive advantage. Come on, Adobe…blow us away…and SOON, please.”

Eric Cote
“You forgot the most important: a real healing brush instead of the spot healing we have at the moment.”

“Make it easier to create folders and subfolders in the library. How about a right-click, new folder? I know, that’s so 1992.”

Levi Sim
“Clone Stamp. that’s all I want. I would never have to leave LR if it had the clone stamp tool.”

“Identity Plates should snap to guides and grids. Photo boxes will snap to guides, but not to grids.”

“I miss the ability to use more than one song in Slideshow, especially when I have more than three minutes worth of images to watch. Why was that ability changed?”

“Make the “Ad-hoc slideshow” [Impromptu] performance what it should be, in e.g. picasa I can just hit slideshow and it instantly starts showing. In LR 3, I first have to wait minutes while ‘preparing…’ That isn’t ad-hoc slideshow to me…”

Bill Gommel
“How about the ability to search multiple catalogs. My catalog is getting huge because I want to be able to search for a certain class images. It would be nice to have a wedding catalog, a portrait catalog, an every day catalog, but if I want to search for all images with keyword Chicago it would search all three catalogs.”

Robbie R.
“I’d love to see White Balance adjustment added to the adjustment brush tool. It would be great for fixing those shots where we have mixed light sources.”

Piet Van den Eynde
“The ability to fade a preset in Lightroom: just apply a preset, and have ‘preset strenght’ slider to add to the effect or diminish it. Also allow one or two levels of extra hierarchy to store presets in… Right now, there’s only one folder level… People with lots of presets have to scroll through endless lists…”

John Swarce
“Make the updating of watermarks easier. If I create a watermark and I make any later change to it (say…moving it from one side of the picture to the other side because it looks better), I have to save it as a new watermark. I could see if I changed the text or style, but just the positioning? I suppose I could create seperate watermarks as “Left Bottom”, “Right Bottom”, “Top Right, Vertical Orientation”, etc. but this would get messy really quickly.”

“How about a larger navigator window so we can better see presets being applied. Paul adds:
Even better yet, how about an option to preview presets in the original image. The tiny navigator window just doesn’t cut it.”

Michael Tissington
“Stacks need improving … there needs to be a way of selecting the entire stack without expanding it first (and it does not need to expand, just because I have it selected).”

Ian Butterworth
“It would be nice if they could take the “backup” even further and backup all the settings, colour profiles, develop settings, plugins in use, etc. as they are scattered in different directories. In fact I wish Photoshop would do this too. Backup anything I have configured easily so if I did a fresh install I could restore the backup and have everything how it was.”

Waldek Chadzynski
“Please don’t forget about [the] request from Matt Kloskowski about being able to move vignette all around a picture.” [thanks Waldek—-I forgot about that one—Matt’s spot on!].

Matt Timmons
“Please put a patch tool in Lightroom that does the same thing that the Spot Removal tool does, but lets us draw our own selection around an area instead of having to use multiple adjacent circles clone/heal an area (i.e a patch tool just like PS, but allows you to change the opacity/location/size like the spot healing tool- maybe add feathering to it too). Often I have to go into Photoshop just for that one thing and I end up with a copied .psd file that can’t be edited in LR. (2) In the Metadata Module, include something that tells you which mode on the camera the picture was taken in (manual, Av, etc.) like in Bridge.”

“I’d like to see RGB curves in Lightroom 4 both for accurate color correction and color toning in images, or at least the red-cyan slider.”

Dick Kenny
“Please add a vote for making Camera Calibration accessible in Library. To many the choices offered by this function are fundamental when deciding what to keep and what to reject. By the time one gets to Develop, its too late – and switching between both modules before you need to is a bore.”

Chris Newham
“[Add a] Gradient eraser brush.”

William Haun
“Export folders & collections with hierarchy intact. There is a LR/TreeExport plugin available for folders but I’d kill to be able to select a Collection Set and have its contents exported as a folder structure.”

“I would like to have the possebillity to use the lens correction Profiles from CS5 and/or to include new created ones.”

“We would need one think on top of that for video: a way to change the video date after importing! Right now, say you have edited a video, then the date of the modification is used instead of the date of shooting.”

Peter  [These are so well thought out, I have to imagine this is Peter Krogh, but I could be wrong].
“(1) There is no way to create custom metadata fields without developing a plug-in, and even then, the custom fields only live in the catalog. (2) – Add a shortcut to the straighten tool already, (3) Add an “offline” mode where I can edit image settings/metadata and then batch-apply them when my images are online again (that would be with the export metadata to XMP option active). You know, not the “metadata changed” icons in the library grid. Unlock the develop settings that would be previewed based on the low-res image anyway. (4) Add a “use last” button to the keywords field of the new import dialog box.”

“Also Pano stitching would be very nice to have in Lr itself.”

Zack Jones
“Custom File Naming on Import – Allow us to use all meta data for filenaming. For example {YYYYMMDD}_{Camera_Name}_{####} would yield 20100813_7D_0001 for my 7D and 20100813_T2i_0001 for my T2i.”

My thanks to everybody who took the time to comment on Friday. Even if you didn’t wind up as one of my favorites listed here, more importantly your idea may have wound up as one of Adobe’s favorites. :)