My Apple Aperture Conspiracy

by Scott Kelby  |  3 Comments


“Obviously, since Scott’s in bed with Adobe, there’s no way he’d give Apple’s Aperture a fair audition.” –Trevor Carpenter

“…what about Apple’s Aperture? I don’t see how you can just ignore it when writing this kind of article. If you do, I begin to wonder if you’re simply being paid by Adobe? I understand the whole corporate sponsor thing, but I’d love to see you write about Aperture. It’s definitely a player in this space.” –Mike Fullerton

Ya know what’s nice? Waking up in the morning, and reading comments like these, which were posted yesterday as comments here on my blog. It really starts your day off right.

My post yesterday was addressing a comment I read on an evaluation form, from a Photoshop World Conference attendee. This attendee didn’t ask me about Aperture (he was a PC user anyway, and Aperture is a Mac-only product); he asked the difference between Camera Raw, The Bridge, and Lightroom.

I thought that answering his question publicly, might help some other people who had the same question, but clearly what I was doing was just perpetuating my secret conspiracy against Aperture; the same Aperture I wrote about on Monday in my “Top Five of Everything” where I listed other applications which I use, which included Aperture; the same Aperture I wrote about in February after the 2.0 update was released, where I wrote:

“I haven’t had a chance to play with the new version yet, (I hope to this week), but the improvements look pretty substantial and the initial feedback I’ve seen from existing Aperture users has been very positive.”

Adobe almost made me return my monthly corporate payoff check for writing that. ;-)

So, is this a cleverly orchestrated conspiracy against a program I readily admit that I use, or perhaps is the reason I didn’t mention Aperture in my post one or more of these:

  • (a) I don’t know much about Aperture. The only thing I do in Aperture is print books. I export my photos from Lightroom as JPEGs; I import them into Aperture, layout my book, and hit the Send button. That is the extent of what I do in Aperture, so I can’t pass myself off as an “Aperture expert” and anything I say about Aperture beyond printing books would be just a guess. I’ve played around with Aperture, and it seems to have some very cool features, but honestly, I just don’t know enough about it.
  • (b) This is the Photoshop Insider blog created for people who already use either Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Lightroom, or both. It’s not a digital imaging blog.
  • (c) Aperture was totally irrelevant to the question I was asked (especially since he’s a PC user).

I haven’t written a comparison of Lightroom vs. Aperture because selling Lightroom isn’t my job—that’s Adobe’s job. My job is teaching Lightroom to people who already own Lightroom (though the fact that I teach and write books on Lightroom pretty much tells you where I stand). Besides, I’m not the guy you want doing a side-by-side comparison of the two; I am totally biased; I’ve already made my choice; I’m a Lightroom user–plain and simple.

I don’t want to take anything away from Aperture, because I know a lot of Mac users really like it, and I think that’s great, but I use Lightroom, so don’t look for much Aperture coverage here. In the same vein, I’m a Nikon shooter, so don’t expect a lot of Sony or Olympus camera coverage here either, even though I’m sure both make perfectly fine cameras. It’s not an indictment of any of them; they’re just not what I use.

I hope that helps folks who post mean-spirited accusations about me understand where I’m coming from in this whole “Lightroom vs. Aperture” conspiracy theory. :)


The Macintosh Community Loses One of Its Pioneers; Stan Flack

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments

I have such sad news to report; our longtime buddy Stan Flack, of MacCental and MacMinute fame, has passed away, at the age of 43, due to a pre-existing condition.

Stan became one of the pioneers of online Mac journalism when he launched, which grew to become the leading Mac news site in the world, and it was such a success that it was eventually acquired by MacWorld magazine. Years later, Stan launched the popular, and was a great friend not only to the Mac community, but to us Photoshop Guys as well, with his coverage of design and photography related news.

It was Stan who, many years ago, introduced me to a man who would become my best buddy; Dave Moser, (who is Chief Operating Officer of my company, Kelby Media Group), and I will always be grateful to Stan for bringing us together.

Some of Stan’s friends have written some really wonderful tributes to him, and if you would, take a moment to read a little about a man who dedicated his career to keeping us informed, for telling “the other side of the story,” and whose passion, courage, and commitment made him a true legend in the Macintosh community. He will be missed.

Read Jim Dalrymple’s comments at
Ted Landau’s comments at the MacObserver
And a touching story over at Tikabik.


New Kick-Butt Online Class from Joe McNally

by Scott Kelby  |  0 Comments


We just posted another online class at from Joe McNally, and this one is how to use Small Flash (off camera hot-shoe flash) in the studio and on location, and it just kicks butt!

Joe is the absolute master of off-camera flash, he’s got just an amazing way of teaching, and you see it all unfold live right in front you and you learn in such a personal way that really connects with photographers. Here’s the link to Joe’s class (you can watch a free sample while you’re there), and the list of the 20 lessons in this new class. Very cool stuff!


Camera Raw, Bridge, or Lightroom?

by Scott Kelby  |  15 Comments


Yesterday I was going through the session evaluations from my Photoshop World “Photoshop Seven-Point System” class (I take these evaluations very seriously, and I read every single evaluation from every class I teach).

I was really gratified to see that the class really struck a chord with attendees (so much so, that I’ll be teaching it again in Las Vegas at Photoshop World this September), but I saw an evaluation that really stood out to me, which read:

“One says Bridge; One says Camera Raw; One says Lightroom—I’m confused!”

With 80 sessions at Photoshop World, and 41 instructors, as you might imagine there are a lot of classes that include, or are based on, either Camera Raw, The Bridge, Lightroom, or all three, which is what I think is behind this attendee’s comment. After reading it, I realized that he probably isn’t alone, so I thought I’d try and unconfusify him (and anybody else) here with a quick Q&A:

Q. So, which one should I use?
A. Camera Raw in Photoshop CS3, Camera Raw in The Adobe Bridge, and the Develop Module of Lightroom 1.4 are all the same. All three have the same sliders, in the exact same order, they have the same tools, etc..

Q. So what’s the difference?
A. Camera Raw has a light gray background, and Lightroom’s Develop Module has a dark gray background.

Q. That’s it?
A. That’s it.

Q. Oh come on!
A. Well, if you want to split hairs, technically Lightroom has one extra tool (The Targeted Adjustment Tool), buried down in two of the panels, but other than that, they’re exactly the same.

Q. So why would anyone want to use the Camera Raw in Bridge rather than the one in Photoshop CS3?
A. You’d want to use it to process a bunch of raw photos in the background, which frees up Photoshop CS3 for other tasks.

Q. So, the Bridge can be processing photos, and then I can do something completely different in Photoshop?
A. Yup.

Q. That’s pretty cool.
A. I know.

Q. So why would I want to use Lightroom?
A. It’s way better than the Bridge.

Q. Really?
A. There’s a reason why the Bridge is free.

Q. Oh. So Lightroom is better than the Bridge?
A. For photographers, Lightroom replaces the Bridge, Camera Raw, and does a whole lot more, because it’s a whole workflow tool (which is its strength—it’s for managing ALL your photos; thousands of them, and processing new photos in the quickest, most efficient manner yet), using five separate modules (The Library, The Develop Module, The Slideshow Module, The Web Module, and the Print Module).

Q. How do these stack up against the same features in Photoshop?
A. It’s just my opinion (as is this entire Q&A), but here’s how I feel they stack up:

  1. The Library Module in Lightroom, absolutely blows away the Bridge. To me, there’s no comparison, and the features, workflow, and whole process of organizing, sorting, and managing your photos is much easier, more efficient, and fun in Lightroom.
  2. The Develop Module is actually just Camera Raw on a darker gray background, but in Lightroom there are some features (including the Targeted Adjustment Tool) that just aren’t in Camera Raw in Photoshop CS3 or the Bridge. Plus, in Lightroom there are all sorts of other advantages (like White Balance previews for one) that just aren’t available in Camera Raw. (Note: In the Public Beta of Lightroom 2.0, the Develop Module leap frogs Camera Raw even more, but that’s a different topic. Kinda).
  3. Lightroom’s Slideshow Module, while not perfect, creates slideshows way beyond what the Bridge can do. For one, you can add Music (and that’s just the start).
  4. The Web Module in Lightroom goes far, far beyond any Web gallery you could create in Photoshop or the Bridge. It’s not even close.
  5. Lightroom’s Print Module alone is worth switching to Lightroom. Once you print out of Lightroom 1.4.1, you’ll never want to print out of Photoshop CS3 again. Sorry, but it’s true. What it does to the printing process is just amazing, and in the Lightroom 2.0 Public Beta, Adobe took the print features up a big notch.

So basically, all the things that Lightroom and Photoshop have in common, Lightroom does much, much better. That’s why I spend about 70% of my time in Lightroom. I only use Camera Raw when I need to edit an image that I didn’t import into Lightroom for some reason (maybe someone sent me the file, or I just needed to quickly edit one photo).

Now, to sum it all up, I’ll answer the original question:

Q. One says Bridge; One says Camera Raw; One says Lighroom—I’m confused!
A. They’re all the same; Once you learn one, you’ve learned them all because Camera Raw in the Bridge is the same as the Camera Raw in Photoshop CS3, and is the same as the Develop Module in Lightroom 1.4.

My advice: If you’re a photographer, I would focus on learning the Develop Module in Lightroom, because Lightroom has been designed from the ground up as a tool for photographers, and it’s the future for pro photographers, but if at some point you wind up needing to use Camera Raw—you’ll already know how to use it.

I hope that helps the person with the question (who didn’t sign their evaluation form), but name or not—I read ‘em all, and when I do the session in Vegas, I’ll be sure to address this in the class.


Welcome to “No Blog Wednesdays”

by Scott Kelby  |  1 Comments


Hi everybody, and welcome to the first of many “No Blog Wednesdays” because I realize that I really need a mid-week blogging break about every week at this time, to catch up on work, writing, and just hang with the family. So, from now on, all Wednesdays here at The Photoshop Insider will officially be “No Blog Wednesdays.”

But, I’m not leaving you out to dry, because each Wednesday I will have a similar post to the one you’re reading now (written on Tuesday, but posted on Wednesday) with a link to a different person in our industry who isn’t a slacker that needs a mid-week blogging break (like me), so you can jump over to their blog and see what’s up on Wednesdays (Just don’t forget to come back here on Thursdays and Fridays).

Here’s a blog to check out today:

Thanks for understanding, and we’ll see you on Thursday. :)

All my best,

It looks like I’m blogging today, but I’m really not


Two From Today’s Shoot

by Scott Kelby  |  2 Comments


I did a shoot today with Big Electric Cat lead guitarist Tony Llanes, and his Harley (click on it for a larger view). Tony looks like like a tough guy, but I’ve been friends with Tony for around 27 years and he’s a total teddy bear, and one of the nicest, warmest, and most fun guys you’d ever want to meet (and one hell of a guitar player, to boot).

The shoot was done on a black seamless paper background with just one light–an Elinchrom Ranger RX strobe with an Elinchrom Octaback, and we placed it directly above the bike, aiming straight down, for a dramatic, shadowy look. I intentionally let the shadows on Tony just fall, rather than trying to fill them in with a reflector, but there are two reflectors on the floor, just outside the frame, one on each side, bouncing some light back on both the front and back wheels of the bike.

Specs: It was shot with RC’s Nikon D300 because I forgot my rig at home (and RC was nice enough to loan it to me), and it was shot in Manual Mode at 1/60 of a second at f/5.6 at 200 ISO using an 18-200mm Nikon f/3.5 – f/5.6 VR lens. I triggered the flash using a Skyport trigger.

Last week, when I ran a poster-look with a shot of a sand dune, I had a number of questions about which font I used. The font for the regular Dunes shot (and the one used here as well), is Trajan Pro (look in your font list—it’s probably there). For the Pano poster I showed (on the black background), I used the font Gil Sans Light. I added space between the letters (called Tracking) to make the type look a little more airy and elegant.

As far as creating the Poster layout itself, the key is to crop the photo so it’s perfectly square, which already gives the photo a different look. Secondly, in Photoshop add 2 inches of white Canvas Area on all sides, then add 3 more inches just to the bottom. Then add your text (in this case, Trajan Pro), with lots of Tracking (I set it at +240), in the Character panel, and type the first letter of each word in upper case.

The photo itself was processed using my Photoshop 7-Point System, and I had to clone away some things like a wheel of a C-stand, part of a light stand, and the front edge of the seamless.


I also wanted to have a few shots that had just a hint of light–just lighting the highlights, and the the shot above is the result (it looks much better larger, so click on it for a larger view). The light is in the same place, but I powered the strobe down as low as it could go. The processing is just in Lightroom, but I did do a final sharpening in Photoshop right before I saved the JPEG. The rest of the specs are the same.

Overall, it was a fun shoot, and next time I’m shooting a specially built green chopper of Tony’s, and I’ll wind up lighting it differently to bring out the color, and who knows; maybe I’ll throw a reflector on Tony and make him look like a nice guy again. ;-)

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