Monthly Archives July 2008


Hey gang: I’m totally psyched to announce that a whole new version of my Lightroom book, “The Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers” (From New Riders Press), is now available for preorder.

I had planned on just doing an update of the book, and including the new features of Lightroom 2, but….well…I wound up rewriting the whole book from scratch (well, at least 95% of it. There’s probably a paragraph or two still left over, but not much).

Here’s the thing: so much has changed since Lightroom 1 (well, there was Lightroom, then version 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 and now 2), but more than that, I’ve trained literally thousands of Lightroom users since I wrote that book, and I’ve learned first hand the challenges, questions, concerns, and workflow issues that today’s Lightroom users face, and I’ve incorporated that right into the book.

Plus, I’ve streamlined my own workflow so much, and I’ve learned so many new techniques; new ways of thinking about working with Lightroom and Photoshop, and I’ve heard from so many readers of the first book about what they wanted to learn next, that I am just busting to share this new stuff with everybody.

Be the first to get your copy; the book is available for pre-order from, or direct from

It’s Thursday, and that’s means it’s time for “news stuffage!”

First, thanks to my buddy Terry White for yesterday’s guest blog post which garnered lots of love from my readers. Had I known the interest in Lightroom to iPhoto uploading was as big as it was, I would’ve written a book on it by now (totally kidding). ;-) Here’s what up:

  • This week we had Adobe Photoshop Product Manager Bryan Hughes as an in-studio guest on Photoshop User TV, and we talked with Bryan about the advantages of converting your files to DNG vs. just working with the Raw image files. Very interest stuffing (here’s the link to watch it online).
  • USA Today ran an article yesterday called Attention to lighting can make a huge difference in your photos and in the article they asked me for five tips about light and shooting outdoors this summer. They ran an example photo from my book “The Digital Photography Book, Vol. 1” and if you read the comments posted in the online version of the article, people think the photo was “faked.” (Actually, they’re sure of it). The funny thing is; it’s SO not. I asked the model (who was there as part of a photo workshop), to stand in the harsh direct 2:00 pm bright sunlight, and I took the first shot. Then I asked her to move over into the shade of a large tree, about 25 or 30 feet away, and as soon as she got in place, I took the 2nd shot. The whole thing took all of 30-seconds (if that). She didn’t put on makeup (as some allege) or redo her hair (they’re sure she did)—she just walked into the shade and I took the shot. The only reason these folks think it was faked is; they haven’t tried it themselves. Once they do; they’ll be amazed. Anyway, you can read the article right here.
  • I did an interview on TechTalk Radio about the upcoming Photoshop World, which aired on Sunday, but you can still listen to the interview right here.
  • Here’s a workshop I’d love to take: it’s an on-location full-day architectural/interior photography workshop (held just outside Los Angeles in Santa Clarita, California), on how to light home or business interiors using off camera flash (like a Nikon SB-800 or a Canon 580 EX). The instructors are interior photographers Scott Hargis and Thomas Grubba and the full-day workshop is coming up on Saturday, August 2nd (the tuition is only $275). For full details, click here.
  • Reminder: there’s only eight days left to take advantage of the Photoshop World $100-off Early Bird registration. Here’s the link for info, and to sign up.
  • Lastly, Alan Hess pointed out this site called “Keep Your Copyrights” which was created by the Columbia University Law School. Here’s that link (Thanks Alan!).

Hope you all have a really fantastic Thursday! Here’s a way to guarantee it: If you want to do something that will really make you feel great, make a donation to Springs of Hope Kenya. They are building a small clinic and orphanage in Kenya. Here’s the link to where you can make a donation or sponsor a child. (I know the local family behind this project personally, and your donations go directly to help people who need it very badly). It’ll make you feel like you did something really important today (and believe me, you will have). :)


Great news! John Loiacono, Adobe’s Senior Vice President of Creative Solutions, will be the featured keynote presenter at the opening keynote at Photoshop World Las Vegas (the morning of September 4th). Johnny L. (as he’s known to friends, and previous Photoshop World keynote crowds) is definitely not “a suit” (if you’ve ever seen one of his presentations, you know he’s totally “one of us”), and he’s a very engaging, and downright fun presenter to watch.

But all that aside, one of the of the things I like best about having Johnny L. as our featured presenter is that he uses Photoshop World as a platform to either launch a new Adobe product (like he did when he launched the Lightroom 2 Public Beta at Photoshop World in Orlando), or he uses it to give the crowd on hand a sneak peak at some unreleased Adobe “future technology,” which is always amazing.

If you’re going to the keynote, make sure you get there early to get a good seat (by the way; our keynote theme this year is somewhat of a Star Trek parody. That’s all I’m gonna say). See you at the keynote!


Digital Photographers and the iPhone/iPod touch

More and more photographers I know are now carrying around their portfolios in their pockets. The iPhone and iPod touch makes for a perfect portable pocket sized slideshow device. At a minimum you have 8GB’s of space, which is quite a bit for small JPEGs. Also, if you were only showing your best work, you would only need to show your best 20-24 shots anyway. So storage space is not really a concern. Also these devices have really nice large 4″ displays. The color is fantastic and the brightness is great.

I not only use my iPhone to show off my portfolio, but I also don”t hesitate to whip it out (the iPhone of course) when people ask me “how’s the family doing?” I have the latest shots of my two girls on it all times. I also have older photos too so that they can see how much they’ve grown. Although the iPhone integrates quite nicely with Apple’s software products such as iPhoto and Aperture, I’m a Photoshop Lightroom user. I also shoot in RAW almost exclusively. So I need a method to get those RAW files into manageable JPEG files and to get them over to the iPhone.

Luckily, whether you’re on a Mac or a Windows PC, you can use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to automate the entire process. It’s all in the Export presets. I have several Export presets setup in Lightroom for all the various ways I share photos. I also have one setup specifically to go to iPhoto. Now I realize iPhoto is a Mac only app. Don’t worry PC users, I’ve got you covered too. Hang in there with me. Since the iPhone can sync which ever photos and albums you specify in iTunes from iPhoto, it makes sense to take advantage of this app since it comes with every new Mac.

Let me be clear! I don’t use iPhoto to manage my photos. I use Lightroom. However, I do take my best/favorite shots from LR into iPhoto as JPEGs. Once those shots are in iPhoto I can then sync them to my iPhone, iPod or Apple TV.

Here’s how to set it up:


1) Open LR and select one or more photos

2) Either click the Export button or choose Export from the File menu to bring up the Export dialog box.


3) Next you’ll need to set up your settings. First you’ll need to choose a folder to export your images to. I’ve created one in my Pictures called “For iPhoto”. You can also setup if your File naming if you want it to be custom. Otherwise it will use your existing file names.

4) The next section is for File Settings. Here is where you set the format to JPEG. Color space to Adobe RGB and quality of 60 or higher. I like 80 personally.

5) In the next section we have Image Sizing. This is where you set the maximum size of the images that are going to be exported. If your images are going to only be shown on an iPhone or iPod touch, then you can set the dimensions to 480 x 480. If your images are going to be shown on an Apple TV or an iPhone/iPod connected to a TV, then make the width 1920 and the height 1024. This is 1080 HD resolution. There’s no need to go any higher than that as the TV won’t show them any bigger than that. I set mine to 1920×1080, which is the most I’ll ever need, and the iPhone and iPod touch will size them appropriately as they sync. As far as the resolution goes, 72 PPI works fine.


6) There’s not much of a need to do anything in Metadata here as these images are just for show and not being seen on a computer. So you can skip down to the Post-Processing section. If you’re a PC user. You’re done. That’s right, your export will go to the folder we setup in step 3 and you can use iTunes to point to that folder to sync your images to your iPhone, iPod or Apple TV. Simply click the Add button to add this as a custom preset and give it a name. Have a nice day. However, if you’re on a Mac, you can take it to the next level by having LR send the photos directly to iPhoto after they’ve been exported. There is an “After Export” popup menu in the Post Processing area. Click it and choose “Go to Export Actions Folder Now”. This will take you back to the Finder and show you your Export Actions Folder.


7) Find the iPhoto application icon in your Applications folder. You’re going to make an alias of iPhoto into your Export Actions Folder. The easiest fastest way to do this is to hold down the Command and Option keys and drag the iPhoto icon into your Export Actions Folder. You should see an alias of iPhoto (an icon with a little curved arrow on it) in your Export Actions Folder. Also your iPhoto application should still be in your Applications folder. You can now close these folders and go back to LR.


8) Now from the After Export popup, you should be able to choose iPhoto. Once you do, click the Add button on the left to add this custom export preset to your menu. You can click Cancel and give it a spin. Choose Export from the File menu and choose your new “For iPhoto” preset. This will export the JPEGs to a folder that are the right size and resolution and then if you’re on a Mac, it will import them automatically into iPhoto. From there you can arrange them into albums.

Hey, if you want to see me do this whole thing from start to finish, check out this video:

…one of my very favorite people in the whole world. He’s the co-author of two of my books, he’s the host of “The Creative Suite Podcast“, his official title at Adobe is Director, Creative Pro Technical Sales, North America, he’s a photographer, designer, Photoshop World Instructor, he’s produces the popular “Terry’s Tech Blog,” and he’s one of the greatest, most genuine, most gracious, and most humble guys you’ll ever meet…Terry White.

Make sure you check back tomorrow to catch Terry’s post, which I am told may include a video as well (ya know those tech guys—never satisfied with just words and pictures alone). ;-)


You know how as photographers we go through phases with our gear? For example, I go through phases where if I go to a shoot and I don’t have at least three big lenses, two camera bags, three cases of lights and a tripod that weighs more than my kids, I feel like I’m out there naked.

Well, right now for me, the pendulum has swung completely the other way. Now I’m in my “shoot light” phase, where I’m shooting with just one lens if I can get away with it, a very lightweight (but sturdy), tripod and if I have to bring lights, I want to bring one; preferably a off camera flash, like a Nikon SB-800. OK, maybe two SB-800s, but if I have to bring lightstands, they have to weight less than my daughter’s stuffed animals.

That’s why when I went to David Hobby’s (of the Strobist fame) excellent Off Camera Flash seminar last year (here’s the link to that story), he was speaking to my “less is more” mindset. I went and bought his exact on-location set-up (putting an SB-800 on a super compact, lightweight light stand with a hot shoe adapter clip and firing the flash thru a shoot-through umbrella), and I find myself using it more and more (see this link for more on me using it in the field). That’s a photo the basic rig below.


In fact, I use his rig so often now I bought a few (they’re very inexpensive, which is part of the beauty of it), and I wanted to keep one in my trunk, so I would always have a location lighting kit with me at all times. Anyway, after searching every “real” lighting case, I have found the perfect solution (which isn’t a lighting case at all).

It’s a Hakuba PSTC 100 Tripod Case and I swear this baby rocks!!!! (photo at the top of this post, and below by RC Concepcion). There are five things that make it so perfect if you use a David Hobby kit:

  1. It’s only 27″ long, 7.5″ high, and 6.5″ wide. It’s just slightly bigger than the lightstand itself, and that was the main challenge; finding a bag that is big enough to hold everything, but not too long, and it has a shoulder strap.
  2. It’s incredibly light; weighing only 1.92 lbs. (0.870 kg).
  3. The bag comes with a perfectly sized side-pouch that holds (you guessed it), an SB-800 (or a Canon 580 EX flash). The whole case is padded.
  4. The bag holds not just one, but TWO full kits easily (2 lightstands, 2 umbrellas, 2 clips, and yes—-two SB-800s, or one SB-800s and a Nikon battery extension pack).
  5. The price is right; it sells for only $34.95 at B&H (here’s the link).


The case is surprisingly rugged, it’s super-lightweight, and I used it on Friday for a formal bridal shoot, and I was reminded at what a great bag it really is. Anyway, for those of you whose pendulum over to the “less is more” side, like I have, I think you’ll totally dig this bag. As for the David Kit itself, he arranged his kit through Midwest Photo, and here’s the link to their site with the details on all his kits (they now carry 14 different Strobist kits, and I couldn’t figure out which one was the kit I bought back in April. This is an example of the “More is Less” thing in action).

Below is exactly what I bought at the time (and still use today), which is 1-1/2 kits (I didn’t need the 2nd umbrella):


Hope that helps.