Powerful toolbar in Lightroom for sorting all of your photographs.

Can you guess what that would be? When Lightroom was designed in the initial stages, it was not meant for image developing, though it does the developing part now far better than necessary for a photographer. It is meant for the Image management, which is the library part kept in mind while developing. Now I hope you got a close guess in finding out the most powerful toolbar in Lightroom. The toolbar in the library module, which can be made visible by pressing “T”, pressing again will make it hidden and vice versa. Let’s look into this toolbar in detail in this post.

Powerful toolbar in Lightroom-1 Grid viewImage – 1: The above view is the complete appearance of the toolbar from Library module in grid view.

The main purpose of this toolbar is to help you organize your 10’s of 1000’s of images and it does the job well. If you know the tools, you will be in a better position to make use of it. The first tool from leftmost is the grid view tool; you can also press ‘G’ to enable this grid tool(this is the default view of Library module). This tool is nothing but to see all your images in that particular folder or collection or for that matter a whole year’s folders or your complete catalog even.

Loupe view(E)

To view/inspect one image at once, pressing “E” will make the selected photograph to occupy the workspace. From here, you can rate your image, sort based on colour, flagging.  The key difference here is once you go to the Loupe view, the painter tool will go off (you don’t need it in Loupe view) and Zoom & Grid tool starts appearing in the same tool bar. Zoom tool is to view your image in 1:1 ratio or you can set the amount of zoom. Grid tool will enable you to activate grid overlay on your image, with the help of grid overlay you can inspect the horizon or verticality of the image closely.

Powerful Toolbar in Lightroom Loupe view-2

Image -2: The above is the complete appearance of the toolbar from Library module in loupe view.

Tip: Pressing enter from grid view will take the most selected image to Loupe view, pressing esc from Loupe view will take you back to grid view.

Compare tool (C)

After selecting any two images from gridview and hit “C” will enable this tool putting both the images in side by side in order to compare as the name goes. The most selected image (select Image) on your left and the next image (Candidate image) on the right side by side. Both the photographs will be displayed with their star, flag and colour ratings if any, you have applied earlier. Clicking the cross mark on the bottom of the image will deselect the photograph respectively.

Pressing the lock symbol on the toolbar will lock the zoom function, so both the photograph can be zoomed equally at once. If you have zoomed in the image independently, press the sync button to bring back the other image to tandem. Pressing the XY button will swap the Candidate and select images.  Clicking the next XY button will make the Candidate image become Select image.

Powerful Toolbar in Lightroom Survey view-3

Image-3: Screenshot of compare view

The arrow marks will navigate through the folder or collections which you have selected. The Select stays the same and the candidate image changes. Clicking done will take you to the Loupe view with select image.

Tip: Selecting more than two images before pressing “C” will enable you to compare two at a time within the selected images.

Survey Tool(N)

The next tool in the main toolbar is Survey tool. To compare more than 2 images on a single window, survey tool will help. The most selected image will have a white border; you can apply the ratings, flag status, colour ratings. This tool will help in selecting that one particular shot from the range of shots made in burst mode while shooting.

Powerful toolbar in Lightroom-Survey view-4

Image – 4: Screenshot of Survey tool

As you press the left and right arrow marks, the selection will go through only with the selected images in grid view, not with the whole selected folder/collection. The selected image will display a cross mark on the right bottom. If you click that, it will remove that particular image from the survey mode.

Note: The difference between Compare and Survey tool is, Compare tool will let you compare only two images at a time, but in survey mode you can compare many images at once.

Tip: Press tab to hide both the right and left side panels to provide more workspace.

Painter tool (Ctrl+Alt+K)

The painter tool is the one which looks like a paint can, the fifth tool displayed in the toolbar. This is one of the very helpful tools in classifying your photographs. The purpose of this tool is to apply specifically to particular images a Keyword, Label, Flag, Rating, Metadata, Settings, Rotation, Target collection (attributes).

The most Powerful toolbar in Lightroom-Painter tool-5

Image-5a: The painter tool between the survey sign and sort order (encircled in red)

The most powerful toolbar in Lightroom-Painter tool

Image-5b: Once you click the painter tool the cursor will change into a spray paint can and you have to spray the parameters (click) you have selected onto the images you wish.

Once the painter tool is activated, the cursor will turn into a spray paint can and you can apply any one of the 8 attributes at a time displayed in the screenshot below.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom - Library Painter options

Image-6: Painter tool options

If you decided to apply a keyword (e.g. – Monochrome) to few of the photographs/collection, you can do so by typing the text on the field which will appear immediately you select “keywords” from the drop-down menu next to the painter tool. After that, you only need to click on the thumbnails of the photographs which need the keyword to be applied. By the very same way, you can apply Colour label, Flag status, Star ratings, Metadata, Settings, Rotation and target collection.

Sort order

The sort order tool will help you make a visual search of a particular photo from the folder/collection based on the name, edited time, added order etc. as displayed in the screenshot below.

Lightroom-Sort order

Image-7: Sort order options

This is another interesting tool available in Library module. As you see the screenshot, you have got many options to sort the photographs to select the photograph which you wish to.

Flag tool

The easiest way, to use this tool is to use the keyboard. Navigate the photographs through arrow keys and press “X” to set reject mark and press “P” to mark the photograph as selected. Pressing “U” will remove any flag marks from the photograph.

Star Rating

The star rating tool is easy to use via numeric keyboard. Press 1 to apply one star and press 5 to apply five star rating, zero to remove any star rating from the photograph. Simple tool but very helpful in classifying your photographs.

Tip: To reduce the star rating (for example 4 to 3) press [ square bracket. If you want to increase the rating, you can press ].

Colour Labels

You can have your own set of meaning to the colour labels as it does not come with any meaning by default. To set the colour labels, press 6, 7, 8 & 9 for Red, Yellow, Green, Blue respectively and Purple cannot be applied via any numbers/shortcuts.

Rotate buttons

This tool is also a straightforward tool. To see your portrait photographs in vertical mode (as it is supposed to be) this tool will come into use. To turn the photograph Counter Clockwise (Rotate left), you need to press the first button or the shortcut to do this is Ctrl+[.  To turn the photograph Clockwise, you can press the next rotate button or use the shortcut Ctrl +].

Tip – If you have set the display mode in camera itself, Lightroom will automatically do this.

Navigate buttons

This tool will do the same function as if you pressed the left & right arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate through the present folder/collection.

Play button

Clicking this tool will enable an Impromptu Slideshow with the photographs in the folder/collection. As you might expect, the slideshow will take up the whole screen to play the slideshow. Will come in handy when you have made a collection of final processed photographs from a shoot for client’s review.

Thumbnails

Drag this tool to your right-hand side to make the thumbnails bigger and drag it to left-hand side to make the thumbnail smaller. Alternatively you can press “+” symbol key to make the thumbnails bigger and “-” symbol key to make the thumbnails smaller.

Inverted triangle

This tool will enable you to select which tools you wish to be displayed on the toolbar; you can deselect few tools if you don’t want to see them on your toolbar.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom-Library

Image-8: Customisations of the tools you want to see on the toolbar.

Tip: In Loupe view, the Opacity and the density of the grid lines can be changed by holding the Ctrl key, when the Grid is activated. You can increase/decrease the size of the grid and reduce/increase the opacity of the lines by mouse.

Library Toolbar in Lightroom

Image-9: Screenshot showing the image in Loupe view and Ctrl key Pressed & hold down to display the options. The options are marked in red colour.

This toolbar and all the tools on it are the ones which will help the photographer to sort, classify, select, order the 10’s of 1000’s of photographs into a proper understandable way, so that any point in future, he/she can get the photographs in no time from his/her Library. And that’s the reason I have said it as a most powerful toolbar in Lightroom.

Have I missed something here or do you think some other toolbar is much more powerful than the one we saw above? If so, put it in comments and let me know. Does this article helped you? do let me know in comments.

Cheers & Happy Photographing.

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Colour spaces

Colour spaces in photography – An Introduction

In a simpler definition – A very defined space where exactly this many colours can be displayed/shown, by the device. In other words it is to determine one device’s ability to display the no. of the unique colours (sometimes a part of the device). Be it a computer screen, a mobile phone’s screen, or a tablet’s screen, most of the times it is hardware but in few cases, it is software (for instance – a browser).

sRGB – a colour space jointly created by HP and Microsoft. This profile is the most widely used one for browsers and most of the screens including tablet screens and mobile phone screens. As the below diagram depicts, the largest colour profile next to visually perceivable is ProPhoto RGB, the next smaller one is Adobe RGB and the smallest one is sRGB.

Since sRGB is the most used colour space in the browsers and alike in displays, you are expected to export your images in this colour space, so that the colour you have seen while editing are better displayed by the same file in the other mediums or displays.

Note: Not all the monitors available in the market possess the ability to display all the colours in sRGB. They usually measure it in percentage, for example – 75% of sRGB, 90% of sRGB. If you are a professional you might consider buying a monitor which covers a higher percentage of sRGB, mostly 90% + or even 90% + of Adobe RGB colour space. Dell ultra sharp series monitors have a positive feedback  in general.

A monk at Bylakuppe

Adobe RGB – as the name suggests created by Adobe systems and is smaller than ProPhoto RGB but larger than sRGB. Widely printers are using this profile, but it is advisable to check with the printing service provider before sending the files, in which colour space they need. Adobe RGB includes 50% of the colours specified by Lab Colour space.

Many printers and almost all commercial places most likely need the files in this colour space.

ProPhoto RGB – made by Apple, the largest colour profile available, but no devices support this profile yet. Hence if you export your file in this profile, the display medium will convert the file’s colour space into the device’s colour space in a best possible way! and it may show drastic colour differences. ProPhoto RGB includes 90% of all perceivable colours specified by Lab colour space. Currently there are no devices which support this profile. In future, there may.

Note: When you photograph, if you are shooting in RAW mode, you don’t have to worry about which color space to be selected in your camera, because RAW files are only interpreted by the softwares, basically the RAW files contains the data – it is not even a image format. But if you are shooting in jpeg, your color space selection does play an important role. Set Adobe RGB, if the purpose is to send photographs for print. If it is only for web services and display purposes, sRGB is sufficient.

Colorspaces explained

Colour spaces visually explained.  Image source – Wikipedia.

All the colour spaces are displayed over the visible colour space to have a better understanding.

If you are using Lightroom to edit your photographs, you do not have to worry about color space as Lightroom is working on the largest colour space ProPhoto RGB. The only place where you have to decide is when you are exporting your file from Lightroom.

Note: When exporting you can apply any of the above colour spaces to your photograph, the thing matters is the purpose of the photograph.

 

Hope I have made the basic understandings of the colour spaces currently being used. If you have got to say something about colours, comment it. Will be looking forward to it.

 

Cheers & Happy Photographing.

 

photo blog blog
photo blog blog

Digital Exposure – Redefined

If you are a person like me who expose based on in-camera exposure meter reading and in-camera histogram than this article is for you. Time to rethink the way we were interpreting in-camera tools. Thanks to Bob DiNatale for his insightful article in The Luminous Landscape. The Exposure To The Right(ETTR) concept was first brought to us by Michael Reichmann in 2003. Even earlier, the correct exposure was meant to be a bell curve on the Histogram.!

The reason to expose towards right is, the in-camera light meter designed to expose for the mid tones, whereas maximum datas are lying on the rightmost area of the histogram. Have a look at the below diagrams for a better understanding. In general, we might think that camera records the light as it looks in the top portion of the image a. But in reality, the camera records as depicted in the bottom portion of the image a.

ETTRImage – a. The top portion of the image is equally divided stop levels as one may think and bottom portion is how the actual data lies on the histogram.(the image depicts the tonal distribution for a 12 bit RAW image)

Tonal distribution

Image – b. The gray colour highlighted cells are total tonal levels, the respective file can hold. Look at the percentage columns to see the amount of data been hold by the respective stops (the 1st stop is starts from the right most side on the histogram). With relevant to the post, this table is supposed to be the final output from the computer not from the camera. Everything else in the table means the last stops, possibly the 6th & 7th stops together.

Here is the link for the above google spreadsheet with commenting privilege, where one can check the calculations behind the tonal levels and if you wish to share some, do comment there. In few model of Nikon cameras, the user can select whether they want their data to be recorded in 12 bits or 14 bits. Many prosumer and even some professional cameras claim that they record data in 14 bits but they actually deliver 12 bit files only. I wonder if any full frame camera is recording data in 16 bits, but needless to say many medium format cameras do deliver 16 bit images.

Coming back to the objective of the article, Bob meant to say the metering should be done for the brightest area in the scene plus one stop, since the camera meter’s perfect exposure is one stop underexposed than the raw processing softwares.

“An important thing to understand about highlight warnings is that they occur in two places: 1) on the back of your camera – the “Blinkies” and 2) in your software – highlight “Clipping”.

These 2 warnings ARE NOT the same. Although the camera’s High-Alert “blinkies” provide some information, you can only use them as an indication of optimum exposure. The “Blinkies” on the back of your camera occur about 1 stop before the highlight warning in your software – highlight “Clipping”!”

“If the brightest part of your scene has a 90% brightness in your software… Your scene is underexposed by two stops!  Yes, 90% software brightness equals 2-stops under the “Optimum” exposure. If your brightest software value is around 97%, then you have still underexposed your scene by one stop and therefore lost 50% of the available scene data!”

My latest understandings about the digital exposure are below

  1. If you underexpose knowingly or unknowingly even by one stop, you simply lose a staggering amount of 50% of the scene data. You may able to work on it later but you will be bringing in noise and loss of detail as if you have increased ISO while shooting. If you underexpose one stop according to the camera meter than you lose more than 2 stops which is 75% of the scene data.!
  2. Your camera’s light meter is one stop less than your raw processing software. Which means what is perfect exposure for the camera is -1 EV for the raw process software.
  3. If some portion of your photograph is not blinked on the camera’s LCD, you have already lost one stop at least, that is 50% of the data.!
  4. The optimum exposure is not the one which camera delivers, it is your final output from the computer.
  5. As earlier you can use any metering while shooting, but you have to understand how the respective metering gives the output and apply necessary compensations while shooting to get the most data out of the scene.
  6. The blinkie portions shown by the camera has details needs to be recovered by the raw converting softwares.

If you feel there are too much of maths involved here, yes there are, but I thought of learning it. I did had problem with maths when I was studying. It was a nightmare for me when it comes to Maths, I scored as college first in the subject called technical drawing but when it comes to Maths, I was the person who got marks in single digit out of 100!(Laughs…) But here in histogram and exposure, I could easily learn the maths behind it. So you too can learn it easily.

After reading all the refereed articles and if you find something unnatural or doubtful do let me know in comments. Will be happy to dig in further. 🙂

Cheers and Happy Photographing.

B & W in Lightroom.

Many of my friends did not believe the below Black & white photograph is worked and out from Lightroom. So thought of sharing the entire workflow pertains to this photograph and how I made this final photograph. My friends thought I had used Silver Efex, as I use to do it for some of my Black & White photographs. But in this case, I have entirely worked and exported the file from Lightroom alone.

Black & White in Lr

This is the final processed version of the photograph.

Let’s look at the “As shot” version of this very photograph.

SOOC

The Original RAW file, as it appears, less contrast and colours are not so favourable. If we convert it into Black & White, we can straight away add value to the image as the colours are not adding any value to the image.

I remember reading as Scott kelby said “Black & white Photograph is desaturating all the colours and boosting the contrast” and exactly that is what I have did here. How simple is the explanation which speaks at the best level of communication as far as B&W photograph is concerned.

B & W As shot

Histogram – As shot Image.

The histogram of the original image is self-explaining, less contrast (bell curve), bit underexposed too as the histogram is aligned towards the left hand side.

The first step to convert an image to Black & White in Lightroom is; From the Basic panel next to treatment, click Black & white as this converts the image into Black & White. Alternatively you can press “V” from Develop module which results the same. Now let’s fix the Exposure; for this image I have boosted it to 9/10th of 1 EV, in other words 0.90 EV. I seriously do not like to confuse people by using the exposure jargons, but here excuse me. Next boost the contrast to 100%. To boost the contrast, I have brought back the Highlights and shadows towards the negative side. I have also brought down the clarity to give the mood.

B & W Basic panel

The screenshot of the Lightroom Basic panel.

I have not made any manual corrections in the tone curve panel, except pushing the highlights and shadows towards its maximum range and selected strong contrast.

Tone curve panel

Screenshot of Tone curve panel.

Next in the B&W adjustment panel, to further boost the contrast, I have brought down the Green and red colour towards negative side by having a look at the Histogram. Just press “J” to enable the highlight and shadow clipping notification, so that the clipped portions (if) will be coloured in Blue and Red respectively. Kindly note that I did not clicked the Auto from the Black & White panel, it is fully manual process.

B & W

Screenshot of Black & White adjustment panel.

The next in Detail panel, I have made some little sharpening just to bring out the edges of the trees and noise correction been applied heavily to bring the mood as we did it in clarity slider. Detail slider purposely brought to the lowest as this photograph does not call for any details.

Balck & White in Lightroom.

Screenshot of Detail panel.

In the Lens correction panel, usual Lens profile corrections and chromatic aberration corrections are applied. Let’s look at the “After” Histogram.

Black & White in Lightroom

Screenshot of the Histogram “after” the conversion process.

As the Histogram shows, the tones are spread all over the range and a bit underexposed, the contrast is less too. It’s been kept particularly because “Expose to the Right” is not necessary for this photograph, as this nature of the photograph calls for a bit of underexpose and less contrast.

Trust this article helps you to make more beautiful Black & White photographs.

Angel

The power of Smart Previews in Lightroom.

When you create a smart preview in Lightroom while importing or after importing from menu, what exactly have been done by Lr?

Lightroom creates a lossy, small dng copy from the primary DNG or from the original RAW file. The size of the file could be in the range of 1-3 Megabytes and the longer side of the smart preview file is 2540 px. Imagine you have raw file ranging from 25 megabytes to 35 megabytes and it is duplicated smartly to a much smaller size. The smart preview file been saved inside the Lightroom catalog itself, along with the instructions you might apply while developing. As the name denotes, this is one of the smartest ways of working with Lr. Keep your primary/original raw files in external HDD and create smart previews while importing it into Lr.

What are the advantages in working with smart previews?

  • Your Lr suddenly starts working in blazing fast, since it needs to deal with a small file.
  • For developing and exporting, you don’t have to connect your external HDD/NAS drive for small-sized exports. All the exports can be  done from the dng file itself as long as the longer edge is kept not more than 2540 px. Or in other words, to print till 5” * 7” size.
  • A lot of HDD space savings in your computer, especially when you are working in a laptop with SSD.
  • You are always having a copy of all your photographs with you in the form of smart previews. When you meet a potential client, you are always ready for an instant slide show of your work (provided you have done some base work with the intention so, like keywords). Assuming you are using a laptop, if it is a Desktop/Mac the question does not arise at all.

Other things to note with regards to smart previews

For full-sized export or larger than 2540px, you need to connect your external drive / NAS.

  • All the metadata and develop settings are updated with your original file as soon as you connect your external drive.
  • The file details are displayed below Histogram, whether you are working with the Smart preview or with Original file or with both.
  • Smart preview-Lr
  • Purely Photography
  • If you do not need smart previews which you have created earlier, you can discard it. To do the same, just click the small rectangle symbol below Histogram. In the dialog box which pops out, click discard smart previews.
  • When you are working in Library module – Whether the file is an original or smart preview can be seen in the film strip or from the grid view, looking at the right top of the grid cell. A small filled rectangle with dotted line on its periphery will be displayed if it is a smart preview.
  • PurelyPhotography
  • If you wish to edit your images further in other apps like Photoshop, Silver Efex, or any other external apps, you need to connect your HDD as it is required to create a separate psd, tiff or jpeg file to work with.

 

My latest way of working in Lightroom:

  • Copy the RAW files from the camera’s memory card to Desktop. (Format the memory card in camera before the next shoot)
  • View the RAW files via Faststone viewer (free version) and delete the unwanted ones. Further discarding will be from Library module by simple flagging and unflagging method.
  • Make a copy of the folder to the external HDD’s Lightroom folder [this folder is a primary organised one and linked with Lightroom catalog. Lightroom → 2014 → November → (Shoot name)] and cut paste the folder from desktop to the backup drive.
  • Fire up Lightroom and start the import process [Just Add the folder to the catalog with 1:1 preview and smart preview creation].

Cheers & Happy Photographing.

Flight, Greens,

Histogram is Nothing

There are many articles out in the web which explains Histogram in detail and technically as well. But this article is intended to demonstrate histogram in a simple way without going into in-depth technical details.

I have chosen a simple Black & White image to demonstrate it, because that is what the Histogram is fundamentally. Yes – “the graphical representation of luminescence level of each pixel in an any given image”.

Mountain and a waterfalls engulfed by mist.

Mountain and a waterfalls engulfed by mist.

Have a detailed look at the image, the top right portion of the image is covered by fog and it is bright. The bottom left of the image is covered by rocks and it is dark. Draw an imaginary diagonal line across the image from top left to bottom right. Now look again, it would be easy now to understand. The fog portion comes under whites and the rock portion comes under Blacks. Look at the respective Histogram below.

Histogram

Histogram of the above photograph.

If you look at the photograph – almost the dark & light pixels are equal(quantity wise). Isn’t it.? Now look at the Histogram, isn’t the same data displayed here in the histogram clearly? The light pixels are on the right side of the histogram and the dark pixels are on the left side. That’s it. In between, the connecting pixels are mid tones, which you can again see it on the image as well. Across the diagonal line, the tones on both sides of the line will fall on mid tones except the top left of the image, where it will fall under blacks.

HistogramOne more thing we have to understand is, any white area on the image will fall on the right side of the histogram, whereas blacks will always fall on the left side. For example, turn the image 180° horizontally. Now the fog will appear on your left side and rock on the right side but the histogram would remain the same.

The same photograph but flipped.

The same photograph but flipped.

Hope this article clear your initial blocks towards understanding the histogram. For a detailed understanding of Histogram and why should one push the histogram towards right, I would recommend reading this article in dPS. In another article will discuss about types of Histogram.

Cheers and Happy photographing. 🙂

Ebook review – Essential guide to B & W Photography

If you are a person who wants to make wonderful Black and White Photographs and many of your attempts proved to be futile, this book is a must for you. Of course – who does not wish to make great Black and white photographs? This book starts with a clear understanding about Black and White images.

As Scott Kelby once said – “The simplest black and white conversion is to remove saturation and boost contrast”. Yes, he said it is the simplest way. However, not all the conversion is going to be good at its first attempt. You may not aware what is happening to the colours. Possibilities are there you will end up making a dull, normal black and white photograph!

The book’s author David J. Nightingale, an experienced photographer, nailed down all the fundamentals of photography from Tonal ranges to Contrast, RAW files to ETTR, EV to Metering.

After the fundamental sections namely – The Aesthetics of Black & White photography, Equipment and shooting Black & White, David states about the conversion methods, why you should not use the default conversion method given in the software and what it does exactly to your image while converting. The software just takes the brightness level of a given pixel and converts it to a gray scale equivalent. In the next chapter, David explains about few other ways of making black and white photographs in Photoshop Channel mixing, Calculation method and Blending methods. In the end of this section, he talks about different plugins available for Black and white conversion from Silver Efex pro, Topaz and DxO lab in detail from its interface and what one offers. Also the author mentioned his personal favourite methods as well.

In the next section – Adjusting tonal range, Balance and Contrast, he explains about the single most powerful tool in Photoshop “Curves”. Adjusting the tonal range means shifting the original tonal range to what you desire via the curve tool. With the curves tool in place, you can adjust all the tonal ranges to its extreme without losing detail aka clipping. He further explains about the Basic S-curves, the baseline, altering the mid tones and how to do selective adjustments to a particular portion of the image using “Selective adjustments using Curves and Masks”.

Later, he explained about Creative vignettes aka Selective Vignettes – Vignettes been explained in detail here, starting from how it affects the viewer’s perception and the way it leads the eye and ends with how to make specific vignettes according to your photograph.

David made a separate section to cover Black and White Portraiture – Whoa; it is an interesting decision to add one dedicated section for portraiture alone. A section you would most probably love very much, since who does not want to make a striking portrait! David starts with the difference and importance between colour and B & W portraits, what kind of portraits would work with B & W and what won’t?

He clearly classifies the difference between different methods of converting one image into B & W and its drawbacks. For instance, why applying of red filter generically to all images will not work, or with Channel mixer or with Black and White conversion tool for that matter. He also clearly mentioned on how to bring out the details of the face and to brighten the eyes in the portrait. Why eyes are important in a portrait? He mentioned “Not only are the eyes the window to the soul, they can also be key to a successful portrait, but unless they are well lit they can often detract from an otherwise successful image – normally because they appear too dark in relation to the rest of the person’s features.”

The final section – “Monochromatic toning techniques” where David explains about the different methods of adding tone to your B & W images. He starts from the Black and White tool, Hue/Saturation tool, using Photo filters; using Selective colour tool, using Curves tool, and using Gradient Map tool. All of them explained in detail so that you can precisely tone your image as you might have envisaged to either your Whites alone or Blacks alone or to the mid tones alone or to the whole of your image. The important question is why you want to apply a tone to your beautiful striking B & W photograph. It is only to further enhance your image, as the sepia can bring a nostalgic feel about that image, a light blue tone will bring out a warm and industrial feel and so on.

The conclusion part is so striking and interesting that David made all the facts clear, I agree with all of his words. Hope you too will find this e-book helpful, in not only making striking Black and White Photographs, a better photographer as too.

This e-book is filled up all the way with necessary screenshots, interesting tips and tricks in a toned box, which will save you many time and energy. And more importantly this e-book comes with a separate recipe book which explains 10 different type of photographs and how exactly David converted it into a powerful Black and white photograph with all necessary illustrations and screenshots. He added both the original image and the final image after all the processing steps executed.

A word of caution – If you are using Photoshop as your primary editing software, you would love this book, but if you have recently switched to Lightroom as your primary editing software, this book helps you a little. Just thought of reminding you, but nevertheless there are some fundamentals about the filters, plugins, curves which I found very worthy. I hope that you might also feel the same, who knows. Grab one here and don’t forget to comment below how did you feel after reading the book.

Cheers and Happy Photographing.

Steve – A living legend.

People who know about Steve McCurry, please do not read further as you might have read this earlier. What you are going to read further is an attempt of myself to understand few of his works, as I highly admire his work. Though there are/were many legends in this world, I admire him because of the following reasons. The first being that he has visited India 82 times so far in his life which eventually made him know about India better than any average Indian.  The second being the no. of photographs he included human elements in his photographs, the percentage is more or almost all of them. After all we are humans, we better perceive things if it is related to any human form.

Most of his photographs are highly evocative, in general his processing is a bit of boosting saturation, tonal curve adjustment to give the slight faded look and careful usage of vignette and most importantly his photographs are around half stop underexposed which are his trademarks. Another important thing is he doesn’t convert his photographs in to Monochromes often, very few images have had this transition. Many of his popular photographs have been discussed in many places and umpteen times, I have selected few of his less discussed photographs, at least relatively. His other interesting work is here in his blog.

Look at the harmony and the perfect balance in this photograph, two humans & two ships, two poles near by the persons & two poles where the net tied, everything is two except the umbrella and the net. Importantly the horizon is not at the dead center and his view point is bit off center, may be in order to not interfering the ships by the poles.. Could have been a late evening and drizzling too, careful selection of high f no, he must have boosted ISO for obvious reasons and the grains too are obvious to support in this photograph. Even if these two persons were motionless this photograph could have been a very good one, but he let some action happening between the persons, so that the viewer expands his thoughts. And most importantly Steve chose not to convert it in to a Monochrome which we often choose to do and give a lot of explanation to that. If you look at it in a layer based visualisation, firstly two persons – the distance between them is little. Second the poles, in relation with the persons it is wider. Next in relation with the poles the ships are slightly wider. Who knows? Steve might have different idea altogether and that is what is all about photography or for that matter any form of art. Isn’t it.?
The Tailor
You might have seen this photograph earlier, but let me tell you why this photograph is important. After this photograph published in National Geographic magazine, the sewing machine company found this old man in India all the way from USA and gave him a new sewing machine.! Have a look at this man, he is under crisis, his home must have been devastated by the floods. But he holds a smile with his toothless mouth (may be Steve cracked a joke!). No wonder Steve categorised this photograph under Universal language.
The boy and the foot ball
Sheer power of simple composition – If the kid stands upright, this photograph would be a normal one. The staircase balustrade line, the staircase slab line and the human body inclined with somewhat parallel to the above two lines makes this photograph an interesting one. The ball above his head is adding value and makes sense to his inclination.
Soldiers
Correlation – The soldiers on the wall painting, people inside the bus. Soldiers have gun in their hand, all those people’s hands are either supporting or holding, in other words all the hands are visible to the viewer. And the two ladies on the wall and the two persons outside the bus. The red colour patch on the wall and the red colour band on the bus.
Few of his other works, which I find difficult to write an insight kind of.
Prayer
Hunger

 

All of the above photographs has been taken from his website. If you have an opinion/insight about his above works do share in the comments section. I have made an earlier attempt here. An interesting article here about how digital photographers have fetishized sharpness and detail.
Cheers.

© Copyright

Plagiarism has been common throughout the world since time immemorial, and more so in today’s digital era and even more so in the field of photography. There have been instances of image theft and usage of images without credit to the photographer. The magnanimity of this issue is the reason for my writing about this in detail. Though I’m no expert in the field of copyright etc, have spent some quality time researching about this before writing this.

Best coffee

Watermarking is the first step towards owning a piece of art you have created. In visual terms, how effectively you place the watermark is what matters most of the times. Having said that putting a standard watermark is not advisable, since one colour, size & position may not fit all of your images. Customizing the watermarks to match a particular image is the solution to this and this can be done using Lightroom quite easily. I’ll talk about the “how’s” in a later topic.

Watermarking & copyrighting ensures certain minimum safeguards of the rights of authors over their creations, thereby protecting and rewarding creativity. A detailed article from dPs on how to handle image theft can be read here.

The definition of Copyright is a right given by the law to creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and producers of films and sound recordings. In fact, it is a bundle of rights including, inter alia, rights of reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation and translation of the work. There could be slight variations in the composition of the rights depending on the work.

Shringeri, Divinity

a. The primary thing in watermarking your image with copyright symbol is that you do not have to register for putting the copyright symbol.  If the work is created by you, you have the full rights (automatically) to put your watermark with the Copyright symbol on your work. The work here refers to any form of art viz., a piece of music you have created, a small video you have took, a painting that you made or a photograph.

b. Copyright protects the rights of the author i.e., creator.

c. Copyright can be assigned to anyone by the author.

d. Registering your copyrights has some advantage. Check with your country’s copyright law to get some clarity. In general, however, certificate of registration of copyright and the entries made therein serve as prima facie evidence in a court of law with reference to dispute relating to ownership of copyright.

e. If you want to register your work, each and every work needs to be registered separately.

f. Copyright generally has time limits.

g. There is no such thing as “International copyright” that can protect the author’s work throughout the world. However most countries do offer protection to foreign works under certain conditions, and these conditions have been greatly simplified by international copyright treaties and conventions.

The above points are generalized, check with your country’s copyright law for specific details. The bottom-line is to watermark all your images. A good story for you to read here.

If you have a story to share about copyright issues or you have a good idea about copyrights do share in the comments section.

Cheers and happy photographing.

Loving Landscapes – A review

Are you new to photography? Do you roam around everywhere with your camera equipment to get that one amazing looking landscape photo? Are you disappointed about the fact that your photos aren’t that compelling enough? Well, to begin with, watch this TED talk video by Angela Lee Duckworth. She clearly states the fact that the key to success is not in the IQ or good looks or talents. It is the grit, the perseverance, the passion for long term goals and the willingness to start over again upon a probable failure. Before going ahead, please watch the video.

 A few weeks ago, while browsing through dPS, I bumped into this e-book which was dedicated to Landscape photography. It was quite intriguing to find a book which focussed only on one particular genre. I went on to read the book with a notion that the photographic idea in the book can be applied according to one’s perception on one’s style of photography. The contents page of the book clearly stated that the book is strictly for landscape photography but with a good understanding, one can apply the concepts to other genres of photography.

The book starts with a clear introduction and it speaks about what is covered in the book and what is not too. The entire book is divided into 12 chapters. The first chapter covers the basics of image capturing and attributes which play an important role in getting the right exposure in a given situation and in attaining an optimum sharpness for a decent landscape photograph. It also touches upon the negatives of a higher ISO, White Balance, Histograms and Focusing. The above attributes have been touched upon in a simple way, in a way not to confuse the readers with extremely technical terminologies.

 The second chapter is “Computers and backups” and this chapter deals with techniques that Sarah and Todd follow in their studios and is pretty straight forward. This topic is by far the most discussed on the internet and one of the most important in this era of digital photography. The next chapter talks about the power of RAW and why it is important to shoot in RAW format, every time! I have covered this topic in an earlier blog and you can check that out here!

 The fourth covers File management and using Lightroom to organize images. This chapter is very useful for those who would like to keep tab on their huge collection of images with ease. The uses of key wording are dealt with in detail along with the advanced search techniques in Lightroom which enables searching of images using the multiple filters. This chapter also explains about the collections and smart collections in Library module and how it works to help you finding the image you are looking for.

Todd

The sixth and seventh chapters explain about the export option in Lightroom which lets you export your image to different social media platforms like flickr or your own website. This chapters emphasize on the develop module’s functions and on how the sliders can be used to enhance your photograph by adjusting the exposure, opening up the shadows, bringing out the colours, enhancing the colours from the raw data your camera has recorded on field.

In the next chapter Sarah explains her work flow in detail. She starts with explaining the crop tool, goes on to the dust removal, applying sharpness, removing Chromatic aberration and also touches upon the basic panel adjustments. The importance of following the mentioned order during post production is explained clearly in the book. All the necessary tools in the develop module are touched upon in this chapter.

Chapter nine talks about the other tools in develop module. The noise corrections panel, HSL panel, Split toning panel, Effects panel and a few other local correction tools in develop module are explained in detail. The uses of these tools and they can be used to enhance the photograph is explained clearly.

Chapter ten touches upon some camera techniques which can be used in creating some effects, namely Photo impressionism, Camera spin and techniques on how to photograph the Milky Way in detail. The next chapter goes on to explain the use of Photoshop for landscape photography. All the important panels and necessary basic tools are explained clearly. Lightroom and photoshop has been explained in such ways that even a first timer (I mean it) can follow and get the results as in the book. The last chapter talks about the Multi exposure workflow in Photoshop, explaining the tools which are required for taking multi exposure photographs, like star trails, light paintings and HDR.

Overall, the book is neatly presented with appropriate screen shots wherever necessary. The photographs used in the books are available along with the book and lets you try what’s being explained while reading, this makes the book a practical guide. Open the e-book along with Lightroom and Photoshop to make this a worthwhile exercise. If you want to enhance your skills in landscape photography you might have to get this book immediately.

Cheers, Happy Photographing. 🙂