5 Ways Your Lightroom Editing Is Ruining Your Images

Posted by on Apr 15, 2016 in canon, Featured, lightroom, Photography Tips, photoshop, portrait, Portraiture

5 Ways Your Lightroom Editing Is Ruining Your Images

Lightroom is a fantastic program for editing your photos. However, it is so easy to ruin your images through over-editing, and I see it done time and time again. You’d think that these mistakes are solely the domain of the amateur, but I often see these sins committed at the hands of photographers who are not. Putting our stamp on an image is fine, but here are 5 mistakes you need to avoid. The Hammer That Is The Contrast Slider Shooting in raw, as you should be doing, can leave a fairly flat image upon import into Lightroom. The temptation, therefore, is to grab that contrast slider and, with great enthusiasm, begin to drag it over to the right. In itself, there is nothing wrong with the contrast slider, however, when compared to Curves, the control it provides is more comparable to a sledgehammer. Drag it too far over to the right and you’ll be crushing your blacks, blowing out highlights, producing unflattering skin tones and increasing saturation. Some of those effects may be something you want but, in my opinion, doing them all with one slider is a recipe for disaster. [REWIND: LIGHTROOM VS PHOTOSHOP FOR REMOVING BLEMISHES] In the image below I ramped up the contrast slider and, hopefully you’ll agree, it ruined the photo. I prefer to use Curves and the sliders within Tone to bring the contrast of my image to a level I desire. It always depends on what I shoot / am editing, but with portraits, I begin using the SLR Lounge Preset System, then tweak the Tone and Curves Sliders if necessary. Photo by Max Bridge Portrait Photographer . Canon 5D Mk II, Sigma 85mm f1.4, 1/500, f3.5, ISO 200 Personal style always plays a large role when editing. I won’t sit here and say, “you’re wrong to do X,” if you like the result, who am I to say otherwise? All I can say is that I like my editing to compliment my subject and, usually, excessive use of the contrast slider is not a good idea. Use with caution. Clarity, The Brother Of Contrast Using Lightroom to edit your photos, especially as an amateur, is quite a liberating experience. The user interface is so easy to get your head around, and what may seem like magic, is be achieved by the drag of a slider. Clarity, is one of those magic sliders that people, normally the less experienced, fall into over-using. You use it on one or two images and think “that looks great!”. From then on it rears its head in every photo you produce. Clarity increases the midtone contrast, meaning, excessive use won’t generally blow out your highlights or clip your blacks. But what actually resides in the midtones? That will be different for every image and subject, and in the case of portraiture you’re quite likely to...

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Update to the Lightroom Preset System Now Available

Posted by on Apr 14, 2016 in Featured, lightroom, Photography Tips, portrait

Update to the Lightroom Preset System Now Available

The newest SLR Lounge Lightroom Preset system is here and this update is one of the best yet! We’ve rebuilt the Foundation Presets and Portrait Mixologies to give you even better colors, tonalities, and more. This new system also includes more refinement of the film presets for a more accurate emulation of some of the most classic film stocks like Kodak Portra 800, Fuji 400H, and Ilford HP5 in just 1-click. Launch Discount & Purchase/Update Info For the first week, get 20% off your Lightroom Presets CC purchase! Discount Amount: 20% Off Discount Code: Share to Access Discount Code Expiration: April 20th, 2016 Previous Purchasers: A special offer has been sent to your inbox. If you have not received it, please forward your receipt to help@slrlounge.com Premium Members: Your Lightroom Preset CC Update will be sent to you shortly! PURCHASE THE LIGHTROOM PRESETS CC Buy your copy of the new SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets at the SLR Lounge Store. What’s new in the Lightroom CC Presets Update? Rebuilt Portrait Mixologies All 00-10 Portrait Mixologies from the 2015 Preset System have been rebuilt from the ground up. The goal was to provide better color and skin tonality while retaining overall contrast. For example, Split Toning has been added to provide warmth and consistent colors throughout highlights/shadows. See example before/afters below: All compared images have the exact same Exposure, White Balance, and Local Adjustments. All differences are 1-Click Lightroom Preset System Mixology Presets. RAW | Before UPDATED CC | 11a. Soft Color LEGACY 2015 | 11b. Soft Color COMPARISON RAW | Before UPDATED CC | 11f. Glam Color LEGACY 2015 | 11f. Glam Color COMPARISON Refined Foundation Presets For those that wish to build their own Mixologies, the 01-10 Foundation Presets have all been updated for refined Base Tones. These Foundation Presets are devoid of stylistic effects like Split Toning and Curves so that users can build their own presets as desired. Three New Film Mixologies In addition to revamping all film presets for more accurate tonality, we have also added 3 new Portrait Mixology presets: 13b. Fuji 400h + Soft Matte – Soft matte finish with preserved highlights and Fuji 400h color toning13g. Kodak Portra 800 + Soft Matte – Soft matte finish with preserved highlights and Kodak Portra 800 color toning14a. Ilford HP5 Standard – More standard, less stylized version of Ilford HP5 B&W RAW | Before UPDATED CC | 13g. Kodak Portra 800 + Soft Matte RAW | Before UPDATED CC | 14a. Ilford HP5 + Standard Refined Base Tones We were running into issues with a lot of cameras experiencing too much highlights/shadows with the existing base tones. All base tones have been revamped to provide better and more universal tonality. SFX Color Schemes Removed and Rebuilt Many of the existing Color Schemes were too strong and were creating undesirable color scheme effects. All existing Color Schemes...

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Creative Studio Lighting: High Key Wrap Around With Grid

Posted by on Apr 14, 2016 in boudoir, canon, Featured, lightroom, Photography Tips, portrait

Creative Studio Lighting: High Key Wrap Around With Grid

I’m in love with light. I’m infatuated with a beautiful highlight and drawn to a mysterious shadow. I love the freedom and control of creating light that expresses my vision, mood or story whether in the studio or on location. After I first mastered traditional lighting setups, I sought to learn about more advanced, challenging or creative approaches to lighting. Upon researching, it seemed that there really were very few advanced or extremely creative tutorials, but instead only some behind the scenes. For this reason, I created my newly released, 135-page ebook, “Creative Studio Lighting Guide” with 30 creative studio lighting setups. This is your guide to creativity in the studio whether you are trying out a new modifier or using usual tools in an unusual way. I’d like to take a moment to walk you step-by-step through one of these setups from the free segment of my guide to show how basic studio lighting modifiers can be utilized for creative results. Lighting Gear Used 2 Profoto D1 Air 500 Watt Light 1 – Profoto 5 degree Grid Light 2 – Profoto 3x4ft Softbox Other Gear Used Cinefoil (optional) Avenger D600 boom arm Setup Light 1: Distance from subject: 9 inches Distance off center: 0 inches Height above eye level: 5 inches Power (F stops): F/11 Light 2: Distance from subject: 0 inches Distance off center: 0 inches Height above eye level: 0 inches Power (F stops): F/22 Camera Gear & Settings Camera: Canon 5D Mark III Lens: Canon 70-200mm 2.8 II at 130mm ISO: 100 Shutter Speed: 1/200 Aperture: 11 The goal of this setup is to create lighting that has both high key elements (glowing background) and dramatic shadows. This setup is perfect for a variety of subject matter whether portraits, beauty or even boudoir. The highlights allow you to define your subject’s form while the shadows establish the dramatic mood. Let’s take a look step-by-step at considerations for building this dramatic two-light setup. Step 1 First, place a strobe with softbox directly behind and against the subject to create a pure white background with highlights that wrap around the body and jawline. The closer you have the softbox to the subject, the more the light will wrap. Here a 3x4ft softbox has been utilized. You may alternatively light a white seamless paper to create a white background effect if this is what you prefer, or if shooting full length. For the beauty images I am creating, I want my subject as close to that softbox as possible and really love the wrapping highlights. Keep in mind that there are a few challenges when shooting into a light source. First, if you are using a large softbox, be sure to add the inner piece of diffusion to the softbox if it comes with your modifier. By adding this diffusion, you allow the light to spread out even...

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Step by Step How to Use HDR Merge in Lightroom

Posted by on Apr 13, 2016 in Featured, landscape, lightroom, Photography Tips

Step by Step How to Use HDR Merge in Lightroom

There are lots of plug-ins that you can use with Lightroom to create High Dynamic Range (HDR) images. Photomatix and HDR Efex Pro are two of the best known, and MacPhun’s Aurora HDR (Mac only) is a new application that has received good reviews. But, if you have Lightroom 6 or CC, you can create HDR images right within Lightroom itself, without having to buy a plug-in. There are several advantages to using Lightroom for your HDR conversions: You save money. Most HDR plug-ins are not free, and are an additional cost for you. Lightroom’s HDR merge creates natural looking HDR images. Not everybody will see this as an advantage – but if you want to create garish, over-saturated images the aforementioned plug-ins will help. You don’t need a lot of bracketed images. Two seem to be enough (you can use more if you want, or if you have a really contrasty scene), one exposed at -2 stops, the other at +2 stops. The final HDR image is saved as a DNG file. Not only is this smaller than a TIFF file, but you can process it in Lightroom the same as you do with any other DNG or Raw file. The main difference is that the Exposure slider runs from -10 to + 10 stops, rather than the normal -4 to +4. There is also much more information in the file for Lightroom to work with, when you make adjustments with the Shadows and Highlights sliders (and local adjustment tools like the Graduated and Radial filters). You can take bracketed sequences hand-held, and Lightroom will align them automatically. Having said that, I’ve found the best results come from bracketed photos taken with a tripod mounted camera. There is less noise in shadow areas than you would expect from a regular, single photo. Lightroom HDR merge in action Let’s look at a couple of practical examples to see how it performs. Start in Grid View in the Library module, and select the images you want to merge. Alternatively, you can select the images in the Filmstrip in the Develop module. Then, go to Photo > Photo Merge > HDR. Or, right-click on one of the selected photos and select Photo Merge >HDR. The HDR Merge Preview window opens, and Lightroom creates a preview of the HDR image. This may take some time, especially if you have selected several images. The Auto Align and Auto Tone boxes are ticked, and the Deghost Amount is set to None, by default. Lightroom remembers the last settings used, if you have changed them. Auto Align is useful if the camera moved between exposures (for example if you hand-held the camera) and Auto Tone performs a similar function to the Auto Tone settings in the Basic Panel of the Develop module. I find HDR merge works best with the Auto Align and Auto Tone...

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JPEGmini Release The ‘Save For Web Button’ Adobe Should’ve Made For Photoshop & It’s Brilliant

Posted by on Apr 13, 2016 in Featured, landscape, lightroom, Photography Tips, photoshop

JPEGmini Release The ‘Save For Web Button’ Adobe Should’ve Made For Photoshop & It’s Brilliant

May I have your attention, please? Out of all the pieces of tech and equipment I’ve been privy to seeing, testing, using and abusing over the last year, there are two that stand up and out as truly marvelous. Neither is made of frankincense or myrrh, and both are actually a bit geeky, but damn do they ever get used! In terms of gear it’s the DxO One, and in terms of software, it’s JPEGmini. But where the DxO will likely be trumped in a year or so by a younger blonder version, it’s hard to imagine JPEGmini can get much better. But it has. For those of you who don’t know, JPEGmini is, at its heart, a program that compresses your JPEG files to the utmost point before losing any perceivable quality. That’s all it does, and it does it without much fanfare. Like a worker ant, it just falls into line with your workflow and gets on with the job with a manner of efficiency outside a Japanese car factory. If it were a Japanese worker, it would surely be prone to Karōshi (death by overwork). The software comes in 3 varieties: JPEGmini, JPEGmini Pro, and JPEGmini Server. The original is a stand-alone desktop application and works as easy as drag and drop. You drag photos in, it spits them back out significantly slimmer. The Pro version, however, has an indispensable tool in the form of a Lightroom plug-in, so anytime you export your images from LR as JPEGs it runs the software for you, and it supports JPEG files up to 60MB fast and without fuss. However, since it’s in LR, if you’re working on a TIFF file or RAW file you can still export it as JPEG and it will convert and optimize. It’s brilliant. Well, now, as of today they’ve released a new addition to the Pro package, a Photoshop Extension, and it’s lovely. For those who don’t live inside Lightroom all the time, or perhaps you use Capture One, or maybe you don’t do bulk images and you work largely with PS, it’s a Godsend. Recap Of How JPEGmini Works Last year at PPE I sat down with Eli Lubitch, previous VP at Kodak and R&D at Scitex, an image scientist, and now President of BEAMR which makes JPEGmini – a bit of a brainbox really. For about half an hour, using words I didn’t know in ways I didn’t understand, Eli tried to explain precisely how JPEGmini does what it does until he no doubt noticed the lights behind my eyes went out. So, in the least patronizing way, he broke down really what JPEGmini does, and how it behaves, We will stop short only just before there are any noticeable visual artifacts to humans because that’s what the quality measure is aligned with. Other compression technologies in programs such as Lightroom...

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Nikon Full Frame Cameras At Discounts Up to $700, & More Savings From Canon & Sigma (Deal Dash)

Posted by on Apr 10, 2016 in Astrophotography, canon, Fashion, Featured, lightroom, macro, nikon, Photography Tips, portrait, Portraiture

Nikon Full Frame Cameras At Discounts Up to $700, & More Savings From Canon & Sigma (Deal Dash)

If you’re reading this you’re aware that in our field, gear matters, and you’d have to have a bank balance bigger than your bank account number for you to acquire all you likely would want when the whim takes you. However, if you keep your ear to the ground like we do, you come about the best photography deals currently on the market, and within our Deal Dashes, we share them with you: NikoN D610 The Nikon D610 is the Nikon ‘entry’ full frame camera, and is probably one of the best buys for those wanting to get into full frame since it came out. It is, in fact, my workhorse of choice, and despite the agility and speed of it’s big brother the D750, the D610 remains a staple for many pro photographers, and coming in now at $1,296, a cool $700 less than typical list, it’s an exceptional buy. You can see our full review here, and get yours here. NIKON D810 The D810 is one of the most accomplished cameras to come to market in recent memory, with wide adoption from wedding photographers, fashion photographers, portrait shooters, architectural and the rest. There’s a reason for that: With 36MP, no optical low pass filter, 51 point AF system and in a robust body, competitively priced, it’s now an industry staple for many. You can see our full review here, and right now you can score one for $500 off dropping the price from $3,296 to $2,796. It’s the largest savings we’ve seen on the D810 to-date. Get it here. D750 This is the jackknife DSLR at the moment and the one I found almost no fault in when reviewing it (full review here). With its 24MP sensor, low light capability, extended exposure comp, speed, and video capability it made you stop to wonder if you really needed a D810, and if you didn’t need the extra resolution, this was your answer. Typically $2,296, it’s currently going for $1,996 for a $300 break in price. Get it here. D5300 The Nikon D5000 sparked a bit of a small revolution because the series was so small, and so capable, and adopted much from its much larger more expensive brothers. The D5300 is a highly capable camera, and the series is one we refer to in our Photography 101 workshops because they are so good, and for so little. With 39 AF points, 24MP CMOS sensor, built in wi-fi and GPS, no optical low pass filter, and 1080p video at 60fps, it’s impressive. Typically listed at $1,096, it can be had right now for only $796, shaving $300 off the list. Get it here. Canon CANON 5D MK III The venerable 5D’s third iteration comes from a lineage whose reputation precedes it, and is loved the world over. It can be found along the sidelines at major sporting events, weddings,...

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