Tags: photoshop

Top 12 Reasons I Love Adobe Lightroom!

This is for all of you who use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.  It may be time to try Lightroom.  It’s also for those of you who have considered buying Adobe Lightroom, but are not convinced it’s worth it.  Or, for those of you who are looking for great photo editing software.

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Warning:  It’s a long post.

To be clear, I am not being paid for this in any capacity.  I know it may sound like a commercial, but I feel compelled to share as I’m super excited about Lightroom, officially called Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.  Trust me, this isn’t the case with software often.

I tossed around the idea of buying Lightroom for several months, but I kept thinking that since I have Photoshop (PS), why would I need Lightroom (LR)?  Can’t PS do anything that LR can do?  After purchasing LR, I will say that it truly makes processing images so much easier. I was shocked by how much.

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Let’s start by defining the three software programs that I’m going to mention here.  I don’t want to assume that you know what I am talking about.  Adobe is the brand or maker while the second name is the name of the actual software.

Adobe Photoshop – PS is the world’s leading pixel (as opposed to vector) editing software available.  It costs around $1000.  It can do much more than free programs Picasa, Picnik or really, than any software you can dream up.  However, to many, it’s difficult to learn and not as intuitive as the lesser versions.

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Adobe Photoshop Elements – PS Elements (PSE) is a very watered down version of PS primarily aimed at basic graphic processing required by amateur users.   However, still a little more robust than Picasa or Picnik.  It costs around $100.

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Note:  All of these programs are much cheaper with a student discount, though. Like up to 80%. Paying for school has some perks.

And, Adobe Lightroom?

Adobe Lightroom is for processing and managing image files from camera to end usage, such as printing, displaying on the web or sending in an email.  Really, there is nothing as far as processing images goes that LR can do that can’t also be accomplished in PS. However, when it comes to photographic usage, LR does it MUCH quicker and with MUCH more ease than Photoshop (PS).  In addition, LR is able to allow you to edit your images in a non destructive way.   LR costs around $300.

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Non destructive?  What does that even mean?  With most graphic software, each edit causes destruction that you see in the form of graininess and loss of quality to the original.  LR always keeps the original so you can revert back.

What can Lightroom NOT do?

Lightroom is NOT an alternative to PS (the full version or PSE).  They are not competitors.  Why?   Because LR has no ability to edit in multiple layers or apply filters.   If you are creating an image from scratch, adding text, or doing very fine editing on one image at a time, Photoshop is much better for that task.  Basically anything that is from scratch or requires layers, PS is your go-to program.   However, if you need to quickly edit or watermark photography, LR is amazing!

What CAN Lightroom do?  What makes it so great?  The top 12 reasons I love LR.

1. Email straight from LR. Highlight the photos you want to email, click Export to email and it will automatically resize, add watermarks, and prepare an email with the photos attached. Talking about saving time!

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2.  It is very good at viewing thumbnails and organizing images from your drives and discs without making multiple copies.  This means you can organize by adding keywords, ratings, colored tags and even by putting them into collections.  It’s all searchable and makes finding your favorite images fast and easy.

3.  It is a nondestructive RAW Editor.  This means that as you work on editing images it does not cause damage to the original.

4.  You can still see the history of what has been done to the image after closing it and reopening it, unlike in PS.  This means, you can easily revert back to any stage in the editing process or even back to the original.

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5.  Add watermarks with ease to batches of photos at a time.  This helps to insure that others do not try to get credit for your images.  And, it helps them to find their way back to the source.

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6.  Before Facebook, which I am no longer on (just the business is on FB), I uploaded images to Shutterfly in order to share them with family.   Well, with LR, you can create your own similar type of slideshow as on Shutterfly.  And, upload it directly to your website.  It’s very professional looking and can display your images for clients quite nicely.

It looks something like this.

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However, if you still prefer FB, you can use the Web module to upload there.

7.  Make quick changes like noise reduction and sharpening, and even touch up only certain areas through the use of a mask easily in LR.  It’s all on one panel, whereas in PS it would take a lot more time.

8.  Sync images.  Make changes to one and have those same changes take to a whole batch that you select.

9.  My favorite feature is the before and after.   This makes for easy comparisons.

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You can choose to see them next to each other (like above) or the image split in half (as seen below).   By the way, this is my sister-in-law at last Christmas in Sedona.  The bike photo is taken at Del Coronado in California.   Both corrections took ten minutes or less in LR.

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10. LR integrates with PS in that you can right click and choose to edit images in Photoshop and then return back to LR.

11.  Easily edit your Metadata (information embedded into file that you can view when you right click and go to properties) to include your contact information.  Should your photo get reposted in cyberspace, they will know how to find you.

12.  Histogram that highlights areas of photo that are over or underexposed. Below, in the photo of my dad, everything in red is overexposed, so that helps me know that I should turn the exposure down.

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And, if I were to do the opposite and underexpose it, you’d see blue.

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These are just features that I’ve discovered in the past week of owning this product.  I am sure there are many more impressive features!

Here’s what you can adjust without ever leaving Lightroom:

Below is an image of the “Develop” module.  The concept is that you are developing your images.

  • Cropping – including rotation and leveling of horizons.image
  • Local adjustments via the Adjustment Brush.
  • Add a gradient filter.
  • Red-eye removal.
  • Curves and levels via the Tone Curve panel.
  • White balance.
  • Contrast.
  • Exposure.
  • Color – adjust overall saturation and vibrance or saturation, luminance and hue of individual colors.
  • Convert to black-and-white with full control over the color mix to alter dark and light areas.
  • Split toning – apply one color to shadows and another to highlights for a duotone effect.
  • Sharpening.
  • Noise reduction.
  • Correct lens distortions.
  • Vignettes – correct lens vignettes or add it for creative effect.
  • Add film grain.

In the end, I learned it saves a ton of time once you learn how to use it!

Why not try all of these Adobe products?

All are available as free 30-day trials on the Adobe website.  PS and LR both have a learning curve so give it the 30 days and do a few tutorials to help get oriented.   However, LR is much more intuitive than PS.  Most users don’t turn back.  Tutorials are key, though!

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See what you think.  If you only have the money for LR, then that will still rock your world, even without PS or PSE.

Do you use any of these software products?  Do you use something else?

kristysig

Tribute to My Dad

As a part of my Photoshop class I’ve learned to restore old photos.

My dad passed away in 1998. This photo was taken in 1996 at my wedding reception (yes, I’m THAT old).  The first photo below was after he was diagnosed with cancer, but before being declared terminal.   He still looked healthy at this point.

It’s one of the few photos we have of my dad.  I removed myself so that it’s just a portrait of my dad.  I think between five siblings we may only have four or five photos of my dad. He was a cowboy in the truest sense and not much into taking pictures.

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I sent each sibling a surprise gift with this photo in both 4×6 and wallet size.  This is a jpg (compressed) version so that it doesn’t slow the load time of the page.  It’s a great image of the father we all knew and miss.

His leathery sun damaged skin reminds me of his hard work ethic.  He rarely sat still.  From building to working on cars to training horses to growing plants, no job was too hard, unless perhaps it was inside.

His greasy hair comb over look that we all teased him about reminds me of the bit of vanity that he had, yet how he wasn’t afraid to be himself.

His smile reminds me of his mischievous pranks.  From throwing water out the window at us to getting police officers to scare out of town bosses.  Or, perhaps that he had me convinced for a good portion of my youth that if I “bocked” like a chicken hard enough, I could lay eggs.  My husband says I must get “it” from him.

His sky blue eyes that you can’t see too well here reminds me of his German heritage and how his father’s family came to America to make a better life.

His dark skin reminds me of his American Indian heritage. His mother was Cherokee.

His lean stature reminds me of how in shape he was due to his hard work that began when he was young picking cotton with his family.  He would pick up those fifty pound feed sacks for the horses like nothing, yet hold a delicate newborn baby so naturally.

His stare into the left side of the frame reminds me of all of the deep conversations we had.  From what damage so much cement in the city can do to our environment to tips on being successful in life.   I miss those talks.   Despite not having much of a formal education, he was one smart man.

The crisp white shirt reminds me of how this was a special occasion or he’d have on a button down western shirt, long sleeve of course, no matter how hot it was outside.

The long sleeves remind me of his skull tattoo on his arm that he got when he was a teenager; one of his regrets that he wanted no one to see or mimic.

The glimmer in his eyes makes me think of the way I’ve always considered him the original Horse Whisperer.  Robert Redford’s character was very similar to my dad.

His open stance reminds me of the many things he gave away because someone else needed them more. So many of his tools ended up this way.  Though he wasn’t rich, he was never short on giving.

He was a special man.   I miss him.

I also spent some time restoring this photo of lesser quality.  It was an old Polaroid taken in 1994.  It was faded with water stains.  I put some of the color back into it.  Despite the quality, it was a meaningful photo as it was my dad in the office of the feed store that he helped to build and manage.  My favorite part of this, besides it being of him doing something he was proud of, is the shirt.  It was his typical daily wear.  That and Wrangler jeans, a belt and cowboy boots.

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Thank God for photos, no matter how few.  And, thank you, dad, for loving us.

Until we meet again,

kristysig

What I’ve Been Working On

I’ve been working on my Photoshop class reading and assignments.  For one of our assignments we were given an old photo to restore and in that process, we had to remove a cigarette from a guy’s mouth.  Here is how mine turned out.

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And, here is the image we were given to restore.

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Not too bad!   Please note that they are stretched out to about twice their original size.  So, they may be a tad distorted.

Wish I had actual old family photos to restore.   That’d be fun!  On to the next assignment.

Have you restored any photos?

kristysig

Photoshop Tutorial – Stretching A Canvas

A while back a I asked if anyone would be interested in a Photoshop tutorial - for me to share as I learn.  I thought it may be fun for my readers as we are all constantly taking and posting photos.

Here is my first shot at a Photoshop tutorial on video!

It’s my first time to do a video tutorial.  I had to try out 4-5 programs and learn to use them before finding one that would work, so it was a bit of a journey.  (It’s so weird to hear my recorded voice.  I’ve never liked hearing it.)

Below is the before photo from the video.  It’s an image from the rockies in Utah. We used to live not far from where this photo was taken. It’s a snow mobiling field.

This tutorial shows an easy way to take the car out of the lower left corner.  Here is the after photo.

Why would you want to learn this technique?
- To avoid having to use the clone tool.
- To avoid cropping so that the image can stay the same size.

Why a video?   Well, simply put, it’s much easier to learn Photoshop by watching.  To watch the video tutorial, simply hit play below (it’s posted on YouTube…that’s why the reference to this site).

Let me know how you like it and if you want more! Go easy on me – it was my first attempt at a video tutorial like this!

And, don’t forget to sign up for the giveaway!

Photoshop

How many of you use Photoshop for photo editing?  I know Picasa is pretty popular and easy to use.  However, Photoshop is the most powerful image editing software out there.  It’s also pricey, though.  But, if you happen to have a copy, it’s worth learning more about (even if it’s an older version)!  And, though it’s much more complex than Picasa, there are some very simple things you can learn to do that aren’t all that complicated once you are taught.

I’ve always been a hack with Photoshop and really hadn’t used it a ton in the past 5-10 years.  When I did use it, I just used the basic tools with little knowledge of masks, actions, levels, and so on.  Recently, however, I’ve been doing a bunch of Photoshop tutorials and learning a lot! 

I just signed up for an official college class on Photoshop.  Feels weird after being out of college for so long, even if the class is just for learning.  

Here is a photo I worked on based on the tutorials I’ve watched.  Before.

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After.

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I have been stealing friend’s photos from places like Facebook so I can practice the new things I am learning.   

The photo above is of my borther and sister in law at the Grand Canyon.  We all went in December.

Here is another example.  Before.

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After.

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My friend Erin at prom.  Isn’t she beautiful!  It does still look a little grainy just because it was a small photo to begin with and the resolution was low.

I was wondering if any of you would be interested in some simple Photoshop tutorials that I can share as I learn new things.  I could include things like:

- Get rid of under eye shadow.
- Stretching your canvas.
- Making your photo a certain size to fit a frame.
- Using masks to edit only parts of the photo.
- Straightening your photos.
- Making simple borders.
- Another way to dodge and burn.
- A digital diet.  Really tiny and simple changes for a subtle change, but fun stuff.

Would you be interested in such a series?  I could teach you as I learn.  If so, what topics would interest you?

kristysig