Posts tagged with Lightroom

New book – Digital Photo Workflow

My latest book is published today, October 7 – just in time for Christmas (!).

Digital Photo Workflow (Made Easy) is a short book that tries to cover everything and to make it look easy – or at least make it the obvious way to work. That’s quite an ambitious scope and one that may seem beyond 128 pages, but I often find that learning soon grinds to a halt once it’s smothered by how much detail one can offer in a larger volume. Instead this book is more about appreciating the overall tasks, fitting them together, and equipping the reader with guidance about best practice.

While it teaches you a lot about Lightroom, it doesn’t pretend to be a slider-by-slider manual. It’s a short book that tries to cover everything you need to know to get going, and the right way to do things. So instead of having a lengthy chapter on using multiple catalogues, for instance, instead it points the reader directly towards using a single catalogue and not fragmenting one’s workflow. It tells you about folders in Lightroom, but more…

Focus on Imaging 2012

A little late this year but finally my plans for Focus on Imaging 2012 are falling into place. I’ll be there on Tuesday and Wednesday showing Lightroom for Adobe. Come along and say hello.

For me the oddest thing will be Monday – I’ll actually get to see the show. If you attend Focus as a regular visitor, you may not appreciate how little time exhibitors get to look round. I try to arrive early each day and wander round, but everyone is busy getting the stands ready for opening time, and once the doors are opened you just don’t get a moment to yourself. I know I should take breaks, but I find I can’t really relax until the evening so I just stay on the stand and enjoy the buzz from exchanging ideas. But this year I am due in Birmingham on Monday evening, so I plan to arrive early and just see the show. I may even get to heckle other presenters….

The new Lightroom site

Tomorrow is generally regarded as Lightroom’s 6th birthday – the anniversary of when the 1.0 beta for Mac was released. So I had been planning to announce Lightroom Solutions, but somehow it sneaked out early….

I’ve always preferred to have a single site, as there’s only one of me, but for a year or two I’ve wanted to post more Lightroom content. At least, I’d like to think some people may be interested in reading more, and there was a range of material I have been writing that never made it onto this blog. I get a decent number of emails asking for advice, for instance, or there are 4-5 web forums where I’ll answer questions on Lightroom-related topics ranging from beginner tips to more obscure but interesting topics. Apart from my posts being scattered around various forums, I’m also still wary of how forum owners can treat others’ freely-contributed writing as theirs to sell (I refer to the old Rob Galbraith forum going to a subscription-based service). Consolidating the various emails and posts here would swamp this site, however, and more…

Avoiding Lightroom’s backup?

I was asked “Can I avoid using Lightroom’s backup routine and have my backup software do it”?

The answer is yes, you can, but….

If you rely on backup software and target your actual Lightroom catalogue you are taking some risk that the catalogue may be open when the scheduled backup kicks in. There’s a faint chance and a long but obscure history of such backups being unusable.
You also have to fiddle around with your backup software so it doesn’t include the potentially-huge but non-critical previews lrdata folders. You really don’t need (shouldn’t) back these up.
Lightroom’s backup routine also includes a catalogue integrity check.

So it’s generally best to let Lightroom make its backups to another drive, and then point your backup software at this location.

Limited locations for import, export, backup

There’s a funny bug in Lightroom on Windows when you try and select a folder or drive:

When I try to export a selection of images from LR using Specific Folder (or choose folder later) the only available location that shows up in the hierarchy is my Desktop. No other folders/drives are visible. I had this problem once before and managed to resolve it but don’t recall now what I did. I’ve tried shutting down LR and restarting. Rebooting the computer and restoring the default export presets. If I select Export as Catalogue, then my entire folder/drive hierarchy is visible. Using LR 3.5 on Win7 Pro 64.

It is usually triggered when a lot of files are on the Desktop, and you can try this. In the folder dialog, at the bottom you can type “D:” or whatever, and doing so once usually resolves the bug.

See this Adobe knowledge base article.

LR-iTunes – Lightroom to iTunes plug-in

LR-iTunes is a simple plug-in I wrote (hacked) to help synchronize pictures from Lightroom via iTunes to my iPad.

Basically it is a dumbed down version of the Hard Drive Publishing Service and is more suited for the requirements of iTunes. So I tried to make it look the part which is no big deal, just an icon or two,  and instead of creating “collections” or “published collections” you create “albums”. Also it won’t allow you to create sets because iTunes would ignore them and just lump all the pictures into a single big album.

Once you’ve published to a folder, you use iTunes as normal to sync to the iPhone, iPad or AppleTV.

One little extra is a menu command in File > Plug-in Extras > Copy Albums to another Lr-iTunes service. This makes it easier to set up separate services for each iOS device and it will copy dumb albums from one to another (in fact, it will do a little more than that). It won’t copy smart albums because of an annoying omission in Lightroom’s automation interface, so you’d have more…

1030 by 752

I just came across this Russell Brown video Exporting Adobe Lightroom 3 PDF Portfolios to an Apple iPad.

No doubt I wasn’t too interested when it first came out, and I’ve already exported PDF slideshows to the iPad enough times not to find it very interesting this time around – other than 1030 by 752 pixels. So that’s the size you need to choose!

Typing in hierarchical keywords

I still don’t use hierarchical keywords in Lightroom (why not – read my rant) but if I did ever change my mind I’d often want to type them into the Keywording panel, or occasionally into the Import dialog (why occasionally – see end of post).

So how do you manually type in multiple keywords so they are added to an existing keyword hierarchy in their correct position? Is there some sort of delimiter character?

Use either the pipe “|” or the greater than “>” symbol, depending on which way round you want to type your keywords:

 “|” would be in you want to enter GrandParent | Parent | Child
 “>” would be in you want to enter Child > Parent > GrandParent

And I do owe Gene McCullagh of LightroomSecrets a big credit for pointing out the pipe alternative to me. I don’t know it all, you know.

Why do I only “occasionally” enter keywords in the Import dialog? Well, when I’m registering new images in the catalogue I generally prefer to focus all my attention on that task – making sure I do transfer every image more…

Search Replace Transfer 1.33 release candidate

Search Replace Transfer 1.33 RC

I was just going to release an update to my Search Replace Transfer plug-in when it was ready, but another query about its use as a workaround for complex file renaming has prompted me to put out a “release candidate”.

There are a few internal bug fixes and a few tweaks which mainly reflect my greater experience with Lua, but the main changes are:

Preliminary support for simple IPTC Extension fields like Event
Support for languages other than English. I’ve always felt guilty at neglecting this but I have finally included translation files for Italian, German, and French (in descending order of my confidence with those languages). I’ll trade a complimentary licence for other languages – contact me first.

Hopefully this will smoke out any bugs, or feel free to post comments if you’ve suggestions for substantial improvements.

jb Keyword Tools – test version

Fancy trying it? OK, here’s the plug-in (limited to 10 items) and various example vocabulary files. See the previous post for the thinking behind the plug-in but these bits are new:

Hierarchical keywords are supported with hierarchies created using the pipe “|” and multiple keywords being separated by tabs – see example files
Up to 200 shortcut buttons possible
A preference in the Plug-In Manager for a default folder where vocabulary files are stored
Previous button which works like the Previous button in Develop, updating the current item’s keywords with those of the previous photo
Previous + Next – as above, but also goes to next photo
Copy and two paste buttons, one overwriting and the other appending
Deselect button – sometimes an image shouldn’t be in the selection. This means you don’t have to close the dialog box
Vocabulary files need to be UTF-8
I’m ensuring all text labels can be displayed in non-English languages. Maybe I should offer a free licence in exchange for a translation?

I am working on a script that will create a hierarchy file from an existing keyword hierarchy, but the main design focus more…

jb Keyword Tools

A new plug-in is bubbling – jb Keyword Tools. It’s aimed at those who use controlled vocabularies of keywords, and also at event shooters who use keywords to organise their workflows. It’s a bit like a bigger version of Lightroom’s Keywording panel, but with the access to external files that makes PhotoMechanic’s “Code Replacement” or iView’s vocabulary files features so popular.

The concept is that you initially prepare one or more keyword vocabularies – tab delimited text files. The format of the file is important – tab-delimited text, UTF-8 encoding, and on Mac the line endings must be standard Unix. These are dead easy to create in Excel and I’m finding it handy to store them on Dropbox so they can be accessed from any computer.

When you’re doing your keywording, you call a menu command and are prompted to load a vocabulary file. This has one button for each line in the vocabulary, so here I used a file of keywords about owls (bird lovers please don’t shoot me – I know next to nothing about owls). Click a button and more…

Free stuff from George Jardine

George Jardine has assembled all his free tutorial videos onto one page, which you can find here. I particularly recommend the one on black and white.

Photo Professional

August’s Photo Professional carries the third of my four-part series on aspects of workflow.

This time I’m looking at raw processing but not from the usual angle of how to squeeze out the best image quality. Instead I discuss how to respond to the problems caused by having large numbers of raw files to process. So the article looks at how one can automate Photoshop and the pros and cons of actions, scripts, droplets and Configurator.

Eventually though you have to recognise that you’re trying rather too hard to turn a program designed to work on one image into a batch processing tool worthy of Heath Robinson (Rube Goldberg). So the article then looks at the role the new workflow tools such as Lightroom and Aperture.

September’s article, a sceptic’s guide to colour management and soft proofing, is already submitted.

List View – Lightroom plug-in released today

ListView is a plug-in for Lightroom 3 that displays images in a list style just like in most other DAM (digital asset management) programs. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to review your metadata entry in a list than by scanning through a grid of thumbnails.

Other things you can do with List View:

Change the information in any column
Save columns as presets
Sort by any column
Export metadata to a browser
Export metadata directly to Excel (or OpenOffice etc)
Edit metadata in a File Info panel

As with my other main plug-ins, it’s available from Photographer’s Toolbox.

Perforation preset

I don’t often bother mentioning Lightroom presets because I rarely see any that impress me – in fact, I’m more shocked that people have the nerve to ask money for them.

But I just noticed this film perforation preset which uses the local adjustment brush to mimic the sprocket holes. It may only work on uncropped images, and I’m not sure I’ve seen an exposure go into the sprocket hole areas, but it’s probably the first bit of creative thinking in presets I’ve seen in a long time.

The hard or the easy way to go back from DNG to Raw?

There’s a lengthy thread over at Adobe’s Lightroom feature request and bugs forum Is there a way to re-associate converted DNG files with the original RAW files? The user had converted files to DNG, but then decided he wanted to switch back to proprietary raw files (he’d got them all in his backup) and didn’t know how to make the DNGs’ thumbnails in Lightroom point to the raw files.

Most of the thread is about one solution – learning SQL and updating the database. Fun if you’ve got the time / inclination.

The other solution is somewhat easier – my Syncomatic plug-in. All you would do is get the raw files into your catalogue, and tell Syncomatic to copy metadata and adjustments from DNGs to raws.

Adobe on computer specs for Lightroom

Adobe have released a lengthy document on optimising system performance for Lightroom.

For best results, take a holistic approach. Read all of the suggestions here. Consider which ones to implement within the context of your computer setup, the types of files you use, and your particular workflow. Each circumstance is unique and requires a different combination of techniques to achieve the most efficient performance from Lightroom.

Good to have all this info in one place, and from the horse’s mouth.

For me the big word they use is “holistic”. Translation: Lightroom puts a lot of demands on most aspects of your system, and if there is a bottleneck Lightroom will expose it.


The blog’s left column: feed from Adobe

In this page’s left column, I’ve added a feed from Adobe’s new Lightroom feedback site which replaces the bug report and feature requests forums.

Some of the ideas there are plain wacky, with about as much chance of being implemented as a snowflake’s chance in hell, and most of those are the outpourings of one individual. “Onan the Plug-in Author”, as I’ll call him, seems the kind of bloke who now sits on his own talking to himself in an empty pub because everyone’s sick of him talking 3-4 times as much as the next man. In some pubs he’d probably get himself worked over in the car park, or have his head shoved down a toilet bowl that would make the one in Trainspotting look like the Brockwell Lido, but sadly this forum is Adobe’s only one for feature requests and bug reports.

Anyone using speech recognition with Lightroom?

Speech recognition seems to have been the coming technology since I don’t know when  – I seem to recall seeing DragonDictate in the late 90s – but it is one of those technologies that never seems to have arrived as a first-class way of entering information into a computer or getting it to do what you want. When I first booted up my new PC last year, I noticed that speech recognition was now built into Windows 7 and while it’s not at all bad, I probably don’t use it often enough to become really productive.

For an exercise, this morning I tried it with Lightroom and was quite surprised how well it allowed me to navigate around the program. For example I could move around the modules or select individual panels, but I kept hitting limitations – selecting one collection in the collection panel has been beyond me, as has activating the box in Keywording where you can type in words. On the other hand, once you are in the right context it’s possible to gain a more…

Emailing from Lightroom

Here’s a quick summary of how to email files from Lightroom:

The built-in way is to export files as JPEGs to your hard drive, then attach the to an email. Neat, eh? 1990s retro computing enthusiasts line right up!
To email files directly from Lightroom, see Andréas Saudemon’s Mac-limited export plug-in Send By Mail Plug-in for Lightroom
For Windows and using an email client like Outlook see Steve Sutherland’s MapiMailer Email Export Plugin for Lightroom
For those using Gmail on Mac or Windows see Tim Armes’s LR/GMail

Wouldn’t it be easier to have File > Send as Email?