If you shoot with a small sensor camera and use Lightroom for RAW conversion, then it’s a good idea to take care when sharpening. Noise can be a particular problem when at low ISO settings but there are steps you can take. This video demonstrates how to avoid the ugly sharpening artefacts that can result and which tend to become exaggerated in later processing.
I hope you find this useful.
It appears that quite a number of you want to know more about working with Lightroom and what tips might help save you some time. With this in mind I put together this short 10-minute video demonstrating a few points including History, Snapshots and Integration with Photoshop. These may not be the most exciting features but they could save you a lot of time. Probably much more than the 10 minutes it takes to watch the video.
As always, requests for future video topics are gratefully received.
There is an often forgotten panel at the bottom of the development controls in Lightroom’s Develop module and that’s Camera Calibration. Here you can select the profile that’s used to convert the RAW file into an image. It sorts out how image data in the RAW maps to colours and tones in the finished image.
In the past I have written about how the profiles provided often aren’t that great and that you can achieve better by making your own. But now I have a new favourite profile for my Olympus EM5 camera and that is “Camera Natural”.
I can’t say for sure when this was introduced or when it was changed. I certainly can’t recall it giving good results in the past or perhaps I have just overlooked it. The changes it introduces are quite subtle but I think it creates a more natural (I suppose that’s where it gets its name) and appealing. The image at the top of the blog was created using the Camera Natural profile and below is a comparison. Looking at the images side by side it’s difficult to tell the difference but when your switching between profiles in Lightroom it’s like night and day.
As I say, subtle differences but well worth experimenting with if you shoot RAW and use Lightroom.
I shot this image almost 3 years ago in June 2013. It was my first outing with the Olympus EM5, a camera that I feel has changed my photography. This is actually 4 images merged in Lightroom. I shot a lot of these panoramic series back then as I found the EM5 was so easy to use. But until the new Lightroom merge feature was introduced, I have left many of these to sit on my hard drive.
The location is Haweswater in the Lake District. It’s actually a reservoir that’s been engineered to look like a lake. There’s even a very pretty manmade island. It’s a shame they had to flood a village to do this. If you have never visited this area, it’s well worth a look. It’s much quieter than the rest of the lakes and the Haweswater hotel makes a great place to stay.
Hope you like the shot and have a great weekend.
I want to share a very frustrating printing experience with you in case anyone has any ideas about how to resolve it.
I have been printing using an Epson 3880 printer for around 3 years now using Lightroom as the host software. During this time, I have regularly switched between Gloss and Matte inks for the different paper types. Recently I made the switch from a Matte surface paper to Baryta (which requires Gloss ink). At this time, I made a Matte paper print then immediately switched to Gloss to compare the results.
In making this switch I was careful to reconfigure the printer as I have done many times. I even have the setups for both papers saved to allow for this switching. Both papers are profiles using profiles I created and I know to be accurate.
When I made these two prints, the Matte print was perfect but the Baryta print is completely wrong, to the point it looks like one of the black inks has run out (it hasn’t). You can see the result below. Nothing changed between making the two prints other than the printer switched itself between Matte and Gloss black ink.
My first reaction was to recheck all the settings and these were fine. I then ran an ink check which showed no problems but I carried out a head cleaning just to be certain. This made no difference. After a lot of frustrating failures, I decided to switch back to Matte paper. Guess what; this was also exhibiting the problem.
Now for the weird bit. The problem only occurs when printing from Lightroom. All other software including Photoshop prints fine. Here is an example of the same image printed on the same piece of Matte paper, one image from Lightroom and one from Photoshop.
I have checked the Adobe forums and help and it appears a few people have experienced the issue. What I can’t find is a resolution. There was a suggestion that uninstalling and re-installing Lightroom fixed it, but not for me.
So far I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling Lightroom, the print driver and the printer profiles. I have even gone as far are recreating the printer profiles but the problem persists. If anyone has any suggestions I would be interested to hear.
There is however a silver lining to this cloud. I decided to go back to using Qimage as my printer software and the results are much nicer and of a higher quality when compared to Lightroom. I suspect I will stick with Qimage even if I solve the Lightroom problem.
Thanks for reading.
If you use Lightroom you will no doubt be familiar with the clarity adjustment slider. This can be used to adjust the midtone contrast of an image. Increase the contrast and the finest details pop out of the image. Reduce the contrast and the image takes on an ethereal haze.
In addition to the main Clarity slider found in the Develop module, a clarity slider can also be found in each of the Gradient tools as well as the Adjustment Brush. With the main Clarity slider so easily placed, it can be easy to forget about these other sliders, which is a mistake.
If you ever find yourself in a position where you want to make an object stand out from its surroundings you can achieve this with the Clarity adjustment. But rather than use a global clarity adjustment select the adjustment brush. You should then use this brush tool to outline the object you want to emphasise. Having done this you can apply the Clarity adjustment selectively to the object.
In the image above I wanted to make this door handle on the inside of a steel door stand out from the door as otherwise the image would appear flat. The adjustment brush tool was used to select the handle so that Clarity adjustment could be applied to just that area. This is also a great technique to use with architectural subjects. Also don’t forget that you might need multiple applications with the brush to achieve the desired effect.
One thing that I love to do is shoot panoramic images. I have an XPan Panoramic film camera and for digital I have a number of tripod attachments that allow me to shoot sequences of images for stitching. What I also do a lot of is shoot “informal panoramic sequences” where I hand hold the camera. I enjoy this but to be honest, I seldom get around to stitching these. I will go as far as grouping the images into a stack in Lightroom but then having to export them to Photoshop or Hugin in order to do the stitching is a little bit too much effort for me.
This is where the new stitching tool in Lightroom has taken me by surprise. I didn’t expect to like it very much but in fact I love it. All you need to do is select the images you want to merge and then chose “Photo Merge| Panorama…” from the Lightroom pop-up menu. This provides a dialog where you can select from one of 3 methods of merging the images or select the auto option. There is also an auto crop option to produce the finished image. Usually I am not a big fan of any tool that starts with the word “Auto” but these actually work very well.
The other surprise about the panorama stitching (besides the results being excellent quality) is that you can merge vertical image sequences as well as horizontal. By vertical I am not referring to the camera being held in the portrait format but shooting a sequence where you start at the bottom and move the camera upwards vertically. All this is done automatically before the resulting image file is created and saved into your Lightroom catalogue as a DNG file rather than as a TIFF or JPEG. The DNG format then gives you lots of flexibility to edit the image further.
This is a very well put together solution and for those who are interested I have posted a demonstration video on my Lenscraft website. If you are not already a member, do sign up as it’s completely free.
Now I need to find some HDR image sequences to try out the merge to HDR feature.