New Features in Lightroom’s 5.3 Upgrade

December 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Geez, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything to my Photoshop & Lightroom blog! I’m sure my other two sites have suffered too. Sorry.

I’ve been keeping several updates, tips and tricks posted on my Facebook page but have been forgetting to come here too.

It’s been a very crazy year, while trying to keep our Alternative Focus photography and workshop business growing, we’ve started Armchair ePublishing, working with authors to self-publish their books. Everything from editing, page layout and graphic design for nice covers. We also take an authors book and set-up the formatting for print and eBooks too.

Anyway, the reason you’ve all come here… Adobe’s released an upgrade to Lightroom, calling it LR 5.3. It’s a big one, weighing in at around 504Mb, so expect a long download. Maybe do it while you’re fixing and eating dinner.

It contains all of the usual LR additions, such as support for all of the new camera bodies and lens that have come out recently. Santa’s been asked to add a couple of those new toys to my Xmas tree (so I can test LR’s updates of course), but as usual, she’s not listening.

There’s also all of the normal bug (ah, enhancement) fixes too, along with a few other little items I’m sure.

But then there’s a couple of  “Semi-Undocumented Secret Features” in there too! I’m pretty sure these are new to LR 5.3 or maybe just new to me. But now you’ll know them too. Here’s the ones I know about so far…

You all know that if you double-click on any of the sliders in the Develop Module, it will return to it’s default position. You did know that didn’t you? You also knew that if you double-click on the, I guess it’d be called, “group heading word or label” such as Presence in the Basic Panel or the word Luminance or Saturation in the HSL panel, or Noise Reduction in the Details panel, it’ll return all of the sliders in that group back to zero. Great stuff.

If you didn’t know that, go ahead and give it a try. I’ll wait.

OK, now for that “Secret Feature…” So far this only appears to work in the Basic Panel. So here we go…

Now we’re going to add in the “Shift” key when you double click on that slider — Watch as it adjusts that slider to an “Auto value” instead of zeroing it out.

At first glance, it appears that it applies the same auto value magic that those Adobe engineers worked so hard to give us with the main Auto button.  Which works great too.

But lets look a bit closer…  They’ve added a few fun changes how the magic works if you add in the Shift key…

Now, instead of just doing a double-click, a Shift—double-click on the Whites and Blacks sliders automagically moves that slider value according to the current crop and balances it with your existing Develop settings. Great for those times when you’ve cropped out that way over-exposed sky and you don’t want LR trying to adjust for it.

OK, what else? Now, a Shift—double-click on either the Temp or Tint slider will set each to its Auto WB value. How’s that different than the regular Auto WB button? I dunno, maybe it’s just a fun Easter Egg. It does move the slider just slight different from where the Auto WB did, so maybe doing each individually is a bit ‘mo accurate? Give it a try.

I’ve generally been happy with the standard Auto WB, with a manual tweak as needed, as it’s pretty close at least 85-90% of the time. If I remember, especially when I was doing event photography or if I’m setting up an abstract in my studio, I place a grey card in the first few shots as a reference, actually my little Spyder Cube works even better. Then I’ll use that reference frame in LR for WB adjusting. But as I’m primarily a landscape photographer too, that’s not as easy. So, I shoot RAW, and set camera WB to Cloudy (as I do live north of Seattle, where it’s mostly Cloudy anyway) and Auto WB with minor tweaks in LR while processing.

OK, last, and almost not as fun since we just learned the above trick, but this does shave a millisecond or two off  your workflow, so here it is:  Shift—double-clicking on that “WB” label sets both of your Temp & Tint sliders to an Auto White Balance setting — And as an added bonus, it will set the WB drop-down menu to “Auto” just as if you had taken the longer route and clicked on the drop-down to choose Auto yourself… Amazing stuff these Adobe engineers come up with!

OK, that’s it. Simple but fun LR Trivia knowledge to show off your skills at that next party with other photographers.

Glad you came by to learn something new. I’ll try to make the next PS & LR Tips a bit sooner.

Tony D. Locke, MM

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How To Add A Digital Mat To Your Images

February 18, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m using CS5 for this, I’m not sure if this can all be done in Photoshop Elements, but most of it is doable. So you can follow along as well. This is a sample of what a Digital Mat can look like. After you’ve learned this fun trick, you’ll be able to do this to your images too.

First, Duplicate your image. Give it a new name with a Save As.

Now, decide how large of a mat that you’d like. I added 4” of extra white mat around this image to begin with, by adding more Canvas — Image>Canvas Size…

In the next window I typed “4” in each window, chose White as the background color and hit OK.

You now have an image with 4” of extra canvas around it; 2” on each side.

Now, make your Foreground Color White by hitting the “D” key for your Default colors, then “X” to swap them.

Turn on the Rulers if you don’t already have them; View>Rulers (Cmd/Ctr R)

Choose your Rectangular Tool. Drag/Draw a rectangle across your image. I started 1/2” from each edge. If you’ve messed up, don’t worry, we’ll fix it next. For now, just drag out a large rectangle across your image.

You’ll notice that your image is now covered by this large white rectangle. Go to the top of your Layers Panel and turn “Fill” down to 0%.  Make sure you haven’t used the Opacity slider, we want that at 100%, otherwise these next steps won’t work. The rectangle seems to have now disappeared. Don’t worry, the fun part’s coming up next.

I know, you’re probably wondering why I had you choose the Default Colors a couple steps ago, when you’re going to Fade the Fill anyway — I dunno, it’s just a habit of mine whenever I’m doing something that’s going to involves the Foreground/Background Color Swatches, to make them Black & White, so, while running this thru my head, again by habit, I’ve included it, and hopefully you learned a few new tricks.

Now, this is where the Elements Users may have to hunt to find these features, sorry. I’ll see if I can add an Addendum in a future post once I get Elements 10 so I can teach it too. But for those on CS – CS5, do this:

At the bottom of your Layers Panel is the Layers Style button, labeled “fx”, Click on it.

In this Layers Style window, first select Stroke. Set size to 15, Position>Center, Blend>Normal, Opacity 100%, Fill Type>Color and Color Black. You should now have a nice sharp black line around your rectangle surrounding your image.

At this point, if you need to resize and/or reposition your rectangle, Select your Move Tool (V key), and grab each edge, while watching it’s indicator on the Ruler, move the edges. I’ve got mine at 1/2″ on each side, except the bottom where I went with 1″ for a “weighted bottom” look.

Next, Select Bevel and Emboss. Choose Style>Inner Bevel, Technique>Chisel Hard, Depth: 110%, Direction: Up, Size: 15, Soften: 1. Leave all Shading setting as is, except Turn On “Use Global Light” and set Angle to 130°

Now these are just great starting settings, you can adjust the recipe to your liking later.

How we looking so far? You’re probably only noticing slight changes in the line, but here’s the next step that’ll make it nicer.

Select Inner Shadow. Now, set Blend Mode>Multiply, Opacity to 95%, Angle should be at 130° still since Use Global Light is selected (I know, screen capture shows something different). Distance: 14, Choke: 5, Size: 49. Leave Quality settings at defaults for now.

There you have it. Now, go back and tweak each setting as needed for flavour and your’e done.

Now, I’ve been asked about making this an Action — Sure, that can be done too. If you know how to do Actions, start a new one (if not, subscribe to my blog(s) and I’ll have a post on that soon), and repeat the process l’ve shown you here, without any deviation. When you’re done, hit the Stop button. Now, each time you play this action, you’ll be presented with a new Rectangle Layer with these Layer Styles included. Then, it’s just a matter of going in and tweaking the size of the rectangle and the setting in the Styles to your taste.

For an extra added bonus, Copy this “mat layer” to a new layer, Choose your Move Tool, resize while holding down the Shift and Option/Alt keys (so that the layer will resize>constrain proportions >resize from center) and now you’ve got a double mat. I’ve used this double mat trick often, but it didn’t seem to work on this image, so I just threw that layer away.

Thanks again for visiting. Subscribe to this blog, look along the side panel to find my other Photography related blogs that you can follow too. And if you’re on Facebook (which I’m actually still a bit new at doing), go to Tony Locke Photography and “Like” that page so you can keep learning more.

Tony D. Locke, MM

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When Restoring A Photo – It’s Also A Family Memoir I’m Restoring

January 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Restoring a family heirloom.

I perform a lot of photo restorations, scanning of old prints, negatives, slides & artwork, which can reprinted or saved to CD for archival. I also provide archival fine art printing with real photographic papers and only Pigment inks. Our prints are not only beautiful, they are rated to last anywhere from 100 – 150 years without degradation in quality, whereas, most prints from those “drug stores, office supply stores and/or Costco/Kinkos” types of places  are rated for only 5 -7 years.
For my latest and largest project to date, I just finished restoring and printing a large 15″ x 50″ panoramic for a customer just in time for a surprise Christmas present.
The original came to me as three B&W photos of the small village of Seldovia, Alaska, taken in 1966. The original prints were glued down, side-by-side onto a section of 1/8″ fiberboard cut to fit the 15”x50” of the three images.
After 45 years, the three individual photos were still attached to the fiberboard, but now had a lot of water damage, bubbling where the glue had let go, curling up in the corners, with a few creases, many fingerprints and general overall aged condition, but overall… I’ve seen, and restored worse.

This was a treasured family photo, so I had my work cut out for me.
I could not remove the photos from the fiberboard without causing more damage to them, so I scanned the large piece as a whole. I’ve got a high-resolution flatbed scanner, but even then it still took 14 scans, and some tricky supports to keep everything flat and motionless to capture this whole image.

On images that require this much work to restore, I always divide the restoration up into sections and stages, as well as many multiple layers in Photoshop. Working slowly on each individual section before moving on to the next. That way, if I have one section of the image that starts to give me fits, and the restoration just isn’t happening, I’ve got a “backdoor” to backup to and restart/rethink to approach that area without losing all the other work I’ve done in other areas.

Many sections may take several different techniques to restore an image like this, which is where the multiple Layers, Adjustment Layers, Layer Masks and Layer Blends, with variations of Healing, Sampling, Cloning, Painting & some secret tricks I’ve acquired over the years really come into play. Having a Wacom Intuos Tablet, with it’s electronic pen instead of using a mouse, makes the work so much easier too. Actually, most of this work would be next to impossible to do accurately with a regular mouse.

You’ll see in the Before/After image, that the bottom image is right after I assembled all the scans back together, before doing any restoration work, giving you a sample of the damage and how the 3 photos were joined. At least here, due to the photos being pressed flat during the scan, the edges aren’t curled up.

The top photo shows the completed image that I printed onto archival semi-gloss paper and then sent off to a frame shop to have mounted to 1/2” beveled MDF for a very unique way, and much more economical than standard framing, to show off this image.

Though most of my work is with local customers, I have done a lot work via the mail too. You can mail your original photo, slide or negative to me, I’ll carefully scan it, restore the digital version and send the new print, along with a CD of both files and your original back to you.

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Think Before You Import – How Do You Like To Find Things?

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

OK, everyone, out of the pool. It’s time for another LR tip.

Before you start importing into LR, especially for the first time, think about how you’re going to organize your folder hierarchy.If you don’t start early, you create a mess that will take awhile to clean up. I’ve got several customers that have had me come by, to do just that for them. By the way—I charge by the hour.

I’m a “location and month/year” kind of person, others produce folders by year, with monthly folders nestled inside that, then folders with locations/event names. I can’t remember dates, I don’t even remember what I did yesterday. But I can remember a location or for some of you, a project name or customer’s name.

During Import I’ll use that same information in the “Rename File” panel, using “Custom name with original file number” option or “Custom name with original sequential number”, i.e. My lastest boat shots were called; CapSanteMarina Dec11-9856, with the number being the original number my camera assigned to each image. As I may go to the same area often, I’ll follow the location/customer/project name with a month/year so I’ll know which trip it was.

I will then call the folder that they are being Imported to, the same name as the new file name. I can more easily remember Eagle Lake Pass Nov11 than just simple date codes, i.e.; 2011>November>Eagle Lake Pass. Having the file name and folder name be the same, also makes it much easier to put an image back to where it belongs if it manages to wonder off on it’s own somehow.

But that’s just me. I’ve installed and organized LR for different types of customers. Find what works for you and stick with it. You can’t change horses in the middle of the stream.

Also, Import is the perfect time to add all your Keywords, otherwise you’ll either take forever to get them all done, or you never will. LR is great for finding any photo you’re looking for, but you’ve got to enable it with good information about each photo as you Import them. Keywords is a great start. Use as many as you can think about for each image, as you never know what you may look for later. Like with my recent boat at sunset images, I’ll use “boat, water, sunset, Anacortes, Fidalgo Island, Dec, 2011, marina, Cap Sante Marina, fisherman, birds, glow, Golden Hour, ripples, saltwater, etc. As I may need an image someday with any of those words.

That’s if for today.

Thanks again for coming by,


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And Now, For Something Completely Different – 101 Photoshop Tips In 5 Min By Deke

Still working on playing catch-up, which includes a new blog Eruisko Adventures, which covers Travel and Adventure photography. While cleaning up my older blog, I came across this video and thought I’d share it here again. Enjoy

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Converting to Black & White and adding Selective color

March 17, 2011 1 comment

©2011 Tony D. Locke, MM

For artistic variation in your photographs, you can remove some or all of the color from an image, which in effect, removes some of the reality too.

In this tutorial, which I also just taught in my latest workshop, I’m going to show you not only how to artistically remove color from a photograph to create a stunning B&W, but as a bonus, you’re going to be shown how to selectively add back in some that color too.

Many of you may already know these tricks, or at least parts of them. Don’t worry, there’s always something new, so if you’re looking to learn more–Read on…

Now, not all photographs will look as nice when converted to B&W, which is why you should always shoot in color and convert to B&W in Photoshop… Just in case.  When you set your camera to B&W, you not only have lost control over how the shades of grey from dark black to pure white will be treated, you won’t have a color version to enjoy in case the image doesn’t look so good in B&W.

So, as many of you that have experimented around Photoshop know, the quickest and easiest way to make a B&W image is to just convert it to a plain ‘ole Grayscale. Select Image > Mode > Grayscale. Done. It’s not the most creative way, as again, you have no control over the conversion. What’s makes things worse, this function also tends to make images look flat & boring. The only reason I even mention it is, it’s a quick easy way to see if what your image might look like in B&W. Otherwise, just forget it and immediately hit your keyboard shortcut for Undo: Cmd/Ctrl Z!

Just like so many other things I’ve taught you, if there’s one way to do something in Photoshop, there’s probably at least 3 – 5 other ways to do the same thing. This is no different. For today, as most of you are probably using Photoshop Elements, we’ll stick with some of the simpler methods first, then move onto some fun & unusual way of doing things. For those of you on CS3-CS5, follow along too, as these tricks will still work for you too, but there’s one extra tool I’ll show you that will only work on CS3 and above.

So, let’s begin having some fun with your photo. Starting with the #2 basic way that a lot of people use to convert to B&W in Photoshop Elements, which makes it easy and provides some nice tools – Go to Enhance>Convert to Black & White. Up pops this next window. Photoshop’s going to do an auto-convert, showing a before and after image. If you’d like, you can click on each of the presets along the bottom left to try some other B&W effects. From there you can also play with the sliders to the right to lighten and darken each color range to provide a nice B&W. Wasn’t that fun!

Read more…

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Wildlife – Elephants

February 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Still in the process of putting together your next Photoshop lesson, but thought I’d throw in a quick reminder of the day while it’s in my head:

Anything that has nothing to do with elephants is irrelephant.

Have a good day!

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