Nov 182014

Lightroom-5.7Lightroom 5.7 was released tonight. For those of you waiting for support for the Canon 7D Mark II, the Nikon D750, and other new cameras, as well as those of you with the Nikon D4S and D810 waiting for tethering support, this will be great news.

For the rest of us, there are bug fixes, new lens profiles, a built-in plug-in for importing iPhoto and Aperture libraries, and a new collaboration feature – this last one is available only to Creative Cloud subscribers. As before, the collaboration feature allows you to share collections of photos with clients and friends online, but now this is easier to do. Viewers can also comment and like your photos with this feedback syncing back to Lightroom desktop, where you can read, respond to, and manage the comments and likes.

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Nov 122014
Free Lightroom Webinar Getting and Staying Organized in Lightroom

In case you missed it, now through November 24, you can watch the recording of my October webinar, on getting and staying organized in Lightroom.

Getting and staying organized in Lightroom is critical to being able to enjoy and work efficiently with your photo library. In this webinar I discuss what role folder structure should play in this, how to decide on a folder structure that works for you and how to import new photos into this, reorganizing your photos and folders using Lightroom’s Folders panel, resolving “missing” folders and photos, using keywords, collections and mapping, searching for your photos and more. I also tackle the question of how many catalogs you should use, discuss a plugin that can help you find duplicates, and more. Length: 75 minutes.

Note that I am not currently running the product sale mentioned in the webinar, but Black Friday is around the corner!

To receive a link to watch this webinar, and to hear about future live webinars and more, enter your email address below, and then check your inbox for an activation email to complete the process.

Nov 052014

Charles Needle Impressionistic PhotographyI generally don’t review photography books on this blog, but I am making an exception to let you know about a book I have really enjoyed from Charles Needle, Impressionistic Photography: A Field Guide to Using Your Camera as a Paintbrush. If you’re in a creative lull, or want to add more creative techniques to your repertoire that you can use in any light and that can turn ordinary compositions into beautiful art, you’ll love this book.

After covering equipment, Charles encourages you to play and experiment as he covers step by step how to shoot Multiple-Exposure Monets (a term he coined), Long-Exposure Slap Zoom, Multiple-Exposure Rotate & Zoom, Soft-Glow Montage, Composite Montage and many more techniques. Those that require multiple exposures can be produced in-camera with a DSLR that shoots multiple exposure images, or together with a free Photoshop script. He also shares some several creative iPhone apps he uses to create multiple exposure montages, painterly effects and more. You’ll be inspired by his beautiful examples (which include Christmas tree lights, if you need some seasonal inspiration!)

Charles Needle Impressionistic Photography

Multiple Exposure Monet, Soft-Glow Montage, Multiple Exposure Rotate and Zoom

Click here to find out more about and order Impressionistic Photography: A Field Guide to Using Your Camera as a Paintbrush.

I have had the privilege of teaching a workshop with Charles and he is an excellent and inspiring teacher. If you enjoy his book, check out his in-person workshops as well.

Oct 032014

Adobe DNG ConverterAdobe has announced the immediate availability of the release candidate of Camera Raw 8.7 and an update to the DNG Converter – both are available at The DNG converter in particular can be useful for Lightroom users who have purchased one of the new cameras below – until support for these cameras is available in Lightroom, you can use it to convert your raw files to Adobe’s DNG raw format, which you can then import into Lightroom.

  • Casio EX-100PRO
  • Fujifilm X30
  • Leaf Credo 50
  • Leica V
  • Lux (Typ 114)
  • Nikon D750
  • Panasonic DMC-GM1S
  • Sony ILCE-5100
  • Sony ILCE-QX1

Read more about the Camera Raw 8.7 release, which also contains new lens profiles and bug fixes. These changes are not available for Lightroom, so they most likely won’t be of interest to most Lightroom users (unless you also use Camera Raw through Photoshop.)


Sep 232014

Lightroom Focus PointWith this free Lightroom plugin from Chris Reimold, we can view our in-camera focus points in Lightroom 5!  According to Chris it works for all Nikon DSLR cameras and post-2002 Canon EOS DSLR cameras. It reads your camera focus metadata (focus points, distance, mode, etc), and displays the results in a separate window that opens.

Click here to learn more about and download the Lightroom Show Focus Points plugin.  You’ll find that installation and using the plug-in are straightforward, and instructions are given on the site (as well as a full list of cameras supported, in the FAQ.) It works only in Lightroom 5, but a version for Lightroom 4 and earlier versions is in the works.

The plugin is a great learning tool. In the photo below you’ll see that I made a classic focusing error – I focused on the dog’s nose rather than one of his eyes. Since I was shooting at f5.0 and zoomed in, I didn’t have enough depth of field for the eyes to also be in focus.

Lightroom Focus Point Plugin

At this point the plugin is a beta – so in return for their generosity in offering this for free, I would suggest sending comments about your experience and suggestions for improvements to the  developers on the contact form on their website.

Sep 082014

Lightroom pixel detail As I monitor forums and the Lightroom Help Group on Facebook, I see so much confusion about resolution and how to set it in Lightroom, that I thought it was time for a post on it.

Our photos are made up of pixels – squares of solid color that our camera sensor captures. For example, a photo from a 24 megapixel (MP) camera has 24 million pixels — 6,000 wide x 4,000 high:


Lightroom photo size pixels

When we export, we specify how large our copies should be made – reduced for online sharing, possibly increased for large prints, or left at the same size as our master photos. Lightroom is very intelligent in how it removes or adds pixels, to preserve the appearance of our photos. (On enlarging, this does have its limits – read my article, “How Large Can I Print My Photo?

Exporting for Printing

When we export to send something out to print, we are accustomed to specifying size in inches or centimeters rather than in pixels. Lightroom allows us to specify size this way, but for it to figure out how many pixels to output, we have to tell it how many pixels per inch (PPI) to include – this is called resolution.

Inches x Pixels per Inch = Pixels

Equivalently, Inches x Resolution (PPI) = Pixels

In this scenario, in the Resolution box in the Export dialog, we specify for resolution whatever resolution / PPI our printer (or printing service) prints at. Most printers print at 300; Epson printers print at 360 – but check your printer manual or your printing service’s website. This gives your printer the exact number of pixels it needs to print at its best:

Lightroom export resize for print

Lightroom will calculate and output size in pixels: 8”x 10” print at 300 PPI = 2,400 x 3,000 pixels.

If you are printing large and are afraid that you will be upsizing too much and the quality will be poor, don’t make the mistake of reducing resolution! The printer will still print at 300/360, and since you haven’t given it enough pixels, it will do the upsizing. Let Lightroom do it – it will do a better job. There are simply limits to how large you can print.

Printing in the Print Module

Similarly, when printing in the Print module, specify the resolution your printer prints at (i.e. its native resolution):

Lightroom print resolution

For more on the topic of resolution in printing, do read my article, “How Large Can I Print My Photo?

Exporting for Screen-Based Viewing

When we export photos to post online or to send by email for on-screen viewing, we customarily specify size in pixels, since monitor sizes are specified in pixels. For example, for Facebook, I export with the long edge at 960 pixels (vertical photos will be 960 pixels high, horizontal photos, 960 pixels wide):

Lightroom export resize for screen

This is really all we need – when specifying size in pixels, resolution doesn’t matter! Nevertheless, Lightroom won’t let you leave it blank, so go ahead and leave it at its default of 72.

If you have previously thought that the higher the resolution number you enter, the higher quality photo you get, try an experiment – export a photo sized in pixels with a resolution of 1 PPI, and the same photo again at 999 PPI, and compare them – they will be exactly the same! (For techies out there, yes, your file gets tagged with the resolution you set, but printers and monitors ignore it anyway. It could be useful if you plan to export and then open and print from Photoshop – in this case Photoshop will read and use this resolution, so you won’t have to set it there.)

Note that how large in inches your photo displays on someone’s monitor depends on what the monitor’s native resolution is – 72 and 96 PPI are common.

While resolution doesn’t matter when sizing in pixels, nevertheless, if you are submitting photos to an organization that gives you exact requirements – for example, “1024 x 768 pixels at a resolution of 72 PPI”, then give them exactly what they ask for. Either they don’t understand that resolution doesn’t matter here, or they don’t want to waste time explaining that any number will do. The last thing I want is for your photos to be disqualified because of something I wrote.

Exporting without Resizing

Even when you export without resizing, the Resolution box is still active. In this case it won’t affect the size or quality of your file at all. Nonetheless, if you are exporting to send to a printing service, go ahead and put 300 (or what they print at), to avoid any possible confusion at your printer’s. If you are meeting anyone else’s specifications, go ahead and put what they say. Otherwise I ignore this setting.

PPI versus DPI

These terms are often confused. DPI refers to how many dots of ink your printer prints per inch. For example, in my printer driver software, if I set Quality to its highest setting, my printer will print 2880×1440 DPI, so at 360 PPI, it will lay down 2880/360 x 1440/360 = 8×4 = 32 dots of ink for every pixel it prints. This is the only context in which DPI is relevant.

I’ll write more about sizing for export in future articles. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter below to hear about these and much more.

If this has helped demystify resolution for you, check out my Lightroom 5: Producing Great Output video series. In it I demystify many confusing output concepts, and then teach you how to print, and make photo books, slideshows and web galleries, all with Lightroom.

Have any questions or comments regarding this article? Share your thoughts below!

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