Video Tutorial: Create Printer Profiles for Use in Lightroom and Photoshop

I recently got a chance to try out X-Rite’s Colormunki Photo device. This allows you to not only profile your monitor (and projector), but also to create printer / paper profiles. What I particularly like about it is that it is very easy to use, and the process has very few steps. The Colormunki Photo runs about $450 on the street — compared to $170 for the Colormunki Display, which does monitor and projector profiling only. This is a significant price premium to be able to make printer profiles, but it is less than many other devices on the market. Note that in moving to the Photo from the Display, you do lose two monitor profiling features — Ambient Light [...more]

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Ten Reasons Why Lightroom Users May Want to Buy Photoshop

Update 11/20/2013: Read my updated article, on reasons to subscribe to Photoshop CC. Photoshop CS6 started shipping yesterday, so I anticipate that a lot of photographers not currently using Photoshop are wondering if they should consider it.  I am assuming for the sake of this article that you are already using Lightroom.  (If not, you may want to read this post, which talks about why I think pro’s as well as amateurs who really care about their photography should.) The question here is, do you need Photoshop too? There is certainly much that you can do in Photoshop that you can’t do in Lightroom.  The key questions are, do you need or want to do enough of those things to [...more]

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To DNG or Not to DNG

In Lightroom’s Import dialog (and in the Library module), you are given the choice to convert your camera manufacturer-proprietary raw files into Adobe’s raw file format, DNG.   I have gone back and forth on recommending conversion to my students, and in my own workflow  — not because I don’t trust Adobe’s conversion, but because I just have never seen it as mission-critical.  While I could see some advantages, they just haven’t been that compelling to me, and converting to DNG does make the Import process take a lot longer.  (At this point I do convert, but I don’t feel strongly about it.) Though still not mission-critical, Lightroom 4 is introducing some new advantages, to make Lightroom performance faster with [...more]

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Jpeg Compression and the Lightroom Jpeg Quality Setting

Anytime you create a jpeg using Lightroom’s Export dialog (or any other method), the file is compressed — information is thrown away in order to make the file smaller. How much is determined by the Quality setting or, in Lightroom 3 or later, if you choose instead, the Limit File Size setting. The big benefit of jpeg files is that they are relatively small.  The jpeg save algorithm is complicated, but it basically evaluates each pixel in your image, looking at pixels surrounding it to see if they are “close enough” in color and tone. If they are “close enough”, then they are changed to be  the same. This way the file doesn’t need to store as many pieces of [...more]

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What Is the Tone Curve in Lightroom (And Camera Raw and Photoshop)?

The tone curve is not the most intuitive feature of Lightroom or Photoshop.  In this tutorial I will explain how to read the curve, and then how to use the basic version of it in Lightroom and Camera Raw.   Note that this is a rewrite of an old post.  If you are a Photoshop user, you will want to read the old one  (but keep in mind that the Lightroom information is out-of-date there.). The tone curve is used to brighten or darken tones in your image.  For general image brightening and darkening, I usually start with Exposure in the Basics panel to set how bright the brightest tones in the image should be, and then I move to the Brightness slider [...more]

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What Lurks in the Shadows: The Case of the Black Cat, or Why You Should Expose to the Right

I wrote this post in early 2009, so I am sure that many of my readers haven’t seen it.  I decided to repost it because it is an important concept for digital photographers to understand. As you may have heard, with digital, unlike film, your goal should be to expose your image as brightly as possible, without blowing out important highlights.  In other words, your histogram should be as far to the right as possible without going over the edge.  This method is now called ETTR — Expose To The Right. What is the histogram?  It is a graph of the tones in your images, from pure black (blocked up, no detail) at the left edge, to pure white (blown [...more]

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