Why Doesn’t My Version of Photoshop or Lightroom Support My Camera?

As hard as Adobe works to keep up, when you buy a newly released camera, it may be quite a while before there is a new Lightroom release to support it.  In the meantime, Lightroom will not recognize your camera raw files.   And if you haven’t upgraded from Lightroom 1 or 2, you will never get direct support for newer cameras.  The same issues occur with Camera Raw and Photoshop. So what do you do if you have a new camera, or an older version of Lightroom or Photoshop?  Fortunately there is a free solution — it involves converting your raw files to Adobe’s DNG format first. Jeff Tranberry from Adobe has written a post on converting to DNG […more]


Friends Don’t Let Friends Use Too Much Clarity in Lightroom or Camera Raw

As I wrote in my recent post on sharpening in Lightroom , occasionally when I go to a photography show at a gallery, my first reaction isn’t “What great/horrible photographs!”, but rather “Wow, too much sharpening!”    Sharpening has always been a tool that is easy to go to far with. Unfortunately, with all the new powerful tools available to us, there are now even more ways to get a “Wow, you need to back off on that  Lightroom slider!”  reaction during your photography exhibition.   The clarity slider in the Basics panel is the next-most commonly over-used tool, in my experience. As I wrote about in my blog post on  clarity in Lightroom, clarity makes your subject look more three […more]


Sharpening in Lightroom Part One — Overview and Capture Sharpening

I was having dinner last week  with my good friend Martha, who is a very talented photographer, when she suggested that I do a post on sharpening in Lightroom.  Yes, this is what instructors and photographers talk about at dinner, even after the wine is poured!  Coincidentally, in the past week, two other readers have also asked for posts on how to sharpen in Lightroom. Sharpening is intended to make edges in your photo look crisp.  It can’t bring out-of-focus images into focus, but if your subject is in fact in focus, it can make it look significantly sharper.    It does this by adding  contrast to edges — that is, it brightens the bright side of an edge, and darkens […more]


Blurring Backgrounds in Lightroom

I posted this tip a little over a year ago when Lightroom 3 came out, but I thought I’d post it again, since surprisingly it is one of my most-read posts. Looking to blur out a background to reduce distractions?  In Lightroom 3 or later, use the adjustment brush with Sharpness at -50 to -100.   If this is not enough blur, do it again:  click on New to start a new adjustment, and paint a second time.    If you blur out an object that you want to keep sharp, use the adjustment brush and paint back over the object with +100 Sharpness to restore its sharpness! Also consider using the graduated filter with -100 Sharpness to simulate a shallower […more]


Putting One Lightroom or Camera Raw Spot Removal Fix On Top of Another

Sometimes I find that for cloning or healing I need to put one Lightroom spot removal fix right on top of another.  If you have used this tool, you know that this isn’t directly possible — putting the cursor over an existing circle just gives you the hand tool to move that circle.   It finally occurred to me how this can be done… maybe I am the last person to figure this out, but I thought I’d share it.  I will demonstrate it using Lightroom, but it works the same way in Camera Raw. I am working to remove the cars from behind this girl’s head:


Using the HSL Panel to Work On Individual Colors

The HSL panel allows you to affect individual colors in your image.  HSL stands for Hue, Saturation, and Luminance. You can use Hue to shift a color towards another color, for example,  blue to purple or green.  (Yes, you too can have purple skies!)  Saturation is the intensity of color, so you can make your blues, for example, more rich or more faded out.  Finally, Luminance is brightness.  Use it to brighten or darken a particular color.   

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