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Do you like Lightroom’s print layout capabilities, but don’t have a printer to print to, or want to just share your design electronically?

Perhaps you saw my video tutorial on using the Lightroom Custom Print Package to design collages, but you thought it wasn’t relevant to you because you don’t have a printer.

No problem — design your layout in the Print module, and print to a jpeg instead of to a printer.  Send the jpeg out for someone else to print, or email it out to your clients or friends.  In the Print Job panel in the bottom right, change Print to: Printer to Print to: Jpeg File.

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LRB Lightroom PresetsSean McCormack over at has recently released his new Lightroom preset pack.  According to Sean, it is a set of 18 presets  ”that range from B&W to heavily processed colour looks for people photography. It borrows a lot from current fashion trends, but is equally at home with bands, portraits and fashion. Inspiration for each preset has come from a variety of sources, magazine editorials, lookbooks and from other photographers.”

A disclaimer up front — if you have seen my photo galleries, you know that I am not a people photographer. However,  since Sean is a fellow blogger and a Lightroom expert, I was eager to try them out.   While I can’t say whether they come close to (or improve on) popular looks in the fashion and portrait industries because I don’t follow these industries, I really like the variety of looks produced, and I found that I enjoy some of the presets on landscape images as well.    My favorites are Fashion Two, Ocean, Kustard, Perry, and Grunged, but of course this is subjective.  Continue reading »


You may have read my two posts about  the value of exposing to the right in digital photography (also known as ETTR), What Lurks in the Shadows: The Case of the Black Cat and The Perfect Exposure, Or, When Things Don’t Look So Good.   In the second one, I show you an example of where I nail my exposure — the photograph  is exposed as brightly as possible without blowing out any significant highlights (any highlights at all, in this case):

(For an explanation on how to read the histogram, see the first post.)

I often get the follow-up question from readers, “How do you expose it so perfectly, other than by bracketing and trial and error?”

It’s actually quite easy, once you get to know your camera.   There are all kinds of exposure rules in photography — but when I switched to a digital camera, I have to admit that I abandoned most of them for the one I will explain below. Continue reading »


Adobe recently announced the upcoming release of this new software to manage images across devices via the cloud. Their initial target audience is point-and-shoot jpeg shooters, but it will almost certainly grow to include raw support, Lightroom integration, etc…

As the first version is only available for the Mac (Windows to follow in 2012), I can’t actually get my hands on it to review it, but Rob Sylvan over at Lightroomers has a nice article on Carousel with his impressions so far, and some good perspective for those of us wondering how it might fit into our photo lives today.


Students often ask me whether they should buy Lightroom or Photoshop or something else, so I thought I would put down my thoughts on this in writing.  I actually wrote this quite a while ago, but because it wasn’t technically a blog post, you would have had to stumble onto it elsewhere on my website.  For those that haven’t stumbled onto it and have this question, here it is:

Lightroom is Adobe’s image management and enhancement program designed specifically for serious amateur and professional photographers. With more and more powerful features being added with each new release, Lightroom has become a very powerful program which can help you to stay organized and be able to find your photos quickly, produce beautiful editing results,  and for those where time is money, dramatically increase the efficiency of your workflow. In addition, you’ll find that once you learn it, working on your photos in Lightroom really is fun!

Lightroom Tutorials for Beginners

Lightroom’s Library, Develop and Map Modules

I define serious amateur as someone who can and wants to spend the time to get the most out of their images. If you are only interested in doing a few simple adjustments, such as cropping, fixing a color cast and fixing red eye, and don’t expect to have a lot of images to manage, then Lightroom is most likely more than you need. In this case, Picassa, Photoshop Elements, or any number of free or inexpensive consumer photo programs would be appropriate. Continue reading »


Adobe today announced Adobe Carousel, designed to allow you to work on and sync images across your mobile devices and desktop computer.

From John Nack, “This new app–announced today for iOS and Mac OS X (with Android & Windows versions in development)–brings a highly tuned version of the Lightroom/Camera Raw engine to mobile devices, combining it with excellent multi-device syncing. Key coolness: Continue reading »


In this Lightroom and Photoshop video tutorial, I demonstrate how to copy eyes, faces or heads (or anything) from one photo into another and transform them to fit.   This sweet cat of mine died a couple weeks ago, and I wanted to make a print of this image.  However, the eyes were out of focus — but fortunately I had another version that had in-focus eyes that I could borrow from.

I don’t post much on Photoshop, because these days I don’t use it nearly as much as I do Lightroom. However, compositing is one example of where I still rely on it.  Compositing in Photoshop can be a complicated process.  This is a relatively easy example.  For those who are new to Photoshop, it may still not provide enough detail for you — but it will give you an idea of what can be done.

You will see that Lightroom is used to do initial raw adjustments to both photos at once, and to bring the two photos into Photoshop as layers in one document.

Click here to watch the video.


Adobe DNG Converter for converting camera raw filesAs 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 for these purposes.  He includes a link to a Julianne Kost video on the advantages of DNG and how to incorporate DNG into your workflow. 

Read Jeff’s article, and then come back and read more here!


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 to set overall image brightness.  Finally, I go to the Tone Curve when I want to affect just particular ranges of tones — for example, perhaps I want to brighten just the shadows or darken just the highlights in an image.  In Lightroom, it is the panel directly below the Basics Panel in the Develop Module.  In Camera Raw, it is the second symbol from the left below the histogram.

Reading the Tone Curve 

Let me first say that if at the first mention of “graphs” and “X and Y axes”, your eyes are about to glaze over, you can skip down to “Using the Basic Curve”.  You don’t have to know how to read the curve to use the basic version.  However, consider giving it a try!  If you fall asleep, I will take full responsibility — just please don’t read this while you are driving.

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If you watched my video tutorial on the Custom Print Package in Lightroom, you know how to make a collage of photographs.  Here’s an example I put together quickly, leaving the background color white, and adding a grey stroke border to the images (the black frame is not part of the result):

You could make your collage any size, and just let Windows or Mac OS X resize and stretch it to fit your monitor, but why not make it the exact size needed, so that it fills your monitor and there is no distortion? Continue reading »

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