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.

Mar 072014
Lightroom 5: The Fundamentals & Beyond training tutorialsI am honored to announce that my Lightroom 5 Workshops on Video (The Fundamentals & Beyond and Producing Great Output) have been named by Fred Eckert of PhotoSource International as the “best and easiest way to master Lightroom 5”, along with Victoria Bampton’s Lightroom 5: The Missing FAQ.  Here’s a quote from his review:

[Laura’s Lightroom workshops on video are] superb and a great value. Laura Shoe is a natural as a teacher with a gift for anticipating all likely questions and the ability to deliver explanations in a pleasant-to-listen-to, precise, easy-to-follow manner. The lessons are well thought out, well organized and flawlessly executed. They’re the next best thing to having a great expert at your side. It’s so easy to learn at your own pace – simply pause a lesson, practice what you just learned and, if necessary, repeat until you’ve got it down pat. It’s very easy to locate any particular topic anytime you need to refresh your memory. It’s perfect for both beginners and intermediate level Lightroom users and will impress advanced users as well.

Find out more about my Lightroom 5 workshops on video.

Lightroom 5: The Missing FAQI wholeheartedly agree with Fred that my video training together with Victoria Bampton’s outstanding Lightroom 5: The Missing FAQ reference book make the perfect combination of tools to master Lightroom!

Jul 012013

Adobe Lightroom 5 - The Missing FAQI am very happy to report that Victoria Bampton’s exceptional reference book, Adobe Lightroom 5 – The Missing FAQ, is now available!  Victoria is a fellow Adobe Community Professional and Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop Lightroom,  the founder of, and one of the most knowledgeable Lightroom experts I know.  She therefore understands what questions Lightroom users have, and has organized her book around these questions. The book is well-written, well-organized, and well-illustrated with hundreds of screenshots and photos, and is full of practical advice about what really matters.

Lightroom 5 - The Missing FAQ - sample page

Sample Missing FAQ page – click to enlarge.

You can purchase either the e-book only (includes PDF, Kindle/Mobi & ePub formats), or the e-book together with a black-and-white paperback. I love the e-book format — I can search the book for a particular topic, and Victoria has included  many hotlinks that allow me to easily jump to related topics. I also enjoy the paperback version.

Sample Missing FAQ page - click to enlarge.

Sample Missing FAQ page – click to enlarge.

Sample Missing FAQ page - click to enlarge.

Sample Missing FAQ page – click to enlarge.

Not only is the book very affordable, but with it you become a premium member of her help service — which not only gives you access to a great Lightroom knowledgebase, but also priority response to emailed questions to her!

The 578 page book has been written primarily as a reference tool, for when you have questions or want to delve into a topic, rather then as a step-by-step tutorial for beginners. It does however have a 45 page “Getting Started” section that focuses on the most critical topics for beginners.  While I am admittedly a bit biased on this topic, I think that a great package of Lightroom resources for both beginners and experienced users is the combination of my Lightroom 5: The Fundamentals & Beyond tutorial video series and Victoria’s Adobe Lightroom 5 – The Missing FAQ.

Finally, I reveal my secret — when I get a question about Lightroom that I can’t answer, I turn to Victoria’s Adobe Lightroom 5 – The Missing FAQ!

Feb 072013

Craft & Vision Photograph MagazineI have to confess that I don’t read many photography magazines. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, it’s simply that I don’t often have the mental bandwidth for them. Whether this is due to age (I’m not telling) or just information overload, I find that I have to be selective in what I pick up. Nevertheless when I heard about  Craft & Vision’s new magazine, Photograph A Digital Quarterly Magazine for Creative Photographers, I was eager to check it out  because my experiences with Craft & Vision’s publications have been very positive.

The magazine is available for download as a PDF and costs $8 (or $6 an issue with a subscription). The current issue (#2) has 122 pages — and is completely ad-free!

Bottom line, the magazine was a pleasure to read. For me personally it has a wonderful balance — it nurtured and encouraged my (blocked) creative muse, gave me some new ideas to try, gave me a better appreciation and awareness for what makes a good photograph (in capture, post-processing and print), and delivered concrete technical skills as well. It is easily worth more than $8 to me, and more importantly, it was worth my time to read it.

Continue reading »

Jan 172012

To be honest, I don’t download a lot of presets from the internet.   I personally have limited mental bandwidth for add-ons, and there are so many out there that they can be hard to sift through.  However, I agree that done right, they can add great value.  It can be very efficient to use a good creative preset or set of presets, since I can get 90% of the way towards making a photo look great with just one or a handful of clicks in one panel rather than having to sift through all of Lightroom’s Develop sliders, plus I can get cool looks that I never would have thought of creating myself.

X-Equals Black and White PresetsOccasionally I hear about some presets that I just have to check out, including X-Equals XeL Black and White Toolkit of over 300 presets. They are designed to emulate the look of 54 classic black and white films, as well as 4 antiquated processes, and the workflow ingeniously follows the traditional black and white darkroom workflow (as I understand it — truth be told, I only had a couple months of film/darkroom experience):

1. Simulate black and white capture:

  • Choose your film type from 54 choices (with a set of presets for each, covering black and white mix, tone and grain)
  • Choose your color filter or color mix

2. Simulate darkroom work:

  • Choose your paper contrast grade
  • Adjust your contrast (with “curve kicks”)
  • Dodge and burn (with graduated filters)
  • Solarize / special effects
  • Toning  (Sepia, Selenium, and 5 more)

The toolkit  also has a cool set of presets to reproduce four antiquated processes ( Tintypes, Daguerrotypes, Cyanotypes and Ambrotypes).

Continue reading »

Feb 012009

A colleague of mine, Kathy Eyster, brought to my attention a great series of compact camera reviews that Digital Photography Review ( published for the holidays:

Enthusiast Digital Compacts

Premium Digital Compacts

Ultra Compacts

Budget Compacts

Digital Photography Review also has excellent  in-depth reviews of DSLR’s and lenses.

Kathy is a an excellent photography  instructor, by the way.  Check out her blog at

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