Lightroom: Upgrade to 5?

Yes. Yes you should upgrade to LR5, and I mean now. For the vignette tool, but also for the healing tool, and especially for the lens correction tool. Corrections are “one click” now: both lens as well as architecture correction. Look: original on the left; corrected with simple click on the right

My 16mm lens is perfect, except of course it does introduce a little barrel/pincushion distortion: barrel on the left. One click and it’s gone. Those clicks are here:

“Enable profile corrections” checks if it knows your camera/lens combo, and corrects for vignetting and distortion. “Auto” corrects for the perspective distortion that exists when you aim the camera slightly up or down. Two clicks and perfect: that alone is worth Lightroom. That way I get verticals that are vertical, im images like this:

Any idea how much time that saves me? 100 times the 2 minutes (if I am very quick) that it would otherwise take me in Photoshop, os that is three hours saved on just this one aspect of my photos. Lightroom 5 is the way to go.

 

How you think: an example

Often. it’s not the “what”, but “how”. How do you decide what settings to you in your cameras? What to shoot?

I shall use myself, and today’s shoot, as an example. I shot a house, for a real estate agent:

When shooting something like this, my camera is in manual model. So I need to make many decisions. And I need to be quick: cannot afford to hang around, for the home-owner’s sake, the realtor’s sake, and my own sake.

So before the shoot I decide :”outside, tilt-shift”. Arriving, I had my tilt-shift lens on the camera already. Using the sunny sixteen rule, before even starting I set my camera to 1/100 sec, ISO100, and started at f/11. I looked; that was a little dark, the meter told me, so I went to f/8. Perfect. Then came the fine tuning: I wanted a faster shutter for hand held, so I used 1/200 sec, which necessitated f/5.6. (shutter gave me one stop less light, which I fixed by aperture giving me one stop more light).

Then I focused manually, held the camera straight, and shifted the lens up. Click. Done. Time taken: Seconds.

Now inside. I already knew I would want the wide angle lens, so I put it on, the 16-35mm f/2.8 lens. Inside, I saw mainly simple white ceilings, so I decided simple flash bouncing with one flash, and combining that with ambient, would be fine. Then the sequence was:

  1. I set my camera to 400 ISO: that is my starting standard for bright indoors.
  2. I selected f/5.6: with a wide lens, that will give me sharpness from “near me” to “infinity”.
  3. Then I selected 1/50 second, which, I was sure, would give me visibility of inside light fixtures.
  4. I selected flash exposure compensation of +1 stop, and turned the flash upward behind me at roughly 45 degrees.

I got:

And that confirmed what I wanted: outside not too crazy bright; light fixture visible, room well lit. Done. Now for the rest of the shoot all I changed was the shutter speed:

  • I first tried 1/50 second.
  • Where “outside” was important, I went up to as much as 1/250 second. This gave a colder inside but better outside.
  • Where “inside” was important and outside could be a little blown out, I went down to as little as 1/20 second.

Once the basics were taken care of, now I started to think about what to shoot:

  • Diagonal into each room; straight-on in the kitchen.
  • I shot from slightly below eye-level (but not below cupboard level if that meant seeing the bottom of cupboards).
  • Of course I went wide, very wide… but I resisted going TOO wide: over-promising and under-delivering is not a very good strategy.
  • I ensured that all the lights were turned on in the rooms I shot.

And of course I avoided this error:

Can you see the error?

Yes, you need to be extremely cautious in a house with many mirrors.

I estimated an hour for this shoot. Time taken: Exactly 56 minutes. A good job, if I am allowed to say so myself, and it feels good to do a good job. This is a beautiful home, and I trust my photos (103 of them) will help secure a very quick sale for list price; perhaps even list price “plus”.

 

Cloudy

As you all know, Apple Aperture is end-of-life. And with that, end-of-competition: Lightroom is the only game in town.

And with that, Adobe is flexing its muscle; it is trying to get everyone to use their “Cloud” subscription model. That way, they get a fee (like $9.99) every month, instead of one payment of $150 for Lightroom forever. Clearly, they are interested in this.

Clearly, I am not interested.

  • First, I would pay much more (In five years I’d pay $600, as opposed to $150 for the app, and even with upgrades perhaps double that over that period).
  • Second, I want nothing with auto upgrades. This is mission critical. I am still using CS3 (very occasionally). If it ain’t broke…
  • The price is $9.99 per product per month, I think. But that is today’s price… subject to change.
  • Third, I want nothing to do with a product that has to go online occasionally to check if I am allowed to use it. No way. What if I lose my password? What if their authentication system fails? What if my Internet connectivity fails, e.g. because I am travelling? No, that just will not do. This is company critical: I need an app that is mine to run without authentication, permission, whatever.

Adobe is making it almost impossible to buy Lightroom today. But the key is “almost”. After a long while online with support, I was today given the “BUY AS A PRODUCT” links:

Normal Users: https://www.adobe.com/products/catalog/software._sl_id-contentfilter_sl_catalog_sl_software_sl_mostpopular.html?promoid=KLXMI

Educational Users: https://store1.adobe.com/cfusion/store/html/index.cfm?store=OLS-EDU&event=displayProduct&categoryPath=/Applications/PhotoshopLightroomSTE

For as long as possible, I shall go on using Lightroom as  a normal license rather than a monthly subscription, and you all may want to do the same.

 

Fun

I shoot fun photos too. As you should. The other day, I went to a concert, and before the concert, I took a few photos at the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto. I used my little Fuji X100 camera, which has a fixed 24mm (35mm equivalent: 35mm) lens.

Jellyfish love?

I shot these at 1600 ISO, f/2. 1/125 second. close to glass. No flash, of course.

The biggest problem was focus. These darn fish move.

I would not want to be one of these little fish.

I suppose the moral of today’s post is: bring a camera everywhere. Try stuff you have not shot before. Use high ISO values if you need. Quality is paramount.

For a shark, food is paramount.