Adobye?

“Corporations are evil”, is what we hear around us often enough. I have often thought that this was at best an exaggeration, but now I am not so sure: Adobe is doing a good job of appearing to be as evil as possible.

I am talking about Adobe Lightroom, the application that I, my students, and most professional photographers use to run their business. Lightroom rocks. Or rather, it used to rock.

There are now three versions:

  1. The almost-impossible-to-find standalone version. This version is now at 6.13 and, even though it is already missing features, will not be updated anymore. So if you run this, do upgrade, but expect nothing new, now or ever.
  2. Lightroom CC. This is a dumbed-down version for web- and portable-based use. It is missing many essential features: it is basically a toy for people who are unable to learn file management and similar sophisticated features. CC means Creative Cloud: meaning you get to pay Adobe US$10 (which will go up, no doubt) each and every month for the rest of your life (yeah, do the math). Worse, it will need regular permission from Adobe to run. Who on earth would allow their business to be held hostage by some US mega-corporation in this way? Your payment does not reach them, or the login server malfunctions, or Adobe goes broke (you can always hope), or your Internet connection is down when it is most needed – and wham, you are not given permission by Adobe to see your own work.
  3. Lightroom Classic CC. This is basically the existing Lightroom, but with upgrades, and alas, also with the same huge “CC” drawbacks.

Both versions 2 and 3 do everything they can to drive you to the web and to mobile devices. From my perspective, this is dumb, dumb, dumb. Mobile devices are limited, and the last thing a pro needs is “limited”. Why would I handcuff myself? I’ll edit on my Mac, thanks.

And web-based: right. I have 8 TB of photos. which would take about 8 months to upload, with my Internet connection pinned at full capacity for all of those eight months. Not gonna happen. Also, with the top version of the app you get 1 TB of capacity, not 8.

My strategy is simple.

  1. Continue to use 6.13 for as long as I can.
  2. Wait desperately for a competitor (and many companies are working on it)
  3. Change from a Pro-Lightroom evangelist into an Anti-Adobe evangelist.

The Adobe support person who just confirmed all this to me said “if I were you I would feel the same way”. Who knows, if enough of us refuse to move to CC, Adobe may yet reverse their decision. But I am not holding my breath.

 

Moving to Lightroom

A question I get frequently is “how do I get my photos into Lightroom when they are currently in iPhoto (or ‘Photos’)?”

Good question. Like many Apple products, iPhoto/Photos has the annoying property that “it does it all”, meaning among other things that it takes your images and hides them, and you are not to ask where.

But we are asking. So here’s what you do:

  1. Click on your desktop, so that you are in Finder, and select the GO pulldown menu, and from that menu select HOME:

2. Now select the Pictures folder. And in there, you see the iPhoto Library and the Photos library:

3. Right-click on the one you want (iPhoto or Photos), and select “Show Package Contents”.

4. In that package, you see “Masters”. And that is where your originals live.

5. Right-click on that “Masters” folder and (assuming you have enough disk space) create a copy.

6. Now drag that copy to your desktop.

7. Start Lightroom, and select the GRID view (press “G”).

8. Now drag that copy of Masters from your desktop into that Grid.

The Import window starts up, and you can now import the masters into Lightroom. This type of “import” does not move them, it just leaves them where they are but adds a record of them into Lightroom. (Later, you can move them from the desktop to where you want them, just by dragging and dropping within Lightroom).

….Aaaand you are done. Wasn’t so bad, was it?

 

I would share, but…

Adobe Lightroom is the only game in town.

Hence, Adobe has zero incentive to fix large bugs. Like this apparent bug: slideshow export fails if both portrait and landscape mode slides are included. It is incredible that a corporation would let a huge bug like that just sit there, but I too cannot make an export of a slideshow that contains both portrait and landscape images. It just hangs at 1% or thereabouts.

On top of that, Adobe tries to force everyone to sign up for the Creative Suite, i.e. online software as a service with regular payments, and pay at least double what you would pay for a simple app.

Don’t be evil, anyone? Adobe does not even pretend to not want to be evil. The global dislike of corporations really is not a surprise, when you look at this.

Personally, I would not mind paying fair prices for Lightroom. Even high prices. But being manipulated and ignored at the same time by a huge corporation leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

 

Again: No Deleting

As I said in 2016: Today, I present to you an excerpt from my classes at Sheridan College and from my private classes. The subject: “Should I habitually delete my bad pictures?”

And the answer, my photographing friends, is a strong “no”. Deleting, whether “from the camera”, “afterward”, or “instead of formatting”, is always unwise!

So why is that? Let’s look at all three reasons in turn.

[A] Why not delete from your camera?

Well,

  • First of all, it is a waste of time. When you spend your time deleting images, that means that you are “chimping”, i.e. looking at the images instead of looking at the things you are photographing! You should use the time you have on location to be at that location.
  • Also, by all this looking you are wasting valuable battery power; power you may well need later on in the day.
  • And you are losing learning opportunities: why exactly were they bad? The EXIF data usually shows you why—and without the image you may never know.
  • It may be As Good As It Gets: The bad image of uncle Joe may be the last image you have of him.
  • You may be mistaken: Often, you cannot really tell how good or bad the image actually is.
  • And finally, when you make a habit of deleting, you will delete the wrong image soon enough. Guaranteed. Law of nature.

[B] OK. So why not delete afterward?

This too is simple once you think it over…

  • Statistics, is one reason. “How many pictures do you take with wide angle lenses? What proportion if your images is out of focus? How many photos has your camera taken? All these are questions you cannot answer if you have deleted bad images.
  • As before: maybe it’s the only picture you will ever get of this person, even if it is out of focus. I would love too have an out of focus or badly composed picture of Lee Harvey Oswald the day before he shot the president.
  • Processing techniques improve with every iteration of Lightroom/ACR. Maybe that terrible image will be usable 10 years from now.
  • They don’t matter. The drawback of “they get in the way and slow things down or make my photos hard to work with” no longer holds at all with modern image resource management tools like Adobe Lightroom.

So you use 1TB of your 8TB drive for bad stuff. Who cares! Storage is cheap today.

[C] OK then. But why not “delete the card when importing”, or “delete after use”?

  • Because formatting is much, much better than merely marking as deleted (that is all that happens when you “delete”) . It removes lost clusters, fragmentation, and all the other disk error that occur naturally over time on every disk, even virtual disks. Formatting fixes all these and is much safer. It actually deletes.
  • “Deleting when importing” is also unsafe because “what if the import fails”?

But remember, friends, do not format until you have made at least one backup of your images: one main copy, and one backup on other media. All hard drives fail—then question is when, not whether.

So my conclusion: there are lots of reasons to not delete your work. Leave all the bad images intact; format card after backup.

Trust me on this. You will be happy you listened, one day.

Next question.

Q: Should I format the memory card? And where?

A: Yes. After you copy the pictures to a computer and make a backup, and only then: put the card back into the camera and format it. Yes, in the camera, not in the computer. And every time. After your pictures are backed up.

‘Nuff said.

Michael

Booth

I spent Sunday night shooting pictures at a wedding—photo booth pictures, to be precise. And while some photographers think of this as a low-end endeavour, I love it, and I recommend it to all.

“Photo booth” means photos of people using props and funny poser, and printing images on site.

This needs a computer and special software:

IMG_7717

And a tethered camera with a studio-type lighting setup:

IMG_7716

And, ofcorse, props…:

IMG_7720

And finally, technical knowledge as well as people skills.

IMG_7719

The printouts people are handed look like this:

2017-06-04_222331

Look, by the way, at that last picture. How do you fit around 15 people in front of a backdrop meant for two? Here’s how!

20170604_222321_174_1DX_5398

And that’s why I love booths: all my varied photography knowledge comes together for this single purpose.

The result: as the bride told me: “They will remember this wedding because of the booth photos”. If that isn’t the best compliment ever, I don’t know what is.