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:

Educational Users:

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.


Post-processing B/W

Toay we have so much power. So much more than in the film days, where we had toi get it all done in camera.

Now, no more. We can shoot RAW and do any desired post processing later.

Take this image, one of the “tween and teen” shoot of the other day:

The kids’ mom and I shot that like this:

So I like the vivid colours. But what if I wanted B/W?

I would set my camera to RAW, but picture style to B/W. That way I see B/W on the back of the camera, to give me some idea.

But the moment I get home, in Lightroom I see colour again. So I go to the DEVELOP module, in within that the “HSL/Color/B&W” pane. I select B&W:

Which gives me this:

That’s nice and all, but as regular readers know, I can now set the brightness of individual colours. Why? Well, for instance, to create contrast between subject and background, or to emphasize or de-emphasize certain areas.

For example, I could make the shirt darker by sliding the “BLUE” slider to teh left. All blue areas (mainly the shirt) would get darker:

Be careful not to go too dark: you will see artefacts: look carefully at the edges of the shirt:

Anyway.. here, I want the shirt brighter. So I tune up blue, and then make various other small adjustments, like making green darker; all of which are aimed at making the boy stand out from the background:

Which gives me my final picture, which looks like this:

Actually, that’s not bad, especially when you consider that in Lightroom, this takes merely a minute of your time.

In the past, we would have used actual filters in front of the lens (e.g. a yellow filter would make the blue areas go darker). The problem is that you cannot readily experiment. Here, you can go crazy (though please don’t). Fun!


Come to me for some personal training, if you want to master these techniques. See Bring a kid or two and you get two benefits: portraits of the kids and teaching. All you need is to bribe your child in to cooperating for three hours. Easy, right?


Learning the tools

If you have not yet looked at my Adobe Lightroom and other photography videos, then head to my YouTube video channel: Regular new tips and techniques. Today’s tip: Secrets of the Healing Brush. A few things I bet you didn’t know.

Note: there’s one spot left on tomorrow’s Oakville Advanced Flash course. Contact me if you are interested.

You Need Protection Against Yourself!

Or rather, you don’t.

A somewhat advanced Lightroom tip for studio photographers today.

Adobe Lightroom, since version 4, has protected us from ourselves. Any overexposed areas are automatically brought back as much as possible as part of the RAW conversion, so that they appear not overexposed.

Fine. Until in a studio portrait, you try to deliberately overexpose the background, so that it becomes pure white. Fine, except Lightroom stops you.

Until you change the RAW conversion back to the older, 2010 version. Then you can overexpose as much as you wish.

I just posted a short video about this here:

TIP: Sign up for my YouTube channel, so you hear when I post a new video.


A few Lightroom Starter Tips

Since I am often asked: here’s a few Adobe Lightroom starter tips to get you going. (Lightroom is the app for photo asset management, editing, and output generating).

  • Set up your files using dated folders (named “year-month-day-subject”), in folders per year, with all those year folders under one master folder. That way, if you move them, it’s just one click to tell Lightroom where they now live, or you can move specific years to off computer storage. See this video.
  • Turn on solo mode in all sidebars, so you see only one pane at a time.
  • Learn abbreviations, like D for “Develop” and G for “Grid”.
  • Turn on the XML files (in “catalog settings”):

  • Realize that each module works differently, including many of the keyboard shortcuts.
  • Back up your catalog file (or files): the “.LRCAT” file(s).
  • Learn how to make presets for things you do often (edits, exports, logos, etc).
  • In Develop, press “i” repeatedly to turn on/off the screen info about your image.
  • Learn collections and smart collections.
  • Start keywording your images. (See “smart collections” as to why!)
  • Look at all the menus and read what they do. So often I am asked “how do I do xyz?”, when the answer is right there. You wouldn’t drive a car without at least looking at the controls first, right? Often, people say “wow, you’re a guru”, when all I have done is spend an hour or two looking at the options.
  • Learn the terminology (“panes”, “HSL”, “Module”, for instance) so that it’s easy to google for answers when you are stuck.
  • Use the histogram when editing.
  • Always select sRGB for exports unless specifically instructed to use AdobeRGB.

There’s a whole lot more, but these may help. Also, see my new YouTube channel with tips and tricks. They’re usually about 5 minutes each: watch them all!


I teach this stuff. Have me set up your Lightroom and teach you how to use it most efficiently – and we’ll do a photo critique of your work while we’re at it; and I’ll show you how to get the most out of your photos. Contact me for information.