Archive for ‘Adobe Lightroom’

February 3, 2011

Lightroom, I love you.

She’s got lots of faces and I think they are all fascinating. I love her.

I also have a love for Adobe Lightroom that grows every day. Thanks to a quick and easy tutorial from Allison Torgesen Photography, I was able to create a few storyboard templates in Lightroom.

I love, love, love that I don’t I have to export the images to Photoshop Elements and mess with layers to make a simple storyboard. Each little block is safely watermarked and the look is simple and clean. Yummy.

I saved my jpeg to the same folder from today’s mini living room session and was able to run my regular blog publishing preset to create the perfect sized image for this post. And exporting the same image to Facebook at my husband’s request was only a click away too.

::swoon::

 

February 3, 2011

Pro or No? Choosing a Print Lab

Do you take a lot of pictures? Do they all live as virtual recluses on your hard drive? Too often these images get trapped on our hard drive in endlessly complicated files and folders. Honestly, when is the last time you looked back through those folders to revisit your images? Many of us don’t back-up our hard drives regularly, so we take a risk that we’ll lose all of our precious memories with an unlucky computer failure.

It’s time to pull the images, the best ones at least, out from hiding and give them a new life in the real world.

I enjoy the photographs hanging on my wall every day, especially the beautiful ones by local Albuquerque baby photographer Tammy Staley. Jerry and I hung her photographs of our precious baby girl in our hallway so we can appreciate them each time we walk through our house. Baby girl even likes to blow them kisses on her way to bed. (I hope she’s not becoming to narcissistic).

Now I’m taking more of my own photographs and spending time perfecting my images in Adobe Lightroom. I’ve been searching for a photo lab that would create the best prints of my images.

I sent test prints to a number of professional labs, and also a few common consumer labs for comparison. Because I chose to do my own color management rather than opting for each lab’s color correction, the images from the pro labs were almost indistinguishable. All the pro labs printed the images on Kodak Professional Endura Paper. This paper is relatively heavyweight and sturdy. Most labs also offered a luster finish on the prints. This finish gives a subtle texture for the print that helps protect them from smudges and finger prints. All of the pro labs closely match my screen images. (Please ignore the dust specks in the image below.)

scanned print from professional lab

Isn’t my niece gorgeous? I love those deep, dark eyes and her pouty cupid lips.

I also had my images printed by 3 consumer labs: Walgreens, Shutterfly, and Walmart. I don’t have much to say about Walmart’s print because they managed to lose my order. After navigating through the mess of our local superstore, waiting in line for service, and then being told to go home and try submitting it again after they’d sent me a text message to say my photo was ready to be picked up, I decided to not waste any more time.

Shutterfly’s print was not equal to the professional lab, but it was at the top of the consumer lab prints. Shuttefly prints on Fujifilm Crystal Archive Paper and I was able to select a matte finish that is similar to the luster finish offered by the professional labs. When uploading my images, I had to check each image I ordered separately to turn off their color correction services and it was really a pain in the rear. In the end, the print lacked some of the rich color seen on from the pro labs and I especially noticed the difference in my niece’s skin tones. And those are probably the most important colors in portraits, right? Can you see the slightly pale pallor? Not so pretty.

Shutterfly test print

Walgreens pick was my least favorite. Actually, let me take that back. At least they got the print to me. Their print was my second least favorite. I only had the option for a glossy print. I don’t like the glare on glossy prints. The no-name paper Walgreens uses is flimsier and cheaper in feel. The skin tones are closer to real life, but I noticed a too strong red tint in her hair.

Walgreens test print

If you’re looking for a place to print your next masterpiece, I definitely recommend trying a professional lab. If that’s not possible, Shutterfly would be my second recommendation.

PS I definitely recommend that you avoid scanning prints if at all possible. Each time you have to retranslate the image, you’ll lose some sharpness and detail and introduce the possibility of dust and funky color changes due to inaccurate color calibration.

February 1, 2011

Snow Day Excitement

Not even old enough for school yet…but she gets pretty excited for snow days!

Loved the effect of the window light for this picture. The snow covered ground was a fabulous light reflector. We stayed close to a large glass door and shot with a wide-open aperture. I set the exposure compensation up 2/3 stop and love how well-lit she is and how the background is so dark you don’t even have a hint of the mess that is my living room. For once, I didn’t have to play with the exposure in Lightroom (although I did touch up a few boogers and smooth out her dry skin).

By the way, that’s her new favorite word, “mess.” She’s mastered making them and pointing them out with an insistent repetition of “mess” that stops only when I clean it up for her. Then she quickly moves on to making another.

I’m so thankful the extra day to spend with my baby girl!

January 30, 2011

Sunday Slideshow: Who Knew Homework Could Be So Fun?

Jerry spent most of the day doing work towards his Master’s Degree. We decided to have some family fun time at the park before dinner. We wanted to enjoy the warm weather since snow might be on its way to visit and I needed to get a few more photographs for my Wednesday night class.

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My homework was much more entertaining than Jerry’s. Look close at the slideshow. Can you spot the funny oopsie?

January 22, 2011

Cloudy with a Chance of Smiles

Albuquerque has something like 300 sunny days per year and that’s usually a good thing. I love the sunshine and warmth…especially in the middle of winter.

Today, however, I learned to be thankful for the partly-cloudy sky. Jerry and I took our little girl around Corrales to enjoy the warm afternoon. The clouds provided an excellent filter for the usually harsh midday sun, and I got some beautiful shots.

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Little girl has on a cute vintage  hand-knit sweater. The hoodie zips up the back like a backwards cardigan. Jerry thought she looked a little goofy in it, but I love the neutral color and texture of the knit. Plus, I wore it when I was little, too.

As usual, I did most of my post-processing in Adobe Lightroom. I love that program! For this round of pics, I did some extra editing in Photoshop Elements to get rid of some milk that dried on her face while we drove around town.

January 17, 2011

Yumminess 7 Ways

1. Sleeping in until almost 10 am. Thank you, baby girl.

 

2. It was too late for breakfast by the time we headed out the door, so we had a delicious lunch at Cafe Green in downtown Albuquerque. Hello gouda soup. It is very nice to meet you. I think we should become best friends. (Is it okay to eat new best friends?)

3. Off to a hike at the Elena Gallegos Picnic Area. Yummy view #1 was the mountain with its cloak of moody clouds.

 

4. View #2 is even more yummy. My handsome husband.

 

5. The sharpness of the cactus spines. Okay, so this is probably the least tasty of all today’s yummy things. They would probably hurt quite a bit going down my throat. But, I still think this picture is pretty yummy.

 

6. The spicy aroma as I made Chai Tea Concentrate. Thank you to thecatnipcat via Tasty Kitchen.

 

 

 

7. Afternoon tea. I love afternoon tea. I like afternoon tea at The Bonbonnerie. I love afternoon tea in English novels. I love afternoon tea at home.

 

January 16, 2011

Sunday Slideshow: Just After Sunrise

I woke up just after 7 on Saturday morning and headed straight out the door with my camera. My hope was to follow-up on last week’s sunset slideshow with a sunrise slideshow. Well, the sun was a little too far ahead of me for that. So, I’ll share some just after sunrise pictures instead.

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I visited a farm not too far from my house. There was so much to see and photograph. I loved the variety of surfaces and back-drops that were aged in ways you can’t manufacture. In fact, I think this location would be great for portraits. And judging from the lovely, weathered yellow chair hanging out in the stables, I’m might not be the only person who thinks so.

Now, I just need to find the right subject for this wonderful back-drop. If you’re in the area and you think this might be the perfect setting to capture your lovely face or the lovely face of someone you know, leave a comment and I’ll be in touch with you.


January 15, 2011

Life is Messy, But Beautfiul

Somehow my daughter never seems to have a clean face. I hate trying to wrangle her into a still position to wipe her face and listen to her angry screams. Even my not-so-clean husband sometimes gets bothered by the ickiness before me. So, most of the time I let her run around with a food-slathered, somewhat crusty, dog-hair covered face. That sounds really gross. But, even really gross can be really beautiful.

I did some minor editing in Adobe Lightroom for this beauty. I changed the white balance to make the picture a touch warmer and softened her skin just a bit. I did not edit out the food on her face–she just wouldn’t be my daughter any longer if I did. If you look close enough, you might even be able to find a stray dog hair.

I’m loving how the pink in her shirt is picked up by the flowers on the silk pillowcase. Thanks mom for the gift from Singapore!

What’s messy but beautiful in your life?

January 8, 2011

Beautiful New Mexico Skies

When I moved to New Mexico, I was amazed by the wide open skies and views that extended more miles than I could fathom. Even after more than six years living here, I still don’t take these views for granted. Especially in the winter, when my work commutes are set to the backdrops of our beautiful sunrises and sunsets, I am awed.

The vibrant, constantly changing colors, however, sometimes appear lackluster when captured on camera.

 

Here’s a shot from this afternoon. The colors of the sky and landscape look washed out by the strong midday sunlight. The fluffy white clouds blend in too well against the light blue sky.

Luckily, Adobe Lightroom offers a simple tool to restore the vibrancy of the colors. In the Develop module, I selected the HSL panel. HSL stands for hue, saturation, and luminosity. Hue alters the color. Saturation alters the vividness of a color. Luminosity alters the lightness or darkness of a color.

There are sliders in the HSL panel that can be used to change the values. I prefer to use the targeted adjustment tool marked here by the red arrow.

To change the HSL of a color:

1. Select Hue, Saturation, or Luminance in the menu.

2. Click on the targeted adjustment tool.

3. Click and hold the mouse button down on an area in the photograph you would like to adjust.

4. Move your mouse up and down to adjust the level of your selection. You will see the slider(s) of the color you selected move up and down and the changes on your photograph.

5. Release the button, then click done.

For my photograph, first I adjusted the saturation of the blue in my sky. I increased the saturation by 85 to make the blue more vibrant. Then, I decreased the luminosity of the blue by 10 to increase the contrast between the sky and the clouds a little more.

I really love how these adjustments gave the sky more depth. I also increased the saturation of the orange in the landscape to combat the washed-out effect of the strong sunlight. Here’s a side by side comparison of the before and after so you can really see the difference.

One caveat to using the targeted adjustment tool, the color changes made are global. Meaning similar colors anywhere in your picture will also be adjusted. Making adjustments to red, orange, and yellows might affect skin tones in portrait photography, so be sure to watch those areas.

January 7, 2011

The Magic of Lightroom Presets

Have I told you yet how much I love Lightroom and its nondestructive editing capabilities? I spent some time this evening playing with the standard Lightroom presets using my teapot photograph from yesterday. Lightroom presets provide a quick, simple way to change the appearance of a photo. Changes vary from subtle to dramatic depending on the preset.

I love that I can how my photo will look with a preset by hovering over it with my cursor and watching the navigation menu. I was drawn towards more muted presets tonight–no crazy cross-processing for these babies.

As I “tried on” the various presets, I created virtual copies of my favorites to share here.

B&W Creative Look 1

B&W Creative Look 4

Color Creative Old Photo

Creamtone

Help me pick a preset so I can apply it to the two remaining images and print my triptych. My kitchen walls are desperate for some loving.

 

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