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Phaim (fāme) — Larry Becker’s Blog

June 11, 2009 in Photography, Photoshop

I was going to save this one for next week but as I was reading I decided to pass it along today.

NAPP Executive Director and all-around great guy, Larry Becker (interviewed here), has recently joined the blogosphere with his new blog Phaim (fāme). In his own words:

Phaim is my strange play on a combination of a few words like photography, Photoshop, smartphones and the word “aim,” as in ‘what you aim for.’ Actually it’s about photographic goals, and the business of photography, freelance, and smartphones, but “phoals” or “phisness” just doesn’t sound as clever.

As I was browsing around his site my attention was caught by a recent post about Nikon SB-600 Speedlights. In it, Larry gives a great rundown of the pros and cons of the SB-600 as it compares with the newer models that have become a staple for the pros. I, myself, am fairly new when it comes to off-camera flash and picked up an SB-600 with the rewards points from my credit card and have been extremely pleased with the results.

And I agree with Larry that for the cost you probably can’t find a better flash unit, especially if you’re just starting out and want to learn the art of light.

The blog isn’t all about Photoshop and photography, though. Larry will also be dedicating posts to various gadgets and tech topics as well as some great stuff on small business marketing.

So, even if you’re not looking to add yet another blog to your list, check this one out!

Photoshop Interview: David Ziser

April 20, 2009 in Blogroll, Inspiration, Photography, Photoshop, Photoshop Interview

Photoshop Interviews

David ZiserThis month we welcome wedding photographer, lighting expert, trainer, blogger, and all-around great guy, David Ziser of Digital ProTalk. I first got in touch with David back when he was a newbie blogger in the summer of 2007 and he’s now logged well over 1650 posts in the midst of his regular schedule of shooting weddings, running his successful master class for photographers, traveling around the country to run photography workshops, and writing a new book.

I was lucky enough to sit down with David over the phone about a week ago to talk a little bit about where he comes from and where he’s headed.

Jason D. Moore Photography: First off, thank you for taking the time to sit down with me today. Tell me a little bit about your background and how did you get into photography?

David Ziser: I never really went to school for photography. My dad always told me to get a “real” job, while he was alive. My background is actually in physics and engineering. I’ve got a degree in physics and I’ve got another degree in engineering. And I was actually trying to attempt a triple major back in my college days so I’m like 2 classes short of a computer science degree.

I worked my way through college as a photographer so I’ve actually been shooting weddings for 45 years.

I graduated college in 1971 and worked as an engineer for a couple of years. My friends started to get married and asked me to do their weddings ‘cause they knew that I’d been doing it since I was 15 years old. So it was actually in October of 1978, 31 years ago, when I opened my studio doors for business  and I’ve been doing it ever since. And, as a matter of fact, I started winning different awards by around 1979-1980 and was asked to start lecturing by Art Leather, the album company, around 1982/83. Lisle Ramsey got word about what I was up to and put me on the international circuit around 1984 so I had already lectured in New Zealand only 5-6 years into my career and then again in Australia. And the rest is history.

I’m a guy who carefully avoided public speaking my entire high school and college career and now it’s about half of what I do for a living.

JDMP: How did you get started with Photoshop?

DZ: I’m not like some of these guys who jumped in with version two, I didn’t jump on board until around version 5.

I shot my first digital wedding at the end of 2000. I was an expert, I could just about use the dodge and burn tool and maybe the rubber stamp tool and that was about it! If I didn’t need it I never really tried it. Finally with Photoshop 7 I started getting more involved with it because by then we were into the whole digital swing of things.

Now I feel like I’m pretty good at it. I wouldn’t call myself a Julieanne Kost or a Scott Kelby or any of those guys but I know my way around a Layer Mask or two.

We probably do 80% of our image adjustments and enhancements in Lightroom and just go to Photoshop for the heavy lifting, do skin retouching and taking out big exit signs or something like that.

JDMP: How do you see the relationship between these tools and the execution of the artist’s vision?

DZ: The camera is a tool and the software is a tool. For Ansel Adams the developer and the developing time and exposure, those were his tools to get what he wanted, and burning and dodging and so forth. And aren’t we doing that with the software now? What’s cool with the software these days is our vision can change. I think the software can even modify your first impressions of what you wanted image to be.

Look at the painters from the traditional painters to the modern art painters. We can adjust any pixel the way we want it, and they adjusted any pigment on their canvas the way they wanted it. Who cares if it’s pixels or pigments we still have the control and the latitude and the creativity that we can bring to it with our knowledge of how our tools work, whether it be brushes and pigments and inks, on the painter’s side, or pixels in Photoshop and Lightroom on the digital photographer’s side.

Some photographers say, get it right in the camera, you don’t need Photoshop. My rule is, if it takes you longer to get it right in the camera than it does in Lightroom or Photoshop, than go to Lightroom or Photoshop. Take the darn picture and fix it in two minutes in Photoshop or Lightroom.

JDMP: What about those who think you need to have the latest and greatest camera?

DZ: I had this slide in my PowerPoint about a year ago, when Nikon was running the ads with Ashton Kutcher, and the question was, “Do you think the camera lets you take a better picture?” And it was something like 40% thought most of the time, and like 30% thought all the time. It was a goofy number like 79% of the people thought that the camera would help you take a better picture. I would agree to that, to some extent, that you can get the exposure down and everything else but A good picture is more than just a properly exposed photograph.

JDMP: How did you first get into blogging?

DZ: I’m a two-finger typist, by the way, so when I blog, I really invest myself into this thing!

Scott Kelby and I had been emailing while he was doing his Lightroom 1 tour and asked me how to tweak the lighting before he went up on stage. By the time I got to email him back I said, “Well why don’t you come up to help me with a wedding?” The timing worked out and it was July 27, 2007. We finished the wedding at about 1, we went back to my home and we sat up talking until about 3/3:30 in the morning about blogging because I was curious about trying it and what he said to me was, “You’ve got to feed the monster every day or it dies. And that was where we left it.” My wife and I took a trip to Paris and I started blogging the trip. It was called “David and LaDawn on the Road” and that was my first blog.

We came back and I started Digital ProTalk in mid-August. #1 I find the blog to be creative for me. It gets me thinking about what I do: photography and teaching. It’s leveraged how I teach because I put something on there every day. And another thing, and I’m not sure if others will say the same thing, I find it to be relaxing and rewarding when I wake up at 6 or 6:30.

I’ve done 1650 posts to date, and counting.

JDMP: You have a new tour just getting started. Tell me a little bit about your Digital WakeUp Call Tour

DZ: I’m a photographer who has studied classical lighting and posing and this and that and everything else and I wasn’t seeing that a lot in many wedding photographs. So we went out in ’06 and we talked about composition and good lighting and also some software things and some business building things.

Everyone was telling me to do it again and ‘09 was the year to do it. So for the last 6 months we’ve been putting together the content of the tour and designing the presentation and we started right after Photoshop World.

It’s 4 hours long and we’re talking about lighting, lightning and even more lighting – how to get the best use out of your on-camera flash and how to use off-camera flash to really make your images sing. There’s way too much software and way too little time to learn it all so what I talk about are “Software Magic Bullets” – things that make your workflow really streamlined. And the last part of the program is about business building and what any photographer can do, from seasoned professionals to part-time photographers to emerging professional photographers, to build their business.

The tour has caught fire! We’re giving away ¼ million dollars in giveaways over the course of the tour. It’s generated a tone of interest and people are loving it. I’m really excited about it!

JDMP: What else do you have going on?

DZ: I’ve got my first book coming out this summer and I teach my Digital Master Class, a week-long class where photographers come in here for about 50 hours a week. I think we’re the best value class going.  It’s photography for 2 days, software for about a day or so and then, of course, business building at a price that doesn’t break the bank.

JDMP: Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with me! It’s been a real pleasure!

DZ: Thanks for your support and for linking over, and I really appreciate it! We’ll have to guest blog for each other sometime.

Towner Jones Photography, LLCPhotoshop Interviews is brought to you in part by Towner Jones Photography, LLC. Check out all of the great things Rob is doing over there!

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Workflow Friday: Scotty Graham

April 3, 2009 in Blogroll, Inspiration, Photography, Photoshop, Workflow

Photoshop Workflows

This week’s Workflow Friday comes from the other side of the world from my humble home here in the states. Scotty Graham lives in Indonesia and takes some tremendous shots from all over the world, both above and below the water. Today’s workflow contribution gets us beneath the surface of Scotty’s process and will surely offer some info and inspiration as you approach your own work.

Scotty, they’re all yours!

From Dive To Print

I am honored to be Jason’s guest blogger today on Workflow Friday. My name is Scotty Graham, and I am a professional photographer. Although a professional, I do not make my living taking photos, thankfully. I am a teacher, and my hope is that you can learn something new today.

I enjoy all forms of photography. However, my passion for the past 25 years has been underwater photography. My workflow is different with my underwater photography than it is for my work above ground. In fact, my workflow for my “land” photography is not much different than the other professionals that have shared their workflow on this blog. Today, let’s change the pace just a bit, and let me describe my typical workflow for an underwater photograph. Let me warn you, this is a lengthy post, but in reality, it only takes me a few minutes to actually edit my photographs. Learning short cuts in Photoshop, and using pre-recorded actions helps save heaps of time.

Before I start, I must thank Scott Kelby and his incredible staff at NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals). Virtually everything I know about Photoshop and Lightroom was learned from these incredible educators. If you are not a member of NAPP, sign up NOW….it will be the best 99 bucks you ever spent.

Ok, onto my workflow…using Scott Kelby’s style, I will go step by step…

Step 1: The first actual step is the preparation before the dive. Underwater, you cannot change lenses, and some camera functions cannot be changed either (depending on your housing). So, before I jump on the boat, I must decide if I am going to shoot wide-angle or macro or super macro. Each requires a different set-up with my equipment…ie, which ports to use, which strobes to use, which strobe arms to use, and which lens to install. My decision is really based on the amount of ambient light available at the time of my dive, the visibility, the tide, current, and the time of day. If it is a bright sunny day, I prefer to take wide-angle shots as there will be lots of ambient light that my camera can capture beyond the scope of my strobes. For the shot I am going to describe, I decided to go wide angle. It was early morning, the sky was blue with a bright sun, visibility was good, and we were going to a nice reef with many schooling fish with strong current. Strong current usually means lots of fish, but more challenging for the photographer.

Step 2: Set up your equipment, and check to be sure all camera settings are set beforehand, and that your camera and strobes are working. Check all dive equipment to be sure all is in good working order, and that your tank is full of air. Again, once underwater, if something is not working, you are stuck. Your SCUBA equipment should be in good working order, and your dive skills (especially buoyancy skills) should be top rate. Don’t take photographs underwater until you are an experienced diver or an accident is ready to happen.

My equipment for this shot: Nikon D300, Nexus housing, two Nikonos SB-105 strobes, Nexus dome port and Nikon 10.5 mm DX lens.

Step 3: Plan your dive with your buddy. Make sure he/she knows your plan for what you are going to shoot, and to be prepared to hang around while you take many shots of the same subject from many different angles. Diving with another photographer is usually better as other photographers understand that sometimes an entire dive is spent around one small area of the reef.

Step 4: Dive your plan. When I entered the water, I looked down and saw a gorgeous reef and schooling Yellowstriped Snappers. I instantly knew what I wanted. I wanted a photo of the Snappers swimming across the reef with a blue water background.

Step 5: Get the shot. This is the tough part. Fish are not cooperative models. They rarely swim where you want them, they are always moving, and they are shy and don’t like to get close to your camera. There is also current, surge, and other environmental hurdles trying to prevent your from taking a photo. The key is to stay relaxed, to be patient, and to be a “quiet” diver.

I was able to find a nice sandy spot on the bottom behind a reef that blocked the current. I set my aperture to f-11 (I had decent ambient light for a mid-range f-stop), and my strobes to maximum power. For wide angle underwater, you need to be within inches of your subject to be sure your subject is well lit, and doesn’t appear too small. I waited for the fish to circle the reef, and then slowly approached the reef trying not to disturb the fish. I also wanted the sun in the photo. While viewing my composition in the small viewfinder of my housing, I drift as  close to the fish as I can, and fire. Of course, as soon as my strobes fire, the fish scatter…I go back to my spot in the sand, check my photo in my small screen for correct exposure, composition and focus.

Usually, something is off, so I keep repeating the above with different settings and perhaps from a different angle until I get a shot I am happy with. This is the beauty of digital photography. In the old days, I would shoot an entire roll of film on one spot bracketing every shot in hopes of getting one keeper. Digital saves heaps of time as I can just delete underwater if I missed the shot, and I don’t have to wait a week after my dive trip to see if I got the shot or not. What a great time to be an underwater photographer.

Step 6: After the dive, I remove my CF card and download my photos to my EPSON P-5000 (one of the best things I have ever bought). I soak my camera in fresh water (with the housing, of course), go to the nearest hammock, turn on my ipod, and check out the photos I just took looking for keepers. I never delete photos in the EPSON P-5000 unless they are total crap…sometimes a photo that looks like crap turns out to be a good photograph, so I usually keep everything until I see them on my big screen at home (I have a 24-inch iMac).

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Step 7: The dive trip is over, and I am home. I hook my EPSON P-5000 to my computer, and download all the photos to a folder on my hard drive named after the dive trip and date…example, RajaAmpat_March2009. I then burn a back-up copy of the photos onto a DVD.

Step 8: I import the photos from this folder into Lightroom, assign key words to all the photos, and keep them in the original folder.

Step 9: I have two monitors, so I have set up Lightroom so that I can view each of my photos in my Apple 23-inch cinema display, and the rest of Lightroom on my 24-inch monitor of my i-Mac. My 23-inch monitor is profiled and calibrated using Spyder3 software (and hardware) for my EPSON 9880 printer, so any adjustments to my photo should be viewed on my calibrated monitor so that accurate prints can be made later.

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

I then browse through my images and flag the shots I like and delete the totally awful shots (believe me, there are tons of the latter).

Step 10: I then go to the shots that I have flagged as possible keepers, and start the editing process. I chose this photo to edit. All my photos are taken in RAW, and this particular shot is the best I got of the Snappers swimming over the reef.  My settings are f-11 at 1/60 sec at ISO 200…10.5mm lens.

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Step 11: Move to the develop module in Lightroom. This is where my workflow differs somewhat from my land shots. Color underwater is a mess. You lose color very quickly underwater. The color is lost in order of the spectrum of light…remember ROY G BIV? First, you lose your reds, oranges and yellows, then greens, then Blues, Indigo and violets. Get to a depth of just 10 meters and everything looks grey until you artificially add light, and then the color comes bursting at you. This is why it is imperative you shoot with strobes underwater. Even with strobes, my photo above looks washed out and drab. My goal in Lightroom is to bring back the color and make my image “pop”.

Step 12: I first look at the histogram and check for proper exposure. In this case, the photo is a bit underexposed but with some “spikes” on the extreme right. So, the first thing I do is slide the exposure slider to the right slightly, and then slide the recovery slider to the right to bring down those spikes and to gain back any detail lost from over-exposed parts of my photo (mainly the fish bellies in the top left)

Here is my original histogram…

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Here is my new histogram…

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Now my photo looks like this…not too different…

Step 13: Crop. I don’t like the light from my strobes showing in the top left of the photo and the right side of the photo. I will crop those areas out of the photo.

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Step 14: Now for the color. This is the most difficult part of the process. Above ground, I usually make my photos warmer. Underwater, if you move the temp slider to a warmer temp, you will lose the nice blues in the water. On the other hand, if you cool the photo down to bring out the blue water, you lose the nice yellows in the fish. Since reds are the first colors that are lost underwater, I almost always need to move the tint slider to the right for more magenta. The trick is finding the right balance between the two sliders…and I usually do this by eye. I know what the scene is supposed to look like, so I just mess with the sliders until I get close to what I want. I also will use the eye-dropper and click on a neutral gray, and see what Lightroom gives me, and then tweak from there…I settled on these settings…

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Step 15: Now go to the color palette and the Tone Curve. I go through each color and move the sliders to bring out each individual color, and then move to the Tone Curve to darken or lighten the highlights, lights, darks and shadows. The most important color to play with is the blue. Here I darkened the blues and added more saturation.

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Step 16: Now I go to the other fun sliders…fill light, blacks, contrast, clarity and vibrance. I rarely touch the saturation slider…I just play with these to add contrast and to give the photo some punch. Here are my settings…

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Step 17: The last thing I do in Lightroom is to darken the edges with a Lightroom preset that I got from Matt Kloskowski’s website…called Edge Darkening. After darkening the edges, I sometimes have to increase the exposure or fill light to balance.

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Step 18: Time to move into Photoshop. Press Cmd + E, and my photo opens in Photoshop with the changes I made in Lightroom.

Step 19: I have some actions that I created that does some magic with colors…in this particular action, I have done the following  with one click of the mouse…
A curves adjustment layer to brighten the scene…

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

A levels adjustment layer to intensify the contrast…

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

And a Hue and Saturation adjustment layer to boost the colors…

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Here is my layers palette…I group all of these adjustments, and then lower the opacity of the group so that it is not over done…

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Step 20: Now for some dodging and burning. I want to lighten some of the coral in the foreground, and the school of fish, and darken some of the coral in the background. I do this by creating two new curves adjustment layers with a mask. Once again, I have actions that create these two layers and masks with a single click of the mouse. One brightens the exposure, and the other darkens the exposure. I then paint in both masks where I want the photo brighter and where I want the photo darker. Here is my layers palette. Notice the white parts of my two masks….where I have painted white is where light has been painted or where darkness is painted…

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Notice in the photo how the foreground is now brighter, and there is more depth to the school of fish making it appear almost 3-D. The image really pops now as well…

Step 21: My final step in Photoshop is sharpening. I have many sharpening techniques. One of my favorites is a third party filter called Lucis Art. It is like sharpening on steroids. I use the sculpture filter, and sometimes the wyeth filter. The wyeth filter has a tendency to make your photos have an HDR look to them… sometimes good, and sometimes not good. For underwater, I don’t really care for the HDR look, so I usually just use the sculpture filter from Lucis Art. Of course, Photoshop’s unsharp mask works really well too if you don’t have Lucis Art. Anyway, I flatten my image, then duplicate the layer (cmd+J on a mac), and apply the filter, and then reduce the opacity if the effect is too strong.

Step 22: I am finished editing, and am now ready to print or save to the web for my website. I save my changes in Photoshop, which then saves the changes to the copy of the photo in Lightroom. I then print from Lightroom to my EPSON 9880. Printing is an entirely different tutorial…but Lightroom does make it easy, and the nice thing about printing from Lightroom is that it has built-in output sharpening developed by Jeff Schewe and Bruce Fraser who are legends in fine art printing.

Here is the before image…

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

Here is the final image…

Scotty Graham - Photoshop Workflow

If you are interested in seeing more of Scotty’s work, check out his photo blog at or his website

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NEW: Nikon D Town with Scott Kelby & Matt Kloskowski

February 26, 2009 in News, Photography

Nikon D Town with Scott Kelby & Matt Kloskowski

You heard it hear first! As of 12:30am today, Friends-of-the-Blog Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski are launching a new weekly show for Nikon DSLR shooters called Nikon D-Town.

Partnering with Nikon, the show airs online each Thursday, and you can watch the premiere episode now! Each episode is full of tips and techniques to help you get the most of your Nikon gear. And the comment lines are open so viewers can add their own comments, tips and ask questions that might get answered in an upcoming show.

I’ve already watched the first episode and I think it’s just great! Scott shows us how to set the white balance using “Live View,” Matt shows us how to do some local adjustments with Nikon Capture, we learn a little bit about di-GPS, and an alternative method for reviewing our shots in-camera.

As always, these guys have produced a fantastic resource for digital photographers – of the Nikon persuasion – so that we can have all the tools we need to learn and grow in our art.

Check out Nikon D-Town now!

I know you may have been expecting the long-overdue return of The P&P Weekly but I’m working on a little retooling project for it and it’s not quite ready yet. So be on the lookout for it next week. Promise!

Workflow Friday: Rob Jones

February 20, 2009 in Inspiration, Photography, Workflow

Photoshop Workflows

This week we welcome another exceptional photographer to our Workflow Fridays series, Rob Jones. Rob and his wife Rose run Towner Jones Photography based in Gainesville, VA.

Thanks for sharing with us today, Rob!

First let me say, I feel quite humbled to be in the company of the talented folks that have contributed to this great blog. I also want to say “thanks” to Jason for allowing me to participate and thanks to all of you for sharing your time with me today.

When I first started preparing for my edition of “Workflow Fridays,” I was quite excited. I had, on my schedule, a perfect photo shoot lined up which I thought would provide some excellent shots to put through my workflow. The plan was to hike into Shenandoah National Park, here in Virginia, and capture images of the waterfalls in Whiteoak Canyon. However, when I got up the morning of the shoot, there was no hot water in the house. I did get to see a waterfall that day – unfortunately it was coming from the hot water heater in the basement. Oh the life of a great adventurer…

Why am I sharing this story with you, you might ask? I’m sharing it because, I did manage to find a “waterfall” picture in my collection to work over for you, but it’s a tad smaller than the eighty-six footer I had planned on shooting.

Just imagine the splendor of what could have been in your mind’s eye, and we’ll get started.

Jason D. Moore Photography Workflow Friday with Rob Jones - Before

So here’s our “waterfall” shot. It was taken early in the morning, also in Shenandoah National Park, back in October. For those of you that are interested in the image specs, it was taken with my Nikon D90 using Nikon’s 18-200mm lens. The exposure is 6 seconds, at f/20 (ISO 100). (On a side note, the D90 has become a beloved addition to my gear for situations when carrying the D3 with its big, heavy glass just won’t do)

Now for all intents and purposes, I think this is a pretty decent shot – though a little underexposed. My goal, however, is to bring back the color, vibrance, and “pop” that the early morning sun cast on this little corner of the park.

For a little background, I’m a Lightroom convert. I used to post-process all of my images in Photoshop. Since Lightroom hit the scene, I’d estimate less than 10% actually make the trip out of Lightroom over to Adobe’s flagship application. For me, the decision is all about efficiency, and that’s the name of the game in Lightroom. The steps I’m about to outline, took me a little less than a minute from start to finish. The order of these steps sometimes varies, but these are the “basics” I do to almost all of my “keepers”.

Step 1: Correct White Balance

Jason D. Moore Photography Workflow Friday with Rob Jones - Step 1

I’ve read a great deal of discussion regarding “correct” vs. “incorrect” white balance. For those of you that read my blog, you’ve heard me say that I believe “correct” is always in the eyes of the photographer. For me, finding the right color temperature involves using the WB tool in Lightroom to sample a number of target grays and finding the one that, I feel, reflects the mood that I’m trying to convey in the photograph. In this particular picture, I wanted a little more warmth than what the camera captured, which I found in the gray at the center of the rock in the upper left corner.

Step 2: Exposure Adjustment

Jason D. Moore Photography Workflow Friday with Rob Jones - Step 2

As I mentioned earlier, I felt that this image was a little underexposed from what I remembered, so I bumped up the overall exposure about three-quarters of a stop.

Step 3: Tone Curve – Contrast Adjustment

Jason D. Moore Photography Workflow Friday with Rob Jones - Step 3

In Lightroom, the Tone Curve sliders give quick and easy access to adjusting ranges of tones.  At this point, I wanted to bring the water from the waterfall and the rock on the bottom of the stream up a little relative to the shadows and mossy undersides of the rocks, so I bumped up the “Highlights” and “Lights” a bit. I didn’t, however, want to dramatically change the overall relative contrast too much, so I brought the low-to-mid range “Darks” up a hair as well.

Step 4: More Exposure “Tweaking”

Jason D. Moore Photography Workflow Friday with Rob Jones - Step 4

I often do a little dance back and forth between steps 3 and 4 to get the proper balance of exposure and contrast. Here in step four, using Lightroom’s “Fill Light” and “Blacks” sliders bring out a little more of the detail (particularly in the moss) that I didn’t achieve using the Tone Curve adjustments.

Step 5: Adding Pop

Jason D. Moore Photography Workflow Friday with Rob Jones - Step 5

Consider this step optional, and let me take a slight mental detour. Lightroom offers three “Presence” sliders, which we all know and love… Clarity, Vibrance, and Saturation. These guys have the power to dramatically affect a photos representation of “reality” – and I, for one, am NOT ashamed to use them. In this step, I’ve added some “pop” to the image by bumping up Clarity and Vibrance. Generally speaking, I use these two to add a little flavor, and Saturation to mellow things down if I go overboard.

Step 6: Fine Tuning Color

Jason D. Moore Photography Workflow Friday with Rob Jones - Step 6

Some of my favorite tools in Lightroom are the Detailed Color Adjustment sliders. Here I’ve continued to “tweak” the image to achieve the vibrancy of colors I remembered from that morning. My other favorite use for these sliders is eliminating color cast that I’ve introduced by pushing other adjustments in Lightroom.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

Jason D. Moore Photography Workflow Friday with Rob Jones - Step 7

The finishing touches most common for all of my work are Sharpening and Vignetting. Zooming in on the moss, I applied an appropriate boost of sharpening to bring out edge detail while minimizing edge artifacts. When it comes to vignetting, I want to personally thank the folks at Adobe that added “Post-Crop” vignetting in Lightroom 2. I’ve used a slight post-crop vignette to bring the viewers focus in on the waterfall at the center of the scene.

And last but not least… the final shot.

Jason D. Moore Photography Workflow Friday with Rob Jones - After

I’ll note that I’ve left off a number of the other cool things (Adjustment Brush, Graduated Filters, etc.) that Lightroom makes available. Though I love them, I’ve personally found that the amount of time I spend “messing with” my photos goes up exponentially if I’m not careful to use them sparingly. As a result, I follow the basic process I’ve outlined here for most of my pictures, and save the more advanced tools for the shots I want to give some extra attention.

One closing thought about developing your own workflow.  Make sure that the end of your workflow involves sharing your photos with others. It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or a pro, sharing your photos with others will provide healthy criticism and (if you choose your audience well) positive affirmation – both of which will help you continue to grow as a photographer. And with that, thank you, sincerely, for the opportunity to share my work with you.

All the best, Rob

Thanks Rob!  Check out more from Rob by visiting his blog today!

If you enjoyed this edition of Workflow Fridays, please help keep this and our other great Photoshop & Photography series going by becoming a sponsor today! You can sponsor an individual series or support the blog as a whole with a banner in the sidebar or leaderboard. Find out how!

“Tower Window”

November 10, 2008 in Personal, Photography

Shot at the Tower of London, May 20, 2008 with my Nikon D200 using my 18.0-50.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at 34mm. Shot at ISO 400 at 1/125sec at f/5.6 with a -1/3 EV exposure bias.

Just some basic adjustments in LR only. I’ve always liked rustic, old, or antique subjects and it was just a pleasure to get the chance to shoot in London. There were so many opportunities and I don’t feel like I took advantage of enough of them. On our last day there, Kim and I headed over to the Tower of London to catch a glimpse of the Crown Jewels and the torture chamber and just some of the wonderful Old World architecture.

For this shot, I liked the simplicity of the scene. A window, a wall, and some vines. The window is really the main subject so I lined up the center vertical along the left-hand third. It was a great coincidence that the vines seemed to point to the window, drawing the viewer’s eyes into the window. Also, as the wall on the bottom left recedes, it also guides the viewer’s gaze to the window.

Penny Rock Discussion

November 7, 2008 in Personal, Photography

In response to a couple of comments and questions about yesterday’s image of “Penny Rock” at Salt Springs State Park in Northeastern PA, I thought I would give you a little info about the shot including what settings I used and how I processed it.

First, a little background. A VERY little. I admit I didn’t pay too much attention to the signs at the park that talked about this rock. Apparently hikers passing by place pennies in the softer areas between layers of rock and over time the weight of the rock seals the coins in. I’m not sure if the weight of the stone or weather or human activity – or some combination – makes the pennies bend. I gather that inserting a penny brings good luck while removing one means bad luck – so watch your step and stay away from the edge of the trails on your way up the trail!

The shot from yesterday was taken with my Nikon D200 on a tripod using a Sigma 56.0-200.0mm f/4.0-5.6 lens with a focal length of 56mm. I shot in RAW at 1/45 sec at f/4.0 at ISO 200 with an exposure bias of -1 EV (I forgot to turn off bracketing from a previous series I shot for HDR purposes).

Using Lightroom 1.4.1 – I know, I’m behind in upgrading – I made some basic adjustments in white balace to warm it up, exposure to reverse the effects of the -1 EV, clarity to add some presence, and tonal adjustments to add some extra contrast. I increased the saturation of the orange, yellow and green areas while decreasing the reds to get the colors just right. I then added some sharpening and a significant amount of vignetting – one of my favorite effects.

There’s nothing special about the framing or composition. Sometimes you approach a shot with the rule of thirds in mind or working the angles and use of positive and negative space to get everything just right. I find that about half the time I think about those things and the other half I just plop the camera on the tripod, frame up something that looks good to me and fire away. I don’t know if you get to the point where you’re not always conscious of what you’re doing or if you just get lucky but I just like how this one looked. It’s not a by the book type of shot, but I think it works.

One of the things I’m going to try to do more of, thanks to some comments coming out of the survey, is to post more info about the thoughts and process behind my shots as I share them. It not only will, hopefully, give you some insights, but it will be an excersise for me as I develop my own work. Thanks for the comments!

P&P Weekly: #94

October 1, 2008 in Blogroll, Photography, Photoshop

Welcome to week #94 of The Photoshop & Photography Blogroll’s P&P Weekly!

Click here to become a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. A great resource for training, tips, and connecting with other creatives.

And as always, take a moment to grab one of the chicklet links to show your support for this blog and, for blogroll members, be sure to pick up your P&P Blogroll Member badge link.

Finally, here are some of my favorites from what’s been happening in The Photoshop & Photography Blogroll:

Please be sure to visit the great blogs of our other members found in the sidebar. And if you would like to be considered for The Photoshop & Photography Blogroll, email Jason.

P&P Weekly: #93

September 22, 2008 in Blogroll, Photography, Photoshop


Welcome to week #93 of The Photoshop & Photography Blogroll’s P&P Weekly!

As I wrote last week, we’ve scheduled our next Binghamton-area photowalk for Saturday October 18th. Full details can be found by visiting the photowalk page above.

Click here to become a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. A great resource for training, tips, and connecting with other creatives.

And as always, take a moment to grab one of the chicklet links to show your support for this blog and, for blogroll members, be sure to pick up your P&P Blogroll Member badge link.

Finally, here are some of my favorites from what’s been happening in The Photoshop & Photography Blogroll:

Please be sure to visit the great blogs of our other members found in the sidebar. And if you would like to be considered for The Photoshop & Photography Blogroll, email Jason.

P&P Weekly: #92

September 10, 2008 in Blogroll, Photography, Photoshop


Welcome to week #92 of The Photoshop & Photography Blogroll’s P&P Weekly!

I hope to get “The Weekly” back to its regular Monday schedule once I get used to mine. We’ve welcomed a few new members since last time – profiled over the past few posts – so I hope you will take a minute and visit their blogs and see their great work.

Click here to become a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.

And as always, take a moment to grab one of the chicklet links to show your support for this blog and, for blogroll members, be sure to pick up your P&P Blogroll Member badge link.

Finally, here are some of my favorites from what’s been happening in The Photoshop & Photography Blogroll:

Please be sure to visit the great blogs of our other members found in the sidebar. And if you would like to be considered for The Photoshop & Photography Blogroll, email Jason.