Tag: Lightroom

Adobe Photography Program closes 8 December 2013

As we’ve become busier, the site has become much quieter and I can see that it has been more than a year since I last wrote an update. In that time, we have continued to work with photographers at all levels on workflow, colour management and print making; we’ve made ‘digital’ prints for exhibitions (the last being Sir John Ramsden’s excellent exhibitions of photographs from 1980s Vietnam in London and Hanoi in 2013) and helped many others to make their own prints, organise their collections, process photographs and get their images online. Business as usual, in other words.

Photoshop Photography Program

Today, I’d like to remind readers and subscribers that the deadline for joining what Adobe calls its Photoshop Photography Program has been extended to Sunday, 8 December 2013. This offer gets you Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC plus any updates released during the year for £8.78 a month, including VAT; this offer was once open only to those who owned Photoshop CS 3 or later but is temporarily (I assume) open to those who own neither Lightroom nor Photoshop. At this price, if you are currently making do with an old version of Lightroom and perhaps Adobe Photoshop Elements or something similar, this is an excellent offer. As an owner of both Lr 5 and Photoshop CS 6, I upgraded to Photoshop CC on its release but was automatically switched to this plan when it became available; the cloud activation and licensing have worked faultlessly so far.

Not entirely cloudy

The Creative Cloud versions of the Adobe apps don’t run ‘from the cloud’ in some mysterious way — they’re installed locally on your machine, just like their predecessors, and run in exactly the same way. They work online and offline. (Almost every photographer I’ve spoken to has been confused by the name ‘Creative Cloud’.) The idea of a CC app like Photoshop CC is just that all updates released during your subscription term are included and that there will be no major version releases going forward (like Photoshop CS 4, CS 5, etc.). Instead, new features will be added via installable updates when they’re ready. In addition, you get some cloud storage options for your documents.

The downside of this scheme is that when you stop paying, you lose all Adobe Photoshop functionality and not just the right to future upgrades. At this price, though, I don’t see that being a problem for any serious users of the software — it makes sense even if, like me, you owned a copy of Lr 5 already.

Capture One Training

All the hullabaloo earlier this year about the initial Creative Cloud pricing (which saw Adobe’s marketing and sales departments at their worst) has been good for the competition. Phase One’s Capture One Pro is newly revitalised in its current release (version 7) and I like it much better than previous releases. As part of the work I do at Ravensbourne as a sessional lecturer, I qualified as a Phase One Certified Professional this summer and now offer training and support on Capture One, in addition to Photoshop and Lightroom. If you’re trying to decide between all these options, write or call and we can offer some independent advice. (We don’t sell any of this software or hardware and are not associated with either of the publishers.)

That’s it for now. As always, one-to-one training and phone support is available on all the above.

Next post: January 2015, by my calculations.

Lightroom 4 training course: Wednesday, 23rd May

Lightroom 4 course — Wednesday 23rd May, 2012

There are still a few places left on the one-day Lightroom training course we’re running next week. It’s being organised by and held at Four Corners, a centre of all things photographic. We get asked about group courses quite often but don’t often do them so if you’ve been waiting, now really is the time to come along!

In this one-day course, I’ll be covering a digital workflow using Lightroom 4 — bring your laptop and follow along with the examples, ask questions and take notes. We’ll be going over the setup of your catalogue, the organisation of your files, the import process, post-processing using the Develop module and exporting in different formats and colour spaces.

I’ll be demonstrating using Lightroom 4 but, for any Lightroom 3 users present, will cover areas where the two products differ. The one-day course costs £120 including VAT and is perfect for photographers considering Lightroom or already using it but not as well as they’d like. There’ll be lots of question-and-answer time, too.


Above: the pink and yellow-orange highlights in this photograph, shot raw, are preserved in Lightroom 4 with no effort but are almost impossible to recover in Lightroom 3. Dealing with highlights and shadows is one of the topics we’ll be looking at when we cover the Develop module.

The booking form is over at the Four Corners Film site — to book your place, click here.

Lightroom 4 is out

Lightroom 4 box

The results we saw in tests of Lightroom public beta were very positive so we’re pleased the final release follow so quickly.

Aside from soft proofing, which works very well, output quality for high-contrast images is up (retention of colour in highlights, in particular) and some odd bugs, like the use of local adjustments causing loss of highlight colour in areas that you weren’t painting on (!) have been quashed. It’s easier to get convincing and pleasing results in fewer steps. It’s also a great plus to be able to add noise reduction or colour-temperature changes to specific places.

Bug fix, Library module

You can now move many folders from one location to another at the same time by command-clicking (ctrl-clicking in Windows) to select the folders and then dragging any one of them (with the command or ctrl key released). In Lightroom 3, this functionality would silently fail — only one folder would be moved — and none of the point upgrades addressed it; in version 4, it works. It sounds like a small thing but we’ve often had to answer calls from photographers asking how to rearrange a folder structure in Lightroom and we’ve had to tell them to do it folder by folder.


The upgrade procedure from Lightroom 3 to 4 has been smooth for our machines and leaves a copy of your original LR 3 catalogue in place. Nevertheless, back up everything before you begin. As with the upgrade from Lightroom 2 to 3, you’ll see an exclamation mark next to an image that uses the older process version while in Develop mode. You can click that icon to update that image or all the images in the filmstrip. Resetting an image will also update the process version. Although LR 4 will make some attempt to preserve the look of an adjusted image when moving from process version 2010 to version 2012, you’ll likely have to tweak things to get them looking right — but the end result will likely be better than it was in LR 3.

Computer performance — check first

The new process version (2012) does place a heavy load on older hardware. If you’re running an old machine and a high-resolution camera, now might be a time to start looking for a new computer. If you’re unsure about your machine’s performance, download the trial version of Lightroom 4 first. It’s free to use for 30 days.


Adobe’s new pricing is surprising but welcome: officially £86.57 excluding VAT for the full version and less than £50 ex-VAT for an upgrade. That’s roughly half of what you’d have paid for Lightroom 3 just six months ago.

Adobe Lightroom 4 from Amazon UK

Here are Amazon UK links for the full version and upgrade version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4. There’s also a student and teacher version of Lightroom 4 here. (But remember that you need to show eligibility in order to get the student and teacher version running — without it, you won’t obtain a serial number.)

If you run the trial version first, you can buy a retail copy or buy from Adobe directly to convert your trial to the full version, without losing any work — you just need a serial number to activate the software after the 30 days are up.

Lightroom 4 training

If you’re a Lightroom 3 user interested in a top-up course to cover Lightroom 4 specifics or have been using Lightroom causally and would now like to use it in depth, please write or call (333 577 5703).

We also have a Lightroom training day scheduled for photographers who are new to Lightroom or who haven’t yet got to grips with it — it’s a one-day course on Wednesday, 23rd May at Four Corners in London. It costs £100 plus VAT. Click here to book. (The training day was originally scheduled for 10th May but we moved it to avoid a date clash.)

Lightroom training day coming. LR 4 beta out. Lightroom 3 on sale!

Three topics today in an attempt to make up for nine months’ silence.

Topic 1: Lightroom training course, London, May 2012

Important update, April 2012: we’ve moved the date of this course by a week to avoid a date clash: it’s now scheduled for Wednesday, 23rd May 2012.

Every week, we get asked about Lightroom training courses for small groups. We now work mostly one-to-one with photographers but Helena and her colleagues at Four Corner are organising a one-day Lightroom course that I’ll be delivering on Wednesday 23rd May, 2012. I’ve taught at Four Corners before and it’s an excellent place; at £120 for the day, including VAT, this course is terrific value. I’ll set you up with a smooth, Lightroom-based workflow and answer your questions.

You’ll need to bring your own laptop running Lightroom 4 or Lightroom 3. You can use the 30-day trial of Lightroom if you’re still undecided. Questions? E-mail Helena or e-mail us.

Topic 2: Lightroom 4 beta released


It’s old news now but Lightroom 4 public beta 1 is available as a free, fully-functional download, valid till the retail release of Lightroom 4. Back when I last wrote about Lightroom’s closest competitor, Aperture 3, I said that Lightroom’s two weaknesses were the absence of soft proofing and the absence of a book-publishing package. This first public beta addresses both those issues and also makes some thoughtful changes to the Develop module, among other things.

A note of caution: Lightroom 4 public beta 1 is not yet ready for production use. It has lots of interesting new features and is good to experiment with but it’s no more than that. We’ll be talking about it on the course but unless it has been released officially by then, we’ll stick with Lightroom 3.

Key new feature: soft proofing in Lightroom 4

When you soft proof, you see your work on your computer’s monitor looking closer to the way it will look in print. That allows you to make adjustments specifically for the print version.

An image displayed in Lightroom 4

Above: image displayed in Lightroom 4 beta.

Below: unadjusted soft proof of same image (baryta paper and pigment ink)
The same image shown with soft proofing enabled

Lightroom’s implementation of soft proofing is pretty much what we’d been hoping for: quick and simple, with useful histograms and warnings available. As soon as you start to adjust for the loss of contrast on a fine-art baryta paper, for example (compare the two images above), you get a clearly labelled virtual copy of the image for print, which you can safely delete at any time. For us, it’s easily more appealing than Photoshop CS 5’s equivalent — in Lightroom, the use of a paper-white background is practical and effective and it’s easier and quicker to switch between relative and perceptual conversions. (Not as tricky to understand as they might sound. Too long a topic to go into here — come to a training course!)

Topic 3: Lightroom 3 is discounted

Perhaps because of Lightroom 4 beta’s release or maybe because Aperture is now so affordable, the full retail copy of Lightroom 3 has been reduced to just £95 including VAT and delivery from Amazon. That is at least £100 less than the old street price. Click here to buy from Amazon UK.

Hoping to write again in days rather than months. Please call or write if you have questions.

New training space in central London (and hello to readers of the BJP newsletter)

Training in central London

We’re often asked about Lightroom tuition in central London, rather than at photographers’ own studios, homes or offices. We’re pleased to say that we can now offer exactly that — an afternoon or a day in the very vibrant area around the Old Spitalfields market. It’s very easy to get to — it’s near Liverpool Street Station or Shoreditch High Street stations. Training will be at one of the meeting rooms at The Cube.

It’s ideal for Q & A, to go over aspects of your Lightroom-based workflow that you’re unsure of or for a full day’s training. You can bring a laptop with your work on it or we can just use ours. Call 0333 570 5703 for details or, better still, complete our contact form. To get to the form, just click here.

Coming up

We’re taking bookings for training in November and December (obviously!), there’s a complete website refresh coming up, we’re going to offer printer profiling soon for your printer/ink combinations and there are new workflow articles on the way.

Hello to readers of the BJP newsletter

If you’ve arrived here after clicking on a banner ad in the current BJP newsletter and you’re interested in help with your photographic workflow — working faster, getting better results — we’d love to hear from you. Call 0333 570 5703 or complete our contact form by clicking here.

Vision 10

We’ll have a discount voucher appearing in the show guide for Vision 10 on Friday, November 19th. It will offer a discounted rate for one-on-on Lightroom training. Look out for it!

Lightroom training course, Central London, 18th and 19th October


Last updated: Monday, 27th September: booking page is now live.

We’re really pleased to be able to offer you training in central London, at last! We’ve had lots of requests for more affordable training and we’ve now found a solution we’re delighted with.

We’re bringing to this group training course everything we’ve learned from our successful one-on-one workflow tuition about what photographers find easy and what they find difficult, so we know what to spend a little more time on.

We’ll keep updating this post with more details.


The training sessions will be held at the seminar room at Jacobs, the famous photographic retailer, on New Oxford Street. They’ll run from 10am to 5:30pm with a break for lunch and short mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks as well.

Affordable and flexible

The training costs just £70 per person per day, including VAT. This really is fantastic value for a small group course. (Maximum twelve attendees.)

We’ve done everything possible to keep costs low so there are no frills. We’re not training in a computer room so you won’t be needing your laptop—just bring along a pen and notebook (the type with paper in it, not a CPU, Intel or otherwise). The cost covers just the cost of the course.

You’ll definitely get more out of the training if you can make it to both days. On the second day, the format will allow question-and-answer time and recap but we’ll also go on to cover more advanced topics; that approach always helps the learning process. However, you’ll be able to book just the first day or (if you just need some questions answered and a little help with more advanced topics) just day two. Again, we’re keeping things as flexible as possible.

Day one: Introduction and complete overview of a Lightroom 3 workflow, Monday 18th October 2010

This day will leave you feeling well informed about the complete workflow and about what Lightroom 3 can do for you. Many of the photographers we’ve trained over the last year have been wary of at least one aspect or another—this first day of training is where you leave behind that uncertainty and learn the power of every part of the application; it builds knowledge and confidence. Setup, preferences, importing, filing strategy, keywording, collections, development, filtering, export for web, printing… this day will be a thorough introduction to a workflow based on Lightroom 3.

Cost: £70 including VAT.

Day two: intermediate and advanced Lightroom 3 tuition/Q&A, Tuesday 19th October 2010

More detail on day two and a more open format, with lots more time for questions. We’ll be looking at some essential third-party plugins and providing recommendations, we’ll go into detail about the various ways in which you can combine your Lightroom workflow with Photoshop and we’ll talk about creating your own presets to speed up every aspect of your Lightroom workflow (import, development, local adjustments and export). We’ll cover local corrections in more depth. You and the other attendees will lead the Q & A. Again, check back later for details.

Cost: £70 including VAT.

Get all your Lightroom questions ready and bring them with you on Tuesday—you’ll get plenty of time to ask them and get them answered in detail.


You can able to pay with PayPal (which accepts credit cards, if you have no PayPal account) or by bank transfer (contact us for details) or by cheque. You willll get a full VAT invoice.

Transport and location

There could hardly be an easier London location to get to. Jacobs is in the West End, near Tottenham Court Road tube station (Central and Northern lines) and close to Oxford Circus (Victoria and Central lines) in an area served by many bus routes. You can plan the London part of your journey by clicking here to get to TfL’s Journey Planner. (The link will set things up correctly for Jacobs, New Oxford Street, as your destination. Just enter your starting station or post code.)


Big photographic retailer in London with an excellent reputation and keen prices. The course will be held downstairs in the seminar room in the Professional Services department. Jacobs have been very accommodating in our dealings with them and we can highly recommend them. You’ll find an excellent stock of cameras and lenses (new and used) and a wide range of accessories at very keen prices.

How to book

Just visit the booking page here.

Pass it on

If you know people who might be interested in this offer, please pass on our details and tell them to check later in the week.


Fire away—send e-mail, leave a comment or give us a call: 0333 577 5703.


For updates, check back here or subscribe to the blog by e-mail or RSS/Atom.

Controlling JPEG file sizes in Lightroom 3

Lightroom JPEG export options

Summary: file sizes of low-resolution JPEGs that you export using Lightroom can be excessive if you don’t take steps to control the embedded metadata. The large file sizes can affect your site’s loading speed and that in turn can now affect your Google search rank.

Earlier this week, I was catching up on some well written and informative articles by London photographer and writer Peter Marshall when I came across this one mentioning the release of Lightroom 3.2RC; in the piece, Peter mentioned that he’d found Lightroom 3 to be generating relatively low quality JPEG files for a given file size, at the 600-pixel dimensions that he uses for his site.

Peter had noticed two significant things: first, that he was getting better JPEGs at any given file size when he created them using Lightroom’s web module (which is designed to export a complete web site) instead of the usual JPEG export method; second, that the problem was worse when he was exporting JPEGs of images for which he’d made use of Lightroom’s local adjustments, meaning brushes and graduated filters.

It turned out (see his follow-up post here, and the comments that follow it) that the metadata associated with the file was causing the bump in file size. Clicking “Minimize Embedded Metadata” when exporting JPEGs helps; installing a copy of Jeffrey Friedl’s Metadata Wrangler plugin for Lightroom 3 fixes the problem completely and has added benefits: you can set up presets that get saved with Lightroom’s own export presets. That means you can build a one-click Lightroom export preset that generates the right picture size for your site with all but the unimportant metadata removed, and just the important stuff retained. (Presets are the key to working quickly within Lightroom and are probably its most overlooked feature.)

Above: the checkbox used during export to minimise metadata. Not as effective as Jeffrey’s Metadata Wrangler.

Explanation: all local brush and graduated filter adjustments that you apply in Lightroom become part of an images’s metadata and are included on export, bumping up the size of the final JPEG file—particularly noticeable for small JPEGs, because this metadata size is a constant and can easily double the size of a file. Not a huge problem if you’re hosting one or two images on a page but if you’re putting up many, the extra file size is significant. For blogs that have the usual rolling front page, hosting all images from the last ten or twenty posts, this sort of thing can make a big difference for your visitors… and for Google.

Important for your photography site’s Google rank

These days, your site’s Google rank is partly dependent on the speed at which your site loads—see this important article from Google on the subject. It’s well worth doing what Peter is doing, optimising carefully and minimising JPEG image size. (On which note, if you’re using WordPress software and your own hosting account to manage your site’s content, you should make every attempt to install and enable WP Super Cache to speed up your site’s response under load. This isn’t the appropriate place to discuss the technical aspects of that plugin but it does its job very well. Obviously, make complete site backups first.)

Above: JPEG file sizes before and after reducing metadata in different ways. No affect on image quality.

Photo forum

As Peter mentions, we met at a monthly London event called Photo Forum where photographers (mostly photojournalists) show and discuss their work. The two of us here at Shoot Raw have been three or four times and always enjoyed it. It’s a busy event but a good way to see work that might be new to you and to meet other photographers, established and upcoming. (At the time of writing, the next event is on 9th September 2010.) It’s a credit to Jacobs Professional Services that they host the event every month.

Friedl on JPEG quality versus size in Lightroom

Jeffrey’s definitive article on Lightroom 3’s JPEG quality made the rounds a while back. If you haven’t read it and you generate JPEGs from Lightroom, pay a visit. It’s the last word on Lightroom 3’s JPEG quality versus file size and even those of us who thought we knew exactly what Lightroom was doing in this area learned a few things.

The metadata

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Alternatives to personal Lightroom tuition

Pound Sterling

We often get enquiries about a less costly alternative to our one-on-one Lightroom training courses. Here are some ideas.

1) George Jardine’s Lightroom 3 workflow video tutorial for $29.95

Back when Lightroom was new, George Jardine produced an excellent podcast of related interviews and discussions that offered great insight into the product and some very useful video tutorials from George himself. The podcast also involved the Lightroom team, world class photographers and master printers who used the product and who were involved with its development.

George’s new video tutorial for Lightroom 3 doesn’t cover the Develop module—this one is all about workflow. The reviews are really good and, having listened to and enjoyed every single episode of that early Lightroom podcast back at the time of the first public betas and Lightroom 1, we can highly recommend George’s knowledge and his approach. Take a look at the free sample video and see what you think of his style. Some important notes: you can only watch these videos online (you don’t download them), there are separate links for the iOS versions (iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch) and you’ll need to make sure you’re up-to-date with your Flash browser plugin for Windows or the Mac.

(We are not associated with George Jardine.)

2) The Luminous Landscape Lightroom 3 tutorial videos at $49.99

Michael Reichmann and Jeff Schewe are back with a completely new course covering Lightroom 3. In total, there will be more than nine hours of material for download; at the time of writing (Aug 2010), the footage has been shot but is still being edited so that when you buy, you get access to as many episodes as are online, with the rest available for download as they appear (with nothing further to pay, obviously).

A 10% discount is available while material is still being edited and uploaded.

For more about Jeff and Michael, see our original post about their Lightroom 2 videos. These guys really do know both photography and Lightroom and even at full price ($49.99—currently about £32), the course is great value. The 10% discount takes the cost below £30.

If you own their Lightroom 2 tutorial, you get a further 10% discount on this new release. You need to obtain your discount code—full details are on the product page.

Again, there’s an online sample and a table of contents in the form of a PDF here.

(We are not associated with the Luminous Landscape.)

3) Lightroom 3 books

We always leave photographers with a book to accompany our own one-to-one Lightroom tutorials. After experimenting with a few very good titles, we’ve pretty much settled on two: Scott Kelby’s and Martin Evening’s. We’d recommend them to anyone interested in mastering Lightroom 3. The general standard of Lightroom books is pleasingly high now so there are good alternatives but we’d be comfortable describing these two as the best Lightroom 3 books on offer right now.


Of the two, the Kelby (full title: The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers) initially seems lighter in tone but its jollity disguises Scott’s knack for delivering a lot of information in a very effective way. As with photography, making your writing seem effortless and breezy is very hard work but he does it. Martin Evening’s alternative (The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers) is perhaps suited to the more technically minded. Both books, however, are excellent.

Where to buy—Amazon UK links

In the UK, you generally get the best prices at Amazon (click here for Scott Kelby’s book and here for Martin Evening’s) but you can also find them books at larger bookshops. For Londoners, Foyles in Charing Cross Road generally keeps stock of both.

Kindle owner?

Both are available for Kindle (Evening, Kelby) but we haven’t tried them in that format so can’t comment on readability.

(We’re not associated with the authors but we are Amazon UK affiliates so we earn a small commission if you buy either of the books using the links above within 24 hours of clicking. Every two book sales nets roughly enough Amazon commission for a cheeseburger. Good times!)

4) Lightroom workshops from Jerry Courvoisier

We have no personal experience of Jerry Courvoisier’s training but he’s delivering two Lightroom workshops in the UK in November 2010 and we mention them here because George Jardine (ex-Adobe, see above) is giving the same workshops for the same company in different parts of the world. No guarantee but perhaps that’s a benchmark and says something good about the company’s standards.

As you can see from the linked page, there’s a two-day workshop provisionally scheduled for London on the week-end of 6th/7th November 2010 and and another for Manchester a week later, on 13th/14th November 2010. You can’t book yet but keep an eye on the page and the links should appear shortly.

(We’re not associated with Jerry Courvoisier or lightroomworkshops.com.)

Mix and match

If you’ve tried one or more of the above and are interested in shorter tuition sessions to tie up any loose ends, we’d be happy to hear from you.

Remote training

We’re considering a new idea that might also fit in here: short, one-to-one remote training sessions, using the secure screen-control software that we’ve been using for years to provide support to our customers.

The idea is that, for 30 minutes or an hour, we help with specific aspects of your workflow that you would like us to address. We can see your screen and your mouse pointer and can even take control of the computer to demonstrate things, then watch as you work. It’s not a substitute for a day of face-to-face training but is intended to quickly address specific questions, at a low cost. It’s a technique we’ve used for over three years to provide support and has worked very well.

Thoughts? Let us know. We’ll say more about it in a separate post so revisit the bog or subscribe via e-mail or RSS. If you’d like to get in touch, just call (0333 577 5703) or mail us. (Note: we don’t spam you or pass your information on to any third parties.)

Haven’t turned pro yet?

We offer discounts to amateur photographers, whether or not they intend to go professional. You might remember our March deal. Interest from amateurs wasn’t enough for us to maintain those prices (the idea was to go for volume without an ongoing sales and marketing effort) but we do have a one-day offer for those of you not making money from photography yet—just drop us a line for details. When we hear from you, it would be useful for us to know which aspects of your workflow are currently holding you back, what camera and computer systems you use, what type or types of photography you do and roughly where you live.

News: Lightroom 3.2 RC

Unrelated to saving money on Lightroom training is the news that the Lightroom 3.2 release candidate is out, with bug fixes, support for recent cameras (including the Panasonic Lumix LX-5 and the Sony NEX-3 and NEX-5) and automatic correction for more lenses. A release candidate (RC) is a build that is feature complete, has gone through the beta-testing process and is now being made available for a final, public test intended to reveal any show-stopping bugs. Because this is an RC release, it won’t replace your existing copy of Lightroom 3 (or Lightroom 2)—it sits by its side. Read more and download it here.

And finally… welcome to new readers from the BJP and Photo Pro

You might have seen us over the last few months in the business directory of the British Journal of Photography (BJP) after its successful, industry-defying transformation into a heavy, top-tier monthly.

Below: the advert we’re running in another favourite, Photo Pro magazine.