Monthly Archives: September 2008

PhotoDump 09-07-2008

More great stuff this week from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! If you haven’t joined the group yet… what are you waiting for?! Get in there and check out the photos — there are a ton of great ones that aren’t shown on the blog each week.

Flight Home by Avelino MaestasOverpowered by Nature by PatriciaPixOh, Hay by CCBImagesShoe Love by {Tasha}karl_sea_52 by spudcheyne by magfTaking the Trash OutSparks fly by Phill Price | PhotographyExtract by rh89Thinking in the (lego) box (2008-09-04_30D_101-6244) by akhaterClouds on water by cleberCompany of Thieves @ Schubas by Tasha {} Redwall Photo| summer of '42 | by winnie's humanI Don't Wanna Grow UpMy little Kallie by IPS Photos by ★ Mathias Pastwa ★flippy hair by poopooramaLas Salinas Grandes, Argentina by Magical PlacesPlaytime by {Tasha}Ghosts of Queen MaryTaj Mahal (3) by tyt2000no title by xysmas (Aaron)Grounded. by the_wolf_brigade's GAS is incurableDanni Black and White by Crashmaster007Long Beach DocksPart our Film camera collection by Susheel ChandradhasRadiance by jimgoldsteinYoung Faithful by reggiemateoThe $50 Camera Project - 17 by hitkaiserMew, please, I say mew! by Blush ResponseSelf Portrait by ZozmanCup-O-Barbie... by ojoyous1A Night at the Opera by reggiemateoa preview by vandyll.netThe Queen by Twitching EyeZagreb-02 by davor.pihacPale face. by the_wolf_brigade's GAS is incurablenew sister-in-law by life0graphy™Gehry curves by Spencer in Ann ArborUSCT Reenactor by AIA GUY..RwoodPeeled / Re-peeled by ZozmanThe Black Tusk by andrew strainFace Caught by Twitching EyeLe Parking by pawoliwino fest by xysmas (Aaron)Ania's portrait by funkyforknikon 5081a by prlde91 by tenshi_crLahu by M-u-zdeep sea fishing by robinn.Male/Female by daveraleigh910 by RainKingLook what I found today by Chris Mc Roberts

Link Roundup 09-06-2008

  • September Challenge
    PhotoChallenge.org
    It’s still not to late to join in the September Challenge. Each week will be a different type of portrait to shoot.
  • 5 Useful Upgrades In Photoshop Lightroom 2.0
    digital Photography School
    If you haven’t upgraded to Lightroom 2.0 yet, here are five good reasons to do so. This latest release has a lot to offer, and it has a lot of photographers talking about it.
  • debate 2008: digital vs. film quality
    Pro Photo Life
    Our pal Jim Talkington got himself into a whole lot of extra work when he compared a film and digital photo of the same scene. All the film gurus came out of the woodwork and Jim plans to redo his experiment with their suggestions. I’m looking forward to this…
  • Breaking the Rules of Photography
    Beyond Megapixels
    It’s good to know the “rules” of photography. But sometimes it’s best to break those rules.
  • The Mysterious Model Release Demystified
    Hyperphocal
    Want to learn more about model releases? This articles covers everything from why to when you need on and what a good model release should include.
  • Composing an Action Sequence Shot
    DIYPhotography.net
    A good little tutorial for composite processing action sequence shots.
  • Are the Masses Unhappy With Adobe?
    PhotoWalkPro
    Jeff comes across a neat website where Adobe users complain about the products. In this post, he recaps the top 10 complaints for Photoshop and Lightroom.

New Partner: Image Keyworder

Image Keyworder

Please join me in welcoming Image Keyworder to our list of publication sponsors! You’ll be able to see their banner at the end of each article (aka the “premium” spot).

For those who have been with the blog for a while, you’ll recall that we’ve explored and discussed the Image Keyworder software (be sure to read this to learn more about their software). I’ve tested the software, and I have absolutely no problem promoting their product. It’s a great tool for anybody requiring in-depth photo keywording — especially those involved with stock photography.

Image Keyworder has also been getting some upgrades since I reviewed the software. In May, they added support for Alamy contributors. And now, they’ve added a “keyword suggest” feature:

Singapore, August 2008 – OnAsia has announced the release of a new upgrade to its Windows-based Image Keyworder software. The new version, currently available at www.imagekeyworder.com and as a free upgrade for existing users, includes a ‘suggest’ function which will allow users to propose terms for inclusion in the program’s comprehensive controlled vocabulary.

The new functionality is designed to enhance the depth and breadth of Image Keyworder’s controlled vocabulary, which comes bundled with the software and is one of its most valuable features. Image Keyworder’s controlled vocabulary is already over 40,000 terms strong, including synonyms, alternate forms, spelling variations and singulars and plurals.

“We are aware that one of Image Keyworder’s greatest strengths is its controlled vocabulary,” said Yvan Cohen, a Director at OnAsia, the company which developed the software.

“We have a team of people who are working to expand and enrich the thesaurus, but users occasionally still find a gap in our coverage especially if the terms they wish to add are specialised. With our new ‘suggest’ function they can send their suggestions directly to our team for review,” he added.

Accessible as a button on the toolbar at the top of Image Keyworder’s workscreen, users can add lists of terms that they would like to suggest for inclusion in the controlled vocabulary accompanied by notes as to their meaning and relevance. They are also able to see if the term has been accepted or declined and any relevant comments from Image Keyworder’s in-house team.

Image Keyworder has been developed in close collaboration between OnAsia’s IT and keywording teams who have considerable experience and understanding of the challenges involved in indexing and keywording large volumes of imagery. “The software is an ongoing collaborative development effort aimed at taking the pain out of keywording and making it more efficient,” said Mr Cohen. “We believe that our first hand knowledge of keywording and image management has helped make Image Keyworder a more effective tool.”

One of the most comprehensive and competitively priced keywording programs on the market, Image Keyworder’s controlled vocabulary means that, with a single click, users can add several relevant terms to an image. The structure and depth of a controlled vocabulary help make an otherwise random and error-prone process more efficient.

Having grown out of OnAsia’s experience as a professional keywording service, Image Keyworder also offers users a number of features aimed at combining comprehensive keywording with productivity. Groups of images can be processed in batches, templates can be created and saved for repeat image types and keywords can be selectively added and removed from sets of images.

Image Keyworder can be downloaded for a free 30-day trial from www.imagekeyworder.com. The trial includes full functionality and access to Image Keyworder’s comprehensive built-in thesaurus.

An Image Keyworder license for two computers costs just US$ 79.99 including a 12-month thesaurus subscription valued at US$ 39.99.

For more information contact support@imagekeyworder.com

Lightroom Users Address Concerns with the Software

Sure, try haggling here.
Creative Commons License photo credit: gak

In a previous article, I stated 3 Reasons Why I Refuse to Use Lightroom. This got the Lightroom users pretty fired up.

But I didn’t write the article just to get these folks twisted up — I did it to get the discussion going. My “3 Reasons” are actually concerns that I’ve heard from various other photographers who haven’t jumped into Lightroom yet (and they’re my own concerns too). So I figured the best way to address these issues was through the community on this website.

We had nearly 40 comments (and one blog post response) in just a few days, and most of them were addressing the concerns presented. This is so awesome — exactly the thing I was hoping for. Here are my “3 Reasons” addressed by the community.

ABOUT THAT DATABASE…

MY CONCERN: A database is a bad thing. It only adds more possibilities for things to go wrong. I like to keep my metadata with the files rather than in a database.

CONCERN ADDRESSED: Keep a backup of your database. You can choose to have the database store minimal information. The database makes browse/search features much faster. It allows you to work offline with your photos.

Yes, it is true that Lightroom uses a database. However, it’s also true that Lightroom (1) Stores *all* of your images in folders on the hard drive and (2) Can keep *all* of the adjustments you make to your photos in the sidecar/XMP files (or within the metadata of DNG images)… So long as your storage system is somewhat sane, Lightroom handles storage on multiple drives with ease. In fact, you can perform many operations on files currently offline! Say you’re remote on your laptop and you want to find an image in your library – you can do pretty much everything you need short of exporting a full-res image without even connecting the USB drive that the image happens to be stored on. ~~ Ryan Dlugosz

I too hate being tied to a database. The way I use lightroom, it’s almost as if there wasn’t one. In fact, the only thing that can really be said to be using the database is the thumbnails… version 2.0 of Lightroom preserves the navigation structure of the folders where the images are stored, so I take full control of the organisation. ~~ Neil Creek

On the DB issue: is you set up the system like Neil describes above, you really do not need to care if the DB is corrupted, destroyed or whatever. All of the data is still in the original files and can be reimported into a new catalog (DB). Also, copying a catalog from one machine to another works just fine (you can even copy the preview images, which aren’t stored in the catalog itself). ~~ ramin

I have the same paranoia with the DB, but as others have already said, you can simply turn on the global option to also record everything in the XMP sidecar file (or internally with DNG files). This does slow the processing down somewhat, but it is still worth it. ~~ Sean Phillips

The database is there for one simple reason, speed. The reason I gave up on Bridge/ACR is because it was too slow… With the LR database I can quickly parse through a folder of 3000 images with close to zero delay… If you want sidecar files, you can still get them with LR. I actually export sidecar files for all my photos after doing any editing of them… I backup the LR database daily and even if I loose it, all my work is still in the files on the NAS and I can just re-import everything with no loss. ~~ latoga

I delete my LR database all the time. It’s okay. The XMP files have all the information in them. And they sit right next to my .CR2 files — meaning they get backed up / moved TOGETHER as a unit. No worries about losing a database here. ~~ David Terry

A database would not mess up your directory structure and it shouldn’t have anything to do with your pictures. The LR database only contains metadata about your pictures and it doesn’t hold any of your pixels…so no worries there…if you lose the database you will only lose the metadata you haven’t saved to your image files. ~~ Vlad

I don’t mind being reliant on a database because LR keeps reminds me to back it up every week (more often, if I change my settings). I save the DB on a separate HDD, so I’m still covered if one drive fails. ~~ Luis Cruz

Number one advantage of using the database for me…. Offline access to your images. You can have images stored across dozens of external drives, CD/DVDs, networks, where-ever, and you can find them all without having the devices connected. You can do any database operations (searches, cataloging, etc) with the drives disconnected, but for editing of course they need to be online. You can’t do that with Bridge, once the drive is disconnected, so are the images and access to them. ~~ Mark

NOT SO REDUNDANT…

MY CONCERN: Lightroom is basically the same thing as Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw combined. There aren’t enough unique features to justify the extra cost.

CONCERN ADDRESSED: Lightroom provides a fluid and streamlined interface as compared to Bridge/ACR. A single interface speeds up productivity over the long run.

Brian is correct here: Lightroom uses the exact same RAW converter that Photoshop does via its Camera RAW module (ACR). However, it is quite a bit more than just a combination of Bridge and ACR. Browsing through your photographs and making adjustments in Lightroom is a very fluid process. This is not my experience with Bridge + ACR! What is missing is the database back-end that Lightroom leverages to make browsing quick and efficient. ~~ Ryan Dlugosz

While that may not be drastically different than what you’re used to [with Bridge/ACR] the benefit is having the tools in one consolidated piece of software. ~~ Jim Goldstein

The feature parity you mention only refers to what can be done to the images, not how it is done. You may prefer working with ACR for your raw processing, but from my little experience with it, Lightroom walks all over it. In fact, the interface is entirely the reason I prefer Lightroom to Bridge/ACR. ~~ Neil Creek

I still do use Photoshop but just for the heavy lifting of going in depth or fine tuned adjustments to a photo. At this point LR gets me through 90%+ of my editing work and much faster than any other tool I have used. ~~ latoga

I’ll concede this – there is a lot of overlap between LR and PS Bridge + ACR. I’ll say this much though – my processing times were cut in half (and that’s understating it) when I started using LR. I process anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand images for each shoot, and while I still promise to deliver images within one week, I can usually submit my discs the next day. ~~ Luis Cruz

THE MOB RULES…

MY CONCERN: Just because everyone is using the software, it doesn’t mean that it’s the absolute best thing to use.

CONCERN ADDRESSED: Most photographers are very software savvy and they don’t just use something because everyone else does.

Lightroom is definitely mainstream, but it’s for good reason… You need to make your own decisions about the tools you use in your workflow and remember that it’s about making great images – not the tools you’re using to get there. ~~ Ryan Dlugosz

People haven’t jumped onto Lightroom because everyone else is doing it. They’ve done so because the software saves photographers time (processing and searching) and its filled a much needed niche for easily organizing ones work. ~~ Jim Goldstein

Your equally silly for NOT wanting to use Lightroom because of the mob mentality as those who may use it for the same reason. I couldn’t care less what the mob thinks. I care what people I respect think, and my own experience. I’m sure you’re the same really, but don’t think you have to be a rebel or rage against the machine. You may be missing out on something you’d othewise like. Sometimes the mob gets it right. ~~ Neil Creek

It really is about saving me time…I could care less what the mob thinks as well. But since it saves me time, that is value that I’m willing to pay for. ~~ latoga

I think the reason for the cult following is simple – LR is a great tool for managing images. When I first used it, I thought – what was all the fuss about? However, after I first processed a shoot with over a thousand images with it, I was sold. ~~ Luis Cruz

ADDRESSING SOME LIGHTROOM MISCONCEPTIONS

6825
Creative Commons License photo credit: obeck

In addition to giving the Lightroom community a chance at defending their software, I wanted to see how many Lightroom misconceptions bubbled out of the discussion. I prompted this with my point #2 — being redundant with Bridge/ACR. I find that many Photoshop users are unaware of the features they already have at their fingertips, and they assume that they have to go buy Lightroom to get those features.

Want a view that shows you all of the files you’ve taken with the 24-70mm lens in 2008 on the 5d with the keyword ‘Tree’ (but not those with the keyword ‘apple’) and are rated 5 stars? Not a problem; it’ll even update itself as you import new photos. Want to build a collection of images that you’ve displayed at a particular gallery show? Just make a collection out of them and this view is always available to you – without requiring extra storage since the collection is just info in the database. You can’t do that in Bridge! ~~ Ryan Dlugosz

Yes you can. The search capabilities are the same between Bridge and Lightroom. Bridge also has the ability to create Collections based on pre-set search criteria. What it can’t do is create “drag-n-drop” albums (or groups of photos) — you have to use keywords or other metadata to prompt the collection.

… the database IS handy for finding a photo or photos, whether it be by keyword, lens, shutter speed or any other metadata. Can Bridge do that? ~~ Neil Creek

Yes, it can.

The reasons I like it better than Bridge are…
[1] easier library management, including tagging, titles, search etc – and it’s faster than Bridge
[2] non-destructive edits
[3] ability to make changes to one RAW file and copy and paste those settings to a selection of other RAW files
[4] good integration with Photoshop when you want to do advanced edits
[5] good plugins, including an Export to Flickr plugin and develop preset plugins
[6] I can do RAW development without needing to go into Photoshop/Adobe RAW
[7] I can work so much faster in Lightroom.
~~ Tim Johnson

[1] Yup, it tends to be a bit faster if you have a well-kept database.
[2] ACR is also non-destructive, even with JPEG files.
[3] Bridge can copy and paste image settings too.
[4] Photoshop isn’t really integrated with Lightroom, it’s the same with Bridge.
[5] ACR has good presets too — they’re the same raw process settings as Lightroom.
[6] Bridge can also launch ACR without launching Photoshop.
[7] I don’t doubt it.

Try taking a batch of 200-300 images (after selecting the shots that will be processed further), adding metadata to them (subject names as keywords, copyright info, titles, and locations), processing them, and exporting to the web, and you’ll get an idea why it really has gained such a following. ~~ ramin

No problem, that’s what Bridge and ACR are built for. I do exactly that with every shoot.

It’s all in the workflow for me. Photoshop doesn’t have too much of a workflow capability as far as i’ve observed, whereas Lightroom is flexible enough with an array of workflow options which works great when you have several hundred photos from an event to process and pick for different uses. ~~ Charlene

You’re totally right. Photoshop doesn’t have workflow capabilities when it comes to large sets of images. Bridge does — that’s the software that I was comparing Lightroom to, not Photoshop. Bridge.

Furthermore, how long do you expect that Bridge will continue to exist now LR has been out for a while? As you mentioned before, LR is using bits from Bridge and I see little business reason for Adobe to allow Bridge to potentially cannibalize LR. Don’t be surprised if the current version of Bridge is the last one. ~~ Chris

Bridge CS3 won’t be the last one — I’m using Bridge CS4 right now. I can’t see them getting rid of Bridge because it’s bundled with more than just Photoshop. The software is a media management system, not just a photography tool.

So listen, the big overall point here is that Lightroom is a killer piece of software. If you’re looking to step up your organization/productivity game, this is the way to do it. The software is still very new and I expect that future releases will be better than we can imagine — Adobe has a tendency to listen to the users. But also keep in mind that if you’re already a Photoshop user and you don’t want to jump into Lightroom quite yet, you can get a majority of the functionality from Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw. Whatever you decide to use, make sure it meets your needs and gives you room to grow.

A Must-Hear Interview with Zoriah

PhotoNetCast

I’ve mentioned this amazing war photographer, Zoriah, in a previous article here on the blog. Well… over at the PhotoNetCast, we took things a step further and got him on a conference call for an interview!

This is something that you’ll definitely want to listen to. He talks about his past, present, and future in photojournalism and war photography. The guy is amazingly down-to-earth for the amount of nasty stuff that he’s experienced. He talks about what he does, why he does it, and how he got into it. We also have a bit of a discussion about his recent issues with military politics/censorship in Iraq.

Again, I encourage everyone to listen to this interview. Zoriah is a great photographer and human being — he deserves to have his stories heard.

Listen to PhotoNetCast Episode 11: Zoriah, War Photographer

Who Wins? Nikon D90 or Canon 50D

Yes, yes, there’s been a lot of buzz recently about two new cameras from Nikon and Canon. They both decided to announce a new dSLR body at about the same time, and I can’t help but compare the two cameras. By their technical specifications, they’re not exactly in the same class, but they’re close. Both cameras are aimed at the advanced amateur photographer. Here are some details on the two cameras:


Order on Amazon.com

Order on Amazon.com
Nikon D90 Home Page
dpreview.com Preview
Canon 50D Home Page
dpreview.com Preview
THE BASICS
12.3 Megapixel
23.6 x 15.8mm Sensor
4.5 Frames/Second
3″, 920K-dot LCD
Live View & Face Detection
1/4000s Max Shutter
ISO100 – ISO6400
THE BASICS
15.1 Megapixel
22.3 x 14.9mm Sensor
6.3 Frames/Second
3″, 920K-dot LCD
Live View & Face Detection
1/8000s Max Shutter
ISO100 – ISO12800
THE STRENGTHS
24fps 720p HD Video
Optional GPS Geotagging
High ISO Performance
Lower Price Tag
THE STRENGTHS
More Pixels
Faster Continuous FPS
Faster Shutter Speed
Higher ISO Capability
RELEASE PRICE
$999.95
RELEASE PRICE
$1399.00

So let’s pretend for a moment that you’re not loyal to either brand (in my case this isn’t difficult because I’m a Sony user). I mean really step back and take a look at the two cameras. If you were out to buy your first camera, which one would look more enticing to you? And do tell in the comments why you’d choose one over the other. Who got it right in this round?

{democracy:53}

And be sure to check out the results from our previous poll: “What’s Your Photo-Sharing Frequency?” 1/3 of you are totally random with your upload frequency, while another 1/3 manage to be consistent with a few per week. Only 1% post many photos per day, while only 2% post none at all.