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Lightroom Catalog Health & Maintenance Revisited

9 Aug

or, The Care and Feeding of Your Lightroom Catalog

I first wrote this in December of 2011, and as we work with participants in our workshops, I am reminded that it is time to update and republish this blog. With Aperture no longer being supported by Apple, even more people are switching to Lightroom because of its amazing capabilities. And for those who want to get a leg-up in Lightroom, we are running our last Lightroom 5 workshop of 2014 in Death Valley in December. Get a cheap flight into Las Vegas, and join us!

So, why the cactus header? Lightroom can get what I call nudgy. It gets prickly and uncooperative. You do a normal task and get the most fascinating results, usually not at all what you wanted.

© 2011 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail BC (at) ZAPphoto (at) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time.
In my blog called Lightroom Setup, which I should probably update, too, I made some suggestions for setting up your preferences in Lightoom.

I have already made some revisions to this blog based on input from both our readers and Lightroom expert Rob Sylvan of the help desk at NAPP as well as his own Lightroomers.

This time, we’ll address what I call the care and feeding of your Lightroom catalog to keep it healthy.

Computers fail. Programs fail. So, it is not a question of if something will fail, rather when it will. Most of us have been through it. The information gets lost in the worst sand storm in recent decades, and it’s a long, dusty road getting everything back to the way we want it.

Backing up your information is critical to the health and survival of anyone owning a computer. For those who want to read more on this, go to my blog Backup, Backup, Backup.

Meanwhile, there are some things you can do and practices you can adopt to keep your Lightroom catalog working well.

First, for those who don’t know, something to remember is that Lightroom can almost be thought of as a browser with the capability of adding instructions to your image file as to how it should be processed. Your images are not “in” Lightroom; rather Lightroom can view thumbnails of your images and allow you to work on them. More properly, that work is actually creating a set of instructions for your images so that the next time they are processed, the results will be there. Just because you are not online at www.BCphotoadventures.com, for example, does not mean it doesn’t still exist. It’s there waiting for you the next time you access it through Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc. Similarly, even if your Lightroom catalog fails, your images are still exactly where you put them.

Because we are dealing with RAW files, we are not changing the files themselves, only the instructions for them such as your copyright information, Margo’s Tweaks, burning here, pumping up the saturation or contrast there, converting it into a black-and-white photo, adding or subtracting some luminence, etc.

As long as Lightroom is working, those instructions will be there for each image when you next open up the program. But if something goes awry? Unless you have saved your instructions — the work you have done on the image — to the image file itself, all could be lost. What to do?

Easy. Every time I import images onto my hard drive, simultaneously applying my copyright information and Margo’s Tweaks, I select All my images (on Macs, CMD-A, and on PCs, CTRL-A), and Save them all (CTRL-S / CMD-S). Then I Deselect them all (CMD-D / CTRL-D), as noted in the previous blog.

Remember, do NOT do that CMD-D or CTRL-D in any other program. You may delete things that you wish to keep!!!

Now, at the very least, all my copyright metadata and preliminary tweaks are saved with the image files themselves.

After that, every time I work on an image, I do a CTRL-S / CMD-S. That way, even though the history steps may be lost in a Lightroom or computer meltdown, the end results of all those instructions will be there the next time I access the image, and I can go back and tweak those adjustments even more.

Now, let’s go to some practices that will reduce the chance of Lightroom going south. In that Continue reading 

Create a Copyright Template in Lightroom and Bridge

13 Dec

A How-to on Creating a Copyright Template/Preset

Before I begin, check out the updated list for photo workshops. More details may be found on our website.

© 2010 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  For usage and fees, please e-mail TBC (at) BCphotoadventures (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time, GMT-5.I start my blog, originally written several years back, © Is for Copyright, with, “I know I shouldn’t be, but I am always surprised at how little people know about copyright. To me and many others — pros and amateurs — the little “c” in the Copyright symbol is part of the basic ABCs of photography. You can find all sorts of appropriate principles for A and B, but C is definitely for Copyright.”

We do not import any of our images without attaching our copyright notice to it, and we strongly recommend the same practice to our workshop participants. There is too much theft out there. “What’s mine is mine, and by the way, what’s yours is mine, too,” seems to be the way the world has been going for quite a few years now.

So, if you have not yet done so, you need to create a copyright preset (lightroom) or template (Photoshop/Bridge). These examples are for Lightroom, but we’ll also give instructions for Photoshop, done through Bridge. And for those who use other imaging programs, look up “presets” or “templates”s under Help in the menu, and use this as your guide.

Your copyright notice is very important. It lets would-be infringers know that you take your copyright seriously. See © is for Copyright, if you haven’t already read it.

This is very important, as there are only three legal forms of a copyright notice, and even seasoned photographers often list their copyright incorrectly. Arghhh! Also, for those who don’t know how to make the © symbol, directions are here for that, too. Or because of the vagaries of various laptop keyboards, just copy this © and paste it into your own copyright notice(s). Remember (c) is not acceptable as the copyright symbol. You really need that “c” enclosed in a circle … ©!

Making a preset or template for your copyright notice is actually easier than you might think. For those who come to our workshops, please set yours up before you arrive, and I will double check it to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Macs and PCs use different terms and procedures for executing certain tasks sometimes, but the principles are the same. These directions are for PCs, but those of you with Macs will know what to press or select instead.

LIGHTROOM DIRECTIONS

If you do not have any images “in” Lightroom, “import” just one from this year. I use quotes, as your photographs are not actually imported into Lightroom or any other imaging program, only thumbnails for the images and the ability to work on the photographs. Your photographs are exactly where you put them, either in a folder in your computer or on your external hard drive. For those to whom this sounds like some obscure language, there are some great tutorials on different functions and aspects of Lightroom by Adobe developer and guru Julieanne Kost listed on our Resources page.

Now that you have at least one image from the current year visible in Lightroom, make sure you are in Library module, grid view (multiple images showing on “light table” in center), and click on the image to select it. If you have a folder with more than one image, click on any image in the folder. (Figure 1)

© 2013 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  For usage and fees, please e-mail TBC (at) BCphotoadventures (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time, GMT-5.Figure 1

In the right panel (check out some Lightroom basics on our blog if the panel doesn’t show), scroll down to the Metadata section and make sure it is open (click the triangle to the right of “Metadata” if it is closed). (Figure 2)

© 2013 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  For usage and fees, please e-mail TBC (at) BCphotoadventures (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time, GMT-5.Figure 2

Click on the up-down arrows to the right of the field on the left and select EXIF and IPTC. Now click on the up-down arrows to the right of the field labeled Preset and select Edit Presets … at the bottom. (Figure 2)

If you are making a preset for the first time, None will be listed in the Preset field rather than my TBC © 2013 (now 2014 since January 1).  Arnie has his own copyright notice, so we differentiate between the two, but that is not likely your scenario.

The fields are already filled in below (Figure 3), because none of our images is without a copyright notice.

Hopefully, you will follow this same example. Be sure to click on the Continue reading 

The Glory of Black and White 2012-01

23 Jan

Over the weekend, I took time off from our regular work to do some black-and-white images.

Some people see in color, and some people see in black and white. Arnie and I see in both.

What it really is all about is seeing values. You know, that range from lights to darks. As did Arnie, I started out in black and white, but for me, it was with my trusty Brownie Hawkeye. Some of those images that I made when I was eight stand the test of time today. But that’s not the point of this blog except that I have been around black and white for a very long time. Even when I was shooting mostly color, I was also admiring the black-and-white photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Edward Curtis, J. Walker Evans, and a plethora of others.

© 2011 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail BC (at) ZAPphoto (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at  919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time.There were some images from Death Valley that I knew at the time would make good black and whites.

As those of you know who follow this blog, we ran into the sand/dust storm of all storms in Death Valley last month. Locals hadn’t seen anything like it in decades. While it was challenging to keep the camera safe, it was also great for photographs. The one above was made when the storm was beginning. The valley floor was still clear, but the mountains and hills were being obscured as the storm got lower and lower.

I didn’t want to lose that feeling of the storm lurking above the desert floor. I had already processed my color image, but after I took it over into nik Silver Efex Pro*, I brought it back into Lightroom to complete my tweaking. In this case, I wished to maintain the subtle outline of the mountains across the desert floor, so I darkened the exposure in that upper part of the image and brought out a little more detail in the salt ridges in the foreground to contrast with the storm.

Very often, I vignette by darkening the edges to draw the eye into my subject, but in this case, I actually lightened the edges a tad to lessen the impact of the salt lines as they drifted out of the frame.

© 2011 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail BC (at) ZAPphoto (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at  919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time.In the next image, there were signs of the storm in the distance. The “scooty” rock in its setting was my subject, which meant that I could not allow the mountains to intrude too much.

Again, I took my image over into nik for my base black-and-white conversion, did my normal tweaks there, then Continue reading