Archive for November, 2013

#CreativeFriday – Pulling still images from 4k in Photoshop

The advancement in video on DSLR’s, as well as on mirrorless cameras is making amazing breakthroughs, we might actually soon be shooting our stills from a video recording. i.e. a real world example is shooting a wedding. Could we be shooting the wedding as a video, then taking the exact shot that will make the bride extremely happy, and having the ability to never missing “that shot”. This could also be applied to forms of photography as well, when getting the perfect shot can be so challenging.

The emergence of 4K footage has the basis for doing exactly this! or is it ?

I had a chance to work with the Canon 1DC a few weeks and, courtesy of Mr Anton Nelson (@AntonNelson) took the following footage of this bird.

The video above has been slowed down by 4 times and repeated so that you are able to see the action, when played you will see that the bird blinks, something that would be impossible to capture using normal techniques, even with a high speed shutter, or is not guaranteed.  Let us look at taking a frame out of the 4K footage out of the tools that we know.


The .MOV file is just opened up into Photoshop, just the same as a regular file

Initial shot

As the bird wasn’t moving, it will be simple to extract this frame from the sequence. Make sure the the play head (the red bar) on the timeline, is parked over the part that you are wanting to extract. Make sure that you have the exact frame, use the zoom in/out controls (marked Red below) to do this. You can now see the individual frames (marked Yellow below), (you can also split the clip at either side of the play head as well, then delete the pieces that are not required)


Next we need to mark the start frame point and the out frame point. Once the play head is in the correct place, then right click on the top blue handle and a fly out menu (marked Red below) should appear. Select “Set start of work area”.


Move the play head forward by one frame and do the same, by selecting the “Set end of work area”  (marked Red below).


Now that we have the one frame selected, we are able to extract it from the clip.

To extract the frame from the sequence, select from the menu tool bar, File / Export / Render Video. The following dialog box will be displayed. Notice that the initial selection will be for a video. However, we want to extract a JPG file. Open the combo box that currently says “Adobe Media Encoder” and select “Photoshop Image Sequence”.



This option will change the dialog box and enable the selection of images. Select format “JPG” and click on the settings to select the quality required (also change the name of the output). Notice the document size is 4K (i.e. 4096 pixels) and the work area (both from and to) is a single frame number (hopefully the one that was selected previously). Click on the Render button to create the JPG file.


See below the actual image that has been extracted from the movie file.



You are also able to use Lightroom for the extraction of a frame from a DSLR or AVCHD file

Just import the .MOV file into Lightroom (4 or 5) and open in the Library module (videos are not allowed in the Development module), locate the frame and choose “Capture Frame” (marked Red below). Lightroom will create the frame for you, you just need to export it.



So I hope you can see that there is a very useful side to the new 4K footage that we are starting to see output from these types of cameras.

There are a couple of technical challenges that i would like to point out. Most of the time when we are shooting video on the DSLR it will be a 1/50 second (twice 25fps), therefore you are shooting on a slow shutter speed. This helps with the fluid motion of video and creates a dreamy look to your film. This isn’t good for stills, it means that you will most likely create blurry shots, depending on what you are shooting.  So what is it good for, well many things, but to be honest to get sharp images out, then i would stay with things are are not moving (also verified by Mr Timothy Allen and Mr Anton Nelson has has tried this for real!).

So there you go, it’s a very viable option depending on what you are shooting and trying to capture. Have fun with that and why not try it for your self.


I want to shout out to Anton for supporting me and inspiration on crating this blog post, Anton is an experienced film maker and works with clients such as Paul Oakenfold, Ørjan Nilsen, Armada music.

Adobe Photographers Bundle for everyone, extended until December 31th 2013


This offer has been extended until 31st December and is available to anyone that wants to sign up for the Adobe Photography Bundle and get Lightroom 5, Photoshop CC, 20GB of storage as well as a chance to create wonderful portfolio web sites to showcase your work, without the need to have owner a prior version of Photoshop.  To take advantage of this amazing offer and start using the great new features, tools, workflow and techniques in both of these incredible solutions and  get your photos looking even more beautiful, head over to here before December 31st 2013.





#CreativeFriday – Lightroom Output Options

LR Output options

The output options in Lightroom is the final part of our series, but equally as important as the rest. There are multiple output choices that we have available to us, options like making books, creating web galleries or slide shows or just printing and exporting to social platforms (like Facebook or Behance). This guide explains all of them and will give you a flavor of each and how to use them to your advantage. I have also created a video to accompany this guide, which is available below.

Map Module
Maps are a great way to track your pictures and remember where they were taken. For maps to work you will need to have a connection to the Internet.


When using maps in Lightroom there are two distinct ways of placing your pictures onto the map, one is to place the picture manually, by searching for the location and dragging and dropping it from the film strip or collection, or by using devices such as a GPS receiver on your camera, or even using a smart phone to locate the GPS coordinates for you.


Which ever method you use, Lightroom is able to go out to the internet and use google maps to locate the nearest town ,as well as other location details.


If you are using a manual method, then searching for a location could not be easier, there is a text box in the top right hand corner (marked Red below), where you can specify the name of the town, city etc, then pressing enter will instruct Lightroom to find it for you.


Once you have located the place on the map, you are then able to zoom in or out to get a perspective of where you are (marked Orange above).


To place the pictures on the map in the location that Lightroom found, select  them from the filmstrip or collection (marked Yellow above),  then drag to the location on the map (marked Purple above). Lightroom will find the GPS coordinates as well as local town and other relevant data using Google and automatically populate the relevant fields inside Lightroom (marked Grey above) (you will need to enable Lightroom to use Reverse Geo-location and you will be asked this question as soon as Lightroom knows that you might require this facility).


When using a built in GPS receiver on the camera, or by using a smart phone, you won’t need to drag and drop the pictures on the map, Lightroom will automate this part for you, as well as collecting the nearest town and location data from Google (you will need to enable Lightroom to use Reverse Geo-location and you will be asked this question as soon as Lightroom knows that you might require this facility).


Once the pictures are on the map, you can view them by clicking on the yellow marker.


For the more advanced user, you are also able to use GPX tracking data to plot the route that was taken between the pictures (commonly found on more sophisticated GPS devices or smart phone applications).

Creating Books

Lightroom makes book making really simple, and has been designed to save you a huge amount of time (depending on how you would like to create a book, this guide will explain this approach). There are many ways that you can create a book. One is to create each page individually; the other is to let Lightroom do most of the heavy work for you. We will cover how Lightroom is able to do most of the work for you.


Configure the Book preferences


Within the book preferences menu option (Tool bar within the books module / book / Book preferences), you are able to control what happens when you open the book module. Lightroom can be configured to allow automatic population of the book (“start new books by auto filling” turned on), or manual book creation, (“start new books by auto filling” turned off).


You can also choose how pictures are inserted into each page, by controlling the default photo zoom (i.e. zoom to fit or fill), as well as options for text.


TIP. Turning off the auto fill, will give you greater control and the ability to configure the book before it is filled with pages and pictures.

Configuration of the printed book

The final book can be configured from the Book settings panel (marked Red below), there are quite a few options here to choose from, including the size of the final book, the cover type as well as the paper (the book specifics are shown in yellow (if information is turned on (using the I key in Lightroom (or menu tool bar / view / show info overlay)). There are also alternate output options, JPG files as well as PDF files can be chosen from here as well.

Preparing Lightroom for creating the book.

A great feature in the book module is the ability to automatically layout the book and use a pre-configured template or guide (marked Yellow below). It will take the selected photographs, and place them into the book based on this configuration (this is configured in the area marked Red below).


This configuration will allow you to create a standard type for your photo text and create a consistent look for the book (as well as each photograph).

Creating consistent type

You are able to create presets for different type settings under the type menu panel. By default you won’t be able to access the panel, so to do so, you will need to click on the Add page text (marked Blue above), and type some text and create the look that you are wanting to use from this.

















Once you type some text into here and you have the Type panel open, you will then be able to create the type preset (marked Red below). Inside this box, you are able to control typeface, weight, size, colour etc. Any modifications made here, are reflected in the text on the page (marked black).


You are able to save the preset with a custom name under the ‘Text Style Preset” drop down menu.

Book layout customisation

You are also able to customise the layout further, by configuring the guides, cells and page numbers.




The best way to use the book module is to create a collection. These can be created in different places, this guide will use the library module (marked Pink below) to do it. Collections are available everywhere in Lightroom and are a great way to collect the photographs together for the book.  To create a collection, click the (+) plus icon by the side of the collection text (marked Pink below, notice that Lightroom is in the Library module). The fly out menu marked in Yellow will be displayed, and there are different types of collections that can be created, for this exercise, we will choose a standard collection using “Create Collection” option.


The Create Collection dialog will be displayed (marked Red below). You will need to give the collection a name, as well as choose where it should be created. You have the option to include pictures from the film strip (marked Grey below). The Target collection check box is very handy, it allows you to add any image or images to the collection by pressing the ‘B’ key at any time (if the image is already in a collection, it will be removed from the collection only).


Once you have images in the collection, move to the book module and as long you are happy with the configuration in the auto layout preset, press the “Auto Layout” from the Auto Layout panel (marked Red below).


The preparing book dialog box will appear and the pages and pictures will be loaded based upon the configuration in the auto layout section. The price will be updated at the same time.

Re-configuring the book

Making changes to the book once the auto layout has completed is pretty simple.  Right clicking on the book will show the page management dialog (marked Red below), from here you can create or remove pages. You can also move content and pages around, just by dragging either the content or the page.


You can change the view of the book (marked Yellow above) and move to a full view (as you can see above), but also into two page and single page view.




It’s also possible to change the way that the pictures are shown on the page, by modifying the template. By clicking on the down arrow of each page (marked Red below). The template fly out menu will be displayed (marked Yellow), which allows you to change the template for each page.


Once the template has been assigned to each page, it can be modified, using the mouse or pen to drag the cell padding around, then by right clicking on the page (marked Black), at this point will ask if you want to same the custom template and where to save it (marked Red).

Book cover

You are able to drag and drop an image to the front and back cover, as well as choosing a template option. You are also able to fully utilise both areas with one photograph or design depending on how you want your book to appear. In the example below, I have used Photoshop to create a custom image, and use this as a front cover. I have found that this can make a real impact to the viewer and let them know what to expect.

Screen Shot 2013-10-31 at 12.07.42

Dragging the image from the collection /filmstrip to the Background panel (marked Yellow), will place it over the front and the back cover (marked Red). Also notice that the used number count of the image (marked Grey) has been increased to 2.


One of the benefits of having the Books in the Lightroom application is that if you still need to work on the image (using the Development mode), then the changes will be reflected back in the books module.


Once you have completed the book and created the final piece, then you can click the “Send Book to Blurb”, sign in (or create a new account) and upload the book for printing.

Slide shows

You have the ability to create a slide show from you pictures and videos that exist within your Lightroom catalog. To do this, navigate to the slide show tab, select your pictures and press preview or play. You can also customise the slide show using the panels on the right hand side of Lightroom.

Printing from Lightroom

Printing from Lightroom is very powerful. You are able to customise the print package that can be created, as well as see exactly what will be printed. Below is an example of setting up the page settings, where the paper size and orientation can be chosen.


In the following screen shot, it shows setting up the printer settings for the printer driver that is connected to the computer. From this panel you can get access to the printer driver and configure the way that the print will be printed.


There are many different print options on the right hand side as well, including, water marks, contact sheets, picture information etc, as well as setting up margins and padding for the print.

Printing from Lightroom also includes the printer ICC profiles that you will need to get your pictures looking amazing on the printer / ink and paper combination, this can be accessed from the “Print Job” panel. To access the ICC profile for the printer and ink combination that you are looking to use, you will need to download them from the manufacturers website (they should be relatively easy to find and usually come with installation instructions). These will then be available under the ICC profile list (marked Red below).


Once you have selected your ICC profile, you can then print, by pressing the “Print” button. Before the print is pressed, however, you should always make sure that you are using a fully colour managed workflow.


Colour Management & Soft Proofing


Printing, is straightforward, but can be a little more in-depth than covered by this tutorial and may need some trouble shooting during your print process


There are many gotcha’s that you should be aware of. For example, if you are printing then you should be working with a fully colour managed workflow. This means that the colours that your camera caputeres, and are displayed to the screen, then printed are correct and verified against the standard (called the ICC standard), companies like Data colour and Xrite, have great solutions to support this type of workflow and allow you to make amazing prints, that look as they do on the screen.


Lightroom does however, go a little way to help you save paper/ink and time, by incorporating a soft proofing mechanism. Soft proofing is available in the development module in the tool bar (underneath the photograph).


The soft proofing mode is turned on (marked Yellow below), as well as the Print-clipping indicator (marked green). The ICC profile for the printer/ ink combination has been selected (marked Red (this is usually downloaded from the printer / paper companies website and installed onto the computer).


Lightroom will look at the picture and map to the colour gamut of the printer profile and show Red marks (marked Grey) if any colours will not print correctly, they are displayed in RED.


N.B. A colour gamut in this context is the compete range of colours that the target device is able to print (The screen also has a colour gamut (Adobe RGB and sRGB are both colour gamuts/profiles).


Some colours like (magenta and green) go outside of the chosen colour gamut, but is fixable using the Hue/Saturation/Luminance (HSL) sliders (marked Red).


The target adjustment tool (marked Yellow below) is a great way to fix these oddities Once the tool is selected, just drag it over the Red marked areas, in the example image below. In this exercise, the RED has completely disappeared, and the saturation has been reduced in those areas (marked Grey). This print is now printable on the chosen printer / ink and paper combination.


Once this has been completed, there will be a dialog box on the screen (see below). You may have a need to use different papers, inks and printers, Lightroom is asking to either make this a proof of this, or create a new proof. Creating a new proof copy will create a virtual file (inside the catalog and not on the physical disk) and will rename it to be the filename as well as the ICC profile.


This means you can create all of your printable files for each ICC profile in one place.


Once you have completed the Soft proofing against the ICC profile, you can print and hopeful create beautiful prints.





The web module will allow you to create a web template for the pictures that you would like to publish. Once you have selected the pictures and the website look and feel, you will see a real time preview in the middle area of Lightroom. There are plenty of options available in the panels on the right for you to customise the site and the template, as well as specifying and FTP server to upload the site to.


Exporting your pictures from Lightroom.

If you are not printing, or outputting to a complete web site, you may just want to create the final image from Lightroom. This is not a mandatory step, but only if you want to create the final image (don’t forget that Lightroom can always be opened and take you to the RAW file, and adjusted or exported at anytime), then the Export module is the best way to create this.


Export is available in many places, for this example, I have used the menu option File / Export. The following dialog box will be displayed.


The first thing that you will need to do is to tell Lightroom where is will put the output file, the files can be renamed here if required.


The most important setting is the file settings, here you can control what is created, either JPG, PSD, TIFF, DNG or the original file, as well as the quality of the file.


Depending on what you are targeting you may want to consider the width and height of the final image, this can be set under the image sizing section.


There are many other options to explore here as well, from placing a water mark, sharpening etc., etc. The export option will work on the number of images that are selected in the film strip (or collection if used).


There are certain guidelines for output, depending on target device, If the image is going to the web to be displayed in an internet browser, then it will most likely be a JPG file and sRGB as a colour profile should be used.


Publish options


Lightroom can be used to publish your images to specific social platforms, i.e. Facebook, Behance and Flickr. These platforms typically have a login requirement, as well as specific places to place your pictures (i.e. albums or projects/Work in progress), this information can be configured in the “set up” option for each publish service that you would like to use.


#CreativeFriday – Big prints and Panoramic’s in Lightroom’s Print Module

Lightroom is a very capable printing engine, it also makes printing very simple. You can get to the print module, by clicking on the Print tab on the right hand side of Lightroom. When you open the Print module and you have a picture selected in the film strip,  you will see an image in the centre of the application with a white background. This view is a visual representation of the paper and how the image will look on the page once printed.

The page setup button (marked Red) allows configuration of the paper size that will be used in the printer. There are pre-configured paper sizes in the paper size drop down list (marked Yellow). There is also an option to create custom sizes in this list as well (marked Pink).


For example if you would like to print an image and you have a 24inch Large Format printer that is roll fed.

Normally you would print the image with the width as 24 inch, but you may want to print the 24 inch on the small edge and then run the long edge vertically (to make use of the roll). This will enable you to print large prints from Lightroom.


The image below is 23inches wide with 16 inches high, but we may want to print this at 24inch on the short side and then recalculate the long edge, so let us see how you this is created and managed inside Lightroom.


This arrangement can be configured easily in Lightroom in the page setup button (marked Red below).


Clicking the Page setup button will open up the page dialog. The page size can be changed for standard sizes like A4, A3 etc. We can also specify custom sizes in this list. The custom sizes dialog opens up the dialog box on the right (marked Pink). We are able to specify the new length in mm in the top of the pink box.

Let us look at another print, this one is a panoramic and will be more complicated.


What if we want to print this image at 24 inches on the short edge and the long size along the length of the roll, but we don’t know the length, as it’s custom.

The aspect ratio of this image is 14337px x 6228px. So If we would like to print the long edge to 24 inches, then 6228px will be set to 24 inches. To calculate the length we need to divide the long edge by the short edge and multiply by 606.9mm (606.9mm is 24inches), this will give us the total length of the long edge

The working out

The actual size of the long edge is 14337px / 6228px = (2.3 * 606.9)  = 1396mm, rounded up to 1400mm.

Here is the new custom size.


This equates to Lightroom as at 24inch x 55inch print, you may just need to change the paper rotation and the image rotation to make it show correctly. You can see that the final print is the represented in Lightroom and will be printed as so (before you print don’t forget to check the ICC profile)


There you have a safe way to print huge images using rolls of paper.



#CreateNow – The return of the Adobe create now tour !



You are able to register for the Edinburgh event here, for Bristol here.


We look forward to seeing you there.

Adobe will be attending the SWPP show in January..


The Adobe imaging team will be attending the 2014 SWPP show at the London Metropole from January 17 to 19th. We will be there with a seminar room,  and have a packed agenda ready for you to learn more about the new features available in Photoshop and Lightroom, as well as re-touching techniques used by the Professionals as well as colour management advice. These sessions will certainly give you the edge when it comes to the new tools available in the applications, as well as enabling you to make you photographs look even more incredible.

The three day Trade Show also has over one hundred leading photographic companies exhibiting and attendees can get ‘hands on’ with the latest equipment from all the top manufacturers.

Pre registration is essential to gain free access to this Trade Show. To claim your Free Trade Show pass, please book online before the 24 December 2013:

Please vote for us in The Societies’ Trade Awards and you could win a Masterclass ticket.

Now’s your chance to have your say to vote for your products of the year.

For more information on the Trade Show and full Convention, please see the website below:

FREE Trade Shows at the SWPP Convention January 2014, you can register here.

Friday 17/01/2014 at the Adobe stand in the West Wing Lobby

  • 10:15 – Retouching Made Easy – Part 1 (Adobe Lightroom) 
  • 11:00 – Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow
  • 11:45 – Colour Management – Perfecting your workflow 
  • 12:15 – Video Editing for Photographers 
  • 13:00 – Retouching Made Easy – Part 2 (Adobe Photoshop) 
  • 13:45 – Video Editing for Photographers 
  • 14:30 – Colour Management – Perfecting your workflow 
  • 15:15 – Video Editing for Photographers 
  • 16:00 – Retouching Made Easy – Part 1 (Adobe Lightroom) 
  • 16:45 – Open House Q/A Session 

Saturday 18/01/2014 at the Adobe stand in the West Wing Lobby

  • 10:15 – Retouching Made Easy – Part 1 (Adobe Lightroom) 
  • 11:00 – Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow 
  • 11:45 – Colour Management – Perfecting your workflow 
  • 12:15 – Video Editing for Photographers 
  • 13:00 – Retouching Made Easy – Part 2 (Adobe Photoshop) 
  • 13:45 – Video Editing for Photographers 
  • 14:30 – Colour Management – Perfecting your workflow 
  • 15:15 – Video Editing for Photographers 
  • 16:00 – Retouching Made Easy – Part 1 (Adobe Lightroom) 
  • 16:45 – Open House Q/A Session 

Sunday 19/01/2014 at the Adobe stand in the West Wing Lobby

  • 10:15 – Retouching Made Easy – Part 1 (Adobe Lightroom) 
  • 11:00 – Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow 
  • 11:45 – Colour Management – Perfecting your workflow 
  • 12:15 – Video Editing for Photographers 
  • 13:00 – Retouching Made Easy – Part 2 (Adobe Photoshop) 
  • 13:45 – Video Editing for Photographers 
  • 14:30 – Colour Management – Perfecting your workflow 
  • 15:15 – Video Editing for Photographers 


Show Summary

Retouching Made Easy Part I (Adobe Lightroom)
In this seminar we look at the common tools that are often used inside Lightroom to retouch a photograph, as well as some handy tips and creative thougths. This session will be hosted by a re-touching expert, will show how they go about easy retouching as will be available for your questions and advice.
Audience Level – Beginner / Intermediate

Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Workflow
Over the past few years Lightroom and Photoshop have introduced new workflow for Photographers.
The Creative Cloud pushes this to brand new levels and opens up brand new workflow opportunities, this session
will look in detail at these and explain how work and will hopefully save you time, increase your creativity and
make even more beautiful images.
Audience Level – Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced

Colour Management – Perfecting your workflow
This session is brought in conjunction with Adobe and Datacolor and will provide an end to end solution for colour management. We will explain how colour management can easily be incorporated into your workflow from ‘in the camera’, to the screen and finishing at the printer and transform your workflow forever. This session will ensure that you are able to make perfect looking prints every time!
Audience Level – Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced

Video Editing for Photographers.
We all have cameras that are able to create stunning photographs, as well as stunning HD quality video. Most of us don’t use this part of the camera for what ever reason. This session will hopefully de-mystify the recording and editing process for you and will hopefully show you that creating video with you DSLR is easy and can look incredible (we will be using Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Pro for this session)
Audience Level – Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced

Retouching Made Easy Part II (Adobe Photoshop)
In this seminar we look at the common tools that are often used inside Photoshop to retouch a photograph, as
well as some handy tips and creative thoughts. This session will be hosted by a re-touching expert, will show
how they go about easy retouching as will be available for your questions and advice.
Audience Level – Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced


We look forward to seeing you all there, you can register here.

#CreativeFriday – Editing your pictures with local adjustments using Lightroom

 The editing process so far

Over the past few episode of this series, we have focused on the photographic workflow in Lightroom. Firstly we looked at importing and key-wording images into the Lightroom catalog, and then looked at selecting and ranking pictures for developing. The last article was about enhancing the picture using the develop module using global adjustments. Global adjustments are great for working on enhancing the whole picture. However, sometimes we need to enhance select parts of the picture.

Local adjustments

Local adjustments are applied to selective parts of an image by using a powerful range of tools and brushes. This tutorial will go through the local adjustment tools and give examples of how they can be used. In the global adjustments article we explained how Lightroom supports a non-destructive approach to picture editing, local adjustments are based on the same method, except it uses a concept of masks and pins to apply the selective adjustments, rather than layers.


The Brushes & Tools

Gradient Filter

In traditional photography the graduated filter is used to balance the exposure in the scene by placing it in front of the camera lens. It is often used in landscape photography, i.e. when the sky is too bright and foreground is too dark, the camera may not able to capture all of the tonal range, and over expose the highlights or underexpose the shadows.  This filter will allow you to protect the highlights and shadows balance the exposure.

Screen Shot 2013-09-29 at 21.01.22


The graduated filter can be found fourth from the left in the tools and brushes collection underneath the histogram in Lightroom (in the picture below, the gradated filter is selected and is highlighted in white).


In the picture below the sky is quite bright and I would like to make it darker.


The graduated filter (marked in yellow below), can be used to alter any of the attributes that appear in box below it. In this case the exposure value will be used to darken the sky. Any of the attributes or combination of them can also be changed, i.e. highlights, shadows and clarity, even the colour.

Operating the graduated filter

The graduated filter is placed on the picture by clicking on the image; a placeholder pin is automatically created for you. The graduated filter pin is not fixed; it can be dragged into another position using the mouse or pen. In the following example the mask pin is placed inside the horizon area (marked red below), and the graduated filter (white lines) is placed off center and rotated slightly. The graduated filter is rotated to make sure that the filter is not seen in the final finished picture.

Once the filter is in place, the exposure slider (blue) is moved to the left and darkened. The gradient filter includes a feather so it should be blended into the scene.

The graduated filter can also removed from the picture, by selecting it and pressing the delete key or right click with the mouse on the pin and choose delete.



Cloning and Healing

Some times a picture contains issues that you may want to fix. These issues could range from dust spots to a piece of litter and will depend on the style and story that you may want to tell, or it may just have an impact on the picture in general. The clone and heal tool is used to fix parts of the picture by replacing the problem area with another part of the scene.

In the example below there is some bracken within the grassy areas in the bottom right of the scene (marked yellow below), and we will use the clone and heal tool in Lightroom to fix it, or at least reduce the intensity of it and blend it into the scene.

Before the clone or heal operation takes place, it is good practice to work zoomed in, or in a close up view mode. Working at 100% or greater will allow you to see the finest of details, and make sure that the areas that are being cloned/healed are blended into the original scene, then the viewer won’t be aware of the fix.

Lightroom can be put into 1:1 or 100% view by clicking on the 1:1 icon (marked red below). Once you select the clone/heal tool (marked in pink), the tool controls will be displayed (marked blue).

The operational controls for the clone/heal tool are: –

  • Size – controls the size of the tool
  • Feather – amount of softness on the edge of the tool
  • Opacity – How much of the picture under the new clone/heal section will be visible.


The area that needs to be fixed is marked in yellow box below.


Operating the Clone/Heal tool.

Once the tool is moved over the picture the brush will become visible.

The size and feather of the clone heal tool are controlled using the sliders (marked in the blue box above), or by pressing the ‘[‘ key for decreasing the size, and ‘]’ for increasing the size. Holding the SHIFT key at the same time as the square bracket key can change the feather amount.

To place a new clone/heal brush on the picture, make sure ‘New’ is selected in the tool panel (marked in the blue box above), and click on the picture. Lightroom will automatically try and find a replacement area. If the area that is selected is not suitable, press the ‘/’ key and allow Lightroom to select a different patch source.

You may need to play with the brush size; it’s location, and the other attributes to cover the area that needs to be cloned/healed. Once the tool has been placed on the picture, two rings and an arrow will be shown for each clone/heal. The ring with the arrow pointing away from it is the new source patch, and the other is the destination.

To achieve the best results, you may need to move both rings independently by using the mouse or pen so that you have the right destination and the new source will blend into the picture without it being visible. Also, don’t forget you can change the size; opacity and feather at any point in time to get achieve perfect results.



By default the clone/heal tool will create a circle for the path, but sometimes, the round brush is the wrong shape and what’s really needed is a custom shape.

When you click on the picture to place the tool, don’t take you finger of the right click button of the mouse or pen, but instead, drag it, and a white shape will be drawn. Now you can manually draw the patch and create a custom shape for the repair.

When you are altering the attributes of the tool, especially the feather, you many want to see the effect on the picture while it is being changed. This can be difficult to see when the rings are always displayed and can be more challenging when more than one tool has been created in close proximity. To control the visibility of the clone/heal rings when they are not selected, review the “Tool Overlay” option (marked red below) :-

  • ‘Always’ will show the clone/heal points at all times,
  • ‘Auto’ will make sure the source is hidden and just the destination repair is shown when you hover over the picture. Once you leave the picture area, the tools will be hidden.

‘Auto’ is good start for seeing the adjustments as they are being applied.



When repairing the picture, there can sometimes be other marks that are not always easy to find, i.e. dust spots, sensor smear, or maybe some items that are just difficult to spot. To resolve this and make this type of repair much easier, you can turn on the visualise spots mode (marked red below), the picture will turn into a black and white mask, showing difficult to find issues. Clone and heal repairs can also be applied in this mode.


Adjustment Brush

The adjustment brush is invaluable for selectively painting enhancements onto the picture. There are so many uses of this brush, it will be challenging to talk about them all here, and will of course depend on your creative vision. In this tutorial we will focus on three areas that will hopefully give you a good basis of how to use the tools.

  • Add some depth into the shadows of the foreground
  • Change the colour of the persons jacket
  • Change the brightness of the whites of a person’s eye, to add interest.

Scenario 1 – Add some depth into the shadows of the foreground



In this example we will add some depth to the shadows and increase the contrast in these specific areas.

We will use the adjustment brush to paint a mask on the picture, but just in the areas of shadow in the foreground. The mask that we will create will be a percentage of the full strength of what is possible with masks in Lightroom. This approach will enable us to layer up any adjustments that we need to, and enable us to and keep control and work with precision. Once we have placed brush strokes on the image, we will then decrease the exposure in these areas only using the exposure slider.

Operating the Adjustment brush tool.

Select the Adjustment brush (marked red below), and note the show pins (marked dark blue), is positioned to ‘Auto’. When the show pins setting is set to ‘Auto’, Lightroom will make sure that each pin and it’s mask is only visible when it’s selected, and the cursor is hovered within the image area. Once the mouse is moved outside of the image area, all pins will become hidden. When the ‘Show selected mask overlay’ (marked pink below) is set to on, the Red mask will be displayed over any adjustments. This option is good for seeing where the adjustments will be made, as well as the strength of the current mask. The ‘Show selected mask’ can also be turned on/off by pressing the ‘O’ key.


When painting with the adjustment brush, the default setting is adding to the mask (this will be displayed as a + sign in the brush). However, you may also want to remove areas of the mask, this can be achieved by pressing the “ALT” key at the same time as painting (this will be displayed as a – sign in the brush).

Multiple masks can also be created on an image to add different effects in different areas. To create a new mask, make sure that you click on the ‘new’ option on the attributes panel (marked yellow above). To edit an existing mask, you click on its pin. Once you have clicked and selected a pin, a black mark will be displayed, indicating that it has been selected  (marked light brown below).

Before you paint for the first time, I would recommend turning on the “Show Selected Mask Overlay” (marked red below) by clicking the check box, or by pressing the ‘O’ key (this toggles the option on and off). This will show the mask as you paint.

Masks that are painting onto the picture do have properties (marked yellow below). The strength of the mask is controlled by the flow attribute, the lower the flow the more control you will have when applying the effect (The idea of a low flow value is to enable a controlled build up of the mask, as well as the effect that is being applied).

To darken the areas that we have created the mask for, the exposure will need to be decreased (moved to the left), this will effectively darken the shadows under the mask.


Scenario 2 – Change the colour of the persons jacket


This tutorial will use the adjustment brush to change the colour of the person’s jacket in the scene.

Operating the Adjustment brush tool

To work effectively on the picture with precision and focus on the jacket, Lightroom can be zoomed into the picture using the CMD (Mac)/ CTRL (PC) and the + key (to zoom out, use the CMD (Mac)/CTRL (PC) and – key).

To create a new mask, “New” is selected within the adjustment brush attribute panel, and pin is placed on the image (marked red), using a click with the mouse or pen. The flow of the mask is set to medium (marked yellow), which allows the adjustment(s) to be accurately controlled.

The jacket has a clearly defined hard edge against its background, this contrast can be used to focus the painting and make sure the mask is within the jacket only. Making sure that the “Auto Mask” feature on the adjustment brush properties is on (marked brown below), will tell Lightroom to evaluate the contrast at the edges, and will try not to paint the mask outside of the jacket. If the brush does happen to paint the mask out of this area, pressing the “ALT” key will turn the adjustment brush into a removal brush and will paint away the mask when applied (a – sign is displayed in the brush when this is enabled).



Adjustments to the jacket only can then be made, using the attributes in the adjustment brush panel. In the accompanying video, the jacket is turned a different colour by using the colour selector (at the bottom of the attributes panel). Combination of other adjustments is also allowed, which can be used to create your vision).

Scenario 3 – Change the brightness of the white area in a person’s eye.

This tutorial we’ll focus on how to brighten the whites of the eyes. This is a useful technique to draw the viewer’s attention into the photograph.



Operating the Adjustment brush tool

As in the previous tutorial the best practice for accurate and delicate work, is to zoom into the picture using CMD (Mac) / CTRL (Pc)  and the + key (CMD (Mac) / CTRL (Pc) and the – key is used to zoom out).

Once the image is of a comfortable size (in the image below, both eyes are visible, as well as areas around the. This can be used to get feedback of the effect quickly).  The operation to increase the brightness of the white part of the eye is the same as changing the colour of the jacket above. A new mask pin is placed on or near the eye (marked red below), and the “Show Selected Mask Overlay” is turned on (marked yellow). Within the brush attributes panel (marked red), the “Auto Mask” is turned on (to select only the white part of the eye). These options enable an accurate mask to be painted, and to control the adjustment strength of the effects.


When the masks have been created, the ‘O’ key is pressed to turn of the “Show Selected Mask Overlay”, and then the exposure value is increased (moved to the right) to brighten the masked areas.

When applying any adjustments, it’s worthwhile previewing in the zoomed in mode, as well as zoomed out mode to see the effect that has been applied and to make sure that the creative vision is achieved, if not, the adjustments may need to be modified until the creative vision is reached.

Notice the whites of the lady’s eyes have been increased to add more visual attention for the viewer (marked red below).




Crop Tool

The next example is to apply a crop to the scene. The crop tool is a great way to adjust the composition of the picture and change the story that is being told.

When cropping pictures you have a couple of options to consider. One of these options is the aspect ratio. The aspect ratio refers to the width and height of the image. As a starting point, this is determined by the camera, but of course can be changed using the crop tool.

The classic 35mm photography term is an aspect ratio and actually refers to an image being a ratio of 3 to 2. i.e. if the long side of a picture is 300pixels, then the short edge will be 200 pixels. There are other ratios that are used in photography; some examples of these are 5×7, 4×4 or10x8. The crop tool can be configured to keep to an aspect, and can be overlaid onto the picture from the menu tool bar, Tools / Crop Guide Overlay / Aspect Ratios.

When the crop tool is selected (marked yellow below), the bounding box will appear around the image (marked red).  The crop tool can be modified by grabbing the corners or the middle of each edge of the crop box, then moving the crop bounding box. You may notice that sometimes when the crop bounding box is reduced in size, it will keep locked to a specific aspect ratio. This is due to the lock icon (marked brown) being set to ‘locked’. The lock can be released at any time and will disable the aspect ratio lock, the crop bounding box will then be allow to move freely.

You can also modify the locked aspect ratio by editing the ‘Aspect’ within the attributes panel (marked brown below). When this is modified, the physical size/shape of the crop bounding box will be changed, and allow re-positioning of the image.

A custom crop can be manually created, by selecting the two rulers next to the aspect ratios (marked brown below), and drawing over the picture with the mouse or pen.



The ruler tool (marked red below) allows the image to be straightened, if required. To operate this tool, select the ruler and draw a straight-line on the image. In this example it will be drawn across the natural horizon.  Once the ruler has been applied, the image will rotate and be straightened. The new picture after the rotation is show in yellow below.



Radial Filter

The Radial filter can be used to apply an ellipse shape mask anywhere in the picture. One example of this is to focus the viewers attention on a certain part of the scene or keep the viewer in the picture and not drift out.

One traditional dark room techniques was to add darkness or burn the edges of an image (derived from the center of the photograph). This effect would be used to keep the viewer in the picture for a longer time.  The “post crop vignette” (available under the effects panel) in Lightroom is used to create this effect.

The “post crop vignette” is very useful. However, sometimes an option to draw the same effect anywhere in the picture can be useful. In this example it will be used to focus the attention on the person running thought the scene.

The Radial filter is available with the other tools (marked yellow) and has the same adjustments (marked orange). When this filter is added to the picture, the pin for the shape will be displayed.

The default shape of radial filter is an ellipse, but, can be changed by dragging the shape handles (left or right hand side, top/bottom). These handles are marked red on the shape below. The tool also has blending properties (marked brown), so it can be faded into the picture and will be more difficult to see on the final image.

You can see in the picture following, the exposure has been applied to outside of the Radial filter, as well as a slight yellow tone.


I hope that has given you a good overview of the local adjustment tools inside Lightroom, and we look forward to seeing what images you create using this very powerful RAW image editor.


N.B. The only tool that was not covered here was the Red Eye reduction tool. To use this tool, click the red-eye reduction (third from the left in the brushes and tools bar under the histogram) and find an area of the scene that needs to fixed (i.e. a human eye and not an animal), and click it. Lightroom will fix the red-eye and remove it from the picture.


Creative Cloud Photography Offer (reminder)

We are just in November 2013 and lots of things are going on the Photographic world. Christmas will soon be here in just a few months time, so i wanted to update you all on the Adobe Photography Bundle offer.

Since introducing Photoshop CC, we’ve listened to feedback from a wide range of our customers, from advanced professionals to casual enthusiasts. One common request was a solution specifically tailored for photographers. We listened, and at Photoshop World we’re announcing a special offer for our loyal Photoshop customers. Customers who own Photoshop CS3 or higher are eligible for a special Creative Cloud membership offer that includes all of the following an amazing price:

North America                                             $9.99 USD

European Union                                         €9.99 EUR

EMEA non-EU                                            $9.99 USD

Australia/New Zealand                             $9.99 AUD

Asia Pacific                                                  $9.99 USD

Latin America                                              $9.99 USD

Japan                                                            ¥1,000 JPY

UK                                                                   £7.14 GBP

To be clear, this is not an introductory price. It is the price for those of you who sign up by December 31, 2013.  Please keep in mind that these prices are exclusive of VAT/local taxes which vary by country.

Inside the bundle we get the following :

  • Photoshop CC
  • Lightroom 5
  • 20 GB of online storage
  • Behance ProSite
  • Access to Creative Cloud Learn’s training resources
  • Ongoing upgrades and updates to the software



To upgrade your CS3/CS4/CS5/CS6 licenses, head over to, don’t be late and miss out on an incredible opportunity to the latest and greatest software now!


Visit the FAQ to learn more and follow Photoshop on FacebookTwitter and Google+.

All of us on the Photoshop team look forward to continuing to build on our 20+ year relationship with our loyal community.

#Adobe UK eSeminars – from the 5th November – Ask a Pro – with Tigz Rice!

I just wanted to write up a reminder that Adobe UK will be hosting a range of eSeminar events this November, we will also be including ‘Ask A Pro’ sessions.

We all know what eSeminars are, but what’s the difference with these and the ‘Ask A Pro’ sessions – Ask a Pro sessions are designed to inspire and show you how the Pro’s work in their daily lives. For example, on Tuesday 5th November (the first one), I will have Tigz Rice in the studio with me, and we will be holding a deep dive into her Boudoir photography re-touching workflow. Tigz will be explaining what she thinks about before she even picks up the camera, as well as before and during a re-touching session, and i’ll be asking her those questions that you really wanted to ask! But of course there will be time for Q&A afterwards, so you can ask those questions that i dared not ask ;-). We are hoping for a rock and roll session, so please join in and hopefully you will soon be editing your images just like a Tigz as well.


Why not register for this event here


Of course there are loads of other sessions as well, and they will of course be amazing ! We look forward to seeing you there and joining the party!

You can see an Agenda for all events here, and overview of the speakers here

Each main event will be streamed at this page.




#CreativeFriday – Duplicate and Reset Pins in Lightroom 5

We were at the Canon road show in Birmingham last week enjoying meeting customers, talking Lightroom and Photoshop tips and trick as well as watching the bird activity. I was reminded about an update in Lightroom 5 from a customer, that i wanted to share with you. When using the adjustment filters (Radial filter, Graduated Filter), Clone/Heal tool and Adjustment Brush you are now able to duplicate them and re-use the settings on other parts of the image. You can also reset all entries here as well.

To see this option, you can right click on an existing pin, then the fly out menus (shown below), will be displayed.

Clone/Heal tool

Clone Heal

Graduated Filter


Radial Filter


Adjustment Brush


Here is a mobile phone photo of one of the birds..