Archive for March, 2015

#CreativeFriday – Making your own and sharing your Lightroom Preset

When i’m working on images for publishing to my Behance portfolio, I always look for consistency and speed in the post processing. One way that I usually to achieve this is to use or create or modify a preset based on the look of the images within the story that I would like to tell, then apply this to all images and fine tune as appropriate. This blog post will show how to create your own preset, but also how to use it and share with others.

Let us take this starting image that is a RAW file straight out of the camera.


The final image, after a little bit of tweaking in the Develop module, it’s looking as I would like it to.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 16.54.12


Modifications are all in Lightroom and consist of the following :-

Basic panel 

-Reduce the highlights slider to recover any highlight information.

– Open the Shadows to reveal more shadow detail and allow for more precise black clipping (using the Black point slider)

– Set the White point, Black and clarity to give a more contrasty image.

– There is also a crop applied as well

Tone Curve

– Small ‘S’ curve adjustment applied

Detail / Sharpening

Sharpen is always subjective, but i’ve found these settings are fairly good for my style and how I want to process these images.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 16.52.56


I like to add a very light vignette and some grain to the final image, just to keep the viewer in the image and add a little bit of grit.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 17.12.25

Now that the development configuration is set up, it’s time to save it as a preset.

To do this, head to the Lightroom menu bar and choose Develop / New Preset. A dialog box will open. At this point give the preset a name and choose the items that are to be stored as part of the preset. Notice that not all are selected, only the items that i would like to replicate across other images in this series (I have refrained from turning on the auto upright, as it will apply to app and may cause me more work later)

This preset will reside under the User Presets and can be selected at anytime from there. To apply to the rest of the images, just select the ones required and select it. In the example below, I selected the folder of 300 images and pressed CMD/CTRL (PC) and A to select them all.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 17.46.40

Once the images have been selected, a right click on one image and select the ‘Develop/User Preset’ and select the preset that has been saved previously. The Development preset will be applied to the rest of the images.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 17.53.36 copy

Each image can then be fine tuned from this base preset.

If the preset is to strong in certain areas, then it can be updated. To update it, modify the development settings then update the preset by applying a right click to it and selecting ‘update with current settings’.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 18.09.29 copy

You can re-apply the preset all of the previous files as well (this is handy for tuning the preset), by re-selecting them and choosing Develop settings as above.


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Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 18.19.17

To share the preset with others, you will need to open the Lightroom presets folder, accessed by Lightroom Preferences.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 18.25.51 copy

On the Mac (PC should be similar). Just copy / zip up and send to another Lightroom user and they can put it in the same place, then restart Lightroom.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 18.31.01 copy


I hope you have fun working with presets and discover unique looks to your selecting of images. Of course, the development adjustments are all non destructive and can be removed if/when required.











#CreativeFriday – Lightroom and Photoshop RAW Workflow Colour Space and Bit Depth Tips

As photographers we always want to be working on our images, with the highest quality settings possible. A natural starting point for Photographers is Lightroom and one of the key benefits is that it manages our images for us and makes our life really simple.

Lightroom Workflow

When a RAW file is imported into Lightroom and worked on, not only are we working with the RAW data within a natural non destructive workflow, but also in the largest colour space possible, known as ProPhotoRGB (ProPhotoRGB is larger than AdobeRGB and this in turn is larger than sRGB). Lightroom also automatically selects and works in the correct bit depth 8bit, 16bit or even 32 bit depending on the metadata (lens, image details, shooting details etc) from the camera.

When a picture travels between Lightroom and Photoshop, Lightroom manages the colour profile and bit depth for us, but this is configurable inside the Lightroom Preferences, under the ‘External Editing’ tab.

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 18.00.49

You can see above, the preferences for Photoshop CC are TIFF, ProPhotoRGB and 16bit, these of course are changeable to PSD if that is a preference. The second option is for configuration with other editors that might be used.


There are quite a few Photographers that are using Photoshop or Bridge and Photoshop directly and not Lightroom. In this case, the RAW files will be opened using the Adobe Camera Raw plugin and they can have the same settings applied (as with Lightroom). Once the settings have been applied, the file is then opened in Photoshop for full processing.

I’d like to focus on the way that files are sent to Photoshop for editing from ACR. when opening RAW files direct in Photoshop, the following screen might be familiar. At the bottom of the screen (marked in Red) is a hyperlink, with some data displayed. This data tells Photoshop the colour space, bit depth and resolution that should be used. Notice that on the screen shot below, the settings are configured to be sRGB, 8bit and 300ppi. Ideally when working with images in Photoshop, a higher resolution can be beneficial. So in this case, i’d like to make sure that Photoshop opens the file as ProPhotoRGB and 16bit (the same as Lightroom’s default configuration) . To do this, and configure the settings, click on the hyperlink, marked in red.

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 18.11.49

Once clicked, the following screen should appear, showing the colour space, bit depth, as well as an option to open in Photoshop as a Smart Objects.

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 18.09.20To make sure that every time an image is opened in Photoshop in the desired colour space and bit depth, a custom preset can be created.

By selecting the preset combo box, the ‘New Workflow Preset’ can be chosen (marked in Red). This opens a dialog box asking for a meaningful name, i’ve called mine ProPhotoRBG 16bit. Press OK.

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 18.09.20 v2

At this point the presets can be chosen. In the example below i’ve chosen the ProPhotoRGB and 16bits per channel, as well as always open using Smart Objects in Photoshop (Smart Objects enables a non destructive workflow. Smart Objects allows any edits made in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) re-editable directly inside Photoshop if required, even after adjustment and other layers have been added to the re-touch).

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 18.18.05

When changes have been made, the preset can be updated by choosing ‘Update’ from the preset combo box (marked Red below). The current profile will now be used inside Photoshop.

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 18.26.45

Once in Photoshop, you will be able to confirm the changes. The data marked in Red shows the bit depth of the image (top = 8bit and bottom = 16bit). Also, the file is twice as large (marked in Yellow).

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 18.18.57If you are working direct in Photoshop, just check your settings to make sure you are taking advantage of the largest colour space, and maximum bit depth that is required. (Remember 32 bit is useful for HDR images, not single 14-16bit images, which is typically from a modern day camera).


#CreativeFriday – Lightroom Tone Curve & Target Adjustment Tool

Today’s post is just to show a quick re-touch on an image. The objective is to give the image some punch and presence, but not to over work the image. My personal image post processing is always kept to a minimum, a bit like a quick mid week supper, something that can be achieved in under 20minutes.

The image that we will be looking is a simple shot that I took in China a few years ago. I really like the playfulness of the scene, as well as the interaction with the girls on this bench, they really moved fast to stop their faces being seen by the lens.

The first part of the process is to work the basic panel, with the objective to just to expand the histogram, open the highlights and shadows and generally tighten up the image as a base for the next adjustments using the white and black points.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 20.23.17

The next process is just to apply the Lens Corrections, based on the lens used for this shot. These settings are found under the Lens Corrections tab (marked in red), and is as simple as selecting and enabling the Profile Corrections check box (more details are covered in this post, as well as automating this on an image import). I pretty much always turn on the Chromatic Aberration, just to give the image a once over and remove any simple basic fringing issues.

The image above is slightly slanted on the bricks behind the girls, so i’ve just added an Auto upright to correct this part of the image.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 20.23.28

Actually, I really like the image out of the camera, so I don’t think there is a lot of work to get this to it’s final state. A classic technique that can be applied here, is to apply an ‘S’ tone curve. The ‘S’ curve is quite simple, it’s a darkening of the shadows, and a lift on the highlight and maybe a lift in the middle grey area. This ‘S’ curve will give a bit of contrast to the image and give provide punch for the viewer.

For this, i’ll take advantage of the Target Adjustment Tool (TAT) on the Tone Curve. The TAT tool is found on the top left of the Tone Curve panel (marked in red below). The TAT tool below is in the off state. To turn it on, just click it.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 20.23.39

Once clicked the TAT tool will highlight white (marked red below) and the mouse pointer will change to the TAT tool. The beauty of using the TAT tool, as opposed to moving the tone curve manually, is that you can hover over an area on the image and it’s tonal value will automatically represent itself on the actual Tone Curve. As the TAT tool is moved around the image, it’s relative point will be represented on the tone curve, showing you where in the image the tone lies. This will allow you to select and see the areas that need to be adjusted.

There are two points that i am looking for which will create the ‘S’ curve. The yellow marked area is a shadow/dark tone and by holding a right click on the mouse (or digital stylus like a Wacom pen) and dragging this downwards with the mouse, will pull the shadow area down on the curve and will affect the image at the same time (increasing contrast). The other part of the image to modify and increase in value is the highlight area, for this i’ve chosen quite a bright white area (marked in purple below), and increased this using the mouse or the pen, as described previously.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 20.24.19_v2

Once these two modification points have been applied the curve will look similar to the one below. If a point needs removing, a right click on the curve will bring up the fly out menu which allows you to remove the point (one by one), or to flatten the curve and remove all points.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 20.24.19

Previewing the before and after adjustment of the Tone Curve, is done by turning off this panels adjustment. This is done by clicking on the switch marked in yellow below on the Tone Curve panel (this switch is available one most of the panels, and works in the same way).

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 20.24.56 copyThe majority of the tonal work to the image has been achieved by just applying an ‘S’ curve. There are a few other things to complete which will add some more interest and keep the viewer focused on the picture.

The way my eye works is that it’s attracted to bright areas in the image and repelled from the darker areas. Old master printers would often add an edge burn to the image, as this will repel the eye and move it away back into the light areas. Typically it’s not that obvious on the image, but the eye will recognise the tonal difference, and the transition to the brighter areas will be an automatic reaction. There are a few ways to do this, but the one I’ve decided to use in this image is a Post Crop Vignette. The Vignette will be applied to the outer edges all around the image (about 3/4 inch into the image edges), and by setting the style to Highlight Priority and the amount to negative, will darken or burn the edges.

I’ve also added to some to add a bit of grit to the image by using the grain sliders.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 20.28.54

With just a little bit of spotting to remove any oddities, like cigarette ends, rubbish, small bright areas etc with the clone and heal brush (marked red below), this cleans this image up nicely and then the post production is complete, and ready for publishing as part of the series.

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 20.39.35


Below is a comparison of the before (top) and after image (Bottom)

Screen Shot 2015-03-13 at 20.40.18











Sharpening Fuji X-Series Photographs Using Lightroom.

I saw this post by Pete Bridgewood on how to sharpen Fuji X-Series Photographs using Lightroom and wanted to share it with all of my Fuji x-series readers. Pete Bridgewood is a highly accomplished Photographer and Fuji X-Series user, Pete has independently written a great article on how to Sharpen the Fuji X-Trans sensor images in Lightroom, so if you are a Fuji user, then it’s defiantly worth 5 minutes of your time, you can read the article here.

#CreativeFriday – Applying Basic Development Settings on Lightroom Import

Recently I have been fine tuning my Lightroom import process. There are always some default settings that I like to apply to my images before I even get into the development/editing process, things like Lens Corrections and basic colour de-fringing. Applying these are not huge tasks, it’s a simple case of just opening the Lens Correction panel in the Development panel and turning them on. Although, some times I forget to do this.

I know that these fixes only it takes a few seconds on each picture, but over hundreds of images, can grow into minutes or hours. This is time that I will never get back.

As we know Lightroom has the capability of creating a development preset that can be used on import as well as when we are working on images in the Development module. This is in fact how image presets like VSCO and out of the box Lightroom presets work.

The use of a Development preset(s) to just apply certain actions/configurations like lens corrections and colour fringing on a bulk import can save us time for each import and also solve the ‘forgetting to do it’ problem. Let’s explore how this can be done.

Creating the Preset

For this Import Development preset I want to be able to set the following :

  • Lens Profile Correction

Adobe takes lenses from the manufacturers and calibrates them for the removal of any inherent issues, i.e. the lens profile will remove any spherical aberration as well as any vignetting caused by the lens. Spherical aberration is an optical effect observed in an optical device (lens, mirror, etc.) that occurs due to the increased refraction of light rays when they strike a lens or a reflection of light rays when they strike a mirror near its edge, in comparison with those that strike nearer the centre. It signifies a deviation of the device from the norm, i.e., it results in an imperfection of the produced image(Wikipedia).

  • Remove basic Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic Aberration ‘“colour f ringing” or “purple fringing”, is a common optical problem that occurs when a lens is either unable to bring all wavelengths of colour to the same focal plane, and/or when wavelengths of colour are focused at different positions in the focal plane’ (Wikipedia).

  • Keep the original aspect ratio locked

The aspect ratio of an image describes the proportional relationship between its width and its height. It is commonly expressed as two numbers separated by a colon, as in 16:9. For an x:y aspect ratio, no matter how big or small the image is, if the width is divided into x units of equal length and the height is measured using this same length unit, the height will be measured to be y units (Wikipedia).

These options are configurable in the ‘Lens Corrections’ panel within the Development module and when turned on will affect the image.

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 14.51.09


Before & After

You can see on the left hand side (before) the image out of the camera has some vignetting and on the right hand side the vignetting has disappeared, after using the lens profile correction.

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The above panel is located in the following screen shot  (marked in Red).

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 15.00.24


To create a preset that can be used as a generic import development preset, the menu item Develop / New Preset can be selected.

The preset will be very stripped down and will only save the options that have been selected (shown above in red). These are part of the lens corrections pertaining to the profile, chromatic aberration and crop ratio (transform), as well as the process version (process version contains the adjustment properties and algorithms (like highlight/shadow recovery etc).

N.B. Specifying an easy to remember name and east to find location (like User Presets), will make it extremely easy to find in the import operation in the future.

Once complete, the ‘Create’ button will save the preset.

If you forget to save something on the preset, you can add it to the development module and update the preset by using a right click on the preset name and ‘Update with the Current Settings’.

Moving to the Import module.

Once inside the Import module the Default Import Settings configuration can be specified on the ‘Develop Settings’ selector (as shown in red below).

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 15.39.40

Once the import runs, each image that will be brought in will have these presets applied.








Editing Tips and Tricks – with Richard West & Richard Curtis – starting at 7 pm GMT 4th March.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom – Tips and Tricks – with Richard West & Richard Curtis – starting at 7 pm GMT Wednesday, 4 March 2015, at 7:00 PM GMT / 8:00 PM CET

This webinar will look at the Photographic editing process from start to finish when using Adobe Lightroom and other elements of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan.
The Session will dissect key points in the workflow including working with Lightroom Mobile and look how to optimise your editing process. From key considerations when Importing images, to which options make the biggest difference in the Development module. The talk will also look at image Output and Export options out of Lightroom and considerations at this critical stage.

The two speakers for this event will be Richard West of Datacolor and Richard Curtis of Adobe.

Richard Curtis
Richard is a Principal Solutions Consultant at Adobe and is focused on the Digital Imaging Solutions in the UK (Lightroom and Photoshop). Richard is also a Photographer with an interest on street, travel and landscape photography, and has been making images for over 20 years.

Richard West
Richard West was the Business Development Manager for the Photo Markets at Apple for 10 years. Richard then joined Nik Software in the UK and was responsible for the growth of their suite of Lightroom and Photoshop plug-in tools. Richard is now runs Datacolor in the UK and will cover off how Datacolor’s products integrate into the Adobe workflow.

Please register for the event here.