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Lightroom CC: A Short List of Great Features

Adobe Lightroom CC

It’s official! Lightroom has joined Adobe Creative Cloud. To this point, Photoshop, Indesign, Premier, Illustrator, and others have been a part of the Creative Cloud and enjoyed the constant and simple updates and the inter app connectivity of the cloud. But Lightroom has always felt like the outcast from the group.

Today, though, it’s official; with Adobe’s release of Lightroom CC today, Lightroom is now a legitimate part of the family, and that means the future is very bright for Lightroom.

With the designation CC, comes more frequent and automated updates to the program, which will be a welcome change. It also means we can expect greater inter app connectivity in the future. Some apps are already taking advantage of the Lightroom Mobile sharing, like Adobe Slate, which can draw from any of Lightroom’s mobile shared images. I think the CC designation was long over due, so I am glad Lightroom has finally gained its spot on the Creative Cloud.

Of course there are a number of new features and capabilities in the new Lightroom CC, which Matt Kloskowski and I will be reviewing on CreativeLive.

Here is a list of the most notable new features and upgrades to Lightroom CC:

Speed

Import, export and general computing speed has been increased by allowing Lightroom access to the graphics processor with GPU Acceleration. This is not a toy kind of feature that people get to play with, so I suspect it won’t get the face time it deserves. It is no small feature and will improve the entire experience of using Lightroom.

Import Directly to a Collection

A simple little feature like this one, makes a lot of difference in simple speed of organization.

Auto Size Standard Previews

Previews based on the size and need of your monitor.

Small Adjustments in the Quick Develop Panel

The quick develop buttons have finally been given a dose of subtlety.

True RAW HDR and Panorama Editing

This one is revolutionary! No more going to Photoshop to merge TIF versions of your RAW images and round tripping back to Lightroom. Lightroom CC will now merge your RAW images into Panoramic and HDR images and maintain the images for true RAW manipulation. This will open up new worlds of possibility for photographers everywhere. It means I will actually start to use HDR and Panoramic techniques in my work.

Movable Brush Pins

I have been waiting for this one for a long time, and it is finally here. Brush pins can now be moved, which allows for far greater synchronization of the local adjustments between images.

Refinement of the Local Adjustment Tools

Now, with the introduction of a modification brush tool inside the radial and gradient filter tools, working on images feels a lot more masking in photoshop. Now I can make broad strokes with the gradient and radial filters and then erase back the areas that have over stepped their bounds.

lightroom cc announcement

The People View in the Library Module

This is one of my favorite features. Lightroom CC has facial recognition built in!  Imagine the ramifications of this for event photographers who need to identify the people in their images for more accurate and faster image tagging.  Suddenly massive amounts of key-wording is something that can be done literally in ones’ sleep.

lightroom cc announcement

Slideshow Enhancements

The slideshow module also gained a few new features, including the Ken Burns effect and synchronizing slides to the music.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. Matt Kloskowski and I will be reviewing these and more features today on creativelive.com and I will be going into incredible depth on these tools and more during my new CreativeLive course, Lightroom Crash Course, featuring Lightroom CC.  During this course we will not only show you what is new in Lightroom CC and how to use it, but also how how it fits into the overall post-production workflow.

I am truly excited about the release of Lightroom CC with its list of new features and all that the CC designation offers now portends for the future of Lightroom.  Lightroom’s future looks bright.

Grand Canyon Wedding for Chrystal and Richard

Here are the images from Chrystal and Richard’s Grand Canyon Wedding.

The Bride and Groom came down from North Dakota where they serve in the military (I love you military folk, thank you). Now a wedding in the spring at the Grand Canyon can be warm, cold or perfect. Crystal and I talked a lot about this topic as she was planning the wedding. But no matter how cold it could have gotten, it still would have been warmed that Minot, ND. So we were prepared for anything. And as fate would have it, the weather was absolutely perfect, and so was the wedding.
My first interest at this wedding was the flowers and the dress. The dress, by Vera Wang, has beautiful beaded flowers all over it, and I found myself comparing the wedding flowers to the dress. So… I shot a lot of flowers that day.

Wedding flowers by Jared Platt

Wedding flowers by Jared Platt

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Wedding dress by Vera Wang

Grand Canyon Wedding.

I think Richard was trying to hide the tears from the crowd. He was pretty successful. But we all know he was crying…

Grand Canyon Wedding.

Crystal was more open with her tears. The contrast between the two images is perfect.

Grand Canyon Wedding.

Anymore, it seems that weddings are full of people taking photos. Probably half of the people attending this wedding, were taking photos or videos at one point or another. Perhaps it is the location, but I see it a lot. Everyone is recording life these days. The real trick is to live it! I sometimes wish I could set the camera down during a wedding and just experience the moments the wedding guest are having. But, alas, I must do my job. I think it is great that people are interested in creating things as they attend a wedding, or go to a kids soccer game, etc. But I will tell you this, when I go to my son’s baseball game, I wish I had a professional taking the photos, so I could experience the moment and since I don’t, I tend to put the camera away in favor of experiencing the moment. My favorite part of this image is the set of young men on the left hand side of the frame. They chose to stand in a position where they could take it all in, the whole scene.

Grand Canyon Wedding.

The Grand Canyon had a magnificent sunset that happens twice every day. The first sunset happens inside the canyon when the light hits the various ridges and plateaus inside the canyon and criss crosses the canyon with shadows and light. The second happens above the canyon when the sun sets on the rest of the world. Both sunsets are beautiful in their own way. This next show is the second sunset on the canyon. We took a series of photos very quickly as the sun set for the second time that evening. Moving fast is critical at this point in the evening. I have to give a lot of the credit for the speed at which we can get these shots done to the Profoto B2 Off Camera Flash System we use. It allows us to maneuver quickly and get accurate TTL flash exposures with absolutely no fuss. So we are able to think more about the photo and less about getting the flash to cooperate.

Grand Canyon Wedding.

Crystal is not a big fan of heights. In the photo above, she was a little shaky about being close to the edge, but at least there was a nice barrier of stones between here and the “cliff”. I had intended to keep her at that distance, but she worked up the curate and said, “I am going to do this! Put me on the edge with my feet hanging over the cliff.” OK! Let’s do it. We carefully put her on the edge and took this next shot, which I absolutely love and hope she does as well.

Grand Canyon Wedding.

Then she got even more brave and stood up (with our support) and we got the next shot, which I love as well. So, this set of shots just goes to show you that there is a prize for those who show courage.

Grand Canyon Wedding.

Like I said, I was extremely interested in the flowers at this wedding. Debra, the wedding planner (a fantastic resource for any unique Arizona wedding) always does such an amazing job with the flowers and the details of her weddings.

On our way back to the hotel for the reception, the moon caught my attention. I hadn’t seen a moon like this in a very long time. It was the perfect phase, the perfect cross between night and day. I must have shot 30 versions of this moon. So I am giving you two of them.

Grand Canyon Wedding.
Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography
Wedding Location: The Grand Canyon
Slideshow Music by Kevin Burdick, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music
Wedding Design by My Arizona Guide
Image Post Production by Shoot Dot Edit

Going Back in Time to Photoshop 1.0

 

Happy Birthday to Photoshop this month as it hits its 25th Birthday! While I was at creativeLIVE for Photoshop Week 2015, a number of instructors (including me) had the opportunity to travel back in time and use Photoshop 1.0.

This was something I used as a sophomore in college in the early 1990s. That’s right, LAST CENTURY!

When people talk about how things were built better back in the day, or that life was better way back when, they are obviously not considering the explosive chemistry in a 19th century darkroom, the weight and fragility of glass plate negatives, covered wagons or Photoshop 1.0. I for one, would like to say thank you to all those inventors and smart people who have improved our lives over the past 150 years. I don’t miss the darkroom, I don’t miss polyester pants and I don’t miss Photoshop 1.0.

Photographing with the Panasonic GH4

I had the opportunity to shoot a wedding in Ripe, England with the Panasonic GH4.  This camera is a compact, light-weight camera with lenses so small you can fit them in the pocket of your jacket.  I have always carried around a little Canon point and shoot that takes RAW images, but no point and shoot can match the experience of a SLR style, through the lens viewfinder experience.  So the GH4 made for the perfect traveling companion.   I kept it with me throughout the wedding, and as I traveled throughout the country before and after the job.  While I shot, I has little experiments in mind, like latitude experiments and macro experiments, low light and motion experiments.  I have posted the results here in the blog.  The incredible thing about this little camera is that it also captures 4k video as well, but we will stick with the still photos for this post.

In this image of the pipe organ in St. John the Baptist church, where the couple was married, I was able to truly test the Panasonic GH4's exposure latitude capabilities. The church was quite dark inside and yet, I was able to capture full detail inside and outside.

In this image of the pipe organ in St. John the Baptist church, where the couple was married, I was able to truly test the Panasonic GH4’s exposure latitude capabilities. The church was quite dark inside and yet, I was able to capture full detail inside and outside.  I fully expected that I would not be able to maintain any detail in the exterior exposure, but I was pleasantly surprised by the latitude on this little camera.

The wedding couple took a walk along the southern coast of England before the wedding.

The wedding couple took a walk along the southern coast of England before the wedding.  Carrying a heavy SLR and its heavier lenses on a long walk is not all that much fun.  In fact carting equipment around makes me wonder why I chose to be a photographer in the first place.  But with a camera as small and light as the GH4 and its sharp little lenses that weigh almost nothing and fit almost anywhere, I was carrying three lenses and camera and I hardly knew I had anything with me.  At times I had to double check to make sure I had a camera.  Typically a light, compact camera means poor photos, but the GH4 breaks that rule.

It was a leisurely stroll and yes, we stopped to admire the flowers.

It was a leisurely stroll and yes, we stopped to admire the flowers and I tested my need for macro!  The GH4 was perfect, in fact, the digital view finder allowed me to see exactly what my depth of field looked like while taking the shot.  That something that a traditional SLR won’t do for you.

The white cliffs made for a stunning coastline.

The white cliffs made for a stunning coastline.  Here again, I was battling a latitude challenge with the bright sun peeking through the clouds, but the GH4 held the detail in the brightest spots of the clouds and even in the shimmer on the water behind the couple walking near the cliff.

Silence at a wedding is golden, especially in an old stone church. The GH4 has a completely silent mode that makes me as a photographer invisible to everyone at the wedding.

Silence at a wedding is golden, especially in an old stone church. The GH4 has a completely silent mode that makes me as a photographer invisible to everyone at the wedding and since my greatest wish is to be invisible at a wedding, this was a perfect camera for the job.  While I was shooting the wedding with both my Canon and the GH4, I found myself choosing the GH4 for all of the close shots as I crept down the isle.  They may have seen me there, but I can guarantee you, no one heard me.

Wedding in Ripe England

Not only could the GH4 give me great back and white images from the church, but it provided excellent color in a dark church. Not only could the GH4 give me great back and white images from the church, but it provided excellent color in a dark church. Smaller chips often yield more noise, so I tested the GH4 for noise and found that the color noise was extremely low and the grain structure feels ver natural. I am a sucker for a beautiful grain structure. I know… its nerdy.

 

Wedding in Ripe England

Not only could the GH4 give me great back and white images from the church, but it provided excellent color in a dark church. Not only could the GH4 give me great back and white images from the church, but it provided excellent color in a dark church. Smaller chips often yield more noise, so I tested the GH4 for noise and found that the color noise was extremely low and the grain structure feels ver natural. I am a sucker for a beautiful grain structure. I know… its nerdy.

 

Wedding in Ripe England

This little angel was my subject for a few days. The grooms niece and I chased each other around the grounds of the church for a little while as the bride and groom chatted with heir guests. The articulating screen on the camera allowed me to follow her around at a long angle and grab shots of her as we ran. Ordinarily, I would be taking shots like this completely blind, wasting 20 shots to get one that was in focus and composed correctly. But because I could see her in the articulating screen at all times and the GH4’s auto focus was tracking her face, I never missed a shot. It’s always nice to have a lot of images to choose from.

Wedding in Ripe England

Like many churches in England, the cemetery surrounds the church, so when the little girls play on the church grounds, they play amid the tombstones of their ancestors. The groom’s Godfather rests in this cemetery. Was was fascinated by the casual and playful attitude of the children amongst the stones. They see them as just that, stones. I couldn’t present this image in color. It needed to be a black and white. It just deserved it. The GH4 makes exquisite black and white images from its RAW files.

After the wedding, I took a drive to Stratford Upon Avon to catch a little Shakespeare. Before the show, I took in the character of the old english buildings.

After the wedding, I took a drive to Stratford Upon Avon to catch a little Shakespeare. Before the show, I took in the character of the old english buildings.  It handled the latitude and the saturation issues on the chimneys very well.

After the show, I tested the higher ISO settings on the GH4 and at 3200 ISO, the camera produces a very nice grain structure with low color noise. I was completely happy with its extremely low light capabilities.

After the show, I tested the higher ISO settings on the GH4 and at 3200 ISO, the camera produces a very nice grain structure with low color noise. I was completely happy with its extremely low light capabilities.  I couldn’t have asked for a better image in that light.

My total experience with the Panasonic GH4 was wonderful. It’s small and lightweight body and lenses make it the perfect camera for hiking, and traveling. The quality is quite good and when compared to any small sensor camera, is absolutely fantastic. One could use the camera as their only camera and carry four times the lenses in half the space. Using it in conjunction with my smart phone was helpful as well. Rather than taking decent photos on my iPhone to post on social media, I was able to take superior images on the GH4 and send them to my phone for social media purposes.

The only draw back on the camera is the increase in depth of field due to the chip size and lens lengths. But that is a standard issue with micro four-thirds cameras. For those of us who like to live on the edge of focus, it feels like a limitation. But you get used to the feeling of having all your photos in focus and after a while, it stops feeling like a limitation and starts feeling like a blessing.

Panasonic is making exciting things for photo enthusiasts and pros alike. My good friend and photographer, Isaac Bailey, shoots with a Panasonic micro four-thirds camera and here’s what he has to say about it:

“I love my Panasonic mirrorless camera. It has opened a new realm of fun in personal photography for me. Using the control I get from my big DSLR with tiny size and weight, I can really go anywhere with this baby and make great shots” -Isaac Bailey Photographer Phoenix

Traveling with a camera is the only thing I know. I have never been able to go anywhere without needing a camera with me, but there is always a battle between high quality and compact size. The micro four-thirds market has opened up a new world of possibilities for compact PLUS quality and Panasonic is leading the charge. Heavy cameras may be a thing of the past in the not too distant future. Hurray for that!

Join Me at Photoshop Week on creativeLIVE

Photoshop Week 2015

 Don’t miss me on Photoshop Week at creativeLIVE.com on February 23 and 24.  Then keep watching all week long.  There is no better place to get a great education from the greatest instructors.  I will be teaching and hosting five segments there:

Lightroom Mobile

Making Books in Lightroom

Lightroom Develop Module

Lightroom Local Adjustments

Photoshop This

Don’t miss this week of incredible instruction and a lot of fun.  See you there!

Heading Out into a New Year

Photo of England countryside by Jared Platt

 I am looking out into the new year and looking at my travel and lecture schedule which gets more and more complicated and crowded every day and I wonder what things I will see and who I will meet this year.  And more importantly I hope I will be able to able to be a force for change in people’s lives.  I love hearing from people who say their lives have changed as a result of the things they have learned from me.  That is why I teach.  I love to unlock doors for people.

Follow my schedule on the right hand side of my blog here and find a lecture or a workshop near you and come join me.  If you can’t make it to a workshop or a convention like WPPI or Imaging USA, join me online at creativeLIVE.com.

For those of you interested in an adventure… join me in Krakow, Poland in August: www.poland.mzed.com

I wish you all the very best this year.

Merry Christmas To Everyone!

child life portrait by Jared Platt

Merry Christmas.  I will be sitting in front of my Christmas tree a lot for the next two days.  I love Christmas lights!

Brad and Jennifer’s Wedding in Phoenix, Arizona

 

Jennifer and Brad were married in the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona and their reception was held at the Paradise Valley Country Club in Paradise Valley, Arizona.  There were a lot of bride’s maids and groomsmen and all of them were lively and fun.  The wedding was great fun.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the day.

One of the bride’s maids was taking little Polaroid shots during the day.  I thought they were cool, so I made my own, but the bride’s maid can pretend she took this Polaroid too.  I won’t tell anyone.

 

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (1)

This shot was taken by my second shooter, Ray who was following the groom and groom’s men around during the day.  I love the composition on this shot.

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (2)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (3)

I love mirrors, moms and that connection of sweet pride.  That has got to be one of the most grand moments in a mother’s life.

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (4)

Everyone learned how to tie a real bow tie.  A skill all men should have.  Loose the fake bow ties, always go real!

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (5)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (6)

Jennifer, the bride, looked like a million bucks.  The dress was perfect, her hair was done just right… what a beautiful sight for Brad at their first look before the wedding.

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (7)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (8)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (9)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (10)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (12)

I don’t recall what was so funny, but not everyone was amused, which is why love the shot so much.

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (13)

While you are in a long wedding ceremony, or church even, smart phones with data packages have made anything entertaining.  There were a lot of football fans at this wedding.  In fact, I recall announcements on scores being issued at the reception.

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (11)

The is one of my favorite shots from a recessional in a long time.

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (14)

The from door on the church was perfect for a photograph and the sun was on its way down, so we had a perfect moment of light (for about 2 minutes), then it was gone.  If you are the tech type, this was taken with a slow shutter speed to burn in a darkening sky.  The couple is in complete ambient darkness and lit by a Profoto B1 off camera flash with a soft box.

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (15)

Jennifer makes the dress look great!

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (16)

One of my favorite parts of the day is the reception and particularly the toasts.  Most of the time, a toast looks best in black and white.

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (17)

The other side of the toast!

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (18)

The bride loved the doors at the Paradise Valley country club.  So we set up a shot at the main entrance.  It was pretty dark out there, but two Profoto B1 lights did the trick.  One was lighting them and the other was filling in a general bounce to give us detail in the shadows.

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (19)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (20)

This next series was a lot of fun.  They had a cigar box for anyone who wanted to have one.  So all the guys gathered on the back patio of the country club, and we shot away.

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (21)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (22)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (23)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (24)

Photography from a wedding in phoenix, arizona by arizona wedding photographer Jared Platt. (25)

I have to thank Megan, from M.C. Weddings and Events for all of her work on this wedding.  Having a coordinator on a wedding changes everything.

Wedding Photography: Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Wedding Videography: Serendipity

Wedding Location: Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Phoenix, Arizona

Wedding Reception Location: Paradise Valley Country Club, Paradise Valley, Arizona

Little Angels: a A Child Life Portrait

I photographed two absolute angels this month.  It was a perfect Saturday morning in the most beautiful little grove of trees in Gilbert, Arizona.  The trees had lost a few leaves which had turned a wonderful orange-yellow.  The weather was perfect and the girls were as cute as they could be.  The slide show presents the photos in full color, but I thought I would show my favorite images from this portrait shoot in a muted film style.  I was inspired to present them in this style by the first image in the series.  It just begged to be shown this way, so who am I to argue with an image’s wishes.

Princess dresses, magic wands and pink cowboy boots.  You can’t ask for a better morning than this…

Autumn Children's portrait in grove of trees in Gilbert Arizona (1)

The girls had a lot of fun playing in the leaves and running back and forth in their little princess dresses.  There is a lot of joy in those little girls.

Autumn Children's portrait in grove of trees in Gilbert Arizona (2)

Autumn Children's portrait in grove of trees in Gilbert Arizona (3)

Autumn Children's portrait in grove of trees in Gilbert Arizona (4)

This is the moment we live for.

Autumn Children's portrait in grove of trees in Gilbert Arizona (5)

One of my absolute favorites in the entire set.  I think it is absolutely beautiful and so peaceful.

Autumn Children's portrait in grove of trees in Gilbert Arizona (6)

 But while her sister was falling to sleep, big sister was full of life and energy.  I think princess outfits are like sugar to a little girl.  Put them on and they become full of life and energy.

Autumn Children's portrait in grove of trees in Gilbert Arizona (7)

Family Portrait Location: Gilbert Arizona

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Slideshow music by Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music

The Miller Family Portrait

 

We shot the Miller’s family portraits in and around my new studio space in Chandler, Arizona.  The downtown area is full of great locations for photos and my studio is a great space for both working, meeting clients and shooting.  Come check it out sometime.  I’ll post a blog about it soon.

There is not a lot that needs to be said about these photos.  They are just super cute and were a lot of fun to take.  One thing that I was talking about with my client was the tendency for parents to think that “we got nothing” from that shoot because the kids are being too fidgety or too rambunctious.  But in the end, parents are always surprised by how many great images we got out of the shoot…  Here are just a few of my favorites.  There are a ton of them.

The slide show above is an uncommon one for me, because I typically don’t show a lot of multiple images from the same vantage point and situation back to back.  But this shoot was full of hilarious iterations on a theme.  So I went with it.

This first one starts the ball rolling right.

 

 

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography.

Slideshow music by Mindy Gledhill, courtesy of Triple Scoop Music.

Family portrait location: Chandler, Arizona