I’m LIVE on creativeLIVE.com

You won’t find me at my desk or on this blog, or on Facebook or on location somewhere shooting today.  You can find me anywhere in the world that has an internet connection.  I am teaching on creativeLIVE.com today and tomorrow (Feb 24 and 25) for Photoshop Week.  It is LIVE and it is FREE.  So don’t miss it.  You can even ask questions and I will be answering them live, online.  CLICK HERE and watch!

 

Adobe Lightrom and Photoshop Workshops by Jared Platt

Lightroom Workshops in Phoenix, AZ – January 26, 27, 28

Adobe Lightrom and Photoshop Workshops by Jared Platt

If you have been thinking about taking a Lightroom workshop, this is the time to do it!  The price is right and so is the location.  We are holding three Lightroom Workshops in Phoenix, Arizona on January 26, 27 and 28.  The weather is absolutely perfect here, so if you are from the frozen north, this is the perfect time to get away, thaw out and improve your Lightroom and Workflow skills.
The Workshop Schedule:
January 26 – 4 pm to 8 pm: Intro to Lightroom and Photo Editing – Book Now for ONLY 49$
January 27 – 9 am to 5 pm: The Lightroom Workflow Workshop  – Book Now for ONLY $199
January 28 – 9 am to 5 pm: The Lightroom Workflow Workshop  – Book Now for ONLY $199

BOOK YOUR SEAT NOW!

The Lightroom Workflow Workshop is being held on Friday the 27th and a second session on Saturday the 28th for your convenience.  Choose the one that fits your schedule. If you are new to Lightroom, take the into course on the 26th and add the Lightroom Workflow Workshop to learn even more about Lightroom and how to fit it into your studio or person workflow.

Are you new to digital photography or Lightroom and photo editing?
The January 26th Intro to Lightroom and Photo Editing is a great place to start.

Lightroom Podcast: Use the Right Click in Lightroom

Use The Right Click in Lightroom from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

So many questions can be answered by simply right clicking in Lightroom. If you want to do something to anything in Lightroom, try right clicking it and see what you get. This is just a short list of things that the right click can do and by no means exhaustive. Just right click everything in Lightroom, even the little triangles at the edge of the screen, or the individual section headings on the left and right panels. Spend 20 minutes just right clicking. It will answer so many questions that you will no longer have to ask me about. As much as I like being needed… I’d rather have you exploring and discovering things for yourself.

And if you are on a mac, you do have a right click, you just need a mouse with a right click button. Or hold down the control key and click. (This is the point at which all PC users may laugh at the mac users. Your one chance!)

Making Black and White Presets in Lightroom (2 of 2)

Making a Rich Black and White Preset in Lightroom 3 from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

In a previous Lightroom Podcast, I talked about making great black and white images in Lightroom 3. Now, you need to make a great black and white preset in Lightroom, so you will never again have to touch all those sliders. In this follow up video, you will learn to make a intelligently designed preset to add a rich black and white effect to any image at the touch of a button.

See the previous post on making beautiful black and white images in Lightroom 3.

Photography: Platt Photography
Software: Adobe Lightroom

Portrait of Bride at a Wedding in Chandler Arizona

Enlarging Photographs for Print with Lightroom

Portrait of Bride at a Wedding in Chandler Arizona

I was producing a seriese of 30 inch prints for Hype Parke Jewelers, for a bridal wedding event at the Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona and obviously needed to enlarge the image from about 20 inches to 30.  Shooting with the 5D Mark II, make enlargements a rare thing because the file is so big, but anytime I need to go beyond a 16×20, I need to do a little enlargement work on the image to make it work for the larger print.  In the past, I used Genuine Fractals  to enlarge my images and it did a fine job.  Recently, Genuine Fractals was apparently purchased by OnOne Software and then renamed to Perfect Resize.  I have been playing with it and while it does a god job, and actually does the math a lot faster than its predecessor, the interface is much, much slower.  Which lead me to ask myself, “do I need to use a third party software for standard enlargements?”

So, I decided to do a test.  I do a lot of tests… but I swear I do not have OCD.  But my obsession, turns out to be to your advantage.

First, I enlarged this image in Photoshop with the Perfect Resize 7.1 plug in to 30 inches wide at 300 dpi.  The results were acceptably good for the print.  You will see on the image below, that the process of resizing an image tends to create a painterly texture, but when printed, that texture is generally swallowed up in the texture of the print surface and the grain patterns of the emulsion.  So, I am pleased with the results and they will print nicely.  But, remember, I had to open the image in Photoshop and run it through the Perfect Resize plugin or run it through the Perfect Resize plugin in Lightroom, which has a very slow interface.

Enlargement by Perfect Resize 7.1 by OnOne Software

Then I went back to Lightroom and simply exported the image from Lightroom and told Lightroom to enlarge the file to 30 inches at 300 dpi with a standard print sharpening added to the image on export.  The process was a lot faster than dealing with the Perfect Resize interface and the results were just as good, if not better.  If you look at both images on the dark pupil and iris of the eye, you will see more of a painterly texture with a bit more banding in the Perfect Resize enlargement above than you will in the Lightroom version below.

Lightroom enlargement with print sharpening

So I wanted to see if I could do it even better right our of Lightroom without using any other software or Plugins.  And I promise, I am not OCD, I am just curious!  So I added a bit of grain to the image in Lightroom.  You can certainly see the grain in the image below, but observe what it has done in the pupil and iris area.  No more weird patterns.  I’m going to go with the added grain and no painterly patterns.  It is far more beautiful and takes a fraction of the time to make the enlargement.

Lightroom enlargement with LR sharpening and grain

Now, this was a fairly simple enlargement from 20 to 30 inches.  I am not saying that Perfect Resize is not a good tool for enlargement, it is very good, and indispensable when it comes to extreme enlargements, but for the day to day enlargements, I find that Lightroom does a fantastic job all on its own.  So I will trust Lightroom to make the enlargement and save my time for the more important things in life.

Now, I’m off to help my son solve an particularly hard level on Angry Birds.

For a step by step lesson on what I did to get these results in Lightroom, see the Lightroom Podcast below.

Making Photo Enlargements in Lightroom 3 from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

There are plenty of plugins and photoshop methods for enlarging photographs beyond their native size, but Lightroom 3 can match or beat even Genuine Fractals or Perfect Resize on standard every day enlargements.

In this video you will learn how to use Lightroom to enlarge your digital images without the use of Photoshop or a Plugin.

Photography Details

Photography by Jared Platt, Platt Photography

Subject: A Bridal Portrait

Location: The Inspiridor in Chandler, Arizona

Making Beautiful Black and White Images in Lightroom 3 (1 of 2)

Making Beautiful Black and White Images in Lightroom 3 from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

There is more to making a beautiful black and white image than just clicking on the Black and White button. I was very good at making black and white prints in the darkroom and I think that is why I am very good at making black and white images in the Lightroom. You have to understand the principles behind color and contrast to make a great print. So here are a few of my tips on making a great black and white image in Lightroom 3.

See post 2 on how to make this black and white effect as a preset in Lightroom.

By the way, my Lightroom Workflow Workshops start up again in May. Learn more about the workshops and the cities I will be visiting at The Lightroom Workshop web site.

VEGAS Workshop at WPPI: Get Your Lucky Ticket!

Lightroom Workshop at WPPI in Las Vegas

I am speaking at WPPI this year as a Platform Speaker. My presentation, “The Photographer’s Eye” will be on Sunday the 20th of Feb at Noon. Thanks to Pictage for Sponsoring this event!

And since I am there anyway, along with thousands of other photographers, I thought it would be a good time to offer a Lightroom Workflow Workshop. There are many of you photographers out there who have missed my workshop when it came into town, so this is your chance to take the workshop now.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011, there will be two sessions from which to choose, each session lasting 4 hours. This way you can still catch a few speakers throughout the day on Tuesday, but still get the most valuable information you can get at WPPI. How to cut your workflow in half! And a whole lot about Lightroom 3.

Sign up for the Tuesday Morning Lightroom Workshop Session: 8am to 12noon
Sign up for the Tuesday Afternoon Lightroom Workshop Session: 2pm to 6pm

Both sessions are the same. Sign up online for the early bird special of $100. The door price is $200.

Or, since we are in Vegas, you can try your luck and go to WPPI, go to my sponsor’s booths and ask for a LUCKY TICKET. Each LUCKY TICKET has a price of either $120, $60 or FREE on it. Bring that ticket to the door and pay the price on the ticket. I hope you find a free one! That would be your lucky day!

SPONSORS with LUCKY TICKETS: Pictage, KISS Wedding Books, Triple Scoop Music, Shoot Q, Shoot dot Edit and RPG Keys.

The Lightroom Workflow Workshop in New Orleans

My Lightroom Workflow Workshop in New Orleans on November 8th, 2010 is now part of the Pictage Partner Conference and is now FREE to all attending the conference.  I am thrilled to be able to work with Pictage to provide such a valuable day of training in post production workflow to so many photographers.

The Lightroom Workflow Workshop Tour 2010 from Jared Platt on Vimeo.

Pictage’s goal with Partner Conference has always been to educate photographers and elivate their business and their vission and craft.  There is no greater comunity in the portrait and wedding industry than the Pictage community.  And Partner Conference is open to anyone, not just Pictage users.  It is a fantastic learning expereience.  Anyone who is in the industry, beginner or seasoned pro, can learn a great deal and have a blast at Partner Conference.

The early bird special ends this Firday, Spet 10.  So sign up for Partner Con, come to New Orleans and make sure you get there on Sunday night so you can take my workshop on Monday to kick of your week of learning right.

Reserve your seat for the Lightroom Workflow Workshop in New Orleans Now! It is FREE to anyone attending the Pictage Partner Conference.

Portrait of Kevin Burdick by Jared Platt

Rain and Gale Force Winds: A great day for a photo shoot.

It was a rainy day with strong winds all day and a bit cold for Phoenix, AZ in January, but we altered our planned photo shoot a little in the concept and went out shooting.  Piano rock star, Kevin Burdick, was the subject.  We decided to take the umbrellas, but when we got to our location, we had a break in the clouds, but not the wind.  So we went with the umbrellas anyway.  Kevin get very tired trying to hold the umbrellas up against the wind, it really was quite strong.

 Portrait of Kevin Burdick by Jared Platt

The photos were shot with the Canon 1D Mark IV.

Now on to some tips and tricks:

First, the sun is off to the right of the photo and slightly behind Kevin.  Which means that if we took the photo without additional lights, he would be too dark.  Remember, we are competing with some bright clouds in the background, so we have to control the ambient exposure to match.  We could use a big reflector, or we could use a flash.  It was just Kevin and myself, no assistant, so we chose a flash unit.  A Canon 580EX II is mounted on a pole about 12 feet off to my right to avoid the on camera flash flattening effect.  Because it is off camera, I had to connect it via wireless slave.  I am using the pocket wizard TT1 and TT5 system.  This allows the camera to communicate with the flash via radio signal, but unlike typical radio slave systems, that only transmit the fire signal, the TT1 / TT5 system allows the camera to communicate metering solutions etc to the flash for TTL auto exposures.  The TT1/TT5 system also allows me to sync my flash at incredibly high shutter speeds via radio slave, and in order to get the ambient exposure right with the correct depth of field, I need to expose the image at f 5.0 at between 1/1600 and 1/2000 of a second.  A typical flash slave system will only allow syncing with a flash at 1/250 of a second.  So the Pocket Wizard TT1 / TT5 system is critical to the success of this photograph.  When I need the light, but also need the shutter speed, I don’t have to compromise.

The flash is set to provide a bust of light which is about one and a half stops lower than the brightness of the sun.  This allows the sun to remain the dominant light source.  You can see that the sun is still creating its signature crest of light on the far right side of Kevin’s face, but it is not blown out.  The near side of his face, though lit well, is still the shadow side.  This combination of lights provides a good contour to his face.  I am getting a studio lit look out on location with three lights.

“Three lights,” you ask, “but you have just mentioned the two?”

Light One:  The sun.  This is the strongest light on the set.  It is the light coming from the side and slightly behind, giving me that crest of light on his face and hands, and acting as a hair light.  It is also providing the nice bright crests on the clouds and the mountains.

Light Two: The Canon Flash.  This is a direct light on Kevin’s face which is filling in the shadow not to match, but fall short of the power of the sun (light one).  This gives us a great vivid exposure on Kevin’s face, without flattening the contours of the face because it is not on camera, but off camera and coming at the subject from the same side of the frame as the sun, so direction of the shadows still make sense.

Light Three: God’s Soft Box, the Northern Sky.  The northern sky (because in North America, the sun is always in the southern sky) is a giant soft reflector of the sun’s light.  That bounced light from the northern sky is filling in all the deep shadows on my subject and on the mountains and the clouds.  Without the reflection of the norther sky, the shadows in the photo would be very dark.  Now, I cannot position God’s soft box on a moment by moment basis, it is in a fixed position, but there are some things I can do.  I can choose the time of day to shoot, so that either the northwest or the northeast sky is my active soft box and I can position my subject such that he faces the northern sky, and I can choose the proper location for shooting the photograph so that my subject can face away from the sun, toward the northern sky.

 Portrait of Kevin Burdick by Jared Platt

I always know where the sun is and is going to be.  My iPhone, though not a good phone, has a great sun position app which tells me the exact position of the sun at any hour of any day well into the future.  So, when I scout a location, I know where the sun will be a 3 PM on Jan 12, 2030 and can plan my photo shoot accordingly.  I need to know this, because I want to get the best shot with the least amount of equipment possible.

 Portrait of Kevin Burdick by Jared Platt

The green toned photo above is what happens when the sun changes brightness on you in the middle of the shoot.  The original shot is a bit off in exposure, but with some fancy photoshop work using two different develops of the same RAW file, I was able to pull of a very cool shot and and control exactly how dark I wanted the background and the subject.  I love the drama of the image.

Note: Although the rest of these photographs have undergone a major amount of burning and dodging they have not been “retouched much at all.  I am not all that interested in major retouching, but burning and dodging, which I did very skillfully in the darkroom, is still a very key part of the beauty of my images.  Although now, I have such precise control offer my burns that almost anything is possible.  I often will slim down a subject or remove a belly with only burning and dodging.  I will post my article on Burning and Dodging here on the blog in the near future.  It ran in Professional Photographer Magazine in January 2010.  If you have a copy, take a look.

_______

This next set of photos, we moved the position of the light from my right side to my left.  Some people on my facebook posts have said it looks almost like he is being photographed against a backdrop, because he is popping out of the photo so much.  This is what happens when you move your second light to a less natural position.  Instead of the light coming from the same side as the sun’s light, it is coming from the other side, which subtly sets Kevin at odds with the shadows in the background.  Ergo, he jumps out of the photo because he is no longer blending in to the light.  Your mind sees him as different than the photo, even if your consciousness can not figure out why.  Study the photo carefully and see the shadows on Kevin, then the shadows on the mountains and clouds.

 Portrait of Kevin Burdick by Jared Platt

Anytime you want something to pop out of your photo, you have to make it different than everything else in the photo.  Most of the time, people use a bight color to do this.  More subtle is using a different texture of perhaps a different pattern, etc.  Notice, he is also wearing a tomato shirt.  That helps him stand out in every photo.  But the lighting is the real key to creating that extreme difference that is still subtle enough to make one question their perception.

 Portrait of Kevin Burdick by Jared Platt

Now for the rest of the photo shoot.  When he is far away from the camera we obviously can’t light him with a flash, so a little dodging in the post production fixes the shadow of the face.  Fortunately, distant shots like these don’t require as much lighting, because they are more about composition.  Besides, we still have our two lights working for us: light one and three.

 Portrait of Kevin Burdick by Jared Platt

 Portrait of Kevin Burdick by Jared Platt

 Portrait of Kevin Burdick by Jared Platt

 Portrait of Kevin Burdick by Jared Platt

 Portrait of Kevin Burdick by Jared Platt

 Portrait of Kevin Burdick by Jared Platt

Before we went out for our location shoot, we also did a few shots in the studio.  Kevin is great for expression.  I posted a set of these expressions in a previous post, but here are a few larger shots I loved from the session.

 Portrait of Kevin Burdick by Jared Platt

You may be wondering what I did to the photos here.  What photoshop action did I use?  The coloring effect is done completely in Adobe Lightroom with the click of a button.  It is one of many presets I have created for toning my images.  This one reminds me of an old 1970s photograph of my mom and dad in horn rimed glasses and a few of the kids  up in the mountains.  The color is faded and the paper is yellowed and some of the silvers are oxidizing.  It is a nice effect, but who wants to wait 30 years for that.  Anyway, most people make these color presets with the color balance changes, but that sometimes messes up the photo itself.  Making presets correctly is important.  I am finishing up a second set of presets, which will be available for purchase by WPPI 2010 in Las Vegas (where I will be teaching a master class on Lightroom and if you are coming, I will teach you how to make this preset).   The first set of presets is called the Essential Lightroom Preset Collection, which is a set of work-flow centered presets to get you through the editing process quickly.  This new set is called the Top Secret Collection, which is a set of effect presets to compliment the Essential Collection.  This effect in particular is mostly based in the split toning panel of the develop section in Lightroom.  There are some other settings in Saturation, Vibrance and Clarity etc that help to make it look just right, but the bulk of the effect is there in the split toning.

By the way, if you are going to be at WPPI and want to take my master class, but can’t get in because it is full, email [email protected] and ask to be placed on the waiting list.  If there are enough people on the waiting list, they will open another class.  And more importantly, they will book me in a platform class next year, which they should have done this year.  So if you are going to WPPI, email and ask to be placed on the waiting list.

 Portrait of Kevin Burdick by Jared Platt

And finally, a nice black and white at 1600 ISO.  This Canon 1D Mark IV is incredible in the higher ISOs.  I can’t say enough good things about that ISO.  I turned off the flash slaves and simply used the modeling lights, raised the ISO with impunity and shot.  With this camera, I will never fear the ISO.  Never.

 Portrait of Kevin Burdick by Jared Platt

I Love New York

The New York workshop was great. We were completely packed. It was fun. Thanks to everyone. It was good to meet you all. Now it’s time for Philadelphia, the Washington.