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Tips & Tricks

Adobe Lightroom Tips for Beginners: Merging a Travel Catalog with your Main Catalog

Tips & Tricks

Seán Duggan is a fine art photographer, author, educator and an Adobe Certified Photoshop Expert with extensive experience in both the traditional and digital darkroom. His Lightroom Viewfinders series provides photographers with the tools they need to effectively take Lightroom on the road with them during their photographic travels. In episode 1, Duggan goes over the basics of cataloguing and backing up your files.


Merging a Travel Catalog with your Main Catalog
by Seán Duggan (reprinted here with permission)

Lightroom is an essential tool for the traveling photographer, allowing you to not only work on your images as your trip unfolds, but also to just enjoy them more while you’re still on the trip. Reviewing images at the end of each day, editing them, working on sequences and image pairings, is also a great way to notice visual themes and trends in your own image making during the trip. You may not always be conscious of these as you are taking the photos, but taking note of these potential creative paths during the image review process can suggest new directions, as well as help you clarify existing ideas for the types of images you want to make.

In the Lightroom Viewfinder episode below, I provide an overview of my Lightroom travel catalog setup (including regular backups and keeping the drives safe from loss while on the road). Then I’ll show you how to import the data from the travel catalog into the main Lightroom catalog back home when the trip is over. I also address the all-important practice of moving files within Lightroom so the program always knows where they’re at.

Stay tuned for next week’s Lightroom Viewfinders topic “The Island of Lost Files: Find Those Missing Files and Get Your Lightroom Catalog Back in Order!”
In the meantime, check out Duggan’s other photo tips over on his blog.

Blowing out the Background

Gear Talk Tips & Tricks
Ben on a greyish-blue background.

Ben on a greyish-blue background.

The image above was not shot on a white background. It has a minimal level of adjustment in Lightroom to it, mostly to clean up the edges, but that’s about it. It was taken in front of the greyish-blue wall in the lobby of the BorrowLenses.com offices in San Carlos.

The thing about a relatively light-colored background is that it lends itself to a surprisingly large number of options for photographers. Though grey backgrounds work best for this, you can with some tweaking, turn just about any light-colored background — grey, blue, beige — completely black, as I demonstrated in this article on how to kill your background completely.

In this article, I’ll show you how to blow out that background completely to make it look like you’re shooting in front of a white backdrop.

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Capture Motion in Car Photography with these Shot List Tips

Tips & Tricks

Interested in car photography? Jim Frenak, lead photographer at FPI Studios, recently shot the new 2014 Chevy Impala for Chevy’s West Coast PR blog. Read about how FPI Studios got the shot by pre-planning with a shot list and employing a couple of popular techniques for capturing a sense of motion.

Kill the Background: How to Turn a Background Black with Speedlights

Tips & Tricks
Chiaroscuro Portraits by Alex Huff

Chiaroscuro Portraits by Alex Huff

I was recently inspired by a recent series of portraits by our very own Alex Huff. Titled “Chiaroscuro Portraiture,” it features these gorgeous close-up portraits of the men and women in her life, each one of which is a study in how to render the interplay between light and shadow.

Alex takes these images in front of a grey background, and through a combination of getting in close to her subjects and using one light, sends what little you might see of that grey to almost pitch black. I began to think of what I could do if I didn’t have a backdrop to shoot against, if I needed to make a portrait in a relatively brightly-lit area. In theory, it could be done; a basic understanding of the Inverse-Square Law reveals that much.

But what if all you had was a basic modifier and a couple of speedlights, not a big studio strobe? Could you still do it? I had to give it a try. (more…)

Quick Tip on Blending Two Photos in Time Bracketing

Tips & Tricks

Take a picture of the same scene at two different times of day and blend in post for a unique look that still stays true to the environment you are capturing. Learn more in this quick how-to!

The Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Puts the Microscopic Within Reach

Gear Talk Tips & Tricks

The Canon MP-E 65mm Macro Lens is more than a lens–it is like a portable microscope with the ability to fill an entire 35mm frame with the texture of something as small as a grain of rice. Learn more about one of BorrowLenses.com’s most unique lenses!

Quick Tip: Optimize Canon 5D Mark III Write Speeds – Avoid Using SD Cards

Gear Talk Tips & Tricks

Photographer Jeff Cable discovered something interesting about the 5D Mark III when he was doing some high-speed shooting–it’s slow, but only under certain circumstances. Click here to read more about when and when you should not use the SD slot in the 5D Mark III.

2012 Mayan Apocalypse Photo Tips

BL News Cool Stuff Tips & Tricks

BorrowLenses.com understands that the Mayan Apocalypse is fast approaching. We’d like to make a special announcement to our customers to ensure they are prepared for the inevitable.

Easy Holiday Photo Booth

Gear Talk Tips & Tricks

Holiday events have a way of filling a room. Being tasked with running a party photo booth for friends and family can be daunting, especially if your budget isn’t big and your space isn’t, either. We put together a simple, fun photo booth using portable items that you can rent from BorrowLenses.com.

Tip of the Week – Fast and Easy Model Releases with Top Model Release

Tips & Tricks

Hate dealing with model releases? This new iPhone app from photographer Catherine Hall might just be the thing you need to make the process of creating, signing, and storing release forms as simple and painless as possible.

Tip of the Week – Controlling Power on a Profoto Pack, Part I

Tips & Tricks

Want to harness the power of a Profoto pack, but aren’t sure just how to control it? Read on to find out how you can do just that in this week’s Tip.

Op-Ed: The New Horizon(tal)

Tips & Tricks

Landscape mode or portrait mode? This Op-Ed makes the case for breaking traditional molds and shooting more subjects in landscape orientation. The new Horizon(tal) is here.

5 Things I Learned at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference

Tips & Tricks

Last week we had a great time at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference. As an event partner and sponsor we had a chance to meet a lot of great photographers in attendance. The conference had a great energy to it. With photographers being so active and social on Google+ it was rather effortless to pick up conversations in person with photographers of all stripes and experience levels. It was for this reason alone that attending was an amazing experience. Beyond meeting with great photographers there was a lot of great information shared amongst attendees and speakers alike. The 5 takeaways that I came back with that all photographers on Google+ could stand to benefit from included:

1. Focus on Community
The community on Google+ feels like the Flickr photography community of old. There is a constant flow of photos with many photographers you’ll find familiar and many more that will likely be new to you. It’s a great time to explore and network with photographers of all backgrounds, experience levels and expertises. In fact there are numerous sub-communities on Google+ focusing on various photography niches. Google+ makes it super easy and fast to find information in alignment with your photographic and non-photographic interests.

What made the Google+ Photographer’s Conference so special is the fact that this virtual community became tangible. If you follow someone on Google+ it was all the reason you needed to introduce yourself. It was great to be able to pick up conversations previously confined to posts and comments. Getting out to talk and photograph with your compatriots from abroad made for an extremely special time.

2. Engage
Google+ is a great place to connect with a community, but it’s only as good as you make it. Find great photographers and interact with them. You never know when someone is active online so don’t let it phase you if your comments go unnoticed at first. Keep commenting and interacting and before you know it you’ll be conversing with photographers you thought you’d never talk to.

3. Hangout: Join One, Start One
What sets Google+ apart from other social media web sites is their ability to support group video chats. It is by far one of the most novel features added to a social media site that I’ve yet to see. Conveying text updates in real-time is great, sharing photos is also great, but being able to talk and see each other in real conversations is extremely cool. It has its moments of getting bogged down if your connection isn’t the fastest, but its still a great experience. Over time it will no doubt improve, but in the meantime there is nothing that should stop you from giving it a try.

Guy Kawasaki Presenting at the Google+ Photographer's Conference Highlighting is BorrowLenses.com HQ Tour

Guy Kawasaki Presenting at the Google+ Photographer's Conference Highlighting is BorrowLenses.com HQ Tour

Guy Kawasaki Presenting at the Google+ Photographer’s Conference Highlighting is BorrowLenses.com HQ Tour

4. Chrome Plugins
Above and beyond my previously recommended chrome plugins (see 5 Highly Recommended Google+ Chrome Extensions) Guy Kawasaki shared his 3 favorite plugins at the conference. They may not all be of use to you, but I bet at least one is. Take note that “Replies and More” will help you with Lesson #2 (see above) as tagging someone in your reply will send an email to that person. It’s a great way to reach out to someone above and beyond the average comment.

  1. Do Share allows you to schedule posts.
  2. Replies and More simplifies responding to authors and commenters.
  3. Nuke Comments streamlines reporting, blocking, and deleting comments in a single click.

5. Hashtags to Explore
Hashtags are a great way to see running threads of conversation across broad pools of people that you may or may not yet be following. Some hashtags are used to note photo themes and others to note discussion topics. In either case if you see a hashtag (ex. #gpluspc) click on it and you’ll find posts relating to that topic in less than a second. With a little deeper searching you’re sure to find new people to connect with.
A great photography hashtag list to start with is from Eric LeslieDaily Photography Themes on Google+  You’re bound to find something of interest here and its a great catalyst to start interacting with some great photographers.

Now that you know, we hope to see you on Google+ and be sure to visit us on our G+ BorrowLenses.com page.

Tip of the Week – Replicate Photographer Peter Hurley’s Signature Look With Strobes

Tips & Tricks

Want to learn how to replicate famous headshot photographer Peter Hurley’s signature look, but with strobes? Check out this edition of Tip of the Week!

Tip of the Week: Get Better at Google+ With “Google+ For Photographers”

Tips & Tricks

There’s a new resource to help photographers make the most of Google+. Photographer and educator Colby Brown has released a book called “Google+ for Photographers,” and whether you’re new to GPlus, or have been around for a while, you’ll find something useful in this book.