post processing

How To Use Fine Art Lightroom Presets

Here is a short video tutorial on how to edit photos by using my Fine Art Lightroom Presets.

For these examples, I used the Star & Milky Way presets and the Split Toning Presets. 

BTW. It's my first video tutorial, so I must admit that I'm not that great in these.. But hey, you got to start somewhere.. :) Hope you enjoyed it! 

Here is a photo I did with these settings.

How To Organize Photos in Lightroom Using Smart Collections

My Lightroom Catalogue was such a mess few days ago.. And my backups weren't really up to date and after reading some horror stories on loosing your images I wanted to make this my priority number uno. It's not a sexy task, but definitely something I had to do.

The Collections and Folders were unorganized and was literally scattered all over the place. So I decided to go on and manage my photos and build up a system because I really want to backup my photos regularly, and don't want to include unnecessary photos in those backups.

I know there are lot of different ways to do organizing. I believe this works for people who are not organized or have always just imported their photos anywhere where is space left in their hard drives. Here is couple of tricks I found easy and working well for my purposes. 

1. Create a Collection Set

First thing to do is create a set where you will be having all the images from one year. Click on the small + sign in the Collections Panel and choose Collection Set. Name this what ever year you are going to create. For example I named it 2009. 

Add Year by Creating a Collection Set

Add Year by Creating a Collection Set

2. Create Smart Collection for a Year

Click on the right mouse button inside the Collection Set you just created and click Create a Smart Collection. Name it All and click on the Inside a Collection Set and choose the set you just created. Check Capture Date from the Rules Panel and check "is in the range" and provide the dates you want the images to be, for example 2009-01-01 to 2009-12-31 and click Create.

Create First Smart Collection with ruling.

Create First Smart Collection with ruling.

3. Create Smart Collection for a Month & File Type

This time use the same criteria but change the time line to 2009-01-01 to 2009-01-31. And after this lets add another rule File Type is Raw or JPG. (Which ever you prefer to shoot). This is not necessary, but I really enjoy just see the RAW files without all the other TIF files etc. 

Now when you have your first month set, go ahead and create all the rest months of the year, only changing the month dates.

Adding the month Smart Collection

Adding the month Smart Collection

4. Create Smart Collections for Other File Types

Now this is where I really had an aha moment. I have always been annoyed how many JPG copies I had all over the place so I just simply created a JPG Smart Collection by using The whole year Dates as previously in the Year part of this tutorial. I also did this part for TIF files to see how many duplicates I would have for the same photos. This is how you will be able to delete all the unnecessary duplicates. Just select the unnecessary duplicates and hit X and go to All Photographs and use CTRL (CMD) + Backspace and Delete from Disk. Of course be careful not deleting the files you don't want to.

Here is an example on adding JPG -files from the year into one Smart Collection

Here is an example on adding JPG -files from the year into one Smart Collection

5. Copy Collection Settings

So you have now created a one year Collection system. Create another Collection Set and name it "2010". Select the Smart Collections you just created for the another year and hit ALT (Option) + and drag the Smart Collections to 2010 and voila you have almost setup another year.. Now just double click on those copied Smart Collections and edit the dates to match the year you chose to create. Do this step to all the years you want to create and you are done with the Collections.

Drag the Created Collections to new Collection Set by holding down the CTRL (CMD) - key

6. Create Folder System From The Collections

After creating a Collections you can easily use them to create folders. Just click on the first Collection you want to create a folder and use shortcut CTRL (CMD) + A to select all photos inside that Smart Collection. Now go to your hard disk drive you are going to build the folders and select with your mouse right button and Create Folder. Name it for example 01, set it to Include selected Photos and now your files are being transferred to this location, no matter on where the images were before.

Adding the Folders from Smart Collections.

Adding the Folders from Smart Collections.

If you don't want to do all these steps, you can easily just apply this how you want to organize your photos. And of course you can go even further with the management by adding Collections for events, trips etc. 

Now after I have this system up, I can easily backup the whole Folder System to another Hard Drive. 

Mikko Lagerstedt - Lost

And for anyone who wanted to see some photo here is one from 2012, I ran into while going through the photos. It's supposed to get colder in the next few days so I'm just waiting for views like these! 

UPDATE: Thanks to Matt for pointing out a shortcut not working.

How To Process Fog & Mist Pictures in Lightroom

Hey everyone and Happy New Year! 

I thought I would give you insight on how I go through processing images taken in foggy situations. Here is a shot I took in Porvoo, Finland on one summer morning, just before the sunrise. 

Gear: Nikon D800, Nikon 16-35 mm f/4.0 VR, Sirui Tripod R-4203L + Sirui Ball Head K-40X

Exif: ISO 100, 26 mm, f/4.0, 0,4 sec. 

Fog Bridge - Before - ISO 100, 26 mm, f/4.0 & 0,4 sec

1. Lens Correction

First thing I do is correct the possible distortion of the lens and chromatic aberration. I also tend to try the Lightroom 5 Upright option for this type of images. The Auto setting worked great for this image so I checked it. For this image the Basic adjustments were enough, so I left the Manual settings intact. 

Fog Bridge - Apply the Lens Correction and Upright

Fog Bridge - Apply the Lens Correction and Upright

2. Cropping & Straightening

I always do the cropping before I do anything else to the image. I find it the most distracting thing to leave it at the very end. I use shortcuts to make my process go smoother, for Crop Tool hit R. For this particular image I wanted to crop from the left and from top. After I have decided on a crop I check to line up the lines of the bridge to make the image straight. Hit Enter to apply the crop.

3. Basic Adjustments

After I'm satisfied with the crop and lens correction, I go through the Basic Adjustments, step by step. Firstly I add some contrast. I also pull down the Highlights and Whites. I add some more bunch to the Blacks. I go through the Presence sliders and add some Vibrance and Clarity. 

Editing the Basic Adjustments in Lightroom. This always depends on your image. But for fog photos I find these settings to work well. I also have a collection of my settings through out my photography journey in  my presets collections .

Editing the Basic Adjustments in Lightroom. This always depends on your image. But for fog photos I find these settings to work well. I also have a collection of my settings through out my photography journey in my presets collections.

4. Gradual Sliders

I tend to add a Gradual filter either to the sky or to the foreground. Hit M to choose Gradual Filter. In this particular example, I darken the sky with the Gradual Filter. I used settings: Exposure -0,58, Contrast -10, Highlights -26 and Clarity -31. I do this to give balance to the lights in the image. I added another Gradual Filter to the left foreground to slightly pull the lights down from the pathway. 

Gradual Filters are quick and easy way to balance the light in your photos. 

Gradual Filters are quick and easy way to balance the light in your photos. 

5. Color Editing

For color editing in Lightroom I use firstly the White Balance Sliders to apply a slightly cool all around vibe to the image. I use Split Toning to give the image the final color treatments. In this case I added these Split Tones: Highlights: Hue 31, Saturation 15 - Shadows: Hue 231, Saturation 11. 

My favorite way to edit colors in Lightroom are with the White Balance Slider and through Split Toning. My split toning pack is available in my  Presets Collections .

My favorite way to edit colors in Lightroom are with the White Balance Slider and through Split Toning. My split toning pack is available in my Presets Collections.

6. Remove Distractions

The Spot Removal (Shortcut Q) tool is fantastic way to get rid of the distractions in your image. For this particular image I deleted some of the distracting lights and elements from the bridge to give it slightly smoother look. I tend to use the Spot Removal tool for small details just by clicking on a spot and finding a similar spot in the frame to heal it. 

Hit Q for Spot Removal tool. It's easy way to get rid of the distracting elements.

Hit Q for Spot Removal tool. It's easy way to get rid of the distracting elements.

7. Vignetting

Finally when I'm satisfied with the overall result, I add slight Post Crop Vignetting from the Effects panel. For this image my settings were: Highlight Priority, Amount -15, Midpoint 20, Roundness -5, Feather 60. 

For final adjustment I tend to add some Vignetting through the Effects Dialogue. 

For final adjustment I tend to add some Vignetting through the Effects Dialogue. 

The Final Image

Fog Bridge - Tutorial - The Final Image

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial. :) Let me know what kind of tutorials would you like to see in the future. 
Make sure to check my Fine Art Lightroom Presets for more Before & After photos!

How To Process Star & Night Sky Pictures in Lightroom 5 & Photoshop

So after a successful photo trip (Top 5 Tips to Photograph Stars & Night Sky) to take photos of stars, here are a simple process I use to edit the RAW files. These work both in Lightroom 4, 5 and Camera Raw. I edit my pictures in 16 bit mode with Color Profile of Pro Photo and File Format Tif. You can set these in Lightroom 5, from the Edit → Preference →  External Editing. If you want to learn all my tips and tricks, check out my Star Photography Masterclass eBook.

Equipment & Exif:  
Nikon D800, Nikon 16 - 35 mm f/4.0 @ ISO 6400, f/4.0, 35 mm, 15 sec.

Before:

After: 

Basic Adjustments

First thing is to decide how you want the image to look. Going through the main adjustments you can make the changes to the exposure contrast etc. Most of the time I find myself slightly adding exposure and contrast. Here is where I also adjust the color balance via the White Balance sliders. In this example I went towards and added Contrast to +45 and Reduced the Highlights to -36 I added hint of saturation also +7. 

Graduated Filter & Radial Filter

The Graduated Filter is excellent tool to use on these kind of images. I used my preset ”Night Sky Clarity” which just adds lot of Contrast and Clarity. (Settings: Exposure 0,29, Contrast 81, Clarity 76) Drag the slider where you want the stars to pop. In this particular image I also added another Slider to darken the top of the frame to give it a balacing sky to the ground. I also darkened the right part of the sky where the moon was. The Radial Filter works basially the same as the Graduated Filter, but adds a circular shaped adjustment. This is a great tool to use if you need to edit a just one part of the sky. For example, you can use it to enhance the detail in Milky Way by adding contrast and exposure strictly to the Milky Way part of the image.

Lens Correction

I used Nikon 16 – 35 mm f/4.0 VR lens in this photo. It has relatively small distortion in 35 mm focal lenght. Simply click on the Enable Lens Correction. I tend to reduce the vignetting settings to 55.  After this I went in the Manual Settings to correct the perspective distortion. In this particular case I adjusted the Vertical Slider to -35, which seemed to work quite nicely.

Sidenote:

For Samyang 14 mm f/2.8 lens you can use the same dialogue if you have installed the preset for the lens. Use Adobe Lens Profile Downloader http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=5492 to download the profile. In this particular lens it does very nice work on the distortions and vignetting. I use Nikon D700 version of the correction, because it does perfect job in the D800 also. 

Detail

I use this dialogue to adjust the noise reduction. It works very nicely for High ISO captured images. This image was ISO 6400 so it did need some noise reduction. Usually I leave the other adjustments to default. In this case I added luminance noise reduction to 25.

Boost up the Stars In Photoshop

Use commands CTRL / CMD + E to open the file in Photoshop. Go to Select → Color Range → Select stars with the Sample Tool. In this case easiest ways to see the selection is to use Selection Preview: Black Matte. Click OK. Now the stars are loaded as selection and use the shortcut CTRL / CMD + J to duplicate the selection to another layer. After this set the layer Blending Mode to Screen. If you want to boost the stars even further, make a duplicate of the current layer with the same shortcut.  Select the Layers you just created and add them to a group with shortcut CTRL / CMD + G and add a mask to it from the layers panel, if you need to reduce the adjustments from a particular spot in the image. Brush with black and you are done. 

Step one in Photoshop - Boost up the Stars - Selection

Step two in Photoshop - Boost up the Stars - Selection Done

Step three in Photoshop - Boost up the Stars - Duplicate The Layers

Step four in Photoshop - Boost up the Stars - Group The Layers

Step five in Photoshop - Boost up the Stars - Mask Out

Save for Web

Save the file as tif and open it again in Lightroom.

I do this in Ligthroom 5 because I find the image saving settings easier because I can use presets. Shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + E. I export the files as JPEG, sRGB with Resize to Fit Long Edge for example 1000 pixels and resolution 72. Sharpen For: Screen, Amount: Standard and you are done.

I try to make another tutorial on how to combine multiple exposures to make a one night photo with extra depth. I didn't manage to have time for it yet, so you will have to wait for it for some time.