When I speak about macro/close-up photography, almost without fail, everyone thinks I’m referring to nature subjects, i.e. flowers and insects. But in fact I am suggesting one shoot anything but flowers and insects!
When we turn our attention to the really small ‘forgotten’ details that really are everywhere, the world of photographic subject matter quickly becomes a thousand times greater!
Several weeks ago I was in Ashland, Wisconsin where my eyes caught sight of the image you see here, ‘chapped lips’. Note the four additional images, attached to this post in the comments section below to fully appreciate the “forgotten” things in life.
Shot by one of my students Linda Wrobel, these four images simply illustrate that when we take a closer look, effective and colorful compositions are ours for the taking. You keep shooting! Nikon D500, Micro-Nikkor 105mm, F18@1/200 sec. 400 ISO.
One of the things I like best about Lightroom is the awesome organization system that you are able to set up and easily maintain. A lot of people who are new to Lightroom don’t take advantage of this system and are missing out on the best part of this amazing photo editing and organizational program.
I have more than 50,000 images in my Lightroom catalog and I am able to find almost any image in a matter of moments. And the program is so intuitive, that if you have “misplaced” an image, it is easy to connect it again with the Lightroom catalog.
Here are some basic considerations when you are first setting up your Lightroom catalog.
It’s important to know where you want to store your images and what kind of back up you are using. Because I use a laptop for the majority of my work, I have 3 external drives that I have set up to automatically back up my files. I have one external drive (that holds mainly my photos) that backs up to a second drive. The third external drive is for my full computer back up. This system works for me because it is pretty simple, and I have two copies of all of my files. It’s not if your hard drive crashes, it’s when. You can also use a more advanced system such as a Raid which will automatically give you mirror backups of your external drives and it comes in a variety of drive sizes.
Folder structure and organization
Consistent folder structure is important when first working in Lightroom. You need to consider an organization system that works for you and stick to it. For example, I prefer to organize my folders by destination, then by date. Lightroom will automatically set up your folders organized by date. For me, organizing by date just doesn’t work. Do you remember where you were October of 2016? I don’t. I do remember that I was in Yosemite in the fall of 2016, so I prefer to label my folder Yosemite_2016_10. That way I can easily find my fall Yosemite pictures and not have to remember exactly what date I was there. It is also important to be sure that all of your folders are named in a similar fashion. It wouldn’t make sense to call one folder Yosemite_2016_10 and the next folder Winter 2017. Since I was in Iceland in February of 2017, that file would be labeled Iceland_2017_02. All my folders are similarly named.
Create Only One Lightroom catalog
Lightroom is set up so that you can create as many catalogs as you like. I prefer to only have one catalog so that I can search my whole batch of 50,000 images by file name, keyword, or star rating. If you have multiple catalogs, it defeats the purpose of Lightroom’s amazing organizational system. It will only be able to search one catalog at a time, so if you had different catalogs by year (for example), you would have to search every catalog in order to find a specific image. There is a consideration that Lightroom may slow down a bit with a large number of images stored in a catalog, but with recent updates to Lightroom, the program buzzes along with no problem.
In my Lightroom Quick Start class, I cover these topics and a lot more to get you on your way to using Lightroom as your go-to editing and organizational tool. This 4-week class covers the basics that will get you up and running quickly in an efficient way. Try our next Lightroom class and learn to use the essential program for editing and organization.
Holly Higbee-Jansen is photographer, trainer, blogger, and workshop leader who enjoys teaching and the creative process. Her passions include teaching photography workshops in beautiful locations in California, Iceland, Costa Rica and the American West with her husband Mark. Holly also teaches online classes on Lightroom, Photoshop and photographic technique. Get Holly’s Free E-Book on “Landscape Photography and the Light“ and find out about her newest workshops at Jansen Photo Expeditions.com.
Do you want to learn to create images that show the beauty of the scene you saw when you took the photograph? Do you want to learn the other essential side of digital photography, photo editing and get up to speed quickly?
This course is designed to get you up and running FAST in this incredibly powerful program. In this two week information packed class, you will learn how to import, organize and perform simple and effective editing processes that will let you produce beautiful adjustments to your pictures.
In this class, we will introduce you to the magic of iPhone photography using several shooting and editing apps that will give you the ability to make your pictures sing in a fun and easy way. You will learn how to crop, change saturation, brightness and affect the overall look of your pictures with HDR, drama and grunge filters and other techniques. You will be amazed at the simple and effective methods.
In your efforts to expand your photographic vision of understanding exposure, don’t forget that you will need to start limiting your vision as well! Let me explain.
It is estimated that the ‘dynamic range’ of the human eye’s ability to see light and dark simultaneously is around 16-stops. The best camera out there, arguably the Nikon D850, ‘see’s’ light and dark to the tune of only 9-stops, and yet most camera’s, on average, ‘see’ closer to 7-stops. So, if you don’t adjust your vision to think and ‘see’ like your camera’s dynamic range, you will miss numerous opportunities to create black backgrounds and black foregrounds as well as the many black shapes that are yours for the taking, including this image of pigeons and a traffic light I shot near NY’s Times Square.
Assuming we were shooting this scene together, our own eyes would easily see the detail in these pigeons including their varied tones of gray, while at the same time easily assimilating the blue sky into the mix without the sky or the pigeons looking too dark or too bright…
BUT the camera’s limited dynamic range of 7-stops CANNOT record a correct exposure of the much brighter blue sky and the much ‘darker’ pigeons in a single exposure because the dynamic range is beyond 7-stops. The fact is, as seen in the second photo in the comments section below, these pigeons and the light pole and traffic light that they are sitting on are in open shade against a distant background that is bright blue sunlit sky! If I were to set my exposure for the pigeons, that blue sky would blow out to an almost white color…not going to let that happen! I want silhouetted shapes against that deep blue sky so I set my exposure for the bright blue sky, thus rendering the pigeons as stark black ‘under-exposed’ silhouettes.
So, at least for now, rejoice at the opportunity to ‘see’ like your camera and and embrace it’s limited vision of NOT being able to combine light and dark into a single correct exposure and instead go out and create even more compelling compositions of BLACK backgrounds, foregrounds and silhouette’s; at least until the inevitable announcement that a new camera with a DR of 16-stops has arrived…heaven help us!!! Until then, you keep shooting!
This post is one in a series on how to create a sense of place.
CASE STUDY: ROMANTIC STAY IN A COUNTRY LODGE
Next time you’re taking photos on holiday or during a celebration, include detail shots to flesh out your story. Details shots, when added together with photos of people, help show the mood of your scene.
Have a look at the images in this case study:
Outside view of cottage
Stonewall with sign
View from window
Light on curtains
Sparkling wine in two glasses
Key in door
Do you see how how image tells a part of the story? This is what you’re looking to do with your detail shots.
Each of these images is like a single idea, and by combining several, a story is created.
TIPS TO GREAT DETAIL SHOTS:
Vary the camera angle in each shot. Shoot up, down, out, across, or through a subject.
Frame your subject tightly to omit clutter. Reveal part of the subject.
Ever wonder if the craziness of your life is, indeed, worth celebrating? The answer is a resounding YES!
Start taking images that that look like they came out of a glossy magazine.
This course focuses on the creative side of photography. You’ll learn how to capture images of your everyday life in a fresh and exciting way.
Celebrate Your Life in Beautiful Images Part 2 takes you further by focusing on capturing the essence of your loved ones — think about the little things that you’ll always remember, such as how they hold their favorite coffee mug in their hands!
Do you wish you had images of your loved ones that capture who they are as a person? What about a series of images that portray your life as nicely as a wedding photographer portrays a wedding?
Get ready to have fun creating lifestyle photos that you can’t wait to share with your friends and family.
This course delves into creative ways to capture even mundane moments and beautifully photograph even camera-shy loved ones. They’ll finally stop saying they don’t like seeing themselves in photos!
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Bryan & Chris, What a great class. I just want to tell you how much I learned by taking this course. I have been shooting for more than 20 years and avid fan of you and your photography. I needed something to jump start my photography since I retired recently, and this course was exactly what I needed. I recommend this course to anyone wanting to start learning or need a refresher. Thanks you so much for the work you do in helping your students become much better photographers. On to the next class and as I say to you both "you keep teaching"