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Old Tuesday 5th January 2016, 23:08   #1
Rapala
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Bird Photo Workflow in Lightroom

I have just recently purchased the standalone version of Lightroom 6 to get more into RAW photography and processing. By moving to RAW files, I'd like to keep all my editing in LR and not have to go back and forth with PS. My question to all photographers on this forum that shoot RAW is this; What adjustments do you make when using Lightroom and what goes through your head while you're processing bird photos? Do you make local adjustments? What do you adjust? How do you go about NR and Sharpening? Do you have presets you use when you import RAW photos rather than Adobe's default (which mainly just applies sharpening to correct the effects of the AA filter)? How do you achieve accurate colors? I know I'm just a novice Lightroom user and that it's a very powerful program, but I'd like to compare different photographers workflows for processing bird photos to get an idea for what I should do and what I may be doing wrong. Thanks in advance for your input.
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Old Wednesday 6th January 2016, 13:58   #2
Robin Edwards
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Rapala,

My workflow isn't exactly scientific or pushing the boundaries yet gives me what I need for viewing/posting images online. So, not suggesting this is right for everyone but works for me.

Import Image
Using graph, I play with exposure if required (I try to expose histogram to the right from the camera if I can)
I may tone down highlights and/or lift some of the shadows
Adjust horizon? De-spot any unwanted blotches? (rarely for both)
I rarely adjust WB or colour sliders but I will add a small degree of Clarity, Vibrance and Saturation if it adds to the "punch"
I then use some degree of Sharpening in tandem with NR and depending on background, I will try Mask to get a balance between subject sharpened and background with NR.
I then export as Jpg
In PS I will re-size and check if a small degree of Unsharp Mask helps any?
save as copy
I generally don't print or re-size in LR

LR for me is quite resource hungry and my PC struggles where I try to apply localised changes using brushes etc but with more Gb memory, I could rely less on PS for final touches.
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Old Thursday 7th January 2016, 14:34   #3
Jim M.
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Just started using LR myself, but since response to your post has been limited thus far I'll chime in with quick review of what I've been doing thus far:

Import
Flag rejects and delete from disk (raw files take up a lot disk space)
Flag keepers
Process only keepers (leave unflagged pics)
Apply "punch" LR preset and see if it improves things; occasionally adjust related sliders (clarity, vibrance, saturation) if the preset affect suggests the need
Various adjustments depending on the photo: Higlights/shadows, exposure, luminance noise/detail, cropping, and rarely contrast
For sharpening I mostly just adjust the amount slider. Haven't found unsharp mask very helpful
For local adjustments I use the brush, e.g. to decrease noise reduction on the bird itself, or increase sharpening on the bird only (note that local sharpening is limited to amount slider adjustment)
Export as JPEG
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Old Saturday 23rd January 2016, 18:50   #4
Rapala
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So far mine has been;

Import
Flag rejects and delete from disk (same as Jim so far)
Adjust Temp and Exposure
Bump up the contrast slightly
Set White and Black point (using Alt key)
Highlights/shadows if necessary
Sometimes I adjust vibrance/clarity, but usually I stay away from both
Adjust Tone curve is needed, especially to bring down blown highlights
Noise Reduction and Sharpening, masking sharpening to only the bird.
Correct chromatic aberration

So far I haven't exported any, and keep the edited photos in the Catalog. If I'll post the image on the web or print it then I'll export it accordingly.
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Old Sunday 24th January 2016, 00:42   #5
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I do my culling before importing RAW files into LR. Faststone image viewer does a much faster job showing images with sufficient detail to decide on keeper or not than loading everything into LR and waiting for the previews to be generated just to delete some right away.
Next I change the file name to my default file name pattern, a shot from today would be 20160123 wherever xxxx (xxxx = original 4-digit file number from camera).
Then I import surviving shots into LR and automatically apply matching keywords for cataloging, the process version, the camera profile of choice, and lens corrections. The last three are on the bottom of the develop module.
The ones selected as top keepers after a secondary screening in LR (rating and flagging and more deleting) will be edited as required for WB first, as this affects some of the following when done later and may require revisiting these editing points. All the exposure parameters, clarity saturation, straighten and crop, clone stamping if required, sharpening and noise reduction last (hint: push the alt key while using the masking slider to see where in the image sharpening is applied), sometimes with local adjustments.
If I do more editing at a later time (e.g. BW versions) I start out with a virtual copy to keep the original edit unaltered.
For use on displays I export jpg files using the export menue, for prints I export jpg files using the print module as it offers additional settings that I find useful.
Since LR5 I also like the slideshow module and the mp4 videos it generates for the occasional presentation in meetings and shows.
For a long time I use the web module to generate the galleries for my website. Howeve3r, learned to stay away from the flash galleries and just stick to html as more and more platforms do not support flash anymore and visitors just see an error message.
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Old Thursday 28th January 2016, 23:29   #6
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I import, having deleted all but keepers in the camera first. When developing, occasionally I alter bright/dark slider, exposure at this stage, but hardly ever touch highlights. I will deepen tones such as sky and water using the HSL feature. I then mask the portion to be sharpened but leave the sharpening to the end. I enable lens profile and upright connections, then add a -15 vignette. I change the camera profile, normally to Camera standard but sometimes portrait. Then I slide sharpness to about 50, detail far enough to see the texture on the bird, then luminance noise reduction until the noise disappears. I move the slider on smoothness left to add realism, then go to white balance. I change this by clicking on the picture and typing W; this brings up an eye-dropper with a panel underneath it with RGB and percentages for each. I move this to a portion of the picture (equivalent to an 18pc grey card) where the R G and B percentages are similar; on the left is a preview of the picture showing the effects. When I find one I like I click on it and then export the pic. At a late stage I may increase clarity slightly but hardly ever touch vibrancy.
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Old Sunday 20th March 2016, 12:00   #7
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now slightly refined with experience - the workflow is essentially top to bottom in the right-hand boxes, so in basic there's a chance to alter (normally cool) the colour temp, up the contrast, then slid the white slider right while holding hold down alt/option until just before the pixels show, then the same but to the left with the blacks slider . also alter exposure if necessary, then up slightly on clarity and vibrance, then from there as above
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Old Saturday 30th April 2016, 11:03   #8
GlennMcKinlay
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Initial review process

Thanks to you folk I have decided to give lightroom trial a trail.

First hitch - how to carry out that initial review to throw out all the blurry shots? To do this I need to scroll through at 100% one phot at a time and decide which ones get a flag or reject. But I can only see the small previews in library. How do I scroll through one at a time at full size?

Also, a logical thing would be to quickly make a first crop, keeping same shape, for the keepers - my birds are small distant shorebirds.

Can I do these things in Library, or can I scroll through and use flags in Develop? At this point I can't see how to get to the next photo in develop without switching back to the library.

Also, is there a function that will allow me to delete the rejects from the drive, not just Lightroom.

Getting an initial review/selection process working efficiently is my number one problem - without it I just end up taking 1000s of shots and then give up.

Assistance/suggestions appreciated.
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Old Saturday 30th April 2016, 12:27   #9
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I do all sifting, tagging, rating and deleting my rejections from disk in the Library module. You can view one by one in library and do comparisons between images.
I tend not to step into Develop module until I've finished weeding out and judging my better keepers.
When I started out I was recommended Scott Kelby's book which I found really helpful.
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Old Saturday 30th April 2016, 14:18   #10
Jim M.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Edwards View Post
When I started out I was recommended Scott Kelby's book which I found really helpful.
I'd second that. One of the advantages of using an established program like Lightroom is a wealth of quality, third-party support materials.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GlennMcKinlay View Post
Thanks to you folk I have decided to give lightroom trial a trail.

First hitch - how to carry out that initial review to throw out all the blurry shots? To do this I need to scroll through at 100% one phot at a time and decide which ones get a flag or reject. But I can only see the small previews in library. How do I scroll through one at a time at full size?

Also, a logical thing would be to quickly make a first crop, keeping same shape, for the keepers - my birds are small distant shorebirds.

Can I do these things in Library, or can I scroll through and use flags in Develop? At this point I can't see how to get to the next photo in develop without switching back to the library.

Also, is there a function that will allow me to delete the rejects from the drive, not just Lightroom.
If you click on the preview in library, it will zoom in and you can adjust the zoom to 100% if that's what you prefer, and Lightroom will remember that. Also, underneath the photo preview in Library on the right-hand side of the toolbar is a down arrow; if you click on that you can select what options you want in the preview toolbar. Finally, when you select photos and press delete, Lightroom will ask you whether you want to delete the photos from Lightroom or the disk.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Jim M. : Saturday 30th April 2016 at 14:26.
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Old Tuesday 3rd May 2016, 12:23   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlennMcKinlay View Post
Also, a logical thing would be to quickly make a first crop, keeping same shape, for the keepers - my birds are small distant shorebirds.

Can I do these things in Library, or can I scroll through and use flags in Develop? At this point I can't see how to get to the next photo in develop without switching back to the library.
Your other questions have been answered, I think.

In order to crop you have to go to the develop module. But as the others have said you can view at whatever resultion you like in the Library module.

Also, you can always have the film strip at the bottom of your window, and in the Library module that allows you to move from one picture to the next. Alternatively you can use the left or right arrow on your keyboard.

I would second buying a book to get a good overview of the availabel features, and to help finding a workflow. Lightroom is very powerful, and if you want to use it to manage your photos it's a good idea to better understand what it offers.

For past incarnations I've used one of Scott Kelby's books, and also one of Martin Evening's. Kelby has a sense of humour, but it grated a bit on me, and he felt a bit more haphazard in terms of what he explained where. There are lots of useful tips though. I found Evening's approach more serious and more systematic. Both were very useful to me at the time (I bought different ones for different versions Lightroom when there had been a big change).

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Old Friday 20th May 2016, 11:14   #12
GlennMcKinlay
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A few queries

Hello again

I have got started. Have ordered the Kelby book, but it will take a while to arrive given my location (Palau).

So in the meantime I have a few queries

Cropping
Because birds are distant, for a large proportion of my photos I only need to keep the central portion, usually less that ¼ of the area. Is there a way to:
a) Apply an initial crop on all photos, or a selected group of photos
b) Then review and adjust each one. At the same time I would rate, and flag rejects
A third step that might be desirable would be to apply the crops to the original photos. If possible this would vastly reduce storage space needs.

Zooming
The zoom lever in library is very small and hard to move accurately with the mouse. Example, I find moving from 1:2 to 1:1 quite difficult to execute.
Clicking the mouse on the photo seems to zoom in and back out, but only between the last two settings – Lightroom seems to remember what these are. So if I last used the lever to switch from 1:1 to 1:3 the mouseclick on the photo alternates between those. But if I need to go to 1:2, it is back to that difficult zoom lever.
What would be much easier would be a single keystrokes to move in and out one step at a time, so I could quickly zoom in and out with repeated keystrokes. Ideally two keys side by side on my keyboard. Does Lightoom have something like that? If not can I set custom quick-keys.

Aperture settings
In lightroom Develop panel, “Metadata” shows Exposure, Focal length, ISO, but it doesn’t show Aperture. One of the things I to learn to understand is how aperture differences are impacting the look of my photographs. Is there something I have to change to get aperture to show in the metadata list?

Develop History
When I am trying to figure out my crops, Lightoom saves every change in the history, even the accidental mistakes. Is there a way to drop all the interim back and forth changes and choose only to save selected points in the develop history, and drop all the rest. Alternatively, is there a way to flag specific points in the develop history, so I can find those again easily.
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Old Friday 20th May 2016, 12:04   #13
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Go getting NIK Software suite (Pro Shaperner 3, Color Efex, ect...). It's free now. All the usual procedures like contrast adjusting, sharpening, local contrast, local sharpening etc... will be a charm and take a lot less time than cumbersome Lightroom/Photoshop proecedures.
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Old Friday 20th May 2016, 13:58   #14
Jim M.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlennMcKinlay View Post
In lightroom Develop panel, “Metadata” shows Exposure, Focal length, ISO, but it doesn’t show Aperture. One of the things I to learn to understand is how aperture differences are impacting the look of my photographs. Is there something I have to change to get aperture to show in the metadata list?
When you click on the "view" menu, then select "view options", then select "exposure" info as among the metadata to show, aperture info should appear. It does on mine. However, I have noticed a bug in my version of Lightroom 6 where selected metadata sometimes does not appear. Toggling full screen view on and off (use the F key) can help reset things, at least temporarily.
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Old Saturday 21st May 2016, 00:15   #15
GlennMcKinlay
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Thanks Jim.
In library, View options gives two tabs [Grid View] and [Loupe View].
Under loupe View "Show info Overlay" is ticked and there is selection for Info1 and Info2, and below with "use defaults off to the right on each.
I have tried changing some of the selections within these, but no change occurs on the metadata.
This is Lightroom 6.
Am I doing the correct thing? It doesn't seem believable that I cannot see F-stop readings easily, so I am figuring I must be missing a piece of knowledge.
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Old Saturday 21st May 2016, 00:39   #16
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Ah - have just seen that the settings are now showing as an overlay on the right corner of the photo in loupe view. Helpful. Still seems odd that I cannot get theaperture to show with the rest of the Metadata on the right though.
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