November 21st, 2014

Adobe Spotlight: Tim Landis’s Extraordinary Instagram Scenes

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All photos © Tim Landis

While many photographers say they picked up their first camera before adulthood, creating beautiful images is a skill that can be acquired at any time. Photographer Tim Landis is proof of this—while he says that he has always been drawn to visual storytelling, it wasn’t until after the birth of his children that he became interested in the medium. His wife, Staci Landis, began her own wedding and portrait photography business, and after relocating from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin in 2008, Tim became her second shooter.

“I began to really love telling stories and wanted to work hard at developing my skill in photography,” he recalls. “There was a beauty I was drawn to of capturing moments that were unique and wouldn’t happen again. Bringing real moments and scenes to life in a photo was intriguing for me.”

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Above: Two outdoor scenes showcasing Landis’s knack for capturing and enhancing beautiful light.

Landis began to study the basic rules of photography and hone his composition and lighting technique. But it was through constant picture-taking that he was really able to learn about his camera and the tools he was using. And, as most photographers do, Landis looked to successful photographers for inspiration in developing his own visual style.

Today, Landis has over 632,000 followers on his @curious2119 account on Instagram, an achievement that he never expected. “My Instagram following began like everyone else: I downloaded the app and started taking photos.” His direction into stunning landscape photography began out of practicality: at the time, Landis was traveling daily around Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota for work, providing the perfect setting to be able to practice and improve his shooting technique.

It wasn’t long before his Instafame was set into motion—a particular landscape image caught the eye of an editor at The Huffington Post’s Arts section, and Landis was contacted to feature his mobile work on the site. Shortly after, his account was also featured on Instagram’s blog, followed by an addition to the site’s Suggested User list. As his following grew, Landis says, “I realized I had an amazing opportunity to do something I love and feel connected and passionate about.”

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Above: The wintery image that first drew the attention of The Huffington Post.

Landis finds that his followers are drawn to the simplicity of his imagery. He aims to capture as much as he can in camera, and while editing his images, he enhances what is already there. “For example,” he explains, “taking the existing light in a photo and using post processing to enhance and sometimes even change the mood of that light to portray what I was seeing in my mind as I photographed the scene.” And sometimes, he says, he discovers a new direction while he’s in editing mode, and changes the image in an entirely new way.

Even though Landis’s visual style is to keep his images natural-looking and authentic, he relies on tools like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop CC to bring his stories to life. “No matter how good of a job you do taking photos and achieving a certain look in camera, it’s important to be able to have post processing aids such as Lightroom and Photoshop.”

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Above: Before-and-after shots highlighting the changes that Landis makes in post with Lightroom.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom has long been Landis’s program of choice, but he recently picked up Photoshop CC for when he needs “more extensive manipulation.” Lightroom, he says, is most useful for organizing photos, creating collections and editing a large number of RAW files straight from his camera. The program also has the ability to sync to mobile devices, which comes in handy for Landis’s social media shots. Photoshop CC, he explains, is better when he needs to spend a bit more time focusing on specific edits. “I like the ability to work with layers and the photo retouch tools in Photoshop,” Landis says. Layers allow users to have more control over their edits, working on top of the image without affecting the original. Photoshop CC’s retouch tools include the Clone Stamp, Healing Brush, Spot Healing Brush and Patch tool, all which assist in precise editing of pixels within an image, and can be performed on a separate layer.

Landis also utilizes a couple of Photoshop’s tricks for streamlining workflow. Custom actions for repetitive processes (such as resizing images or saving all images as a different file type) are easy to make, and he also finds Batch Editing extremely useful for creating a consistent look in his series in a quick and efficient way.

Developing a consistent style is one of the most important aspects of photography, and post processing is key to achieving a personal voice. Landis says: “Post processing is essential for anyone serious about digital photography because it gives you the opportunity to put finishing touches on your work and put your own signature on your style.”

To learn more about Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop CC, visit www.adobe.com. The Creative Cloud Photography plan, offering both programs and more, is 9.99/mo.

June 18th, 2014

Adobe Expands Monthly $9.99 Photoshop Cloud Plan to Include New Photoshop Mix iPad App

1_Adobe-2014-CC-ReleaseAdobe has offered photographers a $9.99 per month Photoshop Photography Program for a while now but the San Jose, CA-based company announced this morning it’s adding several new things to the mix.

Retitled the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan, it’s aimed at “anyone interested in photography” and includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5, and the brand new Photoshop Mix iPad app. The app offers some desktop Photoshop editing features for Apple’s tablet computer.

The Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan also includes the Adobe Lightroom Mobile app, which debuted for the iPad in April and is now available for the iPhone, as well.

Adobe Photoshop Mix is designed to provide a wireless workflow with Creative Cloud, letting you access some of Photoshop CC’s tools on your iPad. Photoshop Mix lets you open Photoshop documents, access individual layers from a Photoshop PSD file, and grab images from Lightroom Mobile.

Once you have an image open in Photoshop Mix, you can access a range of Photoshop tools including Upright, Content Aware Fill, and Camera Shake Reduction.

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You can then export your finished image with all its layers and masks intact from Mix to Photoshop CC for further tweaking on your desktop computer.

Read more about Adobe’s revamped photography subscription plan in the press release after the jump.
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April 8th, 2014

Adobe Launches Lightroom Mobile App for iPad; Here’s Our Hands-On Review

Photographers have been asking for a mobile version of Adobe Lightroom pretty much since the first iPad launched four years ago and, for some eager folks, even prior to that. Well, everyone finally got their wish tonight, as Adobe launched the Lightroom mobile app, which lets you edit and organize your images on your iPad. (The company says iPhone and Android versions of the app are also in the works.)

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While the Lightroom mobile app is free to download, you need to have one of Adobe’s controversial subscription plans in order to use it. The best current Adobe subscription deal for photographers is the Photoshop Photography Program, which costs $9.99 a month and gives you Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5, along with some other features including 20GB of cloud storage. You’ll also need the latest iteration of Lightroom, which is at Version 5.4, to run the app, but that’s a free update and available now.

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August 1st, 2013

New Adobe Lightroom and Camera Raw Release Candidates Available Now

Adobe has announced release candidates Lightroom 5.2 and Adobe Camera Raw 8.2. With the release candidates of these upgrades, Lightroom 5, Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop Creative Cloud users gain support for additional cameras including the Canon EOS 70D, Fujifilm X-M1, Sony DSC-RX1R and Sony DSC RX100 II, additional lens profiles and bug fixes. A new DNG Converter release candidate is also available.

Both release candidates also offer new and enhanced features for Lightroom 5 and Photoshop Creative Cloud. To read about highlights of what you can expect from release candidates, see our article, now on PDNOnline’s Gear page.
      –Theano Nikitas