January 20th, 2015

Adobe Spotlight: Kate Edwards’s Ethereal Fashion Photography

Sponsored by Adobe

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All photos © Kate Edwards

Kate Edwards is a Brooklyn-based fashion photographer who creates dreamy, ethereal imagery through calculated use of gesture and color. Her models are often lost in thought, or turned away from the camera, and she’s drawn to iridescent color palettes that are carefully refined, or pale neutrals that evoke a sense of quiet and contemplation. Post-production technique is crucial to perfecting the look of Edwards’s imagery, and we spoke with her about her creative process from start to finish, and how she has simplified her workflow in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CC for a more efficient output.

PDN: How do you conceptualize your fashion shoots?

Kate Edwards: My creative process usually involves a lot of brainstorming. I tend to have a wandering mind, so I find that I get most of my ideas from a variety of things that influence me on a daily basis; walking my dog, listening to music, or flipping through a million fashion magazines. I tend to take a lot of photos while I’m out and about that help me create ideas through lighting, colors or patterns. This ends up influencing how I conceptualize my fashion shoots as well. There are so many things you can do, so many possibilities, that for me, being inspired by a lot of different things makes it way more interesting.

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PDN: What are some of your favorite shoots that you worked on in 2014?

KE: I did a bunch of shoots that were definitely a ton of fun, but I have to say that my most memorable photo experience this year was actually being accepted and participating in PhootCamp. It has been around for about six years, and allows 30-40 up-and-coming photographers spend a week together taking photographs of everything and anything that inspires them. Each year the location is different, and for 2014 it took place in Joshua Tree, California. All we had to worry about was bringing our favorite cameras and making work. What an unbelievable experience for a young photographer.

PDN: You have a knack for creating rich color palettes and tones in your imagery. What influences your color choices?

KE: Like I mentioned before, everything influences my color choices—even down to some random song I am listening to, or an amazing wall I walk that is painted the coolest color. Right now I love peachy hues, lots of neutral styling and soft light. I try to always keep it simple though. I tend to become too overwhelmed when there are too many elements going on in one shoot or even in one photograph. I am a “less is more” kind of photographer.

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PDN: What are your goals in post-production? If you are enhancing or altering the existing coloring, what’s your approach?

KE: I try to remain consistent and not overdo my retouching when it comes to my photographs, which can honestly be hard to do when you start diving into editing something you’re really excited about. I used to spend hours doing things in post that I really didn’t need to be spending that much time doing. Now there are easier, more comprehensive ways to take a group of images in Lightroom and create consistent and reliable workflows, so you’re not sitting at your computer all day instead of spending more time shooting. Especially when you start to become busier, this is a valuable tool.

When I do start altering colors, I try to do this consistently from the beginning so that when I need to tweak certain things afterwards, there remains a balance between all of the photographs as a group or story.

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PDN: In what situations do you use Lightroom, and when do you opt for Photoshop CC?

KE: I use Lightroom almost always, and then depending on the shoot and the content, I will use Photoshop CC to go in and fix certain issues with images that might need cleaning up (a sign needs to be retouched out, a perspective that needs to be changed, blemishes on a models face that need to be fixed).

One of the hardest, but most valuable tools I have learned as a freelance photographer is that time is money. It is extremely important to find useful ways to edit larger groups of photos so that you can move onto your next project and not be prisoner to retouching! As someone starting out, Lightroom is extremely valuable to know first and foremost.

PDN: How much time, on average, do you spend editing your photos?

KE: I used to spend forever, but I didn’t know what I was doing. Now I spend a fraction of the time because I know which program to use for each job I am shooting. For example, I spent a day in Lightroom retouching an entire wedding I photographed (approximately 200 photos). I also spent an entire day retouching six photos for an eyewear print campaign in Photoshop CC. It just depends on what I’m looking to accomplish.

PDN: What do you think are the fundamentals a photographer should learn in Lightroom and Photoshop CC?

KE: In Lightroom, first and foremost, it is extremely important to understand how to process your RAW files. The next step is to create useful workflows for the kind of work you are shooting, and to create presets in Lightroom that can be applied and adjusted to all of your images efficiently.

In Photoshop CC, it’s fundamental to understand what you want to correct about your images and which tools to use, because there are an endless amount of possibilities with that program. It is the perfect tool for retouching, so understanding what you’re looking to accomplish is important. The first actions I learned in Photoshop CC were Layers and Masks in order to have the freedom to apply adjustments to specific areas of your image without affecting the rest.

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PDN: Do you have any retouching tips for photographers looking to experiment with color? What are some of your favorite tricks in either program?

KE: I love using a tool in Photoshop CC called Selective Color. It allows you to adjust colors way more in depth. For example, if you want to subtract a little yellow out of your blacks, it creates an interesting purple effect. Experimenting with this tool can be a ton of fun. I also like adding gradient layers onto images to play with the color palette.

To see more work from Kate Edwards, visit www.kateedwardsphotography.com.

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.

December 19th, 2014

Creative Cloud Photography Plan–3 Myths Debunked

Sponsored by Adobe

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Photos © David Guenther

When the subscription model was first announced for the Adobe Creative Cloud in 2011, many photographers were concerned about the implications of “renting” software. Adobe, recognizing that most photographers don’t need the entire suite of applications they offer, responded with a special version this summer that includes Photoshop CC and Lightroom–the two tools most important to a photographer’s digital workflow, and widely considered the standard for post-production.

David Guenther (www.davidguentherphotography.com), a respected wedding and portrait photographer based in Lethbridge, Alberta, uses Lightroom and Photoshop CC extensively– they are, as he puts it, his “jam”. Guenther does his photo processing in Lightroom before sending them over to Photoshop CC for final tuning and output. In his opinion, the subscription model of $9.99 per month is a great value. “I’d rather pay a low monthly cost than buy the software outright at a huge price, and then have to upgrade every time a new version comes out,” he explains.

While the cost efficiency is a plus, the subscription-only model has been a big change for photographers who were used to a one-time purchase and basic access from their personal computers. Three years after Adobe Creative Cloud’s first release, we still hear common misconceptions about its features and functionality. With the release of the Creative Cloud Photography plan, it’s time to clear the air.

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The Myth: The Creative Cloud Photography plan is more expensive in the long run.

The Truth: When compared to the traditional model of purchasing and upgrading, the Creative Cloud Photography subscription saves hundreds of dollars and spreads out the costs over time. When you add in the mobile applications that can handle powerful photography editing (photo editing in Lightroom mobile, for example) and other services like Lightroom web for sharing and receiving feedback, the value of Creative Cloud becomes very clear. And, as an added bonus, photographers of all levels will find value in Adobe’s extensive video tutorials that are available with the plan.

The Myth: All of your images will be stored in the Cloud.

The Truth: It’s not necessary to store your images in the Cloud (nor will you lose them if you have a lapse in your subscription), and all of your files can easily be stored locally. The Cloud is a just a very cool bonus–for many photographers, like Guenther, access to mobile apps like Lightroom mobile and Photoshop Mix let him edit and organize his photos while away from the computer. He says, “I use the Adobe Creative Cloud quite a bit. It’s important for me to have access to images and shoots I’m working on, because I’m often collaborating on a project and need to discuss work when I’m away from my computer. In that way, it’s been a huge help. I always have access to my work. All that, combined with Smart Previews in Lightroom, means I can work pretty much anywhere at any time. That’s essential for me.”

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The Myth: All Creative Cloud applications are Cloud-based.

The Truth: One of the biggest misconceptions about Creative Cloud subscriptions is that you need to be connected to the Internet in order to use the applications. All of the desktop applications live on your computer. There is no requirement to have a full-time Internet connection­–Creative Cloud checks once a month to validate the subscription, taking only a few seconds. And with the mobile applications, this means you can work anywhere: remote locations, at the client’s office, or wherever you travel to.

Guenther says, “For me, Creative Cloud Photography has allowed me to be more mobile and work while I travel or while I’m away from the office. The Adobe tools I use operate just the same, but I have more flexibility.”

You can read more about the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan at www.creative.adobe.com/plans/photography. And, as always, you can download a free 30-day trial of Lightroom or Photoshop CC–desktop or mobile–to try it out for yourself.

November 21st, 2014

Adobe Spotlight: Tim Landis’s Extraordinary Instagram Scenes

Sponsored by Adobe

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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