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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January 23rd, 2014

AP Severs Ties with Photographer Narciso Contreras Over Photoshopped Image

Courtesy of AP Photos

Courtesy of AP Photos

Associated Press (AP) has severed ties with freelance photographer Narciso Contreras for altering a news photograph he shot in Syria, the wire service has announced. Contreras was part of a team of AP photographers that shared the Pulitzer Prize last year for coverage of the Syrian civil war.

AP reports that Contreras “recently told its editors that he manipulated a digital picture of a Syrian rebel fighter taken last September.” The image shows the rebel fighter taking cover in a rugged landscape. Contreras altered the image by removing from the scene a video camera sitting on the ground near the soldier.

Santiago Lyon, AP’s director of photography, said the alteration “involved a corner of the image with little news importance,” but it was nevertheless a breach of AP’s standards. “Deliberately removing elements from our photographs is completely unacceptable,” Lyon said.

AP says the altered image was not part of AP’s Pulitzer Prize-winning portfolio.

Contreras said he removed the video camera from the image in question because he thought it would distract viewers, according to the AP report.

“I took the wrong decision when I removed the camera … I feel ashamed about that,” he said. “You can go through my archives and you can find that this is a single case that happened probably at one very stressed moment, at one very difficult situation, but yeah, it happened to me, so I have to assume the consequences.”

Contreras, who is 38, began his career freelancing for newspapers in Mexico, but made his reputation with his coverage of the war in Syria. Time Lightbox showcased his work in December, 2012.

“[Contreras] has managed to illuminate and distill the horrors of the…war — more consistently than any of his often more-experienced peers,” Time senior photo editor Phil Bicker wrote in a story that accompanies the 44-image gallery. “What makes Contreras’s work in Syria even more astonishing is the fact that he has, in a sense, come out of nowhere to emerge as the one photographer whose work will likely be seen as the photographic record of the conflict.”

AP says it has removed all of Contreras’s images from its archives. There were about 500 in all. AP says it has compared as many as it could to Contreras’s original image files, and found no other instances of alteration.

January 7th, 2014

Kelby Training and National Association of Photoshop Professionals Join Forces to Launch KelbyOne

Scott-KelbyHere’s an interesting pro photography announcement to come out during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas (though it does not seem to be directly related to the show): Kelby Training and the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) have merged to create a new company called KelbyOne.

Scott Kelby, who started both Kelby Training (an online photography educational site) and the NAPP, said the decision to combine the two came from members of both groups.

“For years Kelby Training members and NAPP members have wanted access to the benefits and courses offered by both organizations,” Kelby, who is president of NAPP and CEO of the Kelby Media Group, said in a news release. “The message was clear — members of both communities wanted to have it all.  Now all members of both organizations will have access to the best of both worlds with some exciting new added benefits under the new KelbyOne.”

Members of both groups now have access to over 10,000 online training videos in photography, Photoshop and Lightroom on the new KelbyOne website. Current Kelby Training and NAAP are automatically enrolled in KelbyOne, effective today, and have been grandfathered in to the new memberships at the previous rates. New memberships for KelbyOne will cost $249 for the year, or $25 per month.

There’s more info at a KelbyOne FAQ page and in the below video and press release.

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September 16th, 2013

Adobe Intros $9.99/Month Creative Cloud Photography Program

Adobe_deal_equation_650px_cropGiven the backlash from the photography community over Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription-only pricing model for Photoshop and its Creative Suite products, we weren’t too surprised when Adobe announced its new Photography Program. Adobe is now pricing subscriptions to Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5 at $9.99 a month for owners of commercial versions of Photoshop or Photoshop Extended CS3 or later who sign up no later than December 31, 2013. Suites and volume licenses do not qualify. According to Adobe, this is not an introductory price; it is the “standard price” for this level of membership–until or unless you cancel your membership. If you decide to cancel, you will not be able to re-join at the same price.

If you already have a Creative Cloud Single App membership for Photoshop at the $9.99/month price, your membership will automatically be transitioned to the new pricing model so you will continue to pay the same amount going forward and receive the same benefits as those just signing up, including Lightroom 5. Other CC members who meet the qualifications and want to take advantage of the $9.99/month rate should contact Adobe Customer Service about transitioning their membership to the new pricing structure.

The Photography Program requires an annual commitment with monthly payments and includes Adobe Photoshop CC, Lightroom 5 (soon to be updated to v. 5.2), Bridge, a Behance membership with a ProSite, 20GB of free storage, and access to all updates and Creative Cloud Learn’s training resources.

Sign-up is slated to begin this week, on or after September 17.

Related articles:

Adobe Turns Creative Suite into Cloud-based Subscription Software

Product Review: Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud

 

July 8th, 2013

LightZone Image-Editing Software Re-Released as Free and Open Source

lightzoneRemember LightZone software? For those who do not, LightZone was a photo-editing program that offered a number of groundbreaking features including full 16-bit, selective and  nondestructive RAW editing in a fairly user-friendly GUI. Released in 2005, it won awards from MacWorld, MacUser and American Photo magazine. LightZone was marketed and sold by Lightcrafts until September 2011, when that company closed for business. Beginning in October 2011, the LightZone software was kept alive and being supported, first by an informal e-mail tree and then, since November 2011, by the LightZombie Project users’ group, lightzombie.org. It has become an open-source project under a BSD license from creator Fabio Riccardi, who is currently with Apple’s iOS Imaging Group. Under the terms of the BSD agreement LightZone will be offered to the public through the LightZoneProject (www.lightzoneproject.org) free of charge.

The software is newly available to the public for free downloading in the Windows and Linux operating systems, and MAC beta testing has begun today. It is also available to the open-source community for new development now.

 Price: FREE!

www.lightzoneproject.org

June 11th, 2013

New Versions Of Camera Raw and DNG Converter Released By Adobe

adobe-logoAdobe has released Camera Raw 8.1 and DNG Converter 8.1.  ACR 8.1 works with both Photoshop CC and Photoshop CS6 to add support for 7 additional cameras along with profiles for 16 new lenses.  Customers of previous versions of Photoshop can utilize DNG Converter 8.1 to receive raw file support for the newly added cameras. The Olympus PEN E-P5 and E-PL5, Ricoh GR and Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6 are the most noteworthy of the newly supported cameras. Finally, ACR 8.1 fixes bugs in the previous redeye, sharpening, and and fill light tools.

Download ACR 8.1/DNG 8.1 for Windows

Download ACR 8.1/DNG 8.1 for Mac

May 20th, 2013

NY Times Public Editor Questions T Magazine Photoshopping Policy

In an editorial published yesterday in The New York Times, the newspaper’s public editor, Margaret Sullivan, questioned the rules regarding Photoshopping at T, the monthly style magazine published by the Times, and suggested that readers should be notified when fashion images have been digitally manipulated. She also pointed out that editors shouldn’t assume that readers understand the difference between the standards for a news photograph and a fashion photograph.

Responding to comments last week from readers that a T cover model was too skinny, T editor Deborah Needleman told Sullivan that T editors had considered “adding fat” to the model using Photoshop.

Another Times reporter called the comment “jaw-dropping” because journalistic standards would never allow for photography manipulation.

Drawing on comments from other Times picture editors including Michelle McNally of The Times and Kathy Ryan of The New York Times Magazine, Sullivan affirmed the Times’ photography standards: “The Times does not stage news photographs, or alter them digitally.” Except, Sullivan noted, in T‘s case, where it’s deemed acceptable to alter fashion and glamour photography. The assumption being that readers are aware that fashion and glamour is a “different genre of photography,” and therefore the Times’ obligation to those readers is different.

“It would be best if all the photography produced by the Times newsroom could be held to the same standard,” Sullivan wrote. But, she said, if fashion photography must exist as its own world of assumed fantasy, there should be a disclaimer for readers.

Is it realistic to expect that the Times could hold fashion photography to the same standards as news photography? Do readers need to be told that fashion images aren’t “real?”

May 6th, 2013

Adobe Turns Creative Suite Into Cloud-Based Subscription Software

Adobe Creative CloudBack in March, a rumor made the rounds that Adobe would move away from selling packaged software, making Creative Suite programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator only available as cloud-based subscription software. The rumors claimed May 1 as the date this this change would happen. While not giving much specific information, Adobe at that time did confirm that it would stop selling physical packaged software and that all software would be available via download or online subscription. As often happens with rumors, May 1 came and went with no announcement from Adobe.

However, today during its keynote at the Adobe Max Creativity Conference, Adobe announced sweeping changes to the Creative Suite programs. All Creative Suite programs will now be re-branded as Creative Cloud.  Adobe will stop selling perpetual licenses and move completely to a subscription-based pricing system for all former CS apps. Creative Cloud (CC) is currently priced at $50 per month for individuals who purchase an annual subscription. Existing Adobe customers who own CS3 through CS5.5 get the first year of Creative Cloud at a promotional price $30 per month; educational pricing is also $30 per month. CS6 users can sign up for CC for $20 a month for the first year. More importantly for many photographers, single app pricing is $10 a month for the first year. Lightroom is the only CS app that will exist both as part of the CC and as a perpetual license. According to Adobe, this is due to Lightroom’s status as both a consumer and professional product. Adobe also announced significant upgrades to the new CC apps that will launch in June.

What does this mean for professional photographers? For most of us, it will be a big change. CS6 will continue to be available as a perpetual license and will be supported through the next significant upgrade to the Mac and Windows operating systems. However, there will be no further development for that version. Going forward, if you want to use Photoshop, you will have to have a Creative Cloud subscription of some sort.

While some level of internet connectivity is likely required, these are not (despite the name) cloud-based apps that require a constant connection. These are software programs that you download and install to your computer. You can work offline as you would with any version of Photoshop you have used in the past. The big difference now is that if you don’t pay your subscription fee, the software will stop functioning.

More information about the changes coming to Photoshop specifically can be found on Adobe’s website:

http://blogs.adobe.com/photoshopdotcom/2013/05/breaking-from-tradition-photoshop-cc.html

http://blogs.adobe.com/photoshopdotcom/2013/05/photoshop-cc-for-creative-cloud-members-coming-soon.html

 

April 16th, 2013

Adobe Launches Lightroom 5 Beta

Adobe has announced the release of the public “beta” version of Lightroom 5. From the Adobe Lightroom Journal blog post:adobe-lightroom-5-beta

The Lightroom team is proud to introduce the fifth major version of the product designed for and by photographers. It was 7 years ago when we introduced the very first public beta of Lightroom at MacWorld on January 9, 2006. Since 2006 we’ve been hard at work improving an application that’s intended to be as easy to use as it is powerful.  This release builds on the image quality improvements in Lightroom 4 to provide a truly complete workflow and imaging solution.  We keep hearing from customers that they love Lightroom but needed to leave Lightroom to complete X, Y, or Z.  Lightroom 5 beta solves those issues.

New/Improved Lightroom 5 features of note include:

  • Advanced Healing Brush
  • Upright Perspective Correction
  • Radial Filter
  • Smart Previews
  • Improved Photo Book Creation
  • Slideshows with Videos and Still Images
  • PNG file support
  • True Full Screen Mode
  • Configurable grid overlays
  • Additional search criteria for filters and smart collections
  • Lock zoom position preference settings
  • Direction field in EXIF metadata panel
  • “Set as Target Collection” checkbox in Create Collections dialogue
  • Integrity verification of DNG files
  • LAB color readout
  • Aspect slider added to the Manual tab in the Lens Correction panel
  • Persistent clipping indicators between Lightroom sessions
  • Crop overlay aspect ratios

More information, including system requirements, can be found on Adobe’s blog announcement post. The Lightroom 5 public beta can be downloaded from Adobe’s website: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/lightroom5/

March 25th, 2013

Google Deeply Cuts Price for Nik Plug-in Suite

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Nik’s Silver EFEX plug-in is part of the newly priced bundle.

Perhaps making up for the controversy it created when it discontinued the Snapseed Desktop app, Google today announced a significant price cut for the Nik plug-in suite. The Nik plug-ins have long been popular with photographers looking to expand the power of Photoshop, Aperture or Lightroom. Previously these plug-ins were in the $100-200 range with full six plug-in suites running $300 for Aperture/Lightroom and $500 for Photoshop/Elements.

However, today’s announcement reduces that price to $130 for the “Nik Collection by Google” and includes the Color Efex Pro 4, Dfine 2, HDR Efex Pro 2, Sharpener Pro 3, Silver Efex Pro 2 and Viveza 2 plugins. Perhaps even more exciting is the fact that, according to the announcement, if you have bought any of the Nik plug-ins in the past, Google will be contacting you and offering you the ability to upgrade to the entire suite for free. If you have never tried the Nik plug-ins, you can visit niksoftware.com for a 15-day free trial of the Collection.

See the Nik Plug-in announcement on Google+ here.