Photography questions and comments

We got some great comments and questions via twitter the last few weeks and I want to answer them all here. Remember to shoot us over any questions or what you would like to learn more about with your photography by commenting on any post or send us a message via twitter (

Here are some of the great questions everyone had:

Is the “tabbed” layout I see in CS4 an option in CS3?
Unfortunately no, the “tabbed” layout of CS4 was a brand new feature to CS4. For those who don’t know about the tabbed feature it’s a way to organize all of your open windows in Photoshop and merge them into one window that is tabbed (kind of like most browsers now). CS3 doesn’t have anyway of merging your windows into one view.

Why use Lightroom instead of Photoshop? What’s the difference? Can’t I make the adjustments in Ps than Lr?
Speed is really the key to using Lightroom vs. Photoshop. For my workflow (and going through thousands of images per week) I need to be able to go through and do some adjustments to all images that I shoot in a quick way but still having a lot of control over the image. Lightroom lets me edit about 95% of what I shoot and then when I really need to do a lot of work to an image I will open it up in Photoshop. Since lightroom doesn’t have the concept of layers to a file it is somewhat limited but most of my shots don’t need a lot of layers to get the results I am looking for.

Lightroom is a full featured image editor, and with lightroom 2.0 and above you can even do localized adjustments to your photo.
For each shoot we import into lightroom and then can do many adjustments (the same type of adjustments as you can in photoshop just in a much faster method). Normally I will adjust exposure, shadows/highlights, brightness, contrast, and a few other things for each image and then save as a JPEG file. I can go through a few hundred images in just about 20 minutes so much faster than a photoshop workflow.

Here are some of the main features of lightroom 2:

  • Enhance specific areas of a photo, or precisely adjust overall color, exposure, and tonal range nondestructively
  • Automatically import, rename, and sort your entire shoot; find your photos quickly with powerful yet flexible sorting, selecting, and organizational tools
  • Present your work in dynamic slide shows, interactive web galleries, and a variety of flexible print templates; easily upload your photos to popular online photo-sharing sites
  • Every change you make to an image is automatically tracked, so you can return to any state with a single click
  • Also check out a great video on Lightroom’s develop module:

    Is it possible to add blur to a certain zone in a picture using lightroom 2.5? Like using a mask or a layer in Photoshop?
    You can do localized adjustments in lightroom 2.5 like using a mask in Photoshop. Most of the local adjustments you will do are with exposure, if you want to lighten or darken a certain part of an image Lightroom’s adjustment brush really works great. Lightroom’s adjustment brush basically lets you paint in a mask on the photo so you can make changes to just one specific part of the image and not effect the rest of the photo. Here are the different things you can adjust with the adjustment brush:

  • Exposure
  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • Saturation
  • Clarity
  • Sharpness
  • There isn’t a blur tool in Lightroom so if you want to blur out a certain area of a image I would still use Photoshop to have the most control. One way to get a similar effect in lightroom is to use the adjustment brush and move the clarity down real low which will in turn blur out the image. Here is a photo where I used the adjustment brush to paint around the edges of the image. Then I moved the Clarity slider in the adjustment brush menu down to 0. Here is the before and after photo:
    lightroom adjustment brush for blurlightroom adjustment brush for blur

    There are a few more great questions that came in that we will answer soon!

    — Mark

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    Author: Mark

    Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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