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Zen of Postproduction: Stress-Free Photography Workflow and Editing

ISBN: 978-1-118-74942-5
416 pages
November 2013
Zen of Postproduction: Stress-Free Photography Workflow and Editing (1118749421) cover image

Breathe deep and relax - this book takes the stress out of photography post-production

While capturing the perfect photograph is a welcome creative challenge for photographers, post-production can often be a headache. Downloading, sorting, tagging, editing, and distributing your digital images - especially the enormous quantities produced in today's image-happy world - can be overwhelming. Time to take a deep breath and sit down with a copy of this calming book. Digital worksflow teacher and author Mark Fitzgerald offers low-stress, post-production photography workflows and editing solutions that will make your life easier.

Walking you through the latest photography software, especially Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, Mark offers sensible advice and answers all your post-production questions, whether you're a professional photographer, serious amateur, or motivated novice.

  • Takes the stress out of photography post-production by offering effective, timesaving, no-hassle solutions for overworked digital photographers
  • Helps you streamline and simplify such post-production tasks as downloading, sorting, tagging, editing, and distributing digital images
  • Explores the latest photography software, with special emphasis on Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop
  • Offers straightforward advice for professional photographers and serious amateurs
  • Includes practical, real-world examples, so you can immediately apply what you're learning

Get into a better, more relaxing place with your photography post-production workflows and tasks with Zen of Post Production: Stress-Free Photography Workflow and Editing.

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Introduction xix

About me xix

What’s in this book? xx

Who should read this book? xxi

Getting the most from this book xxi

Conventions used in this book xxi

Products mentioned in this book xxii

Getting into the flow xxii

Please review this book xxii

Chapter 1: Getting Grounded 3

What Is Workflow? 3

Comparing Lightroom and Photoshop 4

Deconstructing Photoshop 5

Pixels versus metadata 6

Adobe Lightroom is born 7

Finding the Balance of Power 8

Solving Problems 10

Chapter 2: Finding Comfort with Lightroom 15

Lightroom as Your Personal Photo Lab 15

Working with Catalogs 16

Finding your catalog 17

It’s like the catalog at your public library 17

The most important thing to know about Lightroom 18

How many catalogs should you have? 19

Working with RAW Files 20

Comparing JPEG to RAW 20

RAW is like a time machine 21

Proprietary RAW file formats and DNG 21

Preparing Lightroom 22

Setting up preferences 23

Choosing your catalog settings 25

Exploring the Lightroom Screen 26

Viewing Photos 28

Gaining more real estate 28

Four primary viewing methods 28

Zooming and panning 29

Chapter 3: Importing Photos in Lightroom 33

Simplifying Folder Organization 33

Avoiding the ‘Bucket System’ 33

Organizing and naming folders 35

Understanding Previews 36

Determining the best preview size 37

Smart previews 38

Adding Ownership Information during Import 38

Working with the Import Screen 40

Importing all photos with the Add option 40

Import method 41

Importing new photos 44

Chapter 4: Organizing Your Visual Life 49

Seeing More Information 49

Working with thumbnails 49

Setting up Loupe view 52

Moving, Renaming, and Deleting Photos 52

Moving folders and files 52

Renaming folders and files 54

Deleting photos 54

Deleting folders 55

Sorting for Winners and Losers 55

Playing Red Light, Green Light 56

Other Ways to Filter Photos 60

Doing a text search 60

Filtering for image attributes 61

Performing searches based on metadata 61

The ‘secret’ Attribute filter bar 62

Grouping Photos in Collections 63

A collection is like a playlist 63

Understanding the Collections panel 63

Using collections 64

Using smart collections 66

Finding Missing Photos 66

Locating individual photos 66

Synchronizing folders 67

Seeing the World with the Map Module 69

Adding photos to the map 70

Concerns about location metadata 70

Controlling reverse geocoding 70

Chapter 5: Using Keywords to Find Anything Any Time 73

A Word Is Worth a Thousand Pictures 73

Applying Keywords using the Keywording Panel 74

Using Keyword Tags 75

Using Keyword Suggestions 76

Using Keyword Set 77

Searching for Keywords 78

Performing single-keyword searches 78

Performing multikeyword searches 79

Saving a custom filter preset 80

Managing Your Keyword List 81

Organizing keywords 81

Dealing with ‘ghost’ keywords 83

Keywording the Past 84

Final Words on Keywording 85

Chapter 6: Adjusting Basic Color and Tone 89

Exploring the Develop Module 89

Adjusting Color with White Balance 90

Understanding white balance 91

Adjusting white balance 92

Synchronizing Develop Settings 97

Understanding Histograms 97

Fine-Tuning Tone with the Basic Panel 99

Understanding the controls 100

Tonal adjustment in action 101

Pump Up the Color with Vibrance and Saturation 106

Comparing Different Editing Versions 106

Using Before & After Views 107

Going back in time with the History panel 108

Zen of Postproduction Stress-Free Photography Workflow and Editing Exploring Your Options with Virtual Copies and Snapshots 108

Working with virtual copies 110

Taking a snapshot 111

Chapter 7: Advanced Color and Tone Adjustments 113

Using the Tone Curve Panel to Modify Midtone Contrast 113

Understanding the Tone Curve panel 113

Using the Tone Curve sliders 115

The Targeted Adjustment tool 116

Previewing a panel’s adjustments 116

Customizing Color with the HSL Panel 117

Understanding the HSL panel 117

Using the HSL sliders 117

Using the Targeted Adjustment tool 118

Getting creative with the HSL panel 119

Working with Black-and-White 120

Adding Color Effects with the Split Toning Panel 124

Split-toning color photos 124

Toning black-and-white photos 125

Using Develop Presets to Apply Editing Formulas 126

Understanding Develop presets 126

Creating custom presets 128

Exporting and importing Develop presets 129

Chapter 8: Mastering Lightroom’s Develop Tools 133

The Importance of Cropping 133

Understanding the Crop Overlay tool 135

Working with aspect ratio 136

Straightening photos 137

Retouching with the Spot Removal Tool 138

Understanding the Spot Removal tool 138

Removing dust spots 141

Clone versus Heal 141

Retouching larger objects 142

Removing Red Eye 143

Adding Dimension with the Filter Tools 143

Using the Graduated Filter tool 143

Using the Radial Filter tool 147

Using the Adjustment Brush Tool 149

Controlling the brush 150

Burning and dodging with the Adjustment Brush tool 151

Smoothing skin with Auto Mask 154

Chapter 9: Going Deeper with the Develop Module 157

Working with Camera Profiles 157

Creating custom camera profiles 160

Changing Lightroom’s default camera profile 162

Using the Lens Corrections Panel 163

Working with lens profiles 163

Removing color fringing 164

Manually adjusting geometry 165

Using the Upright adjustments 168

Managing Sharpness and Noise with the Detail panel 170

Adjusting sharpness 171

Reducing noise 173

Adding Finishing Touches with the Effects Panel 175

Applying a vignette 175

Adding grain 178

Chapter 10: Traveling between Lightroom and Photoshop 181Opening RAW Files in Photoshop 181

Setting up Lightroom’s External Editing preferences 182

Opening RAW files from Lightroom in Photoshop 184

Opening non-RAW files in Photoshop with Lightroom 187

Saving Files in Photoshop 188

Resolving Metadata Conflicts 188

Choosing the Right Path 190

Choosing the right time 191

Choosing the right settings 191

Workflow for editing original non-RAW files 192

Chapter 11: Understanding the Photoshop Way 195

Understanding Photoshop CC 195

Exploring the Photoshop Landscape 197

Working with Panels 199

Setting up Preferences 201

General preferences 201

Interface preferences 201

Sync Settings preferences 202

File Handling preferences 203

Performance preferences 205

Cursors preferences 207

Camera Raw preferences 208

Managing Color Spaces 210

Zooming and Panning Photos 213

Zooming 213

Panning 214

Chapter 12: Using Layers for a Nondestructive Workflow 217

Understanding Layers 217

Types of Photoshop layers 218

Working with the Layers Panel 221

Adjustment Layers for Lightroom Users 222

Fine-tuning color with Hue/Saturation 223

Adjusting tone with Curves 226

Using Layer Masks to Get the Most Power from Adjustment Layers 228

Black conceals, white reveals 228

Using the Brush tool with a mask 230

A Simple Masking Workflow 233

Fine-tuning a mask with the Properties panel 234

Saving Edited Files 236

Using Save 236

Using Save As 237

Chapter 13: Using Selections to Create Complex Masks 241

Following the ‘Marching Ants’ 241

Using Intelligent Selection Tools to Simplify Selecting 243

The Magnetic Lasso tool 243

The Magic Wand tool 247

Adding to and subtracting from a selection 249

The Quick Selection tool 251

Which selection tool is the best? 254

Converting a Selection to a Mask 254

Using Refine Mask 255

View Mode 255

Edge Detection 257

Adjust Edge 260

Output 260

A Masking Case Study 261

Chapter 14: Perfecting Your Photos with Retouching 267

What Is Retouching? 267

Understanding Photoshop’s Retouching Tools 269

Literal retouching with the Clone Stamp tool 269

The Healing Brush tool 272

Using the Clone Source panel 274

Using the Patch Tool to Retouch with a Selection 276

A Retouching Case Study 280

Automated Retouching with Content-Aware Features 286

Using Content-Aware Fill 286

Using Content-Aware Move 288

Chapter 15: Expanding Your Horizons with Plugins 291

Working with Plugins in Lightroom 292

Installing plugins 293

Editing HDR with Photomatix Pro 296

What is HDR? 296

Using Photomatix Pro 296

Exploring the Nik Collection by Google 299

Color Efex Pro 299

Dfine 301

HDR Efex Pro 2 301

Sharpener Pro 3 301

Silver Efex Pro 2 303

Viveza 2 304

OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 7 304

Perfect B&W 304

Perfect Effects 4 304

Perfect Layers 3 305

Perfect Mask 5 306

Perfect Portrait 2 306

Perfect Resize 7 306

FocalPoint 2 307

Topaz Labs 308

PhotoFXlab 309

Topaz Adjust 5 309

Other Topaz Labs Plugins 309

Summing up Plugins 311

Chapter 16: Exporting and Printing Your Photos 315

Creating Custom Watermarks 315

Text Options panel 316

Watermark Effects panel 317

Saving and updating watermarks 317

Exporting Photos from Lightroom 318

Using the Export dialog box 318

Exporting for e-mail and web 323

Exporting for the photo lab 327

Previewing Output Color with Soft Proofing 328

Soft-proofing for web 330

Soft-proofing for inkjet printing 331

Inkjet Printing with Lightroom 333

Exploring the Print module 335

Making a fine-art print 336

Saving a JPEG file instead of printing 342

Overview of the inkjet printing workflow 343

Chapter 17: Sharing Your Photos with the World 347

Using Lightroom’s Publish Services 347

Setting up a new publish service 348

Using a publish service 350

Designing Photo Books 351

Book Settings 354

Auto Layout 355

Page 355

Other panels 355

Creating Slideshows 356

Options 358

Layout 358

Overlays 358

Backdrop 360

Titles 360

Playback 361

Adding custom text 362

Playing and saving your slideshow 364

Building Web Galleries 365

Flash galleries versus HTML galleries 365

Site Info 367

Color Palette 368

Appearance 368

Image Info 369

Output Settings 369

Upload Settings 370

Index 373

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Mark Fitzgerald is a highly sought-after teacher known for his clear and easy-to-understand presentation style. Over the last ten years Mark has helped countless photographers tame their workflows, enabling them to focus their energies on the creative aspects of their photography. Mark is an Adobe Certified Photoshop Expert and the owner of The Digital Darkroom in Portland, Oregon.

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