Have you ever had a situation when you opened Lightroom and all thumbnails and images appeared blank? After discovering that the memory on our main PC was bad, I switched over my Lightroom catalog to my laptop for temporary access to be able to retrieve images to our clients. I opened a backup copy of the Lightroom catalog in Lightroom 3.0 and I was surprised to see that none of the images showed up, although my file path remained the same. Here is how it looked:
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom comes with powerful tools to sharpen images during post-processing. Located in the Develop module of Lightroom, the “Detail” box contains both Sharpening and Noise Reduction tools that allow Photographers to enhance their digital workflows by fine-tuning images and getting them ready to be published and printed in a quick and efficient way. Since I have already covered the noise reduction part in my Noise Reduction Tutorial, in this article, I will show you how to properly use the Sharpening tool instead.
1) Problems with Sharpening Images
Sharp images look aesthetically more pleasing than soft or blurry images. Because of this, most photographers try to sharpen their images in post-processing applications, which can result in all kinds of problems such as:
- Over-sharpening – when too much sharpening is used, it results in harsh, visible lines on edges and around objects. Over-sharpened images often look too “textured”.
- Too much noise – using excessive amounts of sharpening can add a lot more noise to an image. The worst result is when an image is already shot at high ISO levels and sharpening is applied on top of the digital grain, resulting in even more noise.
- Zigzag lines – straight thin lines can get converted over to zigzags and circular shapes can get cubic transitions when excessive sharpening with a large radius is applied.
Here is an example of an over-sharpened image:
A discussion on image cropping sparked up the idea to write this post after I exchanged a couple of comments in my “How to Photograph Birds” article with Tim Layton, who was concerned with cropping bird images and losing resolution for printing. He suggested to try to increase the size of cropped images with a product called Genuine Fractals 6, so that he could get to 8×10 or larger sizes. Since I have had experience with Genuine Fractals in the past and used it for some of my work, I decided to write a quick article about professionally enlarging photographs for printing, in addition to doing a comparison between the resize tool within Photoshop and Genuine Fractals 6 Pro.
1) How large can you print?
One of the most frequently asked questions by photographers who do not have much experience with the printing process is how big they can print their photographs from their DSLR cameras. Traditionally, the rule has been to divide the width of the image in pixels by 300 to get the highest quality print size in inches. For example, if you are shooting with the Nikon D90 camera, the image resolution is 4,288 (width) x 2,848 (height). This literally means that there are 4,288 horizontal pixels and 2,848 vertical pixels on the image sensor. If you multiply these numbers together, you will get to 12,212,224 pixels or 12.2 megapixels – the total number of pixels available on the sensor. So in the above case with the D90, dividing 4,288 and 2,848 by 300 gives 14.3 x 9.5 inch size prints. Why divide by 300 and what does that number mean? This number represents “DPI” (dots per inch) or “PPI” (pixels per inch), which means how many dots/pixels per inch the printer will print on paper. The more the number of “dots” per square inch, the more dense and close to each other the printed dots will be, resulting in smooth transitions and less space between those dots and therefore less “grain”. 300 dots per inch gives magazine-quality prints, while lower numbers below 150 introduce more grain and fuzziness to the printed image.
I get many emails from our readers asking me how they can get good bokeh out of their point and shoot cameras. I first thought about posting a short paragraph in a Photography FAQ post, but then decided to elaborate more on the subject and explain it in detail, rather than providing a short answer. Hopefully those who have point and shoot cameras will understand everything I say, since I will do my best to explain the subject in simple terms.
1) What is Bokeh?
As I explained in my “What is Bokeh” article, Bokeh is the quality of out-of-focus or “blurry” parts of the image rendered by a camera lens. The key word here is “quality”, since bokeh is not the second name for the blurry parts of the image. When you hear somebody say “the bokeh on that image is creamy and beautiful”, they are simply referring to the overall quality and feel of the out-of-focus area, not the out-of-focus area itself.
This photo noise reduction tutorial is for beginner photographers, who want to reduce or get rid of noise in their digital images and don’t know how to do it. I will first explain what noise is and how you can reduce it in camera and then I will show how you can reduce it in post-processing, using Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and commercial plugins for Photoshop.
1) What is noise in digital images?
If you have a digital camera, whether you have an advanced top of the line DSLR or a simple point and shoot, you will at some point get images with small dots all over the image. Those small dots might not be very noticeable when you look at the image on the back of the camera, but when you zoom in and view the image at 100% on your PC, they all of a sudden become quite visible. Take a look at the following image:
Do you know that Lightroom 3 can now easily fix geometric distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting issues in your images without having to open Photoshop? In this article, I will show you how to fix lens issues in your photographs, in addition to adding a lens profile to Lightroom 3 if your lens is not supported by Lightroom’s Camera RAW.
1) What is Lens Correction in Lightroom 3?
Lens Correction, also known as “Distortion Correction”, is a brand new feature that was introduced in Lightroom 3 to allow photographers to fix such lens problems as distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting “non-destructively”, without leaving Lightroom. This is a great addition to Lightroom, since all of the above had to be manually performed in Photoshop using a Lens Correction filter, which was a rather tedious task (especially for a large number of images). The beauty of the lens correction feature in Lightroom 3, is that just like any other setting, lens correction settings can be copied from one image to another, or applied to hundreds of images at once without having to open each image individually. Take a look at the following image that was taken with the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G lens:
Move your mouse over and out of the image to see what it looks like before and after Lens Correction is applied to the image. The curves around the edges are straightened and the building looks more natural. This is not an extreme case with distortion, but you get the idea. The corner darkness (vignetting) is also taken care of.
Wondering about how to photograph fireworks on 4th of July, New Year or some other event / occasion? In this quick article, I will provide some basic tips on how to best capture fireworks, what type of equipment to use and what camera settings to use during the process. Although the process is relatively simple, there are some things that might be worth considering, as outlined below.
If you convert RAW files to DNG as a part of your workflow in Lightroom like I do, you probably get frustrated with the fact that Windows does not display DNG image thumbnails or let you view files in Windows Photo Viewer. Windows by default does now know how to read DNG files and the only operating system today that has some support from Adobe, is Windows Vista. Adobe officially released a 32-bit DNG codec for Windows Vista, but it does not work with the 64-bit version of Windows Vista, Windows XP or Windows 7, making it pretty worthless. Gladly, there are a couple of workarounds to get all Windows operating systems to display DNG thumbnails and open them in Windows Photo Viewer and I will show you how to do that in this quick article.
DNG support in Windows XP
Interestingly, Windows XP (32-bit) comes with full DNG support, but it needs to be activated from the Windows registry. If you are running Windows XP, here is what you need to do:
- Download this registry file and save it on your desktop
- Double-click the file, which will ask you to confirm if you want to add entries to your registry. Click “Yes”, which then will modify the registry as needed.
- Reboot the computer.
- Go to a folder with DNG files and switch to thumbnail view. Verify that you can see the thumbnails, as you can see with JPEG files.
- Delete the downloaded registry file from your desktop.
1) What is Lightroom Process Version?
After you convert all of your Lightroom 2 catalogs to Lightroom 3, you will notice that images from the converted catalogs will have a warning sign when you view them in Develop module (under the image). In addition, you will also see a new drop-down under “Camera Calibration” that was not there in Lightroom 2 called “Process”, which contains “2003″ and “2010 (Current). Here is how it looks:
This is a quick guide on how to upgrade Lightroom 2 to Lightroom 3. One of the good news for Lightroom 2 (LR2) users, is that unlike the beta version, the full version of Lightroom 3 (LR3) allows upgrading the LR2 catalog to LR3 catalog without having to re-import all images into a clean catalog. Also, Adobe allows keeping both versions of Lightroom on the same machine, which means that you can install LR3 and continue to use your old LR2 with the old catalog. Until performance issues are all addressed in LR3, I would keep both versions on the machine in case of failures or problems.
1) Download and install Lightroom 3
If you are hesitating about downloading the online version of Lightroom 3 versus buying a boxed version from a store, don’t – they are both exactly the same. Adobe lets you download the full version of Lightroom and use it for 30 full days until you input the serial number from a retail boxed version. This is a great way to try it out and see if you want to keep it or not. If you do, then simply purchase the retail version of Lightroom 3 later and when the package arrives, use the serial number to unlock the 30 day limitation – you don’t even need to insert the CD.