DPReview: Secrets of a professional photographer’s workflow: Brian Ach

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/3321963167/a-professional-s-workflow-brian-ach

“… For a lot of us, we download the images to a computer and edit a handful that catch our eye, and then… well, there are more photo shoots to pursue. Maybe we’ll apply some keywords, perhaps mark a few favorites, but too often the photos we worked so hard to create are just dumped onto a hard disk and forgotten. We know we should do better, but who has the time?

Professional photographers, that’s who….”

Icon, Photo Mechanic 6 by Camera Bits.
Icon, Photo Mechanic 6 by Camera Bits.

Commentary

Getty Images and Associated Press contributing photographer Brian Ach shoots a range of subjects and genres, often under the stress of tight deadlines, poor artificial lighting and the need to get every shot right or if not then the ability to rapidly reduce his selects to a manageable collection for submission, distribution and publication.

That is a far cry from the more leisurely paces and demands of shooting documentary or photojournalism projects over longer time periods, or portraits and photoessays for weekly or monthly magazine feature articles.

I took on a mix of projects during my magazine and newspaper colour supplement days, and came to prefer weekly or monthly magazine projects over daily newspaper assignments for the chance to really get one’s teeth into the subject.

Daily newspaper work had its satisfactions, though, especially in the challenge of producing engaging, informative and sometimes emotive environmental and close-up portraits in no more than fifteen minutes per subject, three to five such assignments per day, in locations throughout the city and suburbs, while carting lights, cameras, stands and tripods about.

That was during the analog era when the time and the stress of processing, proofing and printing after each assignment had to be factored into the equation and before the joys of tethered shooting, editing, processing, tagging, uploading and traveling on to the next job existed as we know them now.

If I were to go back to that world as a freelancer I would have to come up with a whole new workflow all by myself, or learn successful workflows from others, so articles like this come in handy.

So much so that I went straight to the Camera Bits website to download Photo Mechanic to try out, and from a so-far fairly cursory try-out under anything but professional conditions am seriously considering adding it to my software collection.

And I am now crossing my fingers for a similar feature set to appear in the library functionality that is appearing in raw processing and image editing applications that once used to be editing-only.

There is another advantage to having an application dedicated only to selecting, trashing, tagging and organizing – none of the distractions of doing it within a product that also offers deep image-editing features where one can easily be tempted into diving down the rabbit hole of a thousand and one different possible interpretations.

Sometimes, oftentimes, simpler and sharply focused is better.

Now to get to grips with that massive backlog.

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on the links and purchasing through them for our affiliate accounts at B&H Photo Video, SmallRigor Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.

Advertisements

Skylum: How to Make Real Estate Photos that Sell? [with Aurora HDR 2019]

https://skylum.com/blog/aurora-hdr-for-real-estate-photography

“If you saw two property listings – one with high-quality photos, and one with no preview at all, which one would you pick? 99.9% of the time you would go with the property that has photos.

It might sound drastic, but quality photos could make the difference between booking a viewing or not.

In this article, we look at Aurora HDR for real estate photography.

We look at why HDR photos are suitable for real estate photography, and why Aurora HDR, in particular, is an excellent choice as an editing program….”

skylum_aurorahdr2019_04_1920px_80pc
Skylum Aurora HDR provides the most feature-complete set of controls for merging and styling multiple-bracket and single-frame high dynamic range images.

Commentary

Skylum’s Aurora HDR software has reached full maturation with Aurora 2019 and has enabled me to create high dynamic range multiple-shot images that I could only visual but not achieve in previous years.

My interest in HDR imaging was first parked by its possibilities for portraiture where I was unable to carry the full complement of lights, lighting stands, power cables, power packs and filters that I used to carry and that all too often must be left behind at our home studio due to their size and weight.

I also rely on Aurora HDR when photographing cityscapes, suburban landscapes and interiors, as well as portraits and still life or product shots, when I need to present a full tonal range from deepest darks to lightest whites rather than simulate the truncated tonal look of the analog films of yesteryear such as Velvia or Ektachrome.

Photographs processed with Skylum Aurora HDR 2019

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on our affiliate account links at B&H Photo Video, SmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.

Skylum Updates Luminar 2018 Raw Processor/Image Editor with Artificial Intelligence-Driven AI Sky Enhancer

While it seems that most Australian professional photographers of my acquaintance depend on Adobe Bridge’s Camera Raw module in conjunction with Photoshop as their first choice for raw processing and imaged editing, followed by Adobe Lightroom in order of popularity, there are alternative products and alternative software companies.

One of the most creative is Skylum, formerly named Macphun, maker of Aurora HDR and Luminar, the first a high dynamic range image merging and editing application and the second a raw image processing and image editing application the features of which are ever-growing and unlike any other image editor in their scope and innovation. 

Luminar 2018 recently gained an artificial-intelligence driven feature, the AI Sky Enhancer, and the long-awaited major update, Luminar with Libraries, due sometime in December 2018, will add sync and batch editing, image organizing, rating, labelling and tagging to improve Luminar’s photo management and editing editing workflow.  

_dsf6264_iridientxtransformer_1920px_60pc
Skylum Luminar AI Sky Enhancer filter applied to a Fujifilm X-Pro2 raw file of a local landscape after initial processing with Iridient X-Transformer. Photograph © copyright Karin Gottschalk 2018. All rights reserved.

Ever since Apple signalled the coming end of its support for Aperture, one of the best media management, picture sorting and editing, raw processing and image editing applications ever, relied upon by photographers as well as picture editors, magazine publishers, advertising agencies, deign firms and more, photographers have been searching for a direct replacement and the available solutions have been found wanting to various degrees.

Since then I have tried a number of media management applications and modules built into raw processing and image editing software and none of them have filled the bill in exactly the way I need them to.

Skylum has verb working on a media management solution aka library for Luminar for some time and it looks like it will finally make its appearance soon.

I cannot want to try it out and with luck it will be the media manager cum image library I have been after for all these years.

Skylum Luminar 2018 AI Sky Enhancer Before and After

How Does AI Sky Enhancer Work?

skylum_luminar2018_skyenhancer_09_1920px_60pc
Sky detection & object recognition: With the help of our deep neural network, Luminar analyzes the image and detects the sky. This neural network had been trained using hundreds of thousands of images with different amounts and different types of sky, whether it’s a tiny patch of blue peeking through a skylight, a cloudy sky flaunting sunset colors, or a dark, ominous sky signaling a storm.
skylum_luminar2018_skyenhancer_08_1920px_60pc
Semantic Segmentation: Once image analysis is complete, Luminar performs what we call semantic segmentation, separating the image into different layers, based on the semantic and contextual meaning of the objects it detects. This analysis allows the most precise and intelligent sky enhancement with minimal noise, halos, and negative impact on other areas of the image. The AI detects objects in the foreground, defines edges, and analyzes the textures and tones of the sky itself. The deep neural network that powers AI Sky Enhancer had been trained using thousands of real life examples we’ve either taken ourselves or obtained from other professional photographers.
skylum_luminar2018_skyenhancer_07_1920px_60pc
Smart masking: Following sky detection and segmentation, Luminar applies an automatic mask to the sky that’s invisible to you as the user. When you move the slider to the right, you only notice how the sky becomes more and more beautiful. Just like a professional photographer, AI Sky Enhancer treats different images differently. It applies a custom set of adjustments to a sky, depending on its look. This means that a blue sky will get a treatment far different from a grey sky, and a sunset sky will be enhanced differently from a mid-morning one.

LUTs in Skylum Luminar 2018 and Aurora HDR 2019

I have been developing an approach to portrait photography based on five to seven bracket images batch processed in Iridient X-Transformer then merged in Skylum Aurora HDR 2019 with maximum image editing done in Aurora’s 16-bit colour space including applying film emulation and looks LUTs.

This has only been possible in the way I have long envisaged it since the release of Aurora HDR 2019 and its amazing realistic automatic tone-mapping, a huge evolutionary leap beyond previous versions of Aurora HDR and other HDR software I have used over the years.

The addition of the LUTs feature in both items of Skylum software is welcome as I have assembled an enormous collection of camera profile, film emulation and looks LUTs over the years and enjoy applying the film emulation LUTs in particular to portraits.

The challenge when editing with LUTs is to choose exactly the right one, or two or more of them in combination, to communicate the information and emotions I visualized for the finished image when I made the exposure.

Right now selecting that one or more perfect LUT from a big collection of them is a time-consuming process of trial and error, loading and looking, rejecting then choosing again.

Some video editing applications and colour grading applications and plug-ins have LUT library previewing capabilities that speed up the processing of choosing the best LUT for the job and I want to see the same functionality added to Skylum Luminar 2018 and Aurora HDR 2019.

In illustration, the above three portraits have been graded with three different film emulation LUTs, one from a medium-sized collection and the other two from a far bigger set of LUTs.

Choosing the looks I wanted took far too long and I skipped over thousands of other possible candidates.

Small previews of how each LUT would render the image would have sped up the process considerably.

Links

Skylum Releases Tonality Mega B&W Pack, Huge Free Monochrome Presets Collection for Its Luminar Image Editing Powerhouse

Skylum has released Tonality Mega B&W Pack, a massive free collection recreations of the looks from Tonality, the company’s legacy black-and-white aka monochrome plug-in cum standalone application named Tonality CK.

Tonality CK is part of the Creative Kit 2016 collection from the days when Skylum traded under the name of Macphun.

The Tonality Mega B&W Pack has been created for Luminar, Skylum’s image editing and raw conversion powerhouse application cum plug-in, available in versions for macOS and Windows. 

skylum_luminar_tonality_01_1920px_60pc
Skylum’s film simulation subset of the Tonality Mega B&W Pack presets pack for Luminar.

I have been hoping for some time that the many excellent film simulations, photochemical toning looks, HDR renderings and more would find their way from Tonality CK into Luminar so the arrival of the Tonality Mega B&W Pack for Luminar is welcome indeed.

The Tonality Mega B&W Pack can be traced back to the Nik Collection’s Silver Efex through Creative Kit 2016’s Tonality CK component via the Nik Software company, several of whose former employees joined Macphun.

Google bought Nik and thus the Nik Collection, apparently for the sake of the company’s Snapseed mobile and desktop image editing application.

Google discontinued the desktop version, sadly, then sold Nik Collection to DxO where it is being developed as a set of Photoshop plug-ins and soon, hopefully, as a plug-in for DxO PhotoLab.

The free Tonality preset collection for Skylum’s Luminar image editing software

Skylum’s Luminar is undergoing development in leaps and bounds with an artificial intelligence-driven Sky Enhancer filter being released shortly, followed not long afterwards by the long-awaited Luminar Libraries module aka media management application that will be released free.

Recent and coming Luminar upgrades are being built with AI technologies developed by Skylum side project Photolemur, an application useful in its own right especially when batch processing large sets of images from events.

I am very excited by the potential of the Tonality Mega B&W Pack for processing raw images I visualized as monochrome when shooting.

Although several image editing applications and plug-ins contain film simulations, can import film simulation styles  and presets or are based entirely upon them, having them contained within Luminar in the form of the Tonality preset pack is handy for keeping it within the same application rather than jumping from one to another and back again.

Tonality Mega B&W Pack contains ten preset categories and over 170 monochrome looks and styles:

  • Tonality Street
  • Tonality Vintage
  • Tonality Toning
  • Tonality Dramatic
  • Tonality Film Emulation
  • Tonality Outdoor
  • Tonality Portrait
  • Tonality Architecture
  • Tonality Basic
  • Tonality HDR

I hope that the Skylum team will look into releasing emulations of great colour films of the past as well as a range of silver-based and non-silver printing processes.

Meanwhile I am excited by the prospect of trying out the Tonality Mega B&W Pack, especially in combining emulations of some of my favourite classic monochrome films with emulations of some of my favourite monochrome split-toning processes.

I visualize, photograph and process my work in monochrome when the colour in the subject and the scene does not serve to convey useful information and emotion, but often choose to process my monochrome images in ways that communicate emotions and informational subtleties swamped by colour.

Example, Tonality Mega B&W Pack in Skylum Luminar 2018

skylum_luminar_tonality_1090148_1920px_60pc
A quick and dirty sample documentary photograph shot tonight then quickly processed in Skylum Luminar 2018 with Tonality Mega B&W Pack using Ilford Pan F 50 ISO film emulation and gold/selenium split toning.

Links

Help support ‘Untitled’

Clicking on and purchasing through our affiliate accounts at B&H Photo Video, SmallRig or Think Tank Photo helps us continue our work for ‘Untitled’.

Skylum: Enhance Your Workflow with the Latest Luminar Updates [Luminar 2018 1.3.0 has been released]

https://skylum.com/blog/enhance-your-workflow-with-the-latest-luminar-updates

luminar_2018_dam_single_image_view_01_1920px_60px
Single image view of Luminar 2018’s digital asset management (DAM) system, currently under development and due for release later in 2018. Luminar 1.3.0 already contains some great new additions and improvements including using DxO FilmPack as a plug-in, improved sharpening, scrolling through LUTs in the LUT Mapping Filter and more.

“Brand new for the Apple crowd is Plugin Support. You’re now be able to use these third-party plugins through the Plugins menu: Imagenomic Noiseware 5, Imagenomic Portraiture 3, Imagenomic Realgrain 2, and DxO FilmPack 5.

You also now have access to these Luminar improvements:

Raw Develop filter.

The Lens and Transform effects are now improved, for example when using the Compare option, effects aren’t shown on the left (Before) side, nor are the effects blended with the original when using the Filters Amount slider.

Sharpening.

It’s now easier to use the Sharpening filter with more responsive and accurate results. You can also get real-time feedback as you adjust the Sharpening controls and see all your changes in high res.

Batch Processing.

Exporting to several file formats is now possible, including new options for both PDF and JPEG-2000.

Filter Controls.

Save time by clicking on the checkbox or control name to enable or disable all filter checkboxes. You can also use scrubbable number sliders by mousing over the filter values, then moving the slider by clicking and dragging left or right.

JPEG Controls.

You can now precisely control your JPEG and JPEG-2000 compression. The Quality slider shows you the precise numeric value, and you can change it by clicking on a number or entering the exact value you want.

Image History.

When using the RAW Develop and Develop filters, check your image history to see White Balance presets, which are displayed with the preset name. You can also now use the “Save History” option when you save files using the “Windows Compatible” option.

LUT Mapping.

You can now easily scroll through your LUTs in the LUT Mapping filter.  Just hover your mouse over a LUT and it updates in real-time.

Language Support.

These eight languages now have improved localizations: Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, and Simplified Chinese.”

Links

Skylum Software’s Luminar 2018 Jupiter Update, Amazing Raw Convertor and Image Editor, Released

Skylum Software, the independent photography image editing and raw file processing software company, maker of the excellent Aurora HDR, Luminar and Creative Kit desktop applications, has released the Jupiter update for Luminar 2018. 

Skylum Software was formerly known as Macphun during its macOS-only days and changed its name to better reflect the fact that the company is now making its software for Windows as well as macOS.

luminar_2018_filters_01_1920px_60pc

Luminar 2018 Jupiter contains over 300 improvements and updates to make Luminar more responsive and more useful, including significant performance enhancements to allow faster photo editing with speed gains of up to a factor of twelve.

Luminar’s Raw Develop filter has reportedly been updated for even cleaner images with better color and less noise.

luminar_2018_dam_single_image_view_01_1920px_60px
Single image view of Luminar 2018’s digital asset management (DAM) system, currently under development and due for release later in 2018.

Luminar’s long-awaited digital asset manager (DAM) functionality is scheduled for release later in 2018.

Links

Jim Nix: Luminar 2018 Tutorial, Part 1: Getting Started – Complete Set of 12 Free Tutorials for Skylum Luminar

“New to Luminar? Just purchased Luminar 2018 and interested in learning how to master it? This is the tutorial series for you! In this multi-part series, I will walk through how to use Luminar 2018 and take advantage of the incredible power and flexibility of this tool to create stunning photographs. I will cover everything from the basics to advanced techniques and everything in between….”

Links

Joel Wolfson: ON1 Photo Raw 2018 Released- Why it Rocks!

http://joelwolfson.com/photo-raw-2018-released/

“This image is from an X-Trans raw file (Fuji sensor.) These are normally a big challenge for raw processors but I was able to process it quickly and effectively with ON1 Photo Raw 2018 using 2 of my favorite filters- Dynamic Contrast and Color Enhancer….”

Jim Nix: Luminar Live: Diving Into Luminar 2018

“Hello friends! This was an attempted Facebook Live event that didn’t go live there due to technical issues, so I recorded it and am sharing it here instead. I edit 3 images and go through some new filters in Luminar 2018 while sharing some tips for getting the most out of them. Check it out and enjoy!”