Archives For photo editing

10 Years of Lightroom

February 19, 2017 — Leave a comment

Lightroom 10 years

Ten years, man! Ten! Years!

Thanks to Victoria “The Lightroom Queen” Brampton’s newsletter, I learned that my photo organizer and editor of choice turned 10 this weekend. Unlike Victoria, I joined the Lightroom party late after starting off with Aperture, but it’s been the heart of my photo library for probably eight of those ten years. In a new blog post, Victoria runs down the history of Lightroom from the beginning, from the early betas to the latest mobile incarnations. It’s a good read if you’ve been using Lightroom for a while.

Speaking of Lightroom, the application features heavily into my own book, Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac. I’m almost done updating the manuscript for a new revision. Look for that soon!

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

06b pixelmator truck edited after

Looking for an image editor on the Mac but don’t need the full power (or cost) of Adobe Photoshop? In Macworld, I just reviewed Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon, a great $30 alternative. This new version focuses on the application’s selection tools, adding a Quick Selection tool and a Magnetic Selection tool to make it easier to select and edit specific areas of an image.

It also adds a new Photos Editing Extension called Pixelmator Retouch, which gives you the ability to do retouching edits—like lightening or darkening specific areas, selective sharpening, and more—to images right in the Photos app, without exporting them to Pixelmator proper.

Read the review here: Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon review: Better selective editing and a new Apple Photos extension.

I edited the photo up above entirely in Pixelmator. Here’s the original version for comparison:

06a pixelmator truck edited before

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

Seattle Skyline Dusk v2

The great folks at Macphun are currently including a short ebook I wrote for them with every Aurora HDR purchase: 10 Simple Steps to Make Amazing HDR Photos…but anyone can get it for free! It covers a few fundamentals, like tips for capturing good brackets in the first place, and points to features in Aurora HDR that give you more control over your HDR compositions.

If you already own my Aurora HDR Photoversity Guide, you likely know all the information in this new ebook (it also include several new photos by me)—but you could send it to a photo-loving friend who’s looking to bump up their HDR game. And if you don’t yet own the Photoversity guide, there’s a special offer at the end to get 40% off the guide.

To get it, go to the Aurora HDR Free Stuff page, enter your email address, and download the book (plus other goodies, too). Macphun designed the book to be read in the iBooks app on OS X or any iOS device. Take a look at some sample pages below:


Apple is in the middle of a dramatic overhaul of its photo software, discontinuing iPhoto and Aperture and replacing them with the new Photos for OS X. Since iPhoto was the pre-installed, easy-to-use application for managing digital photos on the Mac, millions of people use it for their photo libraries. But Photos for OS X isn’t just an update to iPhoto—it’s a complete rewrite that often looks and behaves differently than its predecessor, designed to work with the Photos app on iPhones and iPads and with the new iCloud Photo Library.

This is where my new book comes in! The full title is Photos for OS X and iOS: Take, edit, and share photos in the Apple photography ecosystem, and it covers the whole shebang, such as:

  • How to capture photos and videos using an iPhone or iPad (even the Apple Watch!)
  • Smart strategies for converting iPhoto and Aperture libraries, and what changes when you switch to Photos for OS X
  • Importing photos from any camera
  • How to set up and use iCloud Photo Library, and understand its occasional quirks
  • How to edit photos on the Mac (which is more capable than you might think!) and on iOS devices
  • Creating prints, photo books, calendars, and slideshows

I’ve packed a lot of information into 200 pages, along with full-color photos, lots of screenshots, and plenty of answers. The book is now available in stores and from online retailers for as little as $18. (If you order the print or ebook versions from or directly from Peachpit, I get a small commission that helps to support the work I do. Peachpit also offers a bundle that includes the print book and ebook files—PDF, EPUB, and MOBI.)

To celebrate the launch, I’m giving away five copies of the ebook version! To be eligible, all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter. You’re welcome to unsubscribe after the drawing if you’d like; the newsletter is a way for me to get to know my readers better, announce new projects, and do giveaways like this. I’ll pick the five winners randomly on Monday, August 10, 2015.

Congratulations to Elsa, Marc, Dawn, Andrew, and (someone who left only an email address), who should be receiving emails soon with a code for their free copies of the ebook version! I regularly do giveaways like this, so I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter for upcoming giveaways and to stay up to date with the projects I’m working on.

Here’s a selection of pages from the book to give you an idea of what you’ll find. I really like how it turned out:

Captureone raw adjust after

When I wrote the Macworld review of Adobe Lightroom CC 2015, several people in the comments brought up Capture One Pro, another photo manager and editor with a loyal following. Macworld hadn’t ever reviewed it, so I pitched it to my great editors and they said yes.

Read it here: Capture One Pro 8.3 review: Aperture replacement light on library features, strong on editing tools

I last looked at Capture One Pro years ago and wasn’t impressed, but of course software changes over time. With the demise of Apple’s Aperture, people are looking for alternatives. And the truth of the matter is that some people just don’t like Lightroom, or they object to Adobe’s subscription pricing model.

Capture One Pro’s main selling point is that it’s a better raw converter than other software, and my experience with the latest version reflected that. The software also has lots of great editing features. The photo above shows the “after” version of an image I posted the other day (and which was picked up by Flickr’s Explore feature); you can see the “before” version in the Macworld review.

That said, I found the organization features to be frustrating in many areas, so I’m not going to give up Lightroom as my current tool of choice. (Well, it’s not like I get to use just one; I have photos in many applications for a variety of projects, like my Photos for OS X book.)

You can download Capture One Pro for free and use it for 30 days. If you’re at all interested, give it a spin and see if it works for your photos. The price to buy is steeper than others: $299. But if it clicks for you, it may just be worth it.

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

Photos for mac primary 100577932 large

Apple dropped OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 today, and with it the release version of the new Photos for OS X. You can read my detailed review of the replacement for iPhoto and Aperture at Macworld here: Review: Photos for OS X is faster than iPhoto but less powerful than Aperture.

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

While everyone was focused on the news of the new Photos for OS X developer preview, Adobe released a very interesting update to Lightroom mobile, its mobile companion to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

In previous versions of the app, there was a truly hidden, super powerful editing feature: not only could you copy adjustments made on the device between images, you could also copy adjustments made in the desktop Lightroom application. So, for example, if you’d applied a graduated filter on the desktop to an image and synced that image to Lightroom mobile, copying its adjustments to another photo also added the graduated filter—even though Lightroom mobile doesn’t offer a graduated filter tool. (See item #4, Copy Adjustments Between Photos, in this article of Lightroom mobile tips published at a few months ago.)

Lightroom mobile 1.3 takes that one step further by enabling copying of adjustments in a more granular way. You can choose to copy only one type of edit and paste it. And that includes settings like Lens Corrections.

Watch the following video by Adobe’s Russell Brown to see the feature in action. It’s wonderfully cool.

Adobe Lightroom Mobile 1.3.0 from Russell Brown on Vimeo.

Peter Krogh dug into the Lightroom terms of service and discovered that the software doesn’t completely shut down if your subscription lapses:

But other than Develop and Map, everything else works. You can make new catalogs, add new photos, add keywords, make collections, books, web galleries, prints, slideshows, exports, published copies… Basically, you have Lightroom LE. For free, if you want it.

This is good news for people concerned that Adobe would lock their photo libraries in Lightroom if they stopped subscribing, or if the servers locked them out due to a glitch (like the one that kept Creative Cloud down for 24 hours).

Drowning in images

We’re drowning in digital photos. It’s so easy to capture a photo these days—from dedicated cameras as well as camera-enabled smartphones—that we’re storing more shots than ever. That’s good news! People are capturing memories that would otherwise fade away, and learning more about how to view the world. But the volume of photos has become a problem. When you want to find a shot, it usually takes much longer than it should, adding exasperation to what should be a fun experience.

It’s time to take control of your digital photos. I’m excited to announce my latest book, appropriately titled Take Control of Your Digital Photos! In this new ebook, I set out a practical plan for managing your photo library, enabling you to find the photos you’re looking for without a lot of fuss.

But this project has a twist: We’re releasing the book a chapter at a time at, so you can start reading it right away while I finish writing the rest. Chapter 1, “A Smart Approach to Photo Management,” provides an overview of how to tame your photo library and is available now.

The rest of the chapters are available exclusively to TidBITS members. If you’re already a member, Chapter 2, “Shoot Smarter,” is also available now. Becoming a member is easy, and you can choose which financial level of support you want to offer. Members can also view the TidBITS site without ads and can take advantage of nearly two dozen special offers for products and services. Plus, members get 30% off all Take Control ebooks.

This approach also allows me to get feedback from you and other readers to incorporate into the final book, via the comment thread at the end of each article. Adam Engst has more information about how and why we’re publishing the book this way at “Streamed Advice for Managing Your Digital Photos.”

We’ll publish the rest of the book on the TidBITS site over the next 6-8 weeks. After that, it will be available to everyone as a regular Take Control ebook (in PDF, EPUB, and Kindle formats). Members will continue to access the series online, or they can buy the full ebook at the 30% discount.

I’m looking forward to sharing the rest with you.

A quick correction: On page 335 of my book Photoshop Elements 11: Visual QuickStart Guide, the last tip mentions the Flipbook feature, a variation of the slideshow feature in the Organizer. Unfortunately, FLipbook didn’t make it past Photoshop Elements 10. Either the feature was pulled at the last minute (I wrote the book using beta versions of Elements 11 so it would be released when the software came out) or, most likely, I missed that detail and failed to remove the tip when updating the book from the last revision. My apologies. You can read more information on Adobe’s forums. (Thanks to reader Calvin for alerting me!)