Category Archives: How To

Lightroom: Slow Develop Module? Increase RAW Cache

While I can’t say this Adobe Lightroom cache optimization tip did all that much to increase speed for me, I recognize the benefits could be workflow dependent. By default (at least for me), Adobe Lightroom’s RAW cache is configured for 1GB. But, if you have the hard drive space available, why not increase this cache setting? And for an even greater speed boost, if you have a solid state drive (SSD), make sure that is where your cache is located.

Here’s what Adobe has to say.

Every time you view or edit raw images in the Develop module, Lightroom generates up-to-date, high-quality previews. It uses the original image data as its foundation, and then updates the preview for any processing or adjustments that have been applied. The process is a little faster if the original image data is in the Camera Raw cache. Lightroom checks the cache for the original image data and can skip early stage processing if the image data is cached. (Adobe Lightroom – Optimize performance)

To change the cache value (and location), go to Preferences (Edit menu on Windows / Lightroom menu on Mac), then click on the File Handling tab. Near the bottom there is a section called Camera Raw Cache Settings.

adobe-lightroom-camera-raw-cache-settings

Bump up the Maximum Size to whatever value your free drive space can reasonably handle. And change the Location for the cache to an SSD (if you have one available with enough free space). On my MacBook Air, I bumped the cache up to 10GB, but if free space allows, you might want to consider 20GB, 50GB, or more, especially if you have a lot of photos (tens or hundreds of thousands) in your catalog.

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Adobe Lightroom: How To Select Multiple Photos For Import Without Clicking Each Checkbox

Adobe Lightroom is a fantastic darkroom editor and photo organizing application for photographers who want to spend more time taking photos instead of sitting at a computer editing them. And the workflow in Lightroom is mostly straightforward, but something that has always bugged me is the Import screen. Why is it so limited?

When you launch the Import screen and point it to a folder location, it defaults to selecting every image in that location. Luckily there is a “New Photos” feature for importing new photos not already imported into Lightroom. That one feature might be good enough for most people. Also, don’t forget about the “Don’t Import Suspected Duplicates” checkbox on the right-hand side of the Import screen, that can be useful as well.

But for me, I only want to import the best of the best. I know some use Lightroom to catalog and organize every single photo they take, but for me, Lightroom is a way to catalog and organize only the shots I think I “might” publicly display some day. In this scenario, it would seem you have to check each little checkbox to import only the photos you want. But there happens to be a slightly quicker way to do this.

Below are the instructions to easily select multiple photos for import into Lightroom.

  • Click the Import button
  • Click the “Uncheck All” button on the Import screen.
  • Now you need to figure out if the photos you want to import are randomly scattered or contiguous and follow one of the two procedures below.

RANDOM

  • On a PC use CTRL – click, on a Mac use Command – click. Do this anywhere on each photo you want to import. It will highlight the box (thumbnail) of each photo, but it will not put a check in the checkbox.
  • Now that you have all your photos selected, all you need to do is click the little checkbox on one of those selected photos (it doesn’t matter which one) and the checkbox will be checked on all selected photos. It’s a little weird, but hey, it works.
  • Click Import.

CONTIGUOUS

  • If all the photos you want to import are contiguous (all next to each other), then instead of CTRL – clicking or Command – clicking each photo you can select them all with two clicks.
  • Click the first photo using CTRL – click (or “Command – click”)
  • Click the last photo using SHIFT – CTRL – click (or “SHIFT – Command – click”).
  • Now click the little checkbox on one of the selected photos (it doesn’t matter which one).
  • Click Import.

Again, a little weird, but I think this helps the workflow just a bit compared to clicking that little checkbox on every single photo each time you import a new set.

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How To Stage A Still Life Photo: The Cycling Profile

So how do you stage a still life photo? The answer is…well, there is no one answer, it’s entirely up to your imagination! But okay, I’m guessing you clicked on this article because you want some tips and some ideas. First, let’s understand there are two main types of still life photography, staged and organic. These are not official terms, but rather the way I like to think of it. Staged still life photography is when you manipulate objects to create a scene. Organic still life photography is any object you stumble upon (e.g. “candy wrapper on a park bench”) that happened either naturally, or as the result of a third-party, or in other words, a scene that you do not manipulate yourself.

For the purpose of this article, we are talking about staged still life, which is probably the type of still life photography people are most familiar with, as we’ve all seen the classic staples of still life photography like the fruit bowl, or the coffee mug, etc. And in this article, I’m not going to walk you through all the steps to create a final scene, because as I said, the possibilities are endless. What I will do is tell you how I created the still life photo below titled: The Cycling Profile

This is a small "cycling" sculpture I keep in my den, and it was just begging to be photographed. The backdrop is simply an abstract art picture hanging on the wall of my kitchen, the backlighting is a combination of a pendant lamp hanging over my kitchen table and a LED flashlight. That flashlight is also what is creating the foggy atmosphere eminating from the lower right corner of the photo. And the light reflection you see directly behind the sculpture is the reflection of that pendant lamp off the glass of that abstract art.

This is a small “cycling” sculpture I keep in my den, and it was just begging to be photographed. The backdrop is simply an abstract art picture hanging on the wall of my kitchen, the backlighting is a combination of a pendant lamp hanging over my kitchen table and a LED flashlight. That flashlight is also what is creating the foggy atmosphere eminating from the lower right corner of the photo. And the light reflection you see directly behind the sculpture is the reflection of that pendant lamp off the glass of that abstract art.

 

In the above photo, my featured still life subject is a “cycling” sculpture I keep in my den. Every time I looked at this sculpture it begged to be photographed, so tonight I decided it was time to do so. The location of this still life photo shoot was my kitchen, with the kitchen table serving as the base of operations. The backdrop you see behind the sculpture is a 24″x36″ framed abstract art picture hanging on the kitchen wall. The backlighting is a combination of a pendant lamp hanging over the kitchen table and a LED flashlight. The pendant also serves as an overhead light. The flashlight also creates the foggy atmosphere emanating from the lower right corner of the photo because I purposely had it aimed in the direction of the camera lens. The goal with both lights was to effectively light the edges of the sculpture to separate it from the background. Oh, and that light reflection you see directly behind the sculpture, that’s a reflection of the pendant lamp off the glass of the abstract art.

For this still life photo shoot I used a Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor DX 18-300mm VR lens at a focal length of 195mm and a 1 second shutter speed. Obviously with that slow a shutter speed, I chose to use my tripod. As for aperture, I chose to go wide open (f / 5.6) for two reasons. One, I wanted the background to be as soft as possible so that the sculpture would “pop” off the photo, and two, because I wanted to create a sense of motion in this “still” life photo. Lucky for me, the sculpture itself does most of the work in creating a sense of motion, but I also think the narrow depth of field adds to the illusion by having the back-end of the sculpture slightly out of focus. And I purposely angled the sculpture in such a way that also aided in the illusion.

So that’s it! I simply took a household object, put it on my kitchen table, turned on the light over that table, and added another off camera light using a flashlight. So what do you think of the final product? Does it create a sense of motion in an otherwise stationary object? What would you have done differently? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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