Wednesday, June 20, 2007

RAW: Continued

I was a diehard JPEG shooter who began experimenting with RAW about a month ago. I was stumbling around for a while but I’m now happy to report that I’ve gotten some help and am settling into it.

Initially, I had no idea what I was doing wrong. I only knew that I was intensely frustrated. It seemed like too much work to shoot Raw and affirmed my choice to shoot Jpeg in the first place. Pro mountain bike photographer, Seb Rogers, pointed me in the right direction. What I needed was a better workflow.

That search led me to Adobe Lightroom, a program that promises to do it all – manage your photo library, edit, produce slideshows, print and web, all in one slick and polished looking app. And, I ordered Michael Clark’s Lightroom workflow e-Book to help me out.

Michael Clark is a professional adventure sports photographer, probably one of the best out there. I figured he would be a great person to learn this stuff from. His e-Book costs $29.95, and at only 96 pages long, it seems a bit pricy for such a small e-Book. This is not an instructional manual for Adobe Lightroom. You can get that for a lot less money elsewhere. This is a step-by-step guide that takes you through Michael’s own workflow, from how he sets up his Nikon D2x (D200) for Raw capture, moves files from camera to hard drive, importing to Lightroom, editing and developing the raw images in the Lightroom develop module and Photoshop CS2, to archiving. Michael shares some personal tips using Lightroom as well as lessons from the field.

My 30-day-trial with Adobe Lightroom is almost up. Lightroom is not yet the all-in-one photo app that I am looking for. I feel that version 1.0 of Lightroom is let down by overly simplistic sharpening and noise tools, but I hear that version 1.1 is on its way and has addressed those issues and more.

Stay tuned!

3 comments:

Funky Larma said...

I've recently moved over the the raw side and have been testing Lightroom.

So far I'm not totally convinced simply because I do not think I have my work flow sorted just yet.

Kenneth Koh said...

In the search to produce the highest quality images, workflow is often an afterthought. That's what happened to me the first time I tried Raw. It was just too much work.

I do recommend Michael Clark's workflow eBook, and there are a bunch of free 'how-to' video tutorials on the Adobe Lightroom website.

I'm still learning the ropes, but it looks like if I do make the switch to Raw, Lightroom will be the way I will do it.

Kenneth Koh said...

I upgraded to Lightroom 1.1 yesterday and took it for a test drive. While it has addressed the sharpening issue (the sharpening tool is much more controllable), the noise tool remains a little too simple for me. My Nikon D200 needs a little more help managing noise. I think I'd like to see something like a Noise Ninja plugin. Maybe it's a confidence thing, and I have to play with the noise reduction tool a little more to find out its limitations. Anyway, Lighroom is one step closer to being that all-in-one photo app and I've happily given Adobe my $299.