Two Updated Take Control Books about Digital Photos and Lightroom

Tc digital photosNow that it’s so easy to take and store digital photos, it can become overwhelming to stay on top of managing them all. In Take Control of Your Digital Photos, Jeff gives you a plan for tackling this problem, starting with preparing your camera ahead of time, then choosing the right app to manage your photos, judging and organizing your photos, and backing up your photos for safekeeping. This book is geared towards both Mac and Windows users, and discusses the merits of five popular photo management apps–Apple’s Photos, Lightroom Classic CC, Lightroom CC, Photoshop Elements, and Mylio–to help you choose the right one for your needs. (This book expands and updates an earlier title, Take Control of Your Digital Photos on a Mac.)

TCo Lightroom CC 1 0 Cover for EPUBTake Control Books has also released a new version of Jeff’s book Take Control of Lightroom CC. Last fall, Adobe released a new version of its Lightroom application, Lightroom CC, that is specifically designed for cloud interaction, and meant to appeal to users who want to do more than the basics with their photos, but want something more streamlined and simplified than Lightroom Classic CC or Photoshop. In Take Control of Lightroom CC, Jeff gives a thorough but accessible guide to the new Lightroom CC. He explains where it fits in the Lightroom ecosystem, then moves on to detail how to import, manage, and professionally edit your photos using Lightroom CC. For those who want to keep using Lightroom Classic CC, he also looks at how the two apps can work together.

Get Take Control of Your Digital Photos and Take Control of Lightroom CC.

Using the Fujifilm X Raw Studio App with the X100F and Other Cameras

Fujifilm has released a new raw processor app, along with firmware for certain of its cameras, including the X100F, which I own. (Read my review of the X100F.) This app offers an interesting approach to working with raw files shot with the camera.

The Fujifilm X Raw Studio app is only available for Mac right now; a Windows version will follow soon. If you have a Mac, you can download the app here. It works with the GFX 50S, the X-T2, the X-Pro2, and the X100F. You’ll need to update the firmware on your camera, and you can download the necessary firmware update for the app from the download page.

The X Raw Studio app works with raw files in a unique way. Since the image processors in these Fujifilm cameras are so good, why try to reproduce what they can do in camera on a computer? Fujifilm’s film simulations are one of the best features of this camera, and if you’ve tried to reproduce them on a computer – even in the weak app that Fujifilm has offered in the past – you know that they just don’t have the same quality.

You can already convert raw files on the camera, or even take existing files, load them on an SD card, and convert them on the camera, but you’re limited to viewing them on the small display the camera offers. (I explain how to do that in this article.) Now, you can use your existing raw files on the computer, convert them in the X Raw Studio app, but do so through the camera.

Read more

Photo Book Review: Holga by Michael Kenna

Kenna holgaThe Holga is a “toy” camera, originally made in Hong Kong in the early 1980s. It uses 120 medium format film, making photos at 6 x 4.5 cm or 6 x 6 cm. It’s a crappy camera, and is widely appreciated for its form of shabby chic. With the high quality of digital photography these days, using a Holga and it’s low-fi lens, is a rejection of perfection.

If there’s one photographer whose photos exhibit perfection it’s Michael Kenna. His often long-exposure landscapes have an aura of stillness and mystery, but they are compositionally perfect. (See my review of his book France.)

But Kenna keeps a Holga camera with him alongside his Hasselblads (film, not digital). In the introduction to this book, he is quoted as saying, “I’ve always considered the make and format of a camera to be ultimately low on the priority scale when it comes to making pictures.” He often shoots a few photos with the Holga while working with his Hasselblads, and in this book, you can see some subjects that will be familiar if you have seen his other work.

The Holga is the brutalist camera. It’s poor-quality lens suffers from vignetting, soft focus, and everything else that photographers prize. To quote the much-repeated mantra of photographer David DuChemin, “Gear is good, but vision is better.” This new book by Michael Kenna is the best justification I have seen of that sentence. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)

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The book contains about 150 black and white photos, with the typical silver-gelatin look of Kenna’s other work. The low-fi nature of the photos is immediately evident, especially the vignetting, but you quickly move past that and focus on the composition of these photos. None of them are complex; Kenna seems to take more immediately apparent photos with the Holga than some of his broader landscapes, and most subjects are centered in the square frame. Some are quick snapshots catching birds in flight, planes, or views from a train. Others are more carefully composed shots such as this one of the Kussharo Lake Tree, that he shot many times over a period of years.

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Many of the photos are almost reductive in their simplicity, but don’t fall into the trap of the “minimalist” black and white photography that is prevalent these days.

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Some are powerfully resonant, such as this Old Boat Ramp, shot in France, which could be a shot from Tarkovsky’s film Stalker.

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And others are quirky, such as this sheep shot in Georgia.

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This book features many of the same types of subjects that Kenna is known for: lone trees, statues, posts in water, but there are some animals, and even a baby elephant, but no people. Kenna’s world is stark, and could be that of a time when all humans have disappeared. Or perhaps it’s the vision of what a world without humans might look like. With the subtle aberrations of the Holga camera, Michael Kenna shows a world that is beautiful in its imperfections.

Note that Holga is available now in the UK (and some other countries), but won’t be released in the US until February. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)

Learn How to Master Apple’s Photos App on Mac and iOS with this Take Control Book

Tc3 photosGet to know Apple’s Photos app in Photos: A Take Control Crash Course and learn to use it to import, manage, edit, and share your photos in High Sierra and iOS 11! As the successor to Apple’s iPhoto app, Photos has a more refined interface and deeper connections to iCloud, and it runs faster. Following the expert advice of Jason Snell, publisher of Six Colors and former lead editor at Macworld, you’ll learn how to navigate Photos like a pro, including how to:

  • Migrate your library from iPhoto or Aperture (Apple’s discontinued professional photography app) into Photos
  • Import photos from devices or memory cards
  • Use multiple Photos libraries
  • Navigate the Photos interface, including the sidebar and icons
  • View or disable Live Photos
  • Organize your library by using enhanced search features, adding metadata, building albums, and creating smart albums
  • Edit your photos using quick-fixes like cropping, applying filters, and fixing red-eye and rotation problems
  • Use advanced editing techniques within Photos and edit using external apps like Photoshop
  • Manage your photo collection using the Memories and People features, and get summary views
  • Sync your photos with iCloud
  • View your photos on an Apple TV
  • Share your photos via social media, export them out of Photos, turn them into slideshows, or create printed objects (books, calendars, cards, prints)

ason also highlights major new changes in Photos under High Sierra and iOS 11, including a redesigned interface, editing improvements, new support for external editing apps, upgrades to the Live Photos feature, and a smarter People feature.

This book, which is about the new versions of Photos that Apple released in September 2017, covers Photos for macOS version 3.0 in High Sierra, as well as Photos in iOS 11 and tvOS 11.

Get Photos: A Take Control Crash Course.