The PhotoActive Podcast, Episode #11 – Selective Editing

Photoactive 400Most photos can benefit from universal edits to tone and color, but what do you do if just a sky needs to be made more dramatic or you want to add a soft splash of light to a person’s face? In this episode, Jeff and Kirk talk about adjusting specific areas within an image using selective editing tools in apps such as Lightroom, Luminar, and Affinity Photo.

Listen to PhotoActive, Episode #11 – Selective Editing.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at the PhotoActive website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @PhotoActiveCast to keep up to date with new episodes, and join our Facebook group to chat with other listeners and participate in photo challenges and more.

Create Smart Albums for Your Lenses and Cameras in Apple Photos

Smart albumsApple’s Photos app includes the ability to create smart albums. These work like smart playlists in iTunes, where each album matches one or more criteria, such as when you took a photo, what keywords or description it contains, and its file name. You can also use criteria about the way the photo was shot: its aperture, shutter speed, ISO, focal length, and more.

I use smart albums to group photos I’ve shot by lens and camera. One reason is that I like to see what I’ve used each lens for, and this is a good way to see how often you use a given lens. (In other words, if you don’t use it often, you may want to try it out more, or sell it.)

You can see my smart albums to the left. They cover cameras – the iPhone, two Olympus cameras I no longer own (the E-M10 and the Pen-F), and my current cameras, the Fujifilm X-Pro 2 and the X100F. I’ve not included older cameras which I didn’t use much. It’s worth noting that I no longer have some of these lenses – those for the Olympus cameras – but I still want to keep them to see what I’ve shot with certain focal lengths.

To create a smart album, choose File > New Smart Album.

New album

Click the menu at the left to choose a condition.

Options

You can see that the top section contains conditions about the non-technical elements of your photos, and that the bottom is about the technical elements that are stored in the photos’ EXIF data.

To create an album for a lens, choose lens, then, in the second menu, choose Is. Start typing the name or focal length of a lens in the third menu, or click the arrow to the right of it to see all the lenses represented in your Photos library. Select a lens, then click OK to create the album.

One thing to note is that, sometimes, a lens may appear in the list with two different names. This can happen when you’ve updated firmware for a lens or camera. For example, my Fujifilm 18-55mm zoom lens shows up as both XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS and 18.0-55.0 mm f/2.8-4.0. So if you select a lens and don’t see all its photos, click the arrow next to the menu to see if there are multiple listings. If so, click the + button to the right of the first condition, and add a second condition for the second name.

The same is the case for cameras. Say you have used multiple cameras from a given brand, and want them all in the same album. Just choose one, click +, choose another, and so on. Or, if you want all your iPhone photos together, set up an album where Camera Model Includes iPhone.


Check out my photo website, follow me on Instagram, and subscribe to PhotoActive, a podcast about photograph and the Apple ecosystem.

Read the Effing Manual

For many years, one of the common replies to simply questions about computer hardware and software has been RTFM, or “read the effing manual.” Many people post questions in forums, or on sites like Facebook or Reddit, without doing their own basic research.

Recently I’ve seen an interesting manifestation of this. I’m a member of several Facebook groups about cameras, and some people have a serious disdain for reading manuals, suggesting that users just ignore them and try to figure out how their cameras work.

This might be acceptable for point-and-shoot cameras, where you can just choose program mode and be relatively confident that your pictures will look all right. But the groups in question discuss cameras that cost more than $1,000/£1,000. Why people buying this sort of computer with a lens wouldn’t read the manual is beyond me.

Because that’s what cameras are these days: they are more computer than camera. Sure, you can put any camera into program mode and let the camera decide what to do. But if that’s how you plan to take photos, why spend so much? For a few hundred dollars or pounds you can get a good camera, marketed these days as “better than smartphones,” which is superior to a cheap point-and-shoot model, but doesn’t stress you out.

Some of the basics of using a camera don’t change from one model to another: shutter speed, aperture, ISO, exposure compensation, etc. But many features do change. Different camera manufacturers use different types of auto-focus, work differently with auto ISO, and have a number of profiles, presets, or scenes. Understanding these make a huge difference in how you use a camera.

I’ve read through the manuals for my two Fujifilm cameras. Their features are nearly identical, making it more like just reading one manual. I’ve learned countless things about features and functionality that I didn’t know by taking a few hours to read up on features and try different settings.

Seriously, if you don’t plan to read a manual, you shouldn’t bother spending much money on a camera. You won’t use it to its full extent, and you’ll simply be wasting money. I’m surprised that this needs to be said, but read the effing manual.


Check out my photo website, follow me on Instagram, and subscribe to PhotoActive, a podcast about photograph and the Apple ecosystem.

The PhotoActive Podcast, Episode #10 – Quintin Lake’s Long Photo Walk

Photoactive 400Long walks are great opportunities to bring a camera and make photos—but what about 10,000 km of walking? In this episode, Kirk and Jeff welcome photographer Quintin Lake, who is walking the entire coastline of Britain and taking photos of what he discovers. Our interview talks about the motivation behind Quintin’s The Perimeter project, how it quickly made him realize what gear is essential and what can be left behind, and why ambitious projects like this are worth pursuing.

Listen to PhotoActive, Episode #10 – Quintin Lake’s Long Photo Walk
.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at the PhotoActive website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @PhotoActiveCast to keep up to date with new episodes, and join our Facebook group to chat with other listeners and participate in photo challenges and more.