Lightroom 6/CC - maybe I can get caught up

  I suppose in the timeline of Adobe the latest update of Lightroom was overdue. I did not feel that Lightroom 5 was obsolete, and it really was not on my radar that an update should be coming until Scott Kelby shared it on Facebook.  For the good news of the upgrade:  They are still making LR6 a perpetual license for those not willing to spend money on the cloud services.

Image result for lightroom icon
Because I am already a Creative Cloud subscriber it was simple to update to Lightroom CC.  Just run the Creative Cloud program from my desktop and it installed it with no issues.  If you are not an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber  there are some benefits to justify the upgrade. The usual includes the newest version of Camera Raw that can handle raw files from the newest cameras. Also under the hood Adobe claims the new version is more streamlined and will run faster. 

The biggest deal here with the upgrade is the new Face tagging feature.  Although it is not really new, it has been part of Photoshop Elements for a while now, and also part of Picasa and other services. When you upgrade and convert your catalog expect to spend a significant amount of time letting your catalog scan for faces.  Those of us with overly large catalogs can look forward to having to let the process run overnight or longer as it finds all of the faces.

The bad news about the upgrade: After playing with the new version I went to install the update on a couple of my classroom computers which have the Creative Cloud license through the school, and after doing several restarts signing in and out of the cloud etc. I still have not been able to get the update to show up as an option.  That's when I remembered reading a few weeks ago that new versions of software would not be supported on 32-bit computer systems. Every computer in my classroom is running Windows 7 and 32-bit processors.  If you are running an older machine then Lightroom 5 is the highest you get to go.

I have mixed feelings about Lightroom, and although it seems more and more shooters are making it their primary, if not only editing software, it is still not a 100% natural part of my workflow.  Truth be told, not working for a daily newspaper anymore I don't really have a set work flow these days.  I bounce around between Lightroom, ACDSee Pro 8, Adobe Bridge and Photo Mechanic for my import and initial edits.  Then I sometimes adjust with Bridge into Camera Raw, sometime adjust in Lightroom after adding the images to the catalog, and sometimes I go directly into Photoshop CC.  I like the concept of Lightroom, but the real obstacle I have with it is my own lack of organization over the years.  I have over half a million images on five different external hard drives.  Many are probably duplicates, and there are also a lot of similars.  The reason I have a hard time with Lightroom is it takes a long time to load that master catalog and let me start working.  If I try and work in another program (like ACDsee) then I have to synchronize the folder later in order to see the image accurately.

So what is my point to this rambling?  Don't be like me.  Have a work flow, stay on top of it and be consistent.  I am going to keep using the new version of Lightroom, and hopefully it will be the tool that I can use to finally get my image library under control.


Hpistamatic: Late to the Party - and now Oggl?

If you are not familiar with Scott Strazzante's photography, especially his street photography I recommend you take a look.  He works for the San Francisco Chronicle and has been incredible prolific in his street shots done in addition to his regular newspaper assignments.   He has been written about on NBC news, formerly worked for The Chicago Tribune, and a lot more.

The reason I bring him up is that like my friend, photographer and author, Michael Fagans, he uses the Hipstamatic app.  And as the headline for this post says, I am very late to the Hipstamatic party.

I did not even get a smart phone until Christmas of 2013.  Since then I have tried to use apps that made the iPhone 4s (yes, I am using an antique, but the price was right from my cell phone carrier) as much like my Nikon cameras as possible.  I like the ProCamera app because it gives me a lot of options in using the camera, including different crop ratios, adjustable and auto white balance, manual ISO and shutter speeds, HDR and some nice basic processing filters. IF I need additional editing then I turn to Photoshop Express, Aviary and most recently added Photogene4.  These have been good for straight forward image making.

Then I got my hands on Michael Fagan's book, The iPhone Photographer: How to Take Professional Photographs with Your iPhone. I noted that he uses the Hipstamatic app for most of his iPhone work, and I started playing with the app.  It is not very intuitive when you first start using it, but I have finally gotten the hang of it.  One feature of the app I like is that if you shake your camera/phone a few times it will randomly change your film, lens and flash filter settings to give you different looks.  I have been doing this to try to find look combinations that I like.

So far I am still adding film and lens paks to find the ones that I really want to use regularly, but I am finding a couple of options that I like more than others.

A true Hipstamatic hipster does not edit their images after they are taken, and I have removed several of my editing apps (mostly because I only have 8GB total on my iPhone 4s, and after loading some apps for other purposes I have less than 2 GB of space for images.  Apps that I pulled included Snapseed, ACDSee, ProCam (not the same as ProCamera - very confusing), Enlight, Darkroom photo editor, Camera+, and even VSCO camera.

Why would I dump so many apps that I obviously had room for earlier on my phone?  I shoot full resolution - I am not interested in low res thumbnails.  And I have found that one thing I dislike about Hipstamatic is that it keeps two copies of each image - so it can fill my phone quickly.  One image goes into the apps "Prints" queue, and the other copy - the identical file - goes into the camera roll of the Hipstamatic album in the phone's pictures section.  I can turn off that auto save to the phones pictures section and save space but the downside is then I need to go to the print queue and manually tell the app to copy each image to the camera roll and then manually delete each image from the prints queue. It is a bit tedious if you shoot more than two or three frames.

Overall I am liking the app and can see why some more serious photographers are using it. It is certainly going to be one I make a lot of use of.

Now comes a new dilemma.  There is a new app from Hipstamatic that is much more of a social platform instead of just a camera app.  It is called Oggl. The app is more like other camera apps and does not have the Hipster feel, but there are some interesting things - the main one being that all of the film, flash and lenses purchased for the Hipstamatic are free to add to your oggl app.  Then, in the oggl app (and this may be the part that is purportedly alienating he hipsters) you can take a straight image and apply the lenses and films like you are adding preset in Lightroom - mix and match and switch after the fact.  I can certainly see the appeal of having options, being able to edit after the fact - but to be honest, after using the Hipstamatic app for almost two weeks now I think I prefer it - shoot and be done, and what comes out of the camera is hat you get.  Maybe that come from my newspaper days where I did not ever edit the images for creative effect after pushing the button.  Maybe it is because having all the filters and choices after the fact is just too much to choose from. Or maybe I am just not creative enough to visualize how I can change the image to look better, and it is best to have the app dot it for me.

Hipstamatic costs $1.99 on iTunes, and Oggl is free (for the basics) or $10/year for a membership which gives you all the lenses and filters.  Check them out for yourself and tell me what you think.  Is Oggl really a good replacement for Hipstamatic? Do you like either one? What is your favorite lens and film (filter) combination?