A creative cloud over the North Carolina/South Carolina border
Adobe is now offering its Photoshop Photography Program to everyone, not just those who own a license to a previous version of Photoshop. This program includes Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC for $9.99 per month. This new offer is only available until December 2nd. (If you own a license to Photoshop CS3 or later you still have until December 31st.)
For people who would like to try Photoshop, but don’t own a previous Photoshop license, this seems like a good deal. In the past you would have paid nearly $700 to buy a full version of Photoshop for the first time. Now you can get Photoshop, plus Lightroom, for $120 per year.
For those who already own a license to Photoshop CS5 or CS6 things are less clear cut. The pricing for this Lightroom-and-Photoshop package is attractive, but you’re still renting rather than owning, and if you stop your subscription you lose access to the software. Many people are choosing to stick with their older versions of Photoshop, since they own a perpetual license and will never lose access to it. I discussed some of the pros and cons of this deal in a previous post. (Be sure to read the comments, as there are lots of interesting thoughts there.)
Back in June I wrote about Adobe’s new subscription-only model for licensing Photoshop, called the Creative Cloud. Let’s just say that I wasn’t happy about it. But recently, as I’m sure many of you know, Adobe announced a new Photoshop Photography Program. For $9.99 per month you can get both Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud) and Lightroom, and it’s not an introductory price that will go up after a year. That doesn’t mean that it will never go up, but Adobe says that they don’t have any plans to increase the price at this time. (The offer is only available to people who currently own Photoshop CS3 or later, and it expires on December 31st.)
I have to say that this is a more attractive offer. $9.99 per month comes out to less than I’ve been paying for upgrades to both Lightroom and Photoshop. Of course I already own a license to Lightroom 5, so in the short term I’d really be paying just for Photoshop CC. But at least the price wouldn’t automatically go up after a year, and when Lightroom 6 comes out I’d get it for no extra charge.
Unfortunately this program won’t help you if you don’t already own Photoshop CS3 or later. It’s possible that Adobe might offer a version of this package (probably a more expensive version), to people who don’t already own Photoshop, but there’s no word of that yet. You can still buy Photoshop CS6 from places like Amazon and B&H, and that would then qualify you to get this Photoshop/Lightroom bundle, but that’s an expensive way to go, since CS6 is going for more than $600.
Star Trails and junipers east of Sonora Pass. Lightroom’s retouching tools keep getting more sophisticated; Lightroom 5′s Advanced Healing Brush was very helpful in removing jet trails from this image.
Adobe just released Lightroom 5.2, with a small but significant new feature: the ability to add feathering to the Spot Removal Tool’s brush. This adds further sophistication to Lightroom’s retouching abilities, continuing the theme introduced by the “Advanced Healing Brush” in Lightroom 5.0.
You usually want fairly hard-edged brushes with retouching tools, otherwise you’ll get unwanted blurring along the borders of your retouching areas. But small amounts of feathering can help make transitions smoother and the retouching less obvious. Try setting the Feathering in the Spot Removal Tool to 40 as a starting point, then modify it if necessary. And in keeping with Lightroom’s complete flexibility, you can adjust the feathering after the fact: you can place a spot or add a brush stroke, then adjust the feathering of that area to see the effect of different feathering amounts.
As I said, this is a small improvement, but a helpful one, and something worth paying attention to if you’re a Lightroom user. Naturally 5.2 is a free upgrade if you own Lightroom 5.
And while we’re on the subject, I’ve found the Advanced Healing Brush to be extremely helpful. This is a new capability added to the Spot Removal Tool in Lightroom 5.0, allowing you to brush over an area you want to retouch instead of using a series of discrete spots. It’s made my retouching in Lightroom more efficient, and allowed me to use Photoshop less and stay in Lightroom more. I’m curious about whether others have also found this new feature helpful—let me know how you like it.
(If you’re viewing this post as an email, click here to see the video.)
The response to my ebook and video package, Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide, has been wonderful, well beyond my expectations. Thank you all so much for your support! I put a lot of effort into creating something that I hoped would be helpful to a lot of photographers, and it’s gratifying to see that this effort has been well received.
As an expression of my appreciation, I’m extending the discount codes for two extra days. Use the code lr520 and get 20% off the ebook package until midnight on Tuesday, August 6th Pacific time.
Also, I’ve created the free, bonus video tutorial above to go along with the ebook. It’s a tip about using the arrow keys in Lightroom to help speed your workflow and fine-tune your adjustments. I use the arrow keys all the time, and I hope you’ll find this technique helpful too.
Again, thank you all very much! I really appreciate all the positive comments you’ve sent me about the ebook.
— Michael Frye
P.S. If you know someone who might like this video, or who would enjoy the ebook, please share this post!
Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide
PDF ebook with video tutorials
87 double-page spreads
Special introductory offer: for a limited time get 20% off by using the code LR520 at checkout. Offer expires at midnight Pacific time on August 4th.
Here it is! My latest ebook, Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide, is now available.
I’m really excited about this new ebook, because I’ve been able to incorporate features that make this more of a hands-on learning experience. First, you can download the original Raw files used as examples in the ebook, and then follow along with each step yourself – just as if you were attending one of my workshops.
Second, when you purchase the ebook you get exclusive access to eight videos demonstrating different aspects of Lightroom’s Develop Module, like using the Adjustment Brush, Spot Removal Tool, and Point Curve, advanced retouching in Lightroom, and much more. It’s great to read about a tool or technique; it’s even better to watch a demonstration, and then try it yourself on the same image.
There’s been a lot of internet discussion lately about the new Adobe Creative Cloud. If you haven’t heard about this, Adobe decided that it will offer its Creative Suite applications only by subscription. You can get the whole suite (including Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, etc.) for $50 a month, or an individual application for $20 a month. They’re offering first-year discounts for people who own a license to any CS3 or later application.
On the positive side, subscribers will get regular updates to the software when new features are ready, rather than having to wait for a new version to come out. On the other hand, $20 per month for an application represents a substantial price increase. The last Photoshop upgrade was $199. Since the original Photoshop CS came out in 2003, Adobe has upgraded Photoshop, on average, every 20.6 months. If that pace of innovation continued, a $199 upgrade price would average out to around $10 per month – or half as much as they’re asking for a Creative Cloud subscription to a single application.
I might be able to live with the price, but here’s the worst part: if you stop your subscription at any time, you can’t use the software anymore.
We had a wonderful time up in redwood country. It’s such a beautiful area, and we had great conditions – plus two really nice groups of people, and the relaxing ambience of the Requa Inn to come home to after a long day of photography. It was a memorable and enjoyable two weeks.
I’ll post more images from the area soon, but I’ll start with this one showing sun breaking through the fog in a redwood forest. It can be difficult to work with this kind of splotchy light, but I loved the mood of this scene, and luckily the sun hit just the right spots, creating a nicely-balanced pattern of light and dark.
As many of you know, Adobe released Lightroom 5 Beta last week. Now that I’ve had a chance to give it a thorough test drive, here are my thoughts about the new features:
Advanced Healing Brush
The Spot Removal tool has received a major upgrade – finally! You can now brush over an area you want to retouch, instead of being confined to using only discrete spots.
I’ve tried this new feature on several images, and it works pretty well. It makes short work of relatively simple jobs, like getting rid of a jet trail in the sky, that used to require tediously placing a series of cloning or healing spots. Now it usually takes just one brush stroke to make a jet trail disappear.
Photoshop still has easier and more efficient options for difficult retouching jobs. But the new Advanced Healing Brush will make it possible to do more retouching in Lightroom, allowing you to keep a completely flexible, non-destructive workflow. I think that’s a big improvement; I’ll say more about that further down.
I meant to post this earlier, but if you haven’t heard, Lightroom 4.1 was officially released about two weeks ago. So if you’ve been waiting to upgrade to Lightroom 4 until Adobe fixed the bugs, I think your wait is over, as the major problems should have been addressed. I know the point curve bug was fixed with the 4.1 RC (“release candidate”), so that shouldn’t be an issue any more.
Lightroom 4 is a big step forward in Raw image processing, but the advancements require a lot of horsepower to work properly. So check the system requirements before you take the plunge. Many people have had to upgrade their operating system to run Lightroom 4, and upgrading your OS can be a big undertaking, requiring that you update other applications as well.
Earlier I posted two videos about Lightroom 4, so if you haven’t watched those yet they can help you get up to speed in the new process. Here are links to Part 1 and Part 2.
The first image here, as well as all of the images from Monday’s post—including some pretty high-contrast scenes—were processed exclusively in Lightroom 4. In the comments for that last post JayM asked if I could make a tutorial on how I processed the first image. That’s a great suggestion, but for now you’ll find a screen shot below that shows the Basic Panel settings for that photograph. (I didn’t use the Tone Curve, which is not unusual for me these days with high-contrast images in Lightroom 4.)
(If you’re getting this post through email, click here to view the video.)
Here it is, my second video about the new process in Lightroom 4. In Part One I explained how the new tone controls work; here in Part Two I talk about how to use these new tools to process both low- and high-contrast images. Here are some of the main points:
- Where to begin? If you’ve read my eBook Light and Land, or watched one of my previous videos about curves, you know that in the old process I preferred starting with all the Basic tone controls set at zero, and the point curve linear. Does this still apply in the new process? (1:10)
- Curves or sliders? The new Basic Tone sliders are much better than the old ones; are they good enough to replace the Point Curve? (10:30)
- Does the order matter? Adobe suggests using the Basic tools in order from top to bottom, starting with Exposure, then Contrast, and working down to Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks—essentially working from the midtones out to the black point and white point. But this contradicts a long-standing tradition in digital imaging of setting the black point and white point first. Should you stand with tradition, or embrace the new order? (13:02)
- Processing a high-contrast image. (21:04)
This video is about 27 minutes long, so, as I said with Part 1, grab your favorite beverage, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. Spending a little time with this video now will save time later when you’re processing photos. More importantly, I hope that this video will help you get the most out of your images so that they convey what you saw and felt when you pressed the shutter.
As I mention in the video, the best way to learn more about processing images in Lightroom is to take a workshop. There’s are still a couple of spots available in my October workshop, The Digital Landscape: Autumn in Yosemite. This is a comprehensive course covering the entire process from capture to print, with field sessions covering exposure, composition, and everything you do before pressing the shutter, and lab sessions where we process and print the images with Lightroom.
Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author and photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters, plus the eBooks Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, and Exposure for Outdoor Photography. He has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.
I love to share my knowledge of photography and help others express their photographic vision. Here's what you'll get when you subscribe to this blog:
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