Yan Lerval Digital

French photographer in Vietnam

Lightroom tricks & tips

Four Under-Used Tools in Lightroom’s Lens Correction Module


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NEWS : Lightroom 5.6 Update

Hey everyone!

Adobe just released another “dot” update for Lightroom. We’re up to 5.6 now and it’s free to download. Just launch Lightroom, go to the Help menu and choose Check for Updates. There’s nothing really breathtaking in this one. It’s mostly a camera update (the Nikon D810 is now included as well as a couple of Panasonic cameras) and a few bug fixes. Oh and lots of news lens profile support (especially with Sony’s lenses). You can see exactly what’s in the update and what bug fixes were addressed over on the Adobe Lightroom Journal blog. There’s download links there as well, but the easiest way is just go to the Help menu and get it from there.


Lightroom Tip : Export photoshop files from Lightroom

When exporting layered Photoshop documents from Lightroom (using the Export dialog), selecting PSD as the Image Format (in the File Settings section) will export a new, flattened PSD file. To export a layered PSD file from Lightroom and have Lightroom retain the layers, choose Original for the Image Format (in the File Settings area).PSD-LRHave a great day


Lightroom Tip : Moving presets

Organizing presets can get pretty unwieldy if you don’t start using descriptively named folders to keep them in.
Anyway, what do you do if you didn’t put your presets in the folder you want in the first place? No sweat. You can move them. Just click on a preset and drag it into the folder you want. Here’s the trick though. Let’s say you have a really long preset list and you can’t see the folder name in your preset view. Then just drag the preset to the top or bottom of the panel edges (shown here).


It’s a little tricky at first, but if you drag slowly you’ll see the panel “catches” and starts scrolling. If you drag up too far or down too far, nothing will happen so make sure you drag slowly and you’ll be able to then drag it into another folder without going outside of Lightroom to reorganize them.
Have a great day


Lightroom Tip : The secret cropping tip to go from horizontal to vertical


Knowing how to crop a horizontal image into a vertical one, or vice versa, has been this little secret among Lightroom users for a while now. It’s one of those things that, while it is indeed in a menu, it’s not something that would ever jump out at you. So here’s the secret. When you’re in Crop mode (the keyboard shortcut is R), all you have to do is press the letter X and it’ll switch your crop orientation automatically. If it’s horizontal, it’ll make it vertical. If it’s vertical, it’ll do the opposite. That’s it!

Have a great day!


The Photosmith App for Lightroom and the iPad


Earlier in the summer, Photosmith released version 3 of their iPad app for Lightroom. Photosmith was really the first on the scene with iPad/Lightroom interaction years ago, and I’ve always had the app installed on my tablet. But it’s not until recently that I really started using it to help manage my photos from Lightroom to my iPad.
What is Photosmith?
In a nutshell, Photosmith is an iPad app that helps you keep your photos organized, and helps bridge the gap between Lightroom and your iPad. Whether you’re going to import your photos directly to your iPad and sync them with Lightroom later – or you’ve imported them into Lightroom, but want to view them (or rate, tag, keyword, add copyright info) on your iPad, it helps you stay in sync.
How It Works
Overall, I have to say it’s really easy to use. There’s two components to the app. First, you purchase the app on the App Store. Once you’ve got the app installed on your iPad, you’ll need to download a plug-in that gets installed in the Plug-in Manager in Lightroom (under the File menu).


Once you restart Lightroom, you’ll see Photosmith under the Publish Services panel in the Library module. From there, you simply create a collection of photos that you want to publish to your iPad, just like any other collection you’d create.


For me, I create a collection of my favorite photos from any given photo shoot. Once you do that, all you have to do is click “Publish” and Lightroom sends them over to your iPad (you have to have both on the same wifi connection). Basically, it works very similar to some of the other publish services out there.
Once they’re on your iPad, you can do some of the basic Lightroom tasks like ratings, lables, changing/adding metadata and copyright info. And just like Lightroom, you can apply the changes to one photo or a bunch of photos at the same time. After you’ve made any changes on your iPad, you can sync your photos back over to your Lightroom library by clicking the Sync button, and all of the iPad changes you’ve made get pushed back in to Lightroom. Overall, it’s pretty simple and straight forward.


What I’ll use it for?
For me, my iPad is a content consumption device. I surf the web on it, watch videos, read e-books and play Clash of Clans way too much But I don’t typically “work” on it. My photos don’t originate there and to get them there is a pain in the neck. So after a photo shoot, I’m still bringing my photos on to my laptop and doing the basic selects, adding metadata and putting them in to collections there. So I probably won’t use those features of Photosmith much. But I do love the fact that it’ll keep my favorites synced up on my iPad and give me a ton of ways to share them from there (Dropbox, Facebook, Flickr, Email to name a few). I had the clunkiest workflow possible when it comes to getting my favorite Lightroom photos on to my iPad (partially Dropbox, sometimes just a simple email). With Photosmith I can make a collection in Lightroom (which is already a BIG part of my workflow), and always have my favorites from a particular photo shoot on my iPad. And it is nice to know that if/when I do make any rating or metadata changes to them on the iPad (which actually does happen, since the iPad is typically where I show the photos off and sometimes I make rating changes based on the viewers feedback), those changes will get pushed back up to my Lightroom library.
Well, there you have it. At version 3, Photosmith is definitely a solid app. Well tested and proven to work. The ratings are great, so I’m not alone either. Until Adobe comes out with some sort of Lightroom “app”, this is definitely one to check out.
Have a great weekend!


Lightroom Tip : How To Turn Off The Annoying Photo Info Overlay

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 11.02.21I think Lightroom is all about showcasing your photos and making them look great. To me, nothing ruins that more than that annoying photo info overlay that appears in the top left of the photo in the Library and Develop module (see image below).

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 10.58.22

Every time I’m teaching a workshop, I noticed that overlay on several of the screens from people in the class and you’d be amazed at the sigh of relief when I showed them that you just have to press the I key to turn it off. Yup… that’s it. Press the letter I to cycle through the different info overlays and eventually turn it off altogether.

Have a great day


The top Questions &  answers about the Lightroom 5 upgrade

20130629-104737.jpgI’ve seen a bunch of questions about the release of Lightroom 5 and what it means to existing Lightroom users. So I wanted to write a quick post to answer some of the most common questions about upgrading. Here goes:

Q. Can I upgrade from Lightroom version 3 (or 2 or even 1)?
A. Yes. The Lightroom 5 upgrade will work for any version of Lightroom (1 thru 4). As long as you own a previous version of Lightroom the upgrade costs $79.

Q. What happens to my old Lightroom catalog?
A. When you first install and launch Lightroom 5, you should get a message telling you that you need to upgrade your previous Lightroom catalog. It actually makes a copy of the catalog and doesn’t modify or change your existing Lightroom 4 catalog. So you don’t need to do anything really. Your new Lightroom 4 catalog can life side-by-side along with your LR 5 catalog and nothing has to change until you’re ready to delete the old stuff.

Q. I use multiple catalogs. When I installed Lightroom 5, it just upgraded my default catalog. What about the other ones?
A. Lightroom 5 will upgrade your default catalog (the one that opens by default when you launch Lightroom). If you use multiple catalogs (which I don’t think you should btw…), you can upgrade them by going to the top menu and choosing File > Open Catalog (or Open Recent). Lightroom 5 will do the same thing it does the first time you launch it. It’ll make a copy of the catalog and upgrade it for Lightroom 5, while leaving the old Lightroom 4 catalog alone.

Q. Can I delete my old Lightroom 4 catalog?
A. Yes, when you’re all settled with Lightroom 5 you can delete your old Lightroom 4 catalog. You don’t need it anymore. Lightroom 5 won’t look for it and if you’re not using Lightroom 4 anymore then you don’t need the older catalogs.

Q. Can I remove Lightroom 4 from my computer?
A. Sure thing. Again, once you’re settled and up and running with LR5, you can uninstall Lightroom 4 (or whatever earlier version you were using) and everything will still work fine. And if you ever wipe your computer or install Lightroom 5 on a new computer, you can just install Lightroom 5 from scratch without installing the earlier version first. You’ll just need your serial number to active it.

Q. Will my presets carry over to Lightroom 5?
A. Yep. When you install Lightroom 5, all of your presets (Develop module, metadata, print, etc…) will all get moved over to Lightroom 5 automatically.


Adobe Lightroom 5 : Full review


Hello everyone,

It is now two weeks I use Lightroom 5 and I can now share with you my first impressions on this new upgrade.

The point of this review is not to make a complete class about Lightroom 5, there are many new features and tools, some that you can see immediately and some that you will never see (but they are still there :-)). So if you want to have the full list of what is new you can simply click here.

So I will basically talk about the main new features, only the ones that I am using in my every day work and I assume that they are the ones that will make you decide whether it is worth upgrading from Lightroom 4 or not.

First tool is the advanced healing brush. You remember before when there was some electric wire going through the picture, how many circular clicks did you have to make to get rid of it ? With LR 5….just one : now comes a really much more powerful and allowing the spot removal tool for non-circular click-and-drag healing and cloning, coming with a quick identification of spots with Visualize Spots :

A first quick example with the reflection of my flash on top of this lady’s cheek Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 13.54.01

One second to spot it and as always Lightroom proposes you the replacement zone :

Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 13.53.14

and here’s what we get

Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 13.55.10

Another very interesting example with something a bit more serious like these red feathers in the upper right corner :Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 10.11.25a bit of advanced healing brushScreen Shot 2013-06-17 at 10.12.47Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 10.13.24

and here’s what we get :

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 10.14.05

Pretty good right ?

I was talking about electric wires a bit earlier so here’s one last example of what can be done with the advanced healing brush in that kind of situation. Here are some very annoying  metallic wires in front and behind the elephant Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 19.01.13

Magic tool….. (I already erased the back one)Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 19.00.49and here’s what comes next Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 19.00.59

Sincerely, it took me less than 3 seconds to make it. This tool is actually so good that it is easier and faster that the tools on Photoshop. And so far it’s been fully reliable on 100 % of the times I had to use it.

Still talking about the spot removal tool, I also noticed a real difference in the spots that Lightroom is proposing us to replace the “bad ones”. Lightroom is now much more accurate and can propose replacement spots which can really be far from the initial spot. Here’s a couple of examples :Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 13.59.29Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 14.18.51

So we really get better results and to make it simple the improvements made for the spot removal tool are just GREAT !!

Second new feature proposed on LR5 is the radial filter tool. Unlike the advanced healing brush which is an upgrade of the spot removal tool, the radial filter is a brand new toolRadialFilterTool

The radial filter tool enables you to easily apply Lightroom’s selective adjustments including color and tonal corrections (same as the brush tool) inside or outside the selected areas of your picture.

Here is a first example :Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 10.28.57

I do like the light on this man on stage but I thought it would be better to have a darker backgroundScreen Shot 2013-06-17 at 10.30.17

very simple in fact, jsut as the brush tool, I decrease the exposure until I get what I want (on the right panel)Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 10.30.42

and here’s what I getScreen Shot 2013-06-17 at 10.31.23

Some will say that it is just an improved vignetting tool but it’s not as you can hit all of LR selective adjustments. I personally mostly used the exposure adjustment so far such as here (another picture on a stage)Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 11.15.40

where I wanted to get rid of the photographer in the low center part of the picture and emphase the light on what is happening on stageScreen Shot 2013-06-17 at 11.16.07

And there’s no way you can get such a good result with the vignetting tool. Honestly, if you don’t know that there is a photographer in the foreground, chances are that you will look at the pictures without even noticing him. So once again I would say that this tool is just GREAT again 🙂

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 14.04.34

The third new feature that I want to talk about now is the Upright perspective corrections. LR5 has improved this part and proposes now to automatically correct problems such as tilted horizons or converging verticals in buildings for example.

Even if most of us are not architecture photographers, many landscape pictures need to be arranged in terms of distortion and perspective, so I must admit that I was quit eager to see how this new feature would work. It appears in this new “Basic” tab.

So here is a first example. As a corporate photographer, I often shoot for companies and follow their events. That often takes me to set up photo booths and shoot people in front of backdrops. And as always I have the same distortion problem, very visible on the upper edge of the backdrop.Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 14.01.39

Until now I always corrected the distortion manually as I never was satisfied with the automatic feature that LR was proposing. So I clicked on “enable profile corrections” and here’s what came nextScreen Shot 2013-06-14 at 14.02.20

I must say that I was very surprised by that result, my panel is straight and the distortion has disappeared. Then I tried on the following ones (more than 200 pictures in front of that backdrop) and the result was always the same : good

Then of course I was really hopin g to get good result on the horizontal and vertical distortion. I tried “Auto” first :

Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 14.03.04

Then I tried “Full” :Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 14.03.30

to finally end up as always on the manual panel to fix everything by myself :Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 14.05.09

and finally proposed that one as a final result to my customer after a last crop :Screen Shot 2013-06-14 at 14.06.58

I must say that I was expecting a lot from that tool knowing that I use it on hundreds of pictures and hoping that it would make me gain a lot of time. Well maybe LR6 will ???

But since I read lots of articles and reviews that were all saying that this tool was a huge improvement for LR, I really wanted to understand why I did not get any good result. So I picked a picture in my library, the kind of picture very close to the ones Adobe are using to demonstrate their new tools, one with very clear buildings in front of a very clear background and with a lot of very obvious and common vertical distortion, a picture like that one :Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 14.39.29

You see what I mean ? Can’t get a better example ! So I just clicked on “Auto” again and here’s what came out :Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 14.39.45

Just perfecT !!!

Ok so what my point is, don’t expect too much from LR5 about these automatic corrections. That kind of tool works really well on “simple” pictures, pictures that are made for that tool should I say, which probably are 90% of the pictures we all will get when we shoot landscapes or architecture. But it won’t work if it becomes a bit too complex and tricky such as my “backdrop ones”. And this is the same for the automatic horizon line correction, also one of the new tools included in that “Basic” panel. It works really well when horizontal or vertical lines are really obvious, otherwise you can get some weird results.

Once you know that and you don’t expect miracles on every single of your pictures, you will use that tool accordingly and will definitely gain a lot of time (I think about all my students who never shoot straight for example ;-))

Next very new feature is The smart previewsScreen Shot 2013-06-26 at 15.17.23

When I first heard about that I really thought that it was one more GREAT idea :-). Just imagine, no need to bring your heavy raw files with you whenever you’re going somewhere and need to work on your pictures. No need to carry on your external hard drives with you. And for those who are using computers with small hard drive capacity, it’s just great !!! Very simply, the smart previews allow you to develop your photos, even when the masters are offline.  So you can just work on your photos on the road, and when you get home and reconnect your hard drive, your work is seamlessly applied to your masters. All you need on the road are your laptop your catalog, and smart previews of your photos.  Not interested in traveling with your photos? Smart previews may still give you a performance benefit in the Develop module.  Finally, Adobe has hinted that at some point in the future, smart previews will enable us to work with our photos in a Lightroom app on our mobile devices and takes us to this post : Lightroom app soon to be on your iPad

Well of course if you only work at home on your desktop this new feature has no real meaning for you but if you travel often it really can change a lot the way you will organize yourself. I personally do like it a lot and just thought : “Why did they wait for the 5th version to propose that ?”

So here are for me the most important new features of this 5th version of Lightroom. This is very personal of course as they are the ones I use the most in my everyday work so I believe they are the ones I must spend time with.

Two or three additional things though are :

  • Grid and guide overlays for Library, Develop and tethered capture:Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 15.49.26Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 15.50.10
  • True fullscreen mode (F) (old behavior: shift-F)
  • Slideshow: videos can be included in slideshows; improved synchronization of slides with soundtrack duration

Once again there are many new things coming with LR5 and most of them are behind the curtain, we don’t see them, we don’t even know they’re there but they make everything work smoother. The link to check this full list is on top of this post.

So to complete this post and to answer the only question :  Lightroom 5 or not Lightroom 5 ?

When I read posts and reviews a bit everywhere on the web, I can see very different opinions and advices. I would say that Adobe gave us a bad habit with many visible new features when they proposed LR4, much more than LR5. But as I just said there is a lot of work behind the curtain and Lightroom R works perfectly. It is as fast as LR4 when LR4 was much heavier than LR3 and the difference was really obvious.

I read that LR5 should have been an upgraded version of LR4 and become a LR4.5. This is logical if we just talk about the visible part of the iceberg. But LR5 definitely is a whole new version when we see the whole piece.

To upgrade to LR5 will cost you US$79 (I will not talk about the price of the full version as I assume you already have at least LR4 on your laptop), it’s not so much money but it becomes important when Adobe proposes a new version every year.

Once again I will make it very simple

  1. You’re a pro? you upgrade ! these new features such as the advanced healing brush or the radial filter are definitely worth it. And I’m not even talking about the new searching and organizing tools in the library module to help us find the pictures we need even more easily.
  2. You’re not a pro but LR is your “everyday best friend”? you upgrade ! For the same reasons just above
  3. You use LR from time to time, you mostly appreciate the library module to easily organize the pictures and you don’t really master the develop module, then I would say that it is not worth it and I would advise you to wait for LR6.

The very good thing is that you can make up your own mind for free and download the trial version directly here. You will have 30 days to make up your mind which I believe it to be way enough. To help you on that just get there

I definitely would not advise you to spend too much time on forums where you will get tons of informations in all directions which will definitely not help you.

Well I hope that this review based on my very personal experience will help you, I will be happy to get your opinions and answer your comments.

Bye for now


Should You Create Multiple Catalogs In Lightroom?

image Catalog questions tend to be the most popular questions I get at my Lightroom seminars. One of those questions is whether or not to create multiple catalogs in Lightroom.

See, back in Lightroom 1, it became fairly common knowledge that when your catalog grew to a certain size in photos (say 20,000) that it would slow down and you should create a new catalog so Lightroom would keep running quickly.

But that’s not the case anymore. Lightroom doesn’t have a photo limit that anyone has hit. Adobe doesn’t even recommend creating multiple catalogs anymore. So the first thing I tell people is to stick with one catalog. Keep it simple. I’ve got 70,000 photos in one of my catalogs and I don’t notice it to be significantly slower than a smaller catalog.

Now, does that mean you should never create multiple catalogs. Nope. It’s like many other things out there. Know what the rules are, then know how and when to break them. I know wedding photographers that create a new catalog each week for each wedding. Honestly, if I were a wedding photographer I’d probably do the same. I know people that create a catalog for their personal photos and one for their professional photos. Me personally, I don’t agree with that one. But hey, if it works for you then go for it.

My point is, if you have a good reason and are an advanced enough Lightroom user then creating multiple catalogs may be the way to go. But keep it mind, multiple catalogs is an “advanced” thing to do in Lightroom. You’re not going to find a lot of support for it, you’re going to complicate your workflow, and you’re not going to find a clear cut path on exactly how to make it work well.

But I think for most people, one catalog will work just fine. Load it up with as many photos as you’d like and don’t sweat it. It keeps things simple and, in my book, simple is usually good when it comes to managing our photos.


Still confused about how to upgrade your catalog for Lightroom 5 ?

Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 10.50.36

Confused about how to upgrade your catalogs from previous Lightroom versions?  Here’s the short version:

How do I upgrade my catalog from version 4 to version 5?

If you’re ready to upgrade, first make sure you have a current catalog backup, just in case something goes wrong. Proper measures have been put in place to avoid disasters, but you can never be too careful.

When you open Lightroom 5 for the first time, it should follow any existing Lightroom 4 preferences, and either prompt you for a catalog to open, or try to open your default catalog. If you’ve never run Lightroom on this machine, it will ask you where to create a default catalog.

When you try to open any earlier catalogs, Lightroom 5 will ask you to upgrade your catalog. You can select a different folder name or location for the upgraded catalog if you wish. The new version 5 catalog will be an upgraded copy—your original catalog won’t be changed, although the previews file will be moved to the Lightroom 5 catalog. You may want to move the original catalog to your backups folder once the upgrade is complete.

The upgrade process may take a while, as it checks the original files for additional information, for example, the bit depth and color profile. Note that if the original files are offline, for example, on disconnected external hard drives, then that extra metadata will not be added to the catalog.

Need more detail?

I found this excellent video which definitely should help you a lot  : http://youtu.be/7sVvWopRTos

Have fun 🙂


Adobe Lightroom 5 is available !!!


Hi everybody

Adobe has released Photoshop Lightroom 5, the latest version of its workflow and image editing software.

If you downloaded the beta version of Lightroom 5 released last April, then you already know its main new features. You will certainly have tested the “smart previews”  system with RAW DNG that are a fraction of the size of a full RAW file but still offering the flexibility of RAW images and the possibility to edit them while on the go and working on a light storage space SSD ultrabooks.

The new healing brush and the circular gradient are among the new stuff worth noting of Lightroom 5 as well as the new tools to straighten images and correct volume distortions.

Since the launch of the beta of Lightroom 5, water has flowed under the bridges and the improvement program launched by Adobe has allowed developers to fix a whopping 400 bugs. Lightroom 5 also now interfaces with behance, the social sharing service for creative work, recently acquired by Adobe.

Lightroom 5 will be available as a single application, but is also included in the software package Adobe Creative Cloud. The price to upgrade to Lightroom 5 is $79, no, ain’t really cheap for a now yearly update rhythm, and the software is sold $149.

I downloaded the 30 days trial version here yesterday, I will use it for a few days and come back to you with my opinion on this update and its new features in a new post to come soon.

But be careful if you upload the trial version and update your catalog in LR5, there will be no way that you can get it back on LR4 with the changes that you made in the meantime on LR5. So I would strongly advise you to try LR5 with a secondary catalog in case you decide not to keep LR5 and come back to LR4.

In the meantime and if you want more informations about it, click HERE for a first complete presentation.

And of course I would be very happy to know about your personal impressions.

Have a great day 🙂


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