Category Archives: How to

Multi-Catalog Tip – Set Identity Plate

Here’s a tip from my new book. It’s a simple technique, but not everyone thinks to do it. If you use more than one catalog in Lightroom, you’ll want to create a custom Identity Plate that can show you which catalog you’re working in.  This can prevent you from accidentally importing personal images into a jobs catalog, for instance.

Setting the identity plate is easy and it’s outlined in the movie linked below. For more information on multi-catalgo workflow with Lightroom, check out the new book.

Using Multiple Lightroom Catalogs

When you use multiple catalogs in Lightroom, it’s important to be clear about why you are splitting your collection and what you hope to accomplish. In my new book, I outline the most common of these reasons so you can create a purpose-driven workflow. Most people’s workflow will fall into one of the following groups:

Multiple Master Catalogs
Project and Master Catalogs
Working and Archive Catalogs
Synchronized Catalogs
Satellite Catalogs.

Each of these workflows has a dedicated chapter outlining the goals and how to achieve them. The following video helps you understand what each of these configurations includes.


New Lightroom 5 eBook available soon

I’ve been hard at work this spring on a new eBook covering some advanced Lightroom 5 workflows. The book is called Multi-Catalog Workflow with Lightroom 5. This multimedia book outlines how to create multi-catalog and multi-computer workflows with Lightroom 5. It provides a thorough exploration of the tools and methods that are useful in a multi-catalog workflow. It also shows you how to combine these techniques into purpose-driven workflows that solve real-world problems.

This ebook is a true multimedia hybrid, employing the techniques pioneered by my friend D J Clark. Video is used where it’s most appropriate – to demonstrate workflow sequences in action.  It is accompanied by text that provides context for the workflow, as well as a list of steps that you can refer to as you put the workflow into practice.

I’m publishing this eBook directly, The book will be available in PDF form so it can be played on a computer, and it will also come in ePub form for use on a tablet.

Release is expected in June 2013.

Okay so it took a little longer. It’s available now.

You’re going to need a bigger boat…

I got my D800 today, and I feel a bit like Roy Scheider in Jaws after he saw the size of the shark.  The files that come out of this camera are huge and remarkably good.  The 36 megapixels are also pushing the envelope of all of the rest of my equipment.

The camera is so sharp that it is showing focus falloff where my D700 did not. Even great modern lenses like the 14-24 are showing signs of image imperfections that I have never seen before.  I suppose I’ll need to test all of my lenses and see which ones are up to using on this camera.  I also expect that I’ll need to test them at all apertures.

There’s a potential limits of diffraction problem with this kind of pixel density.

Lonaconing Silk Mill, Lonaconing, MD 60mm Micro Nikkor @ f/8
Click here for the Zoomify version 

I’m getting 175 images on an 8 GB CF card. That’s going to go quickly. I have a bunch of much larger SD cards (32 GB), but they are slower.  Again, it looks like I’ll be doing some testing here.  I want first to see if any of the cards will produce a slowdown in shooting speed as they struggle to keep up with the data writing. After that, I’ll want to see what download times are for the various cards.  This will certainly be important in the field.

Hard Drives
I’ll be filling these up much faster with 40-50 MB raw files (14 bit, lossless compressed). This will certainly mean new portable drives for my upcoming trip to China, as well as for any extended location shoot.  And the archive drives will also be filling up faster, so there’s another purchase there as well.

These files are big, and process slowly. I have a feeling I’m going to need as much speed as I can get. New iMac?  New Macbook Pro?  Not sure.

Web publishing technology
There’s also a need to be able to view these images over the web. Photoshop has come with something called Zoomify – linked here – that can help with this.  But there’s some new technology called Piqsure that does this with HTML5 in some pretty cool ways.  More on that soon.

Lightroom catalog backup

Here’s a few tips on backing up Lightroom catalogs.  It’s reprinted from a post I made on a photo message board.

I must have missed the discussion about backing up Lightroom Catalogs. Why isn’t Time Machine a good method?

The problem occurs if the catalog is backed up while still open. If the database (the .lrcat file) is changed during the backup, then it may produce a corrupt backup. You would not know unless you tried to restore from the backup.

Apple may have fixed this – they did for Aperture, as I understand it. The fix involves not backing up the database while it’s open.

Even if that’ s fixed, however, there could still be problems for people, depending on how you use the program. Perhaps you leave Lightroom open most of the time, and there is limited opportunity to do the backup in the background.

The best method for backing up Lightroom has a few components.

SB3 Review

I have just returned from the ASMP’s Strictly Business 3 conference, and several people have asked me to report on the worthiness of the event. I can say with real enthusiasm that it would be quite helpful for professional photographers of any level.  Whether you are just starting out or have an established business, there is a lot to benefit from.

In some ways the event was mis-branded.  It’s not just a continuation of the earlier SB1 and SB2 events, because that’s not what our industry needs. We are facing huge changes, and the conference is really geared to helping photographers understand and survive the seismic changes we are currenly undergoing.  Details after the jump.

Continue reading SB3 Review

Using Expression Media to sort out scans

This short movie (3:34) shows how the View Options in Expression Media can be used to help sort between different versions of image files. You have the choice of lots of different metadata to show under a thumbnail, such as file size, pixel dimensions, color space and modification dates.

When you couple that with the “Sort” command, it’s easy to find the version of the file you are looking for.

Sorting Scans with Expression Media 2 from Peter Krogh on Vimeo.

For the month of October, get a free copy of Expression Media when you buy The DAM Book from us here.

Using AVCHD files on a Mac

Recently, I answered a question about how to use AVCHD files from a consumer video camera on a Mac. It can be really frustrating since these files are not native to the Mac.  If you have the Leopard or Snow Leopard operating system and you use iMovie or Final Cut or Adobe Premier Pro, you can read the files natively.

But what about playing them with Quicktime, or cataloging with Expression Media?  In these cases, you need to do some kind of conversion of the files.  There are two basic ways to do it – transcode or rewrap.

When you transcode, you take the bundle of JPEGs that make up the movie and you actually remake them. This is a destructive process that degrades the image as the individual frame images are remade. (That’s an oversimplification, but you get the point).

In general, whenever you transcode, you want to keep the original as well as the converted files. Not only is transcoding destructive, but there is the possibility of some kind of transcoding error, where frames might get dropped, or some other glitch introduced to the sequence.  This means you’ll be really increasing the storage needs, since you’ll need to save (and backup) both the original and the transcoded versions.

When you rewrap, you are basically taking all the JPEGs inside the movie file and putting a new wrapper around them (kind of like what a DNG does with raw file data). Since the individual images for each frame are not remade, there is no loss of visual quality. This also greatly reduces the possibility of any kind of dropped frames, etc.

Clipwrap ($50) can turn those pesky AVCHD files into quicktime-native files quickly and easily. If it reports a successful wrap, you’re pretty safe in tossing the original files. (Of course, to be safest, you’d want to watch the entire clip before tossing the original.)

Thanks to Richard Harrington who first talked me through this issue when I was dealing with my own camera.