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I’ve just released an updated version of my Fuji Jpeg book. This is a relatively minor update, and is focussed on fixing the language in some places, as well as updating the references mentioned in it to reflect things that have changed since the guide was first written, such as the arrival of newer Fuji cameras, changes to Lightroom etc. the new version number is 1.2, and you can find a complete list of changes below.

This updated version is free to any customer who had bought the previous version of this guide, or the X-Trans Lightroom Bundle which also contained this guide. You can find it in the downloads section under “my account” on the store. If you need help, I have a support document here explaining how to get updates.

One of the biggest changes in this release is based on feedback from a few readers. In the original version of this I had used my X-Pro 2 as an example of how I shoot. While I had tried to make sure that it was clear that this was just an example, some readers felt that it was too much like an "X-Pro2 Guide" rather than a generic Jpeg guide. In order to avoid such confusion in the future, I have significantly reduced the number of references to any specific camera and changed the language to make it more generic.

Also, a big thanks to my Patreon supporters who helped me decide which cover to use.

Changes in Version 1.2

  • Added Reference to Eterna
  • Updated One of the Recipes to use Eterna as an alternative
  • Clarified some of the language around grain in Acros based on feedback
  • Reduced specific mentions of the X-Pro 2 to avoid confusion based on reader feedback.
  • Cleaned up text and changed some of the language used throughout
  • Removed reference to VSCO presets (as they are discontinued) and changed it to more generic language
  • Updated references to version of Lightroom based on their newer titles
  • Updated installation instructions for Lightroom Presets
  • Updated support links
  • Removed outdated links
  • Added a link to my YouTube video explaining shadow and Highlight tone options
  • Removed reference to X-Raw studio being Mac Only
  • New Cover - Chosen by Patreon Supporters
Important information for those updating:

If you don’t see the updated version in your account please make sure you had bought the previous version before contacting support. This is only free to those who had bought the previous edition of this book.

As I have several Fuji guides, there can be some confusion when I issue updates, as people may not be aware as to which guide they had previously bought. This guide is entitled “Fuji Jpegs: Shooting and Processing Guide”. If you don’t see it in your previous orders, then you may have bought a different book instead. If you have bought the Fuji X-Trans Lightroom Bundle, you will also get this updated guide.

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Today Adobe rolls out a series of updates across the Lightroom portfolio of applications. Lightroom Classic is now at 8.3 and it contains quite a few bug fixes and performance enhancements, as well as several new features. The entire suite of Lightroom versions has been updated including the mobile and desktop versions. Here are some of the details.

New Name for Lightroom Classic

With this release, Adobe is changing the way Lightroom Classic is named. The “CC” moniker is being dropped, so that it will now simply be referred to as Lightroom Classic. Given how this is how most people referred to it anyway, and how this has been a bit confusing up till now, I think this change will be welcome.

Lightroom Classic

Most of this post will talk about Lightroom classic. There are several new features in the software, some of which will also roll out across the line and I assume will also be in Camera RAW. I’ve been able to test it in advance and here are some of the main additions and changes.

Texture

“Texture” is a new slider in the develop module. It performs like a more fine version of clarity and is useful for adding…well…texture to images. It enhances or softens "medium" details in an image. At first, I thought it might be similar to the “structure” control found in other applications, but it’s not quite the same. It probably sits somewhere between structure and clarity.

I suspect that this will become a favourite adjustment for a lot of people (and possibly overused a lot too)

As well as positive values adding detail to an image, negative values apply a degree of softening to textures and can be used for things like skin softening for example. The algorithm is able to soften skin without affecting pores.

As well as being available in the main develop panel, you can also apply texture as part of a selective adjustment. In other words, you can use it with a brush, gradient, radial gradient etc.

Below are some examples showing texture in action. (Click to view large)


Texture at 0%
Texture at 100%
Texture: 0% Clarity 100%
Texture: 0%
Texture 100%
Texture: 0%
Texture: 100%

In the examples above I used texture at 100% just to illustrate the effect, but in reality, you wouldn’t use it this way. Here is the last example at a more reasonable 30%

Texture: 30%

A First Look at the new “Texture” slider in Lightroom Classic 8.3 - YouTube
Flat Field Correction

This is probably one of those things that for many people will be something they never use, but for those for whom it is important, this will be a welcome addition. It was previously available as a plug-in, but this release it is now standard.

Flat field correction corrects colour shifts and light falloff that can occur with some lenses. It’s particularly prevalent when using older manual focus wide angle lenses on digital cameras. You could sometimes see a fairly prominent colour vignetting, and this allows you to correct for that.

It works by basing the corrections on a reference image, that you take either against a plain background or by using a diffuser. Once you have this reference image, you can tell Lightroom to correct a subsequent set of images using the reference as the source for the corrections.

As this is something that I don’t personally have use for, I haven’t actually tried it, but I know it is an issue. I have seen a lot of people talking about this when the Sony A7R came out because they were using Leica wide angle lenses. I won’t bore you with the technical reasons as to why this happens - it’s something o do with the angle at which light hits the sensor. Previously people have used third-party software to create corrected DNGs, so now you can do it directly inside of Lightroom.

Improved Automatic Settings

The AI-based auto settings that were introduced a few versions ago have changed to improve the quality of the auto settings. Obviously this is subjective, but in my opinion, it looks a little better. I found the older version used to lower the contrast too much, while the new version seems to be better at this, although it still gives some unusual results in certain circumstances.

It’s still an automatic setting though, and I always just use this as a starting point if I use it at all. It can give you a good place to start at times, and for beginners, this is often a good way to quickly get their photos into the right place without too much effort.

Here’s a quick example. In this case it’s pretty subtle, but there is more contrast by default. Click to view large - You can compare by using the left and right arrows on the Lightbox when you click on the images and you will better be able to see the differences.


Original Version
8.2 Auto Settings
8.3 Auto Settings Import behaviour

When you insert a memory card into a card reader and go to import images, the default behaviour will change with this release. Instead of selecting the folder from the “devices” section, it will be selected from the list of attached drives, and the “DCIM” folder should be automatically selected.

What is the difference with this? Adobe claims it speeds up the import process. I haven’t done any comparisons, but I suspect that this will vary from computer to computer.

Lightroom Desktop

As well as getting the texture control mentioned above, Lightroom desktop will also now get defringe controls. These perform a similar function to defringe in Lightroom Classic but the controls are different.



Lightroom Mobile

As well as the new texture control, the iOS and Android versions of Lightroom get a new home view. This shows your most recent photos, as well as tutorials. It’s somewhat similar to the home screens in other Adobe applications such as photoshop etc.

The interactive tutorials aren’t just a movie playing on your device. They provide the actual photo used and you can follow along on your phone or tablet as you’re guided through the process of the edits.


New "Home" View
Inspirational Photos
Inspirational Photos

It also adds what they’re calling “Inspirational Photos”. These show a selection of photos from other artists, and you can click on them to see what edits were made to the images, and scroll through the edits as they were being added. I suppose you could consider them mini tutorials.

The Android version of Lightroom also now gets batch editing. This allows you to copy and paste settings to multiple images at once.

Collaboration

Across all the new versions you can now invite people to contribute to shared albums. You can invite people by email, or via a shared link, to add photos to your albums, and you will have access to the full res versions of any images added, including RAW files.

Additional details

In addition to these main features there are some other performance tweaks and bug fixes behind the scenes, including an improved text engine in the book, slideshow and print module of Lightroom Classic, as well as performance tweaks to the syncing, pdf exporting and I’m sure I’m probably missing something here too.

There is also lots of new camera and lens profile support too. Here are the new models supported with this release.

Cameras:

  • Canon EOS 250D (EOS Rebel SL3, EOS 200D II, EOS Kiss X10)
  • Canon EOS RP
  • Google Pixel 3 Front Standard Camera
  • Google Pixel 3XL Front Standard Camera
  • Google Pixel 3 Front Wide Camera
  • Google Pixel 3 XL Front Wide Camera
  • HMD Global Nokia 9 PureView
  • LG V40 ThinQ
  • Panasonic LUMIX DC-FZ1000M2 (DC-FZ10002)
  • Panasonic LUMIX DC-S1
  • Panasonic LUMIX DC-S1R
  • Panasonic LUMIX DC-ZS80 (DC-TZ95, DC-TZ96, DC-TZ97)
  • RICOH GR III
  • RICOH THETA Z1
  • Sony A6400 (ILCE-6400)
  • Sony RX0 II (DSC-RX0M2)

Lens Profiles:

Canon EF

  • SIGMA 28mm F1.4 DG HSM A019
  • SIGMA 28mm T1.5 FF HIGH-SPEED PRIME
  • SIGMA 40mm T1.5 FF HIGH-SPEED PRIME
  • SIGMA 70-200mm F2.8 DG OS HSM S018
  • Tokina opera 16-28 mm F2.8 FF
  • Tokina opera 50mm F1.4 FF

HMD Global

  • HMD Global Nokia 9 PureView Front Camera
  • HMD Global..
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If you ever need to open a RAW file in Photoshop using Camera RAW I recently saw a demo featuring a feature that is sort of hidden, but is really useful. This is possibly a little bit technical, but the tip basically allows you to open a RAW file as a smart object without explicitly choosing the option to open as a smart object.

Here’s what to do.

Step1: Start by opening any RAW file in Photoshop to bring up the Camera RAW dialog.

Step2: At the bottom of the camera raw window click on the text where it says the Colour space and resolution of the image.

Step 3: This will bring up the “Workflow Options” dialog box. At the bottom of this dialog, tick the checkbox that says: Open in Photoshop as Smart Objects. (You can also change the bit depth here too, if you want to open the image as 16bit rather than 8bit)

Step 4: Click ok to close this dialog

Step 5: You will notice the “Open Image” button at the bottom of the Camera RAW window has now changed to “Open Object”

Step 6: Once you make your edits in Camera RAW, click Open Object to open the image in Photoshop as a Smart Object.

You always had the option to open an image as a smart object manually by choosing “Open As Smart Object…” from the file menu, but by enabling this option you will always open raw files as smart objects regardless of how you get them into photoshop, such as dragging and dropping, or sending to Photoshop from another application.

This is now my default option, and I always keep RAW edits as smart objects in Photoshop (unless I need to flatten them for whatever reason) If you’re not familiar with the advantages of this, by opening the image as a smart object, all of your Camera RAW edits remain non-destructive and you can go back in and change them at any time. You can even apply filters on top of the smart object, and still go back and change the original Camera RAW settings to edit again, and any filter applied will update.

I also recommend sending images from Lightroom to Photoshop as smart objects too. That way you retain edibility over the raw part of the file. Of course it depends on what you plan to do, but that’s the way I work, in order to maximise the ability to re-edit a file in the future. In order to send a RAW file from Lightroom to Photoshop as a smart object, in Lightroom right click on an image and choose “Send to Photoshop as Smart Object”.

Help Support the Blog

This blog is pretty much my day job now and I work to bring you my own take on photography, both tutorials and tips, as well as inspiration from my own art. I support this work, and my YouTube channel entirely either via sales of my eBooks and Lightroom presets, or the kind support of my readers. (I also have one affiliate ad). Running all this isn’t cheap, and so If you like what you see and you want to help keep this all going, there are a number of ways you can do so:

If you like this post then you can see more of my work on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I also have a YouTube channel that you might like. You should also check out my other Photography Project: The Streets of Dublin. If you want to get regular updates, and notices of occasional special offers, and discounts from my store, then please sign up for the Newsletter.

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If you’re into photography at all, unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock (or stayed off the internet) you can’t help but have read about the recent “price hike” on Adobe’s Photography plan. Site after site reported that Adobe had “doubled” the price of its photography plan, which lead to cries and consternation from all corners of the internet. I was really in two minds as to whether to write about this or not, because I know this will be unpopular, and I will get lots of hate mail because of this. I was really angry and annoyed about this news. Not because of what Adobe did, but because of the way it was reported and the crazy carry on afterwards.

First of all, Adobe did not double the price of its photography plan. It issued a statement saying that it was carrying out a pricing test for some users on its website to gauge reaction to a different price point, but that the old price was still there. I would estimate that a good 50% of the websites that initially reported on this story failed to add the correction. To be fair, quite a few did correct it, but some didn’t, or tried to spin the correction to support the narrative they had already gone with. I’ve seen quite a few commentators cry foul on this with some ridiculous blog headlines, but this kind of thing isn’t out of the ordinary. Companies do this all the time. It’s called A/B testing. Even in my small little store, I have the tools to do this. I would be willing to bet that something similar to this has happened before and no one noticed.

It should also be noted too that this was never just Adobe doubling the price in the first place. They were offering a different plan altogether. The $9.99 plan only offered 20GB of storage, which is basically useless. The $20 plan that was being trialled offered 1TB of storage. Considering Apple charges €10 for its 1tb plan for iCloud, this isn’t a bad deal. But again, lots of people were complaining, saying that they don’t use the online storage, so why should they care. I can understand this, but I can also see the point of view, that a lot of people don’t use the storage because at 20GB it’s basically useless. I also suspect that Adobe realises this, and this is part of their reason for this testing of a new plan. I also suspect that in the future, as cloud services become more and more entrenched there will be a push to use these services even more.

What really ticked me off though was that several sites used this “news” to try to sell their affiliate links for competing software. I saw at least three sites that I won’t name post a story that Adobe was doubling the price of creative cloud and you should buy Capture One or Luminar instead, with their affiliate links proud and central. In the initial posting of some of these “offers,” there was no mention that of Adobes statement or even that the cost included a much higher storage tier. This was a really disingenuous and cheap move on the part of the sites that did this. If you’re going to promote alternative options, do it on the merits of those options, not because of some botched PR move by Adobe and a misreporting of the story.

The virtual “piling on” was so massive after this story, that you’re almost afraid to post a dissenting opinion. The negative and angry emotions around this, being capitalised on and sensationalised by writes, bloggers etc for clicks and affiliate sales is really disappointing, but as I mentioned before, this seems to be the in-thing in reporting on the photography industry now. It’s actually leaving a sour taste in my mouth about the whole industry. Surely there’s enough anger and hate in the world without getting this worked up over software and hardware.

Don’t get me wrong, this was a massive PR mistake on Adobe’s part. They allowed the story to get away from them, and they should have been more transparent on their website in the first place. A simple link to say alternative plans on the pricing page could have solved this problem, or even roll out the $20 plan in addition to the $10 and test it that way. I don’t think they were wrong to test a different plan though, because as I said, companies do this all the time, they just did it in a poorly handled way.

I get a lot of people don’t like the whole subscription thing. I really do, but it’s the way it is and it’s not going to change. If you don’t want to pay for a subscription on ideological grounds, then that’s fine, but then if that is the case this was never going to affect you anyway.

However, I still see lots of misinformation about the whole subscription thing, even though it’s years later since this was first introduced.

First of all, the value proposition. On the Photography plan, the existing $10 a month is a steal. A year's worth of this plan is a little more than the cost of Photoshop elements and for that, you’re getting two professional applications. Even at $20 a month it’s really good value. For that price, you’re getting Photoshop and Lightroom and Online Storage. Even without the storage, it's still really good value. $20 a month is $240 a year. Photoshop used to cost $650 and Lightroom cost around $160 depending on the offers (On Amazon UK, I saw that one place is still selling Lightroom 6 for over £200.) Considering software was usually updated every 18 months or so, you’re still getting the software at a very reasonable price.

But I get it, not everyone can afford $10 or $20 a month, and that's fine. But if you can’t afford that, were you going to pay $700 - $800 on the full price of the software anyway? If you don’t need Photoshop and only need Lightroom, you can still get the single App pricing on this anyway, and it's still roughly around the same as what you would have paid for Lightroom over the course of a year. It probably is more expensive in the long run, over the course of multiple years so I can understand a degree of frustration here, but it's still a cheaper way to get into the software than forking out the price for a full application in the first place.

The second is the whole thing about “owning” vs “renting” the software. This is a bit of a misnomer though, because even for software that you “buy” you still don’t technically own it. What you pay for is a licence to use the software. You don’t actually own it in the same way that you own a physical product. The people that do own the software, are the people who develop it. They are the ones that actually “own” it, and they are selling you a licence to use it. This may seem like a semantic difference, but I suspect a lot of people don’t actually realise that there is a difference. Most licences come with lots of terms and conditions that people never read, and in there you will see lots of reasons that a licence can be revoked, unlike a physical product. Again, I know this may seem like a semantic difference, but you don’t own software, you buy a licence to use it.

Incidentally, the Verge had a good video explaining why companies are switching to the subscription model, and its worth a watch.

Why everything is a subscription - YouTube

As I said earlier, I have no objection to people who have an ideological objection to the subscription model, and I can understand why. What I do object to though, is people who don’t like the subscription model, who think that no one should support it and attacks anyone that even mentions the software. I regularly get hate mail from people when I post anything about Lightroom or any Adobe product telling me I shouldn’t be supporting the “evil” company. I’m frankly sick of it. Adobe is no eviler than Microsoft or Apple or Autodesk. They’re a large company beholden to their shareholders like any other, and they make tools that a lot of us couldn’t create what we do without them. If you don’t like it, fine, but please stop with the Adobe is evil nonsense.

As I said earlier, I have no objection to people who have an ideological objection to the subscription model, and I can understand why. What I do object to though, is people who don’t like the subscription model, who think that no one should support it and attacks anyone that even mentions the software. I regularly get hate mail from people when I post anything about Lightroom or any Adobe product telling me I shouldn’t be supporting the “evil” company. I’m frankly sick of it. Adobe is no eviler than Microsoft or Apple or Autodesk. They’re a large company beholden to their shareholders like any other, and they make tools that a lot of us couldn’t create what we do without them. If you don’t like it, fine, but please stop with the Adobe is evil nonsense.

I happen to have no problem with the subscription model personally, in fact, I happen to think its a good idea. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for Adobe’s switch to the subscription plans. I left a permanent job doing motion graphics and design several years ago to work freelance, and when I did so, I relied on Adobe’s software, specifically Illustrator, Photoshop and After Effects. I could never have afforded the complete suite of Applications at the time which was over €2000 to buy the licence up front, much less the regular upgrade fees. I would never have been able to leave my job and do what I do now if it wasn’t for the creative cloud subscription. I’m pretty sure I’m probably not alone in that either.

I recognise that this is going to be an unpopular post, but this is how I feel and it’s my opinion on the matter. You are free to respectfully disagree, but if you do, be aware that I also have the right to disagree with your disagreeing. Please keep the discussion civil, and read the comment policy before posting!

Cover image by Mikaela Shannon via Unsplash

Help Support the Blog

This blog is pretty much my day job now and I work to bring you my own take on photography, both tutorials and tips, as well as inspiration from my own art. I support this work, and my YouTube channel entirely either via sales of my eBooks and Lightroom presets, or the kind support of my readers. (I also have one affiliate ad). Running all this isn’t cheap, and so If you like what you see and you want to help keep this all going, there are a number of ways you can do so:

If you like this post then you can see more of my work on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I also have a YouTube channel that you might like. You should also check out my other Photography Project: The Streets of Dublin. If you want to get regular updates, and notices of occasional special offers, and discounts from my store, then please sign up for the Newsletter.

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With the recent launch of Luminar Flex and the update of Luminar to 3.1, I’ve been seeing a lot of comments and I've been getting feedback from readers who are confused about the different versions. I have to admit, I was a bit confused myself at first, but I’ve since managed to get a better handle as to the main differences between the two. With that In mind, I will attempt to clear up some of the (yours and mine!) confusion.

Luminar Flex was launched to be used as a plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom. While many were welcoming the arrival of the asset management side of the software, a large portion of users don't need or want that aspect of the application and still intend to use it in conjunction with their existing software. This is who Flex is aimed at. However, because the full Luminar also works as a plug-in so this has led to a bit of confusion. The recent launch of Luminar 3.1 has also compounded this, with that application getting Accent AI 2.0 while Flex continues to have the original version.

While the main version of Luminar can still work as a plugin, I think that the intention going forward is that this functionality is primarily going to be the domain of Flex. This means that for those wanting to primarily use Luminar as a plugin, Flex will be the best option. The initial version has a number of advantages over the full version of Luminar and I suspect the two applications will diverge in this respect as the development continues. It's also important to remember that Flex is in its first version right now and that it will evolve over time and the same goes for the full version. Regarding Accent AI 2.0, I've been told that it's coming to Flex.

I don't think there's any intention to have one application take precedence over the other and I think that the reason for the disparity is just that they are on different development tracks and timetables. That's my reading of the situation anyway - but I don't have any special insider information on this. I understand some people were a bit pissed off by this and I perfectly understand why. I was a bit confused by this too, and it took me a while to figure it out, but I don't think there's anything nefarious going on here.

So then, what are the advantages of Flex over the regular Luminar?

Luminar FLEX Workspaces

As I said earlier, Flex has been optimised to work as a plugin. As such there are a number of differences. At the moment, if you're just using Lightroom, it performs broadly similar to how the full version does. There are some differences inside the application though. They've changed the default workspaces so that they are better optimised for those working with another application, rather than those working standalone. These were based on the idea that people would be using the application differently if using it as a plugin, so things like “film lab” are there as that might be a workflow that you are likely to want for example.

The big differences, however, come when you use Luminar Flex with Photoshop. The two main differences are that Flex fully supports Photoshop smart objects, and you can use it as part of an action. While you could use Luminar as a smart filter on a smart object before, it wouldn't remember the settings. So, for example, if you applied the filter to a smart object in Photoshop, then made some changes, and applied them, going back into the plugin by double-clicking on the smart filter layer in Photoshop would cause it to revert to the default settings, therefore losing your edits. With Flex, the settings are saved in the smart layer and you can go back into the smart filter and continue with how you left it.

Luminar Flex as a Smart Filter on a Smart Object in Photoshop

The other big advantage is that Flex also works with actions properly. Again, you could use Luminar 3 as part of an action but it wouldn't remember the settings used inside of Luminar, just that you called it. Now, you and call Luminar, apply presets, or make whatever tweaks you want, and save those as part of an action. When you run that action, all of the settings that you made when creating the action will be applied as expected. This doesn't happen when running the full version of Luminar as a plug-in, which will just apply default settings. This goes even further and you can use the action as part of a batch process or even a Photoshop droplet.

The advantages of this workflow are that you can work non-destructively when using Luminar Flex as a plug-in. In fact, if you're using Flex with Lightroom, my preferred option is to round trip to Photoshop as a smart object, therefore keeping the whole edits non-destructive. This may add a few steps to your workflow, but it is worth it. I would love to see them add some way to have this non-destructive workflow work from within Lightroom on its own, but I'm not sure that the Lightroom plugin API allows this.

BTW. I had hoped to record a video/screencast to explain the functionality of Flex a bit better than this but due to unforeseen circumstances, I haven’t been able to record this week. I will try and do a video version soon though, as it will be a much better way to be able to see how this works.

So, I'm not sure if that clears up any of the confusion or not. I do think the company could have done better with the way they launched Flex and explained it to people. I also think that they could do with a better name for the full version of Luminar, as it’s getting a bit confusing when writing about the two. Going forward Luminar 3 will be primarily the desktop standalone software and plug-in functionality will be the domain of Flex, so if you're wondering which version is for you it depends on how you intend to use it. If you want to use it both ways, I honestly don't know what to recommend at the moment, to be honest.

If you have any questions, please go ahead and ask, and I'll do my best to answer. As I said, I don't have any behind the scenes or company information, however, so I don't know any future plans, but I'll do my best to answer based on my own experience using it if I can.

Ethics note: I am a member of the Skylum affiliate programme. This means that I get a (very) small commission when someone buys the software using my discount code or from one of the links on my site. This in no way colours my judgement or affects my impartiality when writing about the software. You can look back at my previous reviews which have often called out many issues in the software, if you don't believe me. I only use the software, because I genuinely like it and am interested in its development. I also have no connection to the company other than that and don't have any inside secrets or plans as to what they are doing in the future.

Help Support the Blog

This blog is pretty much my day job now and I work to bring you my own take on photography, both tutorials and tips, as well as inspiration from my own art. I support this work, and my YouTube channel entirely either via sales of my eBooks and Lightroom presets, or the kind support of my readers. (I also have one affiliate ad). Running all this isn’t cheap, and so If you like what you see and you want to help keep this all going, there are a number of ways you can do so:

If you like this post then you can see more of my work on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I also have a YouTube channel that you might like. You should also check out my other Photography Project: The Streets of Dublin. If you want to get regular updates, and notices of occasional special offers, and discounts from my store, then please sign up for the Newsletter.

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Despite being discontinued several years ago, Apple’s Aperture software still worked for the most part with current setups, but that is about to change. Apple has issued a warning that Aperture won’t work with the next version of MacOS after Mojave.

Aperture will no longer work because Apple is planning to remove all legacy 32bit code from the next MacOS. Aperture isn’t the only casualty of this, and the change is also affecting legacy video codecs and Final Cut Pro. Apple has issued a support document outlining how you can import your library into Photos and Lightroom.

I find this news a bit sad for personal reasons, although not that surprising. For me, Aperture represented the beginning of what I do now. I was amazed when it first came out, as there was nothing like it at the time. I also realised that there was a good deal of interest in the software, and I set up a blog talking and writing about it. It’s what led to this blog and all of my work since. I even got my first experience publishing by writing a book about Aperture (which amazingly enough still sells a few copies every month) Even though it was discontinued nearly four years ago, it is sad that the final nail is being put in its virtual coffin.

While photography software has moved on a lot in the last four years, there are many things that still make Aperture unique, and many things that only Aperture did, that still hasn’t been replicated by other software. I was really disappointed at the time that Apple discontinued this software, and I still am. Photos is nothing like it, and frankly, no other software can still come close to the organisation and ease of use. Unfortunately, even at the end of its life, it had fallen significantly behind in several other areas, especially processing. It never had automatic lens corrections or even automatic chromatic aberration correction, two things that I would consider deal breakers in modern software.

If you still rely on Aperture then you can still use it so long as you don’t upgrade the operating system. It should be noted that this does come with a cost. I’m currently running on High Sierra still on my Mac Pro and even now I’m finding some applications require Mojave. If you need to continue to use Aperture though, freezing your current system (i.e. not upgrading the operating system, and possibly other applications) is the only real way to do it.

While Apple details steps to import your library into Photos or Lightroom, it should be noted that Capture One also has the option to import Aperture Libraries. I haven’t tried this personally, but the option is in the File menu under Import Catalogue. If anyone has any experience of this please let your fellow readers know by leaving a comment below.

Help Support the Blog

This blog is pretty much my day job now and I work to bring you my own take on photography, both tutorials and tips, as well as inspiration from my own art. I support this work, and my YouTube channel entirely either via sales of my eBooks and Lightroom presets, or the kind support of my readers. (I also have some affiliate ads). Running all this isn’t cheap, and so If you like what you see and you want to help keep this all going, there are a number of ways you can do so:

You can see more of my photography and keep up to date by following me on social media and checking out my other websites:

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Today, Skylum Software releases the first major update to Luminar 3. The release brings a couple of new features along with lots of other fixes and tweaks. The two headline features of the new version are Accent AI 2.0 and Raw + Jpeg management. I’ve been trying the beta for a few days and here’s what I found.

Accent AI 2.0

This is a new version of the company’s artificial intelligence engine for automatically enhancing your images. The old version was already pretty good in my opinion, but they claim that the new version is even better, especially when it comes to handling people. 1.0 could over-process images with faces and skin-tones a little and Accent AI 2.0 is designed to recognise people and objects and compensate.

In my experience the difference is fairly subtle, but it does make a difference when there are people in the frame. Previously if you cranked the slider up full, it would tend to blow out the highlights on skin tones, whereas now it’s protecting them, and they’re not as metallic looking. Here is an example...

As you can see the results are fairly subtle for the most part. I think this would probably be more noticeable if I shot portraits, but I don’t really have any portrait shots to try it on. Still, if you have images with people this hold make a difference.

The combination of this and some of the newer presets make for a really quick way to enhance your images, and it can cut down on your workflow. I’ve found myself using this more and more. Even when not using Luminar as my main processor, I will use it from Lightroom to enhance my images to give them a little extra pop. In some cases where it would require significant editing, I was able to create a good result by just using the “AI Image Enhancer” from the “Essentials” looks. This applies a few tweaks to the develop panel and uses Accent AI 2.0 and Sky Enhancer. While this was also true in the previous version, I now feel more confident with it, and you seem to have to tone it back less than you previously did.

Raw + Jpegs

The handling of Raw + Jpegs in the previous version was one of my big issues with the software. Luminar 3.1 now adds proper management of Raw + Jpeg pairs. It’s still not perfect, but it’s a vast improvement.

In the view menu, you now have a submenu for Raw. + Jpeg Pairs. This allows you to switch between viewing just Jpegs, Just Raw files or Both. It also treats images as a pair, so if you move one they both move (I haven’t tested this in practice). Ratings will also be applied to both as a pair, so if you mark the Raw file as 5, for example, the Jpeg will be given a 5-star rating too.

This is a huge improvement over the previous version. If you shoot RAW + JPEG as I do, then previously it was a total pain, as there was no way to even filter these out and it wasn’t even clear from the gallery view as to which was which. It actually put me off using the software, and now with this new feature, it’s made it useable for me again. So kudos to them for adding it.

However….

I do think it still has a few limitations though. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it could be better. For me the gold standard of RAW + JPEG handling was Aperture. It allowed you to switch on a per image basis, and I wish this could do the same. As it is, it seems to be global, but there are times when you would be working on a raw file but would like to use the Jpeg for just that image. So I would really like to see this on a per image basis.

Also, there’s no indication on the gallery view if an image is RAW or JPEG so a little badge to tell you what you’re looking at would be useful too.

Syncing Enhancements

Another new feature is that the way adjustments are synced between images has been improved too. It now only syncs adjustments, and Image layers, erase, cloning and cropping won’t be synced. This makes more sense and while it’s not an issue that I had run into I suspect this will be welcomed.

However… ;-)

I still think this could be improved further. There is still no way to select which adjustments that you wish to sync. Something like the way Lightroom works I think would be a better option. When you select the option to sync, what I would like to see is a dialogue box with a list of the applied filters and a checkbox for the ones you want to sync.

But there is a bigger issue with syncing that I think they need to solve, and the same applies to presets. If you sync adjustments between images, it overwrites whatever is currently in the filter stack on the target image. Even if they're unrelated. You can’t just sync sharpening for example, as it would then leave the target image with just a sharpening filter and nothing else. I fond this one of the biggest limitations of the way Luminar works for both syncing and presets or “Looks” to use the appropriate terminology. It means you can’t create tool presets that just affect one or two things. If you make changes to one image and want to sync those to another image, if you had made changes to that, they will be completely overwritten.

Let me give you an example. I was editing some images, and I realised that I didn’t have the lens corrections tried on. Now, in any other software, you could apply the lens correction, and then copy and paste it to other images, or sync just the lens corrections. In Luminar however, there’s no way to do this. Even if I had only changed the lens corrections, syncing to the other images would overwrite everything on that image, deleting all your previous edits.

Or consider this. I load some images, then set the colour profile, and sync these across all the images. This is fine, but if I then go to apply one of the presets, it will overwrite these changes. I have to create a new layer and apply the preset to that. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s a clumsy and awkward way of working.

I also wish they would let you set defaults for things like lens corrections and colour profile. In fact, the whole raw develop filter should be able to be set as a default for a particular camera.

I really wish someone at the company would realise that this is an issue and set about changing how the whole preset/syncing/ copy and paste system works, because as it is, in my opinion, it’s a really big limitation of the software, and incredibly frustrating from a workflow point of view. All they would need to do is have it add the adjustments being copied or synced instead of overwriting everything. Or, alternatively, if a particular adjustment exists, or has been changed then overwrite it, otherwise don’t. Like how most other software works.

Windows improvements

I don’t have access to a PC, so I can’t test any of the windows improvements, but according to the release information, here’s what’s improved…

Import Images (Windows) You’ll be able to copy photos to a folder right from Luminar. Use this choice to pull images off of a memory card or other drive.

Gallery Selection (Windows) Now it’s more convenient to select and deselect photos in your gallery. Select non-adjacent photos with Ctrl-click. Click outside a photo to deselect all photos.

Conclusions

While the headline feature of this release is Accent AI 2.0, for me the biggest improvement is the RAW + JPEG handling. This has made the software much easier for me to use with my workflow. Overall, although it hasn’t been announced, the software does feel a little faster to me, but that could be my imagination. I said in my previous review, that I really think Luminar has potential, but it still has a long way to go, and I stand by that assessment. This update has made some steps in that direction, but there are still a lot of things that need to be done before it can stand head to head with Lightroom and Capture One.

They have the basics down, and most importantly there are no major issues with image quality. In fact, you can get really good results from the software with relatively little effort, but there are still some areas that really need improvement. The time to load an image is the big one for me. They really need to improve or implement a better caching and preview system. You can import images really quickly into the software and it generates previews really quickly, but I suspect they are coming from the embedded Jpeg previews. They often don’t bear any resemblance to the image you get when it loads. There’s also no way to regenerate previews. The other issue is the actual gallery display. At the moment there is almost no information overlaid on the images. This makes it very hard to see at a glance what you’re looking at, and again, it’s something that would be high on my list of priorities.

The funny thing is though, when writing this review, despite being sceptical, I found myself using the software more and more, and I actually used it on a real project and was surprised by the results that I was getting. So despite what I the fact that I just laid out a whole raft of things I wish were improved, it’s definitely getting there. Once you get past the workflow limitations, the actual editing side is a joy to use and its quite powerful. I hope they keep pushing ahead with the development, and I hope they listen to users and humble opinions from reviewers like yours truly because Luminar could be a really great system with a few more improvements.

Luminar 3.1 is available now directly from Skylum software. It’s a free update to existing Luminar 3 owners and they’re also running a special for new customers and those upgrading from a previous version.

The Update Deal will be available April 25 through May 14.

Pricing:

  • Luminar 3.1 can be purchased for US$60 (US$50 with the coupon code TFP10) instead of US$70
  • Luminar 3.1 + Photography 101 video course by SLR lounge (worth US$99) bundle can be purchased for US$69 (US$59 with he coupon code TFP10) instead of US$169
  • Luminar 3.1 + Aurora HDR (worth US$99) + Photography 101 video course by SLR lounge (worth US$99) bundle can be purchased for US$129 (US$119 with he coupon code TFP10) instead of US$268
Help Support the Blog

I’m now on Patreon. If you like what I do here and find the information useful, then you can help by supporting me on Patreon. As well as helping keep this blog going with even more useful news, tips, tutorials and more, members also get special Patreon only perks. Stop by and check it out.

If you like this post then you can see more of my work on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I also have a YouTube channel that you might like. You should also check out my other Photography Project: The Streets of Dublin. If you want to get regular updates, and notices of occasional special offers, and discounts from my store, then please sign up for the Newsletter.

You can also show support by buying something from my from my Digital Download Store where I have Lightroom Presets, and e-books available for download. If you're a Fuji X-Trans shooter and Lightroom user, check out my guide to post processing X-Trans files in Lightroom. I also have a guides for processing X-Trans files in Capture One and Iridient Developer. For Sony Alpha shooters I have a new guide with tips on how to get the best from processing your A6000 Images in Lightroom.

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In this video I look at how to fix a burnt out sky, that you can’t recover with the highlights recovery or by adjusting exposure, in Capture One. Sometimes if your image is slightly overexposed, or if you’re photographing a high contrast scene you may come across a situation where the highlights are clipped and you can’t recover them. There is still a fairly easy way to fix the problem though, and in this video I show you how.

How to Fix a burnt out Sky in Capture One - YouTube

This technique uses the Luminance masking feature of Capture One Pro 12 to select just the brightest areas of the scene and the colour balance tool to colour correct it to a shade that matches what the sky should look like. This also works for other situations with unrecoverable clipped highlights too. It doesn’t ave to be just skies, although obviously you would use a different colour for the correction layer.

Speaking of Capture One, don’t forget to check out my ever growing collection of resources on the store, as well as my Capture One tips playlist on YouTube.

Help Support the Blog

This blog is pretty much my day job now and I work to bring you my own take on photography, both tutorials and tips, as well as inspiration from my own art. I support this work, and my YouTube channel entirely either via sales of my eBooks and Lightroom presets, or the kind support of my readers. (I also have some affiliate ads). Running all this isn’t cheap, and so If you like what you see and you want to help keep this all going, there are a number of ways you can do so:

You can see more of my photography and keep up to date by following me on social media and checking out my other websites:

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I’ve been managing to keep an ageing 2012 Mac Pro as my main computer for nearly 7 years now, and from time to time its really been a struggle. Over the years I’ve added various upgrades and replacement parts, and its somehow managed to keep going, despite getting a tremendous amount of use. Lately though it’s been driving me mad. It takes nearly an hour to reboot - from off to being useable. The OS comes up in about two minutes, but by the time everything loads and settles down and is useable - it’s nearly an hour. This is partly because of a slow system drive, and partly due to years of bits and pieces clogging the OS

Note: This article was originally written on my Patreon page.

So I’ve decided to give it one last round of updates, to hopefully get another year or so out of it before finally retiring it to a back-up role. Yesterday, I upgraded the main system drive to an SSD and it’s made a huge difference, but it’s also been kind of a pain.

The reason I had waited so long is that my current system drive is a 3tb traditional hard drive, and its nearly full. Most of it is rubbish mind you, and the detritus of lots of software testing. I wanted to replace it with an SSD for a while, but I didn’t want to go through the process of cleaning it up or doing a fresh install. My previous system has been going for about 5 years, through various upgrades, and even cloning it onto another drive. As you can imagine, this was starting to incur some issues. Still, the longer it goes on the more daunting a “nuke and pave” can be. In the end though, I had no choice, as the computer was becoming borderline unusable.

I opted for a 1TB Sandisk SSD, as a friend who runs a post production facility uses them in his custom configured Mac Pros and he swears by them. For mounting I found this cool adaptor on Amazon from OWC, which lets you just insert it into the MacPro without having to go through a 5.25” to 3.5” adaptors.

To keep the system clean, I had no choice but to do a clean install on the drive. This was easier said than done. I messed it up the first time. When installing from the recovery partition, it wanted to format the disk as an AFPS volume, but then my MacPro can’t install High Sierra on an AFPS volume, so I had to go through a bit of a process to reformat and start again. I can’t install Mojave as my graphics card isn’t currently compatible - but that’s next on my list.

Finally, after installing a clean system it was time to put everything back on. This is the part that’s kind of a nightmare, but also kind of liberation. I was basically doing the Marie Kondo method on my hard drive. I’m only installing the applications that I use or need. Not so much sparking joy, as sparking revenue. Even so, there’s still a ton to do, between finding old plug in installers, license keys and so on. I’m 90% there but I’m still finding bits and pieces.

Anyway, this has taken up a surprising amount of time but it’s definitely worth it. Lightroom is much MUCH faster now, and Photoshop no longer takes an eternity to load. More importantly, the computer boots up in a few minutes as opposed to an hour.

At the end of the day, I’m amazed how versatile the old Mac Pro was, and I can understand why so many people were furious with Apple’s trash can design. These old one just keep going, and its so easy to replace parts in them. Every time you try to have a discussion with a hardcore Mac fan about this, they make the stupid argument, that people never really upgrade their computers anyway, but that’s not really the case and is kind of missing the point.

The reason, computers like these are poplar in a professional space, isn’t so much about upgrades, but it’s about being able to replace parts yourself, quickly and easily. If I had an iMac Pro, I’d be out of luck if the drive failed or needed replacement. I’d be without a computer for however long it took to replace. If anything goes wrong with my Mac Pro, its just a matter of popping the part out and a new one in. Since I’ve had this, I’ve replaced three hard drives, added a USB3 card, and external video card, and upgraded the ram twice. It’s getting old, but it’s still ticking!

For my next trick, I’m replacing the graphics card, which will hopefully give me metal compatibility, and I can upgrade to Mojave. I’m guessing this will be the last supported operating system though. Until then, I’ll keep it running as long as possible!

Help Support the Blog

This blog is pretty much my day job now and I work to bring you my own take on photography, both tutorials and tips, as well as inspiration from my own art. I support this work, and my YouTube channel entirely either via sales of my eBooks and Lightroom presets, or the kind support of my readers. (I also have some affiliate ads). Running all this isn’t cheap, and so If you like what you see and you want to help keep this all going, there are a number of ways you can do so:

You can see more of my photography and keep up to date by following me on social media and checking out my other websites:

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This is just a super quick public service announcement and I almost missed this, but Phase One decided to extend the 50% sale of Capture One for the Fuji and Sony specific version until the end of April. It was supposed to end in March but they said it was so successful tat they were extending it to the end of April.

If you’re interested in Capture One, and want to get it for a discount, and only shoot with one brand of camera then this might be with considering, as it’s 50% off. As before, to get this, you don’t need any code or anything. Just go to this page on the Phase One website. Both the stand alone versions and the various bundles have been discounted.

Speaking of Capture One, don’t forget to check out my ever growing collection of resources on the store, as well as my Capture One tips playlist on YouTube.

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