Something new

My daughter convinced me to try a different photo-editing program called Lightroom 5 (Adobe).  It’s easier to master than the full-scope Photoshop program, but has more fine controls than the PS Elements program I was using.  One of the nicest features is covering up all the annoying distractions in the images, like twigs that stick out in odd places, or power poles and phone lines in the middle of the photo.   So here are a couple of my first attempts at animal portraiture using Lightroom.

I removed some of the twiggy branches in the background and lightened the background to make the Junco stand out a little better.

I removed some of the twiggy branches in the background and lightened it to make the Dark-eyed Junco stand out a little better. 

This was taken in the early morning, and the light was too dim to give the bird much color. Lightening the background helped as well.

This was taken in the early morning, and the light was too dim to give this male House Finch much color. A light touch highlights with the brush tool helped, as did lightening the background around the bird.

I was out stalking deer the other day, and found three does in the way backyard, but they were too shy to come out from behind the vegetation. (Even in suburbia, deer must know when hunting season starts.)  To keep them from running off, I hid behind a tree and tried shooting through a maze of twigs and dried stems, thinking I could edit the vegetation out.  That proved impossible.

Out-of-focus seed heads in the foreground produced big blogs of tan over the doe's rear, which I replaced with some dead leaves cloned from the vegetation above her head.  I would have never tried this in Photoshop, but it's a snap in Lightroom.

Out-of-focus seed heads in the foreground produced big formless blobs of tan over the doe’s rear, which I replaced with some dead leaves cloned from the vegetation above her head. I would have never tried this in Photoshop, but it’s a snap in Lightroom.

Of course, it now takes me 10 times as long to edit a photo, but hopefully the results will be worth it.

17 thoughts on “Something new

    • OK, I’m going to revise that statement about how long it takes to post-process. Lightroom is MUCH faster than Elements to load up, to import photos, and to edit using just a few simple crop, contrast, and sharpen features. The particular photos in the post took longer because I was fiddling with the background and the contrast. I’m a convert!

  1. I like this. I use Elements 10 and adjustments are easy but editing isn’t. I may have to give Lightroom another try. I tried an early version and never quite got the hang of it.

    • Yes, do give it another try. Lightroom is far easy, faster, and gives you more control over editing than Elements does. Also, the cataloging feature is FAR better than elements — so much easier to find a photo, especially if you remember to tag it with a few key words.

      • Currently I’m using a very old version of ACDSee Pro to catalog and tag my photos and do basic sharpening and cropping. Anything more and I switch to PS Elements. I probably need to update from XP (I know, obsolete!) before I get new software. However, notebook has Win8 and I hate it so I’m not in a hurry to upgrade the desktop, which is where I do my photo editing.

        • Well, your system obviously works well for you, because your photos are beautiful and crisp. I guess LR might make your editing easier, but perhaps not better. I am using Windows 7 on a laptop, and the program is much faster than Elements was, so I’m loving it.

  2. Nice results, Sue. I plan to start using Lightroom 5 soon, but need to upgrade my operating system first. There is always a learning curve with any new piece of software and fortunately it’s not an either/or situation with Lightroom and Photoshop–you can go back and forth between the two for a given image. I suspect, though, that annoying branches will continue to plague us, no matter what software we use.

    • The learning curve for Lightroom wasn’t bad, because I’ve already used a lot of the same types of controls in Photoshop. But Lightroom is much more powerful, with so many more slide functions than the Elements program has. Remember to import your RAW files as DNG, and then Elements can see them too. Yes, annoying branches are impossible, and I was not successful editing any of them out without the image looking fake, but it’s wonderful for getting rid of man-made structures, like fences, poles, houses, cars, etc.

  3. Thanks for the ideas – I have the same problems photographing historic homes that are overgrown with trees, vines, etc. and this might be an answer.

    • I hope you give it a try — and then let me know how you like it. I am finding it very easy to use now (after a day or two of fussing with the edit controls).

  4. I can understand why Lightroom is better than elements, but what does it add to full PS? I must find out I suppose. I love the alert pose you have captured here. Full of life.

    • I’m not sure LR adds anything that PS doesn’t already do, but it is easier (more intuitive) for basic edits. And it is far better than the version of Elements that I had been using. I don’t need a lot of frills, and PS just had too much for me to deal with.

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