Cataloging and editing

Lightroom

Lightroom is my main tool for cataloging, sorting, and doing edits to the RAW files that I shoot. For years I had a workflow that worked well for working with large amounts of photos of dancers and dance events. Currently I am actively changing the subjects of what I am shooting and consequently I have noticed that my old workflow is less relevant. I am now in a period of flux as far as my workflow goes. I am trying new things and learning new tricks on how Lightroom can be used. In the past I had just stumbled upon a system that worked for me without having to dig too deep into the true powers of Lightroom. Now as I find everything about my photography is changing I am actively learning more about Lightroom. Every week I am watching several videos on how other photographers use Lightroom to suit their needs. Sometimes I learn new things, and sometimes I get confirmation that a change to my workflow was a good idea as my solution aligns with that of another photographer whom I admire.

One of the really nice features of Lightroom is that its functionality can be extended using plugins. Some of my current favorite plugins allow me to publish my images to multiple social media sites with the simple click of a button.

In the past I have used both iPhoto and Aperture. In fact I used to be a big fan of Aperture. However over time Apple was not updating the software and when I moved to an Intel based Mac I reevaluated the cost and benefits of Aperture and made the jump to Lightroom. Still I have not made the jump to CC yet. CS6 is still satisfying my needs and probably will for at least the next year.

Photoshop

I will be the first person to say that I am not an expert in Photoshop. In fact I probably only use about 5% of the power that this software has. There are other image editing software packages available. I have played with a few of them. The reason I stick with Photoshop in the end is that it works brilliantly with Lightroom. Photoshop is the industry standard. This makes online tutorials very available. If i need to learn how to get an effect I want I can find that info in seconds on Youtube.

Macphun Aurora HDR 2017

As of October I have been using Aurora HDR Pro as my main software for doing HDR conversions. Previously I was using Photomatix Pro but I find Aurora has a much better layout and is easier for my old eyes to interact with the software. For PC users Aurora is Mac only at this time. I have heard a rumor that Macphun will be porting it over to PC, but I have no idea if it’s true or if so how long it will take them. Click to get a FREE TRIAL of Aurora HDR Pro

Macphun Luminar

I have just started using this software. I only have a bit of time put into it but it seems to combine a bunch of the apps that are in the Creative Kit. For instance Noiseless, Snap Heal, and Intensify functionality is all present in Luminar. It has some really great layer functionality as well as powerful masking tools.

Macphun Creative Kit

The Creative Kit from Macphun contains several programs that can be used as plugin’s with Lightroom, Photoshop, and Aperture. The programs can also be used stand alone, but I havn’t heard any argument why anyone would want to. The version of the Creative Kit I purchased came with 5 apps, plus a bonus one. I use four of the apps regularly and the other two I never use.

Photomatix Pro

In order to create an HDR image you need to combine two or more images into one single image. This can be done in many ways, but the way I do it is with Photomatix Pro. The software works fast and gives many options for adjusting the look of the image. The price of this software is well worth the results it produces. I don’t run every image I shoot through Photomatix Pro, but I do enjoy images that tend to be bold and snappy. When creating an HDR image I found that Photomatix Pro is one of the easiest, fastest, and most satisfying pieces of software that I pull out of my toolbox to get the job moving in the right direction. Click to get a FREE TRIAL version of this software

Blogging

WordPress

I use WordPress.org for all my blogs. When I first started blogging it was a lame attempt to cover my trip to Japan in 2010 and I used WordPress.com. The basic difference is that WordPress.com is free, and WordPress.org is super powerful, and free, except for the parts you pay for…

I have a couple of self hosted sites. Pixelbip is the place where I post one photo per day. I also run a travel blog, Earth to Keir. Wordpress gives me the power and tools to build a site that can do anything I can image. Its free to use, and there are many, many plugins that can be installed to expand the functionality. Some of the plugins are free, or have a free version. Typically a premium version of a plugin will give even more functionality along with some kind of support for troubleshooting issues.

While I really like using WordPress there are some downsides. Namely bad plugins. What gives WordPress its power also makes it vulnerable to problems. Poorly designed plugins can cause security holes, erratic behaviour, or knock your site down completely. Chose your plugins wisely and don’t go crazy. You will end up with a more professional website that causes you less grief in the long run.

Bluehost

While Bluehost is not specifically a plugin I am still giving it a shout out. Bluehost is who I use as my hosting provider. I currently have around 7 web sites hosted on my hosting plan. Any time I have had a question or problem with hosting I have gotten quick and professional response from Bluehost. When I purchased my initial hosting plan I was fortunate to do so when they were having a sale so I bought a 3 year plan and I have no regrets about doing so.

Social Media

This is one area where I am still learning. I feel that no matter how much I learn the industry keeps changing fast enough that I will never come close to catching up. I am trying to slowly expand the social networks that Pixelbip uses, but I also want to do so in a way that works well with each platform. I am not going to go into the details of each specific social media I use because there are plenty more resources available that will do a far better job than I can. However I will give a list of the sites where Pixelbip is available and the ones where I plan to expand to in the near future.

I would also like to give a shout out to Jeffrey Friedl’s Lightroom Plugin page. Jeffrey has built and supports an amazing range of plugins that you can use to increase your productivity in Lightroom. I have donated several times and will continue to support him. Check his stuff out. This is not an affiliate link so I don’t get any monetary gain for promoting his plugins. I just feel that this is one of the best resources available for Lightroom.

Currently using;

Smugmug.com – The photo sharing site. It used to be more social, but now focuses on more on developing a site where people can put portfolios or sell their images. I really wish they would bring back their photo-groups functionality. All the images I post on various social media are posted with a Creative Commons license. However, if you want to buy a print for your wall, or get an image printed onto a mug, or download a high resolution version for commercial purposes then please head over to Smugmug.

Mailchimp – When you subscribe to the Pixelbip Newsletter this is the service that sends you the daily email.

Flickr – While I have started posting my images here I still need to spend some time getting more familiar with the tools and community available on this site. They have a very attractive choice of ways to display images.

Twitter – Can’t say I am the most frequent user of Twitter, however I do post the Pixelbip photos there regularly.

Behance – I am posting photos to Behance, but honestly I have not spent enough time to figure out what the site is good for or how to use it. I really don’t know if anyone can even find my photos there. Please to a better job Adobe. You are better than this!

Facebook – Pixelbip photos post both to my personal profile, and to the EarthToKeir Photography page. This is the social media I most interact with. Like on a daily basis. Probably the best way to get ahold of me actually.

Google+ – Can’t say I ever visit G+. I was posting in the Stuck in Customs Clubhouse for a while, but really didn’t find any good benefits of posting there so I stopped.

Tumblr – I really don’t keep up much with Tumblr. I do post on it occasionally, but I have not gotten much response so I can’t justify too much effort to be put in.

Pinterest – I finally got Pinterest set up so that every time I post an image on Pixelbip it automatically posts to Pinterest. Other than that I don’t really use Pinterest for much, I suppose I could use it to research my travel destinations.

Hootsuite – A great online service that I use to schedule posts, especially with Instagram.

500px – This is a new one for me. I do post occasionally here, and I also try to enter some of their contests.