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Ear Party: Lightroom Mobile Edit

Some of you may use your phone or an iPad or similar to edit your photos.

I wanted to show you that it IS possible to do a full edit using LR mobile, although I was a bit slower and way less precise than normal – and I think that’s the main point to note. With a stylus or similar, you could likely be very precise, but with your finger, it’s much more difficult.

I did this edit on the JPEG version of the photo as my computer and phone didn’t want to cooperate. You can download the RAW file here but if you can’t get it onto your phone you can download the JPEG version, or if it’s only JPEG version showing up, don’t stress.

Also… I was apparently feeling especially “unmasked” while filming this (I think being on my phone dropped the professionalism a little!) so enjoy this more quirky version of me, including laughing at my own jokes, singing about radial filters and more. 

DSC01871 DSC01871 2

As always, our goal with the photo remained the same:

Draw attention to the dog. Remove distractions.

To do this we:

  • Fix the White Balance
  • Add clarity and texture to the face
  • Lower highlights in the snow
  • Adjust the colour of the background to make it more Christmassy
  • Remove colours from Alfie’s legs and chest
  • Bring detail, colour and light to his eyes.
  • Spotlight effect! Darkening the outside, lightening the inside
  • Slight tunnel effect, dehaze behind Alfie.
  • Some dodge & burn for a 3D effect.

All About White Balance

White balance is the overall temperature and tint of your image. I personally try to keep mine relatively “true to life”, and there are a number of ways you can go about getting the correct white balance in your images, from camera settings to editing.

Keep in mind though that:

  • nobody cares as much about the WB as we do about our own work. Don’t drive yourself crazy with it. 
  • WB can be shifted in one direction or another for artistic reasons/choices. 
  • The WB can be “wrong” because of the light temperature making everything warmer. This is ok.  

White Balance Mania

You guys uploaded 20+ images and I went about fixing the white balance on all of them, discussing what I’m looking for and at in order to set the right WB, tricks I use to help me, things to consider, and even what to do about colour casts.

Note that although I used Lightroom for this, you could easily use Adobe Camera Raw. I would not recommend using just Photoshop or working on a jpeg file. Why? Because all the subtleties of the RAW data has been lost, so instead of making small, subtle changes, you’re smashing your WB with a sledgehammer. 

Any questions? Ask below!

Creating a Flower Photo with Alessia Monaco

We were so lucky to have Alessia join us live to talk us through the process of creating this gorgeous photo of the dog in the wattle flowers.

Hands up if you thought these photos were created by finding the most perfect flowery bush and getting your dog to stick his head through the branches? 

Prepare to have your mind blown. 

All you need to create this kind of photo is:

  • Your camera and lens (Alessia used an 85mm lens)
  • An assistant or two
  • A patient dog
  • A branch or two or bunch of flowers
  • A lot of patience in Photoshop!

I would love to see everybody’s attempts at these photos in Inspawration Connect, so make sure you jump over and share them! Feel free to tag Alessia too if you run into trouble.

And, of course, make sure you go give her a follow on Instagram!

How To: Dogs in Landscapes

I will preface this lesson by saying that my speciality is not landscapes, nor dogs in landscapes – if you’re here, you are hopefully familiar with my photography style already! But hopefully this lesson will give you some information about getting the most out of epic landscapes, next time you find yourself in one! 

About Dogs in Landscapes

Finding a balance between showing off a landscape scene, and not losing your dog within it can be a challenge. Unlike our normal portrait photography, where all the focus is on the dog, his expression, his pose, with a smaller emphasis placed on the scene around him (usually), dogs in landscapes seek to show us both the place, and the subject within it, often in equal parts. 

Some landscapes can be smaller or more intimate: think waterfalls, ferny glades or glens, a foggy mossy forest. 

Others are huge, and we want to strive to show the magnitude of the mountains, or the far reaching distance of an endless horizon, or the stretching white sands and blue sea. In this case, playing with the size of our subject within the scene can help to alter our perception of the size of the landscape. Mountains can dwarf our subject and make them feel small beneath them, or our dogs can be conquerors of them. It all depends on how we show the scene.

These two photos above were taken at the same place, and are very similar in terms of pose, weather, etc… however in one, we get the feeling of the magnitude of the scene, the grandness of the valley and Journey’s insignificance within it. The photo on the left may have been interesting taken from a lower perspective so he wasn’t getting so lost against the background but he stood himself there and this was a split second candid shot. 

The photo on the right still feels large,  but the emphasis has shifted (in my opinion) to Journey. Neither of these are right or wrong necessarily, it is just worth considering as you’re setting up your own landscape photos.

Both are only very lightly edited, so it’s possible with working the light a bit, that I could draw more attention to Journey particularly in the photo on the left.

Almost any outdoor space can become a landscape. The difference to our normal portraiture is our focus. As mentioned above, our normal portraiture aims for compressed backgrounds, pretty soft bokeh, and a very narrow depth of field, blurring out most of the scene.

Landscapes will aim to show much more of the space the dog is occupying, probably (though not always) with more detail, a wider depth of field, and a smaller emphasis on the dog alone. That being said, as you can’t make a photo of a dog sitting on an empty field particularly exciting, you probably can’t take a photo of a normal, relatively unexciting landscape and expect to make it epic. There is a reason we have to climb mountains for the best views.

Also, keep in mind that simply using a wider lens, or narrower aperture in order to capture more of the “landscape” when in a heavily wooded forest, probably isn’t going to get you the results you’re after (except in some specific circumstances!) as all that extra detail, all those criss-crossing branches, bushy undergrowth, tangled weeds, and tree trunks will suddenly make your scene much busier, rather than more epic. Dead straight trees with less “busy” undergrowth (I’m thinking redwood forests or pine woods with pretty ferns) will work better…. but will still probably be best when straddling the line between “landscape” and portraiture.

I would argue that this photo ALMOST begins to work like a landscape photo.... but the scene isn't quite big enough, and he is still very much 90% of the focus of the image.

Get off Auto Mode: Mastering Manual Exposure


On this lesson page you will find:

  • the .pdf workbook
  • the zoom link for the live workshop
  • the workshop recording
  • any other materials, information or resources 

Here is a diagram of the exposure triangle. If you find it helpful, use it, if not… don’t!

The problem for me with the triangle diagram is that it feels misleading. Eg,. if you have your shutter speed at 1/2000 you’ll need your ISO at 1600? Or why are they at the same end of the triangle? Does 1/30 go together with f/22? For me, the triangle as a visual doesn’t work so well.

I therefore made these diagrams as an alternative way to try and show how the 3 parts of the triangle go together, representing one side of the scale as making the image darker, and one side of the scale as making it lighter.

Therefore, if you adjust one setting toward the dark end, another setting will need to go toward the light end in order to keep your exposure where it was. 

Similarly, if you want to make your photo lighter, you would need to adjust one or two sliders toward the “lighter” side of the scale.

Below the first “scale” are some hypothetical scenarios where you would need to change the settings of your camera. I will put answers beneath each shortly.