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Small Camera, Big Workflow

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The software we have on the backend can help free us from cumbersome equipment at capture. One example is my "weekend kit" that I carry with me when out and about with family and friends.

In one pocket, I have an iPhone X for all the usual reasons. And in the other, I often carry the Fujifilm XF10. Even though it fits in my front jeans pocket, it sports a lovely Fujinon aspherical lens and an APS-C image sensor. Plus it communicates with the iPhone to record location data as I shoot. (I love geotags!)

Most of the grab shots are in Jpeg mode, but if I come across a scene that would benefit from RAW, I can capture a .RAF file with the simple press of a button the the back of the camera. By doing so, I have all of my options available to me later in post production.

In Between Storms "In Between Storms" - Fujifilm XF10 - Photo by Derrick Story

Once I return home, I have a specific workflow that helps me maximize the content that I've captured in the field. I process the RAW files in Capture One Pro 12. This latest version does a great job with Fujifilm RAW files, pulling out all of the color and detail. Plus, while I'm there, I can fine tune the image a bit with the new Luminosity mask or a graduated screen.

Gazebo on a Rainy Day "Gazebo on a Rainy Day" - Fujifilm XF10 - Photo by Derrick Story

There are lots of things that I could do at this point. And to be honest, this is where most photographers will diverge from my workflow. But I'm going to tell you anyway.

I then export a maximum resolution Tiff file, import it into Photos for macOS Mojave, and use the Luminar 3 Editing Extension to finish the shot.

One of the reasons why I move my best shots to Photos after processing in Capture One Pro 12 is because of iCloud. The image is automatically backed up and propagated to all of my devices. I can use it right away for Flickr, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Plus, I have the good feeling of knowing that my favorite work is archived without any further effort on my behalf.

The other reason is because the Luminar 3 editing extension is just so darn good. The finishing touches I apply with that app really make a difference, and the changes are automatically saved to the images in iCloud.

Side Note: Luminar 3 is on sale for 29 percent off through Feb. 18, 2019. That's only $49 for this impressive app.

I only use this Capture One Pro 12 > Photos > Luminar 3 workflow for my favorite shots. The rest of the images are backed up traditionally via hard drive in Capture One. But those favs... they are culled out and are now in my pocket, and available to share at anytime, anywhere.

Luminar Essential Training

You learn all the ins and outs of Luminar via my Essential Training on lynda.com and on LinkedIn Learning. It's fun, and I promise, you will improve your shots.

Learn Capture One Pro

You can get familiar with this imaging software by checking out Capture One Pro 11 Essential Training on LinkedIn Learning. You can also tune in on lynda.com if you prefer your training there. My updated Capture One Pro 12 Essential Training should be out next month. Stay tuned.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

One of the big changes in Photos for macOS Mojave was Apple stepping out of the printing business. You can no longer build greeting cards and calendars directly in the Photos app with Apple design tools. Instead, you can tap 3rd party vendors such as Mimeo or Motif.

motif-in-photos.jpg The Motif interface for card design within the Photos app.

These tools are pretty good. I like the Motif interface in particular. It's clean and flexible, allowing me to customize just about any template to my own tastes.

Once I design the card, ordering it online is a straightforward affair. There is the initial signup process, but once that's accomplished, I can place my order from directly in the Photos app and receive my cards via postal mail a few days later.

For this workflow, most would say that the Apple change wasn't too disruptive. True, you don't get as many or as creative templates to work with via the 3rd party vendors, but other than that, the process isn't that much different.

Unless... you like to print these cards yourself as well using the inkjet printer that's sitting on your desk. After hours of experimenting and researching, I still have not found a way to design a card in Motif or Mimeo, then print a high quality version at home. That function is simply gone.

With the previous Apple tool, I could generate a PDF version of my design, then proof it on my inkjet printer or use is as a title for a slideshow. Having this capability was extremely handy. Outside vendors simply have no interest in providing this for us, because it doesn't generate sales. I get that. But my only proofing option now is to place an order and see what comes back in the mail. That's not really proofing, is it?

I have experimented with other home options, such as designing the card in Pages. But to be honest, it's not nearly as easy or convenient. Plus the pervious Photos method stored the designed card in my Projects area so I could go back to it at any time.

There is one faint silver lining to all of this for home printers. Apple does allow previous card projects to be exported as PDF documents. So you can still print at home the stuff that you created in the past.

export-to-pdf.jpg You can still output to PDF your previous card projects created in earlier versions of Photos.

The bottom line is this: If you like designing cards in Photos and don't mind ordering them from a vendor, I would take a look at Motif. It's quite nice. But if you're a home printer, and want a convenient way to create these yourself, I still haven't found the perfect solution.

But I promise... I'll keep looking.

Learn Photos for macOS Mojave Inside Out

Photos for macOS Mojave Essential Training is available on lynda.com and it's also ready to view for LinkedIn Learning subscribers. See for yourself how the Mojave/Photos workflow is both powerful and fun to use.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

The big story, as I see it, with Photos for macOS Mojave, is Mojave itself. It's a very photographer-friendly operating system. And in my latest lynda title, Photos for macOS Mojave Essential Training, I show you how the Photos app and the OS work together to make your iPhone-mirrorless-DSLR experience efficient and enjoyable. Here's a "What's New" movie from the title that will get your feet wet.

The cool thing is, this software is already on your Mac. All you have to do is learn how to use it. And what better way to do that than with me showing you my favorite tips and tricks.

Here's an overview of the course: "With the Photos app for macOS Mojave, you can manage, enhance, and share photos in a variety of ways. In this course, photographer and educator Derrick Story takes you on a detailed exploration of this Apple photo management application. To start things off, Derrick discusses what's new in Photos for macOS Mojave. Next, he goes over ways to add photos to your library, and then sort, organize, and delete those images. Later, he walks through how to use the application's basic editing tools, as well as how to leverage third-party editing extensions while editing in Photos. Plus, learn how to work with video and Live Photos, share and export your work, and more."

Topics Include:

  • What Photos on the Mac can do that an iPhone can't
  • Importing images from your hard drive or camera
  • Sorting, organizing, and deleting photos
  • Creating Smart Albums
  • Using face recognition and the People album
  • Capturing and cropping screenshots
  • Recording videos with your Mac
  • Enhancing and adjusting photos
  • Working with live photos and videos
  • Working with metadata and location information
  • Sharing and exporting photos

Mojave-Whats-New.jpg

Photos for macOS Mojave Essential Training is available on lynda.com and it's also ready to view for LinkedIn Learning subscribers. See for yourself how the Mojave/Photos workflow is both powerful and fun to use.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Former Aperture users... don't delete the app quite yet. I have a helpful, practical purpose for keeping it on your hard drive: to add IPTC metadata (semi-automatically) to your pictures.

I'm using the Automator/Aperture tandem to include my copyright and author info with images that may fall outside my normal workflow, and don't have camera functions to include them. I've been adding data to iPhone images and those from the Fujifilm XF10. Here's how it works.

step-1-quick-action.jpg Start with an Automator Quick Action.

First you have to create an Automator Quick Action. I outlined the steps on how to do this in the article, Create Your Own Quick Action Shortcuts for Photo Tasks. This time, however, you're going to build a Quick Action using a series of short AppleScripts written for Aperture. Here's the recipe.

add-iptc-workflow-web.jpg

The actions are in this order: Import Photos, Set IPTC Tags, Export Versions. When I add the actual fields to the Automator Action, I keep it simple. Study the screenshots carefully to customize your own workflow. Here are the actual IPTC tags that I include.

set-iptc-tags-web.jpg

Once you have everything completed, Save the Quick Action. Automator will place it in the proper Services folder so it's available when working at the Finder level in macOS Mojave. Now it's time to play.

Make sure Aperture is open and running in the background. I would also create a new folder on your Desktop to receive the copyrighted images.

Copy a small batch of images to a folder on your Desktop. Open them in Mojave's Finder using Gallery View. You can peruse the current EXIF data for the shots. Now let's add the IPTC info. Select them all (CMD-A), then choose your new Quick Action from the gear menu. Automator will go to work.

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In the background, Automator will run all the pictures through Aperture, add the data you want, then place them in the folder you selected on the Desktop. It will take a few seconds per image to process. One it's finished, all of your copyrighted images should be in their new folder. You can check one by opening it in Preview and reading the Info panel.

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I imported these IPTC pictures into Photos for macOS Mojave, worked with them, then exported them out of the app. All of my metadata stuck with the pictures.

There are lots of individual uses for this workflow. It just depends on the data you add to the Automator Action. Give it a try and see what you come up with.

The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Edition

Updated for macOS High Sierra, the The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Ed. provides you with the latest tips, techniques, and workflows for Apple's photo management and editing application. Get your copy today!

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Many excellent headline features for photographers appeared in macOS Mojave, but a small one that's truly helpful is the debut of filenames with our thumbnails. They're helpful in many ways, including knowing which camera the image was captured with when shooting RAW.

display-filenames.jpg Both original filenames and edited titles are displayed here in Photos. Read on to learn how to control this.

Alternatively, you can have a title appear with your thumbnail instead of a filename. (This used to be your only choice.) Either approach is controlled by the "Add a Title" field in the Info box (Window > Info). Just make sure that you have titles turned on so that either of these bits of information shows up (View > Metadata > Titles).

If the Add a Title field is left blank, then Photos will display the filename when viewing thumbnails. On the other hand, if you do add a title, then that is displayed instead. You can see examples of both in the illustration above.

And for those situations where I want the filename to appear, but I do want some additional information in the metadata, I enter that in the Add a Description field, which has no effect on the metadata displayed with the thumbnail.

Like I said, this isn't a headline feature. But for those of us who use Photos regularly, we really appreciate (finally) having filenames appear with our images.

The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Edition

Updated for macOS High Sierra, the The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Ed. provides you with the latest tips, techniques, and workflows for Apple's photo management and editing application. Get your copy today!

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

One of the pleasing aspects of iPhone photography is how easily you can creatively fine tune your images in the Photos ecosystem. A perfect example is a picture captured in Portrait Mode on the iPhone can be further refined in Photos for macOS, without losing the Portrait Mode magic. Here's an example.

iPhone-Portrait-Mode.jpg "Jessica" - This image was captured with an iPhone X in Portrait Mode, then opened in Photos for macOS. All of my Portrait Mode options are available, as illustrated here. Photo by Derrick Story.

Once you capture the image, it is propagated to all of your iCloud devices. Here, it appears in Photos for macOS. I can stick with the original Portrait Mode if I wish, or I can switch to one of the other options, such as Stage Mono.

stage-mono.jpg Same image, but now I've switched to Stage Mono Portrait Mode.

Once I've settled on the mode that I want to use, I can then further refine the image with Photos' adjustment tools. Any changes that I make here are also propagated back to all my iCloud connected devices.

This workflow is fast, easy, with results that your subjects are sure to like.

The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Edition

Updated for macOS High Sierra, the The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Ed. provides you with the latest tips, techniques, and workflows for Apple's photo management and editing application. Get your copy today!

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

You Don't Need a Drone to Get High

As much as I would love to fly my Spark in New York, it wasn't practical (or even allowed) at many of the locations that I visited. But there's still the old-fashioned way of leveraging observation decks and upper-story windows to get those great views from above.

City of New York from One World Trade Center City of New York form the One World Trade Center observation deck. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with 9mm body cap lens. Photo by Derrick Story.

One of my favorite views was from the observation deck of the One World Trade Center. It's a 360 degree stroll around New York City. The windows are very clean (amazingly, don't know how they do it), and if you use good technique, you can come away with some dynamic views of the city below.

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For this shot, I used the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the Olympus 9mm body cap lens up against the glass.

I uploaded the RAW file to Photos for macOS, then used the Luminar 2018 editing extension to process the RAW file. After output, I opened the sampled-down image in Photoshop for just a touch of Smart Sharpen.

I've always love views from above. Drones have certainly expanded that work that I do. But I'm still very attracted to an excellent observation deck in a great location.

The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Edition

Updated for macOS High Sierra, the The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Ed. provides you with the latest tips, techniques, and workflows for Apple's photo management and editing application. Get your copy today!

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Aperture users who have aging libraries from the past don't need to keep nursing their geriatric host application to view, edit, and share those images. Photos for macOS can handle that job just fine.

When I bought a new iMac for my studio computer, I opted not to load Aperture on it. Instead, I have Photos for macOS, Lightroom, Capture One Pro, and Luminar. That computer is connected to two Drobos that house my images from the last 15 years. Many of those shots are inside Aperture "managed" libraries.

When I need to access content from one of those libraries, I simply double-click on the file container in the Finder. It will have the extension: aplibrary.

screenshot_17Aperture-Library-Original.jpg Original Aperture library.

The Mac launches Photos, and displays a Preparing Library... screen. The conversion goes at a good rate, ranging from just a few minutes to longer depending on the size of the library. Once Photos is ready with the content, it will display all of your previous Aperture images in its new interface.

iphoto-events.jpg Migrated Aperture library displayed in Photos for macOS. Notice how the original albums are displayed in the sidebar.

Your Aperture albums are retained and stored in a folder named: "iPhoto Events". From this point, you can use Photos editing tools, extensions, and all of the other goodies to manage your shots. Keep in mind that this converted library is not the System Library, rather a separate library. You can switch back and forth by quitting Photos, then holding down the Option key when relaunching the app.

Back at the Finder level, two things have happened. First, the file extension for the original Aperture library was changed to: migratedaplibrary. Then a second Photos library appears with the extension: photoslibrary. My recommendation is to archive the original library and use the new one for your current work.

migrated-library.jpg Back at the Finder level, you now have two versions of the original Aperture library.

This process is really easy, and you can move forward with your images using all of the Photos tools that I outline in my book, The Apple Photos Book for Photographers. Give it a try!

The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Edition

Updated for macOS High Sierra, the The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Ed. provides you with the latest tips, techniques, and workflows for Apple's photo management and editing application. Get your copy today!

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Using the RAW Power editing extension ($13.99) with Photos for macOS can squeeze every bit of image data from your files, even a ho-hum flower shot. Here are the 3 steps I use.

original-flower-raw.jpg Original flower shot I quickly grabbed one morning on my way to work. Here's how it looked before processing in RAW Power.

raw-power-processing.jpg Decoded image in RAW Power. I used its sliders to breath life into my RAW file.

finished-image.jpg Final touches added in Photos. Once I save changes in the RAW Power editing extension, the image is automatically returned to Photos for macOS for finishing.

Because of the wonderful ecosystem that Photos offers, more users are processing their RAW files in Photos for macOS. As you can see, RAW Power is one of those affordable, powerful tools.

New Photos for macOS High Sierra Training!

Is it time for you to learn the ins and outs of the latest version of Photos? Take a look at Photos for macOS High Sierra Essential Training on LinkedIn Learning, or on lynda.com. Maximize your iPhone photography and complement the work you do with your mirrorless cameras as well. You'll love your cameras even more...

Also be sure to check out my new book, The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Edition. It's completely up to date!

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Airplane window photography is one of the great bonuses of travel. You already have to get there, and if you can capture a few shots along the way, all the better.

finished-airplane-shot.jpg "Pennsylvania Bridge" - Captured with an iPhone X through the plane window and processed in Luminar 2018. Photo by Derrick Story.

Just like I think that Luminar 2018 is the perfect app for drone photography, I think it's just as powerful and amazing for airplane window work.

For this image, captured with my iPhone X and automatically imported into my Photos for macOS app, I used the Luminar Editing Extension that's bundled free with the app. It's easy to use. Just click on the 3 dots at the top of the editing tools and choose Luminar 2018.

sending-to-luminar.png Sending the original image to Luminar 2018 from Photos for macOS.

I then choose the Aerial Photography Workspace in Luminar. It's a great starting point for the edits. I decided to add a couple additional Filters (Vignette and Image Radiance), then clicked the Save Changes Button to return to Photos. As you can see by the Before/After illustration below, there is a dramatic improvement to the image.

luminar-before-after.jpg The Before and After in the Luminar Editing Extension.

The workflow could not be simpler. The iPhone image was automatically uploaded to my Mac via iCloud. It was waiting for me in Photos. The Luminar Editing Extension is ready to use. I spend a minute or two improving the shot. Then the saved changes are automatically shared to all of my devices, including back to my iPhone.

Airplane Window Photography has never been easier, or more beautiful.

New Photos for macOS High Sierra Training!

Is it time for you to learn the ins and outs of the latest version of Photos? Take a look at Photos for macOS High Sierra Essential Training on LinkedIn Learning, or on lynda.com. Maximize your iPhone photography and complement the work you do with your mirrorless cameras as well. You'll love your cameras even more...

Also be sure to check out my new book, The Apple Photos Book for Photographers, 2nd Edition. It's completely up to date!

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.