Lenscraft in Focus July 2019 Newsletter
Welcome to the Lenscraft in Focus July 2019 newsletter.
New Lenscraft Content
I’ve been busy again this past month adding new tutorials and rewriting old ones. Here are a few you may find interesting.
Why I’m Switching Away from Lightroom
I’ve made the big decision to switch away from Lightroom as my main RAW converter. You can read what I’m switching to and why in this article.
Using the Affinity Photo Unsharp Mask
This tutorial explains how sharpening works and how to control it using the Unsharp Mask in Affinity Photo.
Mastering the Photoshop Smart Sharpen Filter
If you don’t want to use the Unsharp Mask filter, you could try the Smart Sharpen filter for greater control. Learn how it works in Photoshop and how to use it to avoid ugly sharpening halos (includes a video demonstration).
Capture One Plugins and The Nik Collection
Find out how to set up Capture One to use the Nik Collection (includes video demonstration). Best of all, it isn’t just the Nik Collection you can use in this way.
Affinity Photo Vs Photoshop Which is Best?
Although this will probably generate disagreement, I decided to evaluate both applications. If you’re interested in which I think is better and why you’ll find my thoughts in this article.
Landscape Photography Quick Tip
Shooting towards the sun can create dramatic images, especially at sunset. It can equally present you with a few challenges to overcome first. Flare and light reflection are two common problems. If you find yourself struggling, try the following tips.
Make sure your lens is spotless. If there’s dust or grease on the surface of the lens, then it will cause problems. Filters need to be clean as well, but they also need to be free from scratches. The surface of filters, especially after cleaning a few times, become covered with fine scratches which cause flare. This is one reason I switched to using Kase Wolverine Glass filters – they are scratch resistant. Also, don’t forget any UV filter or lens protector you’re using. If you have a filter on your lens, try removing it temporarily whilst you shoot.
If lens flare is still a problem, try shading the front of your lens with your hand. Sometimes, casting a shadow over the front of the lens with something is enough to prevent the flare. You may also find changing the focal length and or aperture helps. If you can reduce the size of any lens flare it may become easier to repair in post-processing.
Flare is notoriously difficult to repair well in post-processing. A useful alternative if you can mount your camera on a tripod is to shoot two images. The first image will have flare but then take a second identical image. For the second image, move your finger across the front of the lens so that it blocks the sun, removing the flare. You can then blend the two images together using masks to repair the areas with flare.
Lenscraft Website Update
Last month I mentioned I was moving the Lenscraft website to a new hosting company because of the poor page speeds. I’m pleased to say the move is complete and the site is more responsive. Most pages now load consistently in under 2 seconds and there are far fewer server errors.
Everything about the migration went smoothly except for a few days where my email stopped working. The problem’s now fixed but I lost a couple of days email. If you’re waiting for a reply on an email and wondering why I’ve not responded, please let me know.
Video Course Downloads
After launching my new Luminosity Masking Course, I’ve received a couple of queries asking why I don’t make the courses downloadable. I’m trying to make this happen, but the problem is the size of the course videos. The latest course, for example, contains more than 4.5 hours of HD video. The website streams this very efficiently but if you tried to download the entire course it’s more than 90Gb.
I’ve been investigating video compression but the best I’ve achieved so far only halves this. Whilst some people may be able/willing to download 40Gb of video, it slows the performance for everyone else. Once I find a solution, I will let you know.
Camera Club Presentations
I would like to thank the members at Photofold Camera Club in Billericay, Essex for their warm welcome when I presented in June. It was a special night for me as I used to live nearby; seeing the club’s exhibition in Billericay Library in 1999 was what encouraged me to take photographs.
My next presentation will be the 19th September when I’m at Lytham St Anne’s Photographic Society. I will publish more details in a future newsletter.
Photographers You May Not Know – Justin Minns
I must admit that Justin Minns is a new name to me, and I can’t recall where I saw his work. I am though very impressed and absolutely love his website. I’m particularly impressed by his work in the Gallery sections for Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex & Kent, Cambridgeshire & Herefordshire and Constable Country. You don’t often see these areas photographed, much less photographed this well.
Book, Course & Video News
Learn about the courses and books I’m currently developing.
Luminosity Masking Course
If you didn’t see last month, my latest course The Photographers Guide to Using Luminosity Masks is now available on Lenscraft Training (https://lenscraft.teachable.com/). It’s priced at only £30 + any local taxes in your country. You can also purchase it bundled with the Mastering Photoshop Luminosity for only £40 + local taxes.
To find out more visit https://lenscraft.teachable.com/p/photoshop-luminosity-mask-bundle.
As previously promised, I’m working on a new version of my Essential Photoshop book for Photoshop CC. I had expected to update to just update the screenshots and make a few amendments. Instead, I’ve decided to rewrite the book to include new content and improve the explanations. I’m determined to make this the best book available for learning Photoshop CC.
The first draft of the book is nearing completion and I will give a launch update in the August newsletter.