Batch Correction for Capture Time

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Today’s Question: I believe you taught me at one time that you need to be in the Grid view, not the Loop view to reset these [the capture time] all at once [in Lightroom Classic].

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, just as with other metadata updates, if you want to adjust the capture time you’ll want to be in the grid view display in Lightroom Classic before using the Edit Capture Time command.

More Detail: Today’s “question” is a follow-up to an earlier Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, where I explained how you can adjust the capture time for a group of photos. The specific example involved two cameras, one of which had a time that was off by about five minutes compared to the camera that had an accurate time setting.

In my answer I explained a process for filtering the images to those captured only with the camera that had the time set incorrectly. Part of that process involved accessing the Library Filter bar that is available in the grid view (but not in the loupe view). However, I didn’t explicitly state that it was necessary to be in the grid view in order to adjust the capture time for multiple photos.

So, I thought it was worthwhile to amplify the point about the difference between the grid view and the loupe view displays in Lightroom Classic when you have selected multiple images.

By default, even if you have selected multiple photos on the filmstrip, if you are in the loupe view Lightroom Classic assumes you are working with a single image, and updates you apply (such as adding keywords or adjusting capture time) will only apply to the single image shown in the loupe view display.

Therefore, it is necessary to be in the grid view (not the loupe view) if you want to select multiple photos and apply metadata updates to all of those selected images. I should add that it is possible to enable automatic metadata synchronization when you are in the loupe view display, but I don’t recommend taking advantage of this option because there is a risk of forgetting to turn it on, or of forgetting that it is on. In my mind it is more obvious that you are working with multiple images when you are in the grid view, and I prefer to maintain consistent behavior in the loupe view.

Alignment Correction

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Today’s Question: When photographing a completed puzzle it is almost impossible to hold the iPhone [or any camera] parallel to the image. I remember that you have suggested perspective correction in Photoshop with Free Transform. Trouble is I can’t seem to get decent results. Perhaps I am doing something wrong. Any suggestions?

Tim’s Quick Answer: For this type of scenario I highly recommend using the Guided option for the Transform adjustment, which is available as part of the Camera Raw Filter in Photoshop, and in the Transform section of the Develop module in Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: It can indeed be very difficult to get the camera lens aligned perfectly orthogonal to the surface of a flat object you are photographing, such as a jigsaw puzzle or document. Fortunately, the Guided option for the Transform adjustment in Camera Raw or Lightroom provide an excellent solution.

In the context of Photoshop you can use the Camera Raw Filter. Start by selecting the image layer on the Layers panel (if you have added additional layers) and choosing Filter > Camera Raw Filter from the menu. Then click on the Transform button on the small toolbar across the top of the Camera Raw interface. The Transform button has an icon showing a box set at an angle.

On the right panel in the Camera Raw dialog, you’ll now see the Transform heading, with the Upright options directly below that heading. Click the button at the far right, with four overlapping lines, which represents the Guided option.

You can now drag and drop to draw lines that align with the edges that should be perfectly horizontal or perfectly vertical. You need to add at least two lines, and can add up to four. Typically, for example, you would draw two lines that correspond to lines within the image that should be perfectly horizontal (or vertical) such as the top and bottom edges of a puzzle or document.

In addition to the first two lines, you can add one or two more to further refine the result. In a situation such as the example of a puzzle, I would add four lines: one each for the top, bottom, left, and right edges of the puzzle.

Once you’ve finished drawing the lines for the Guided transformation, you can click the OK button to apply the change. At that point (or within the Camera Raw Filter) you’ll likely want to also crop the image, and possibly apply additional adjustments.

Lightroom Classic versus Lightroom

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Today’s Question: When Lightroom CC came out I had been using Lightroom (Classic) for Years. I looked at Lightroom CC and didn’t find nearly the functionality I was used to. How would you compare the two Lightrooms nowadays?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The cloud-based version of Lightroom has gotten closer to parity with Lightroom Classic in terms of core features, but is still missing more than a few features that are available in Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: To be sure, Lightroom (cloud-based) has been catching up with Lightroom Classic in terms of core features. But many features available in Lightroom Classic are still not available in Lightroom. More importantly, the core storage architecture is very different between these two versions of Lightroom.

The adjustments available for optimizing your photos essentially have parity between the two versions of Lightroom. Most of the organizational features are mostly equivalent, at least in terms of the intended workflow for Lightroom (cloud). For example, you can’t manage folders in Lightroom (cloud), but that is by design since your photos are stored primarily in the cloud with this version of Lightroom.

There are a few other omissions from an image management standpoint, such as the lack of color labels as well as a variety of other metadata fields within Lightroom, which are available in Lightroom Classic.

The key area where Lightroom is significantly limited compared to Lightroom Classic relates to sharing photos. You aren’t able to print photos from Lightroom, and the features of the Book, Slideshow, Print, and Web modules are unavailable. The only real option for sharing photos from Lightroom is to sync to a web browser or mobile device, or to export a copy of the photo.

For many photographers, the lack of some key features in Lightroom will cause them to prefer Lightroom Classic. More importantly in my mind, however, is that these two versions of Lightroom take a completely different approach to photo storage. For a variety of reasons I want to manage the storage of my photos on my own local devices, not with cloud-based storage. Therefore, I expect that the cloud-based Lightroom will never truly meet my workflow needs, while Lightroom Classic serves my needs very well.

Previews from Camera

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Today’s Question: I know you have explained that adjustment settings in the camera don’t affect raw captures. But they do affect the preview you see on the camera’s display. Is there a way to preserve those previews when you import the photos into Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can (at least temporarily) retain the preview from your camera, which will include in-camera adjustments, if you use the “Embedded & Sidecar” option from the Build Previews popup during import into Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: As I’ve discussed in previous answers, the adjustments such as saturation and contrast applied in the camera won’t actually affect raw captures. Those adjustments will, however, affect the preview you see on the camera’s LCD display.

So, for example, if you set your camera to capture in black and white (monochrome), the preview on the camera will indeed appear as black and white, but when you process the raw capture there will still be color information available.

When Lightroom Classic renders previews for your images, they are based on the adjustment settings in the Develop module. That means the in-camera adjustment settings will not be reflected in the preview you see in Lightroom. So, in the case of having your camera set to capture in black and white, the preview in Lightroom will appear in color.

However, if you choose the “Embedded & Sidecar” option for the image previews during import, the preview generated by your camera will be reflected for the images you import. In this example that would mean the photos would appear as black and white versions, essentially reflecting the in-camera adjustments. In addition, you will see a banner indicating “Embedded Preview” for the image, so you know the preview was not generated by Lightroom.

Note, however, that if you switch to the Develop module, the preview will be updated (even in the Library module) to reflect the adjustment settings in Lightroom. For example, the black and white preview will be replaced by a color preview, based on the Develop settings.

While making use of the embedded preview option during import is a somewhat temporary solution, it does enable you to see the camera’s interpretation of your photos based on the in-camera settings you had selected.

Artist Metadata Correction

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Today’s Question: Actually, in Lightroom Classic, if you change the name in the Creator field, it changes the Artist name accordingly.

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, indeed! I was not aware of this, but while the Artist metadata field appears read-only in Lightroom Classic, changing the value in the Creator field will also update the Artist field to the same value.

More Detail: This was a follow-up to a previous question about the Artist field in metadata, which is read-only in Lightroom Classic. In my original answer, I explained that the value for the Artist field is generally set by the camera, using software from the camera’s manufacturer.

There are also third-party software tools that enable you to modify metadata values, even if they are generally not editable in other software applications such as Lightroom Classic.

I’m grateful to the reader who pointed out this detail, which I had not been aware of (obviously) when I answered the original questions. As I’ve said before on more than one occasion, one of the things I love about publishing the Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter is that if I make an error in one of my answers, many readers are happy to let me know about it. And of course I’m more than happy to acknowledge when my answers aren’t entirely accurate, and make sure I’m sharing the best information for my readers.

So, if you need to update the Artist field in metadata for your photos, just update the Creator field and the Artist field will be updated as well.

And once again, thank you to reader Randy Finch, who let me know about this issue. You can check out Randy’s photography on Flickr here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rcfinch/collections/

Synchronizing Capture Times

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Today’s Question: I recently shot a wedding with two Canon bodies and did not think to make sure the time stamp was synchronized for each camera till after the fact. Is there a way in Lightroom Classic to change the time stamp of the slower camera to advance by 5 minutes to every image from that body?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can most certainly make this correction in Lightroom Classic. All you need to do is filter the images for the “slower” camera, and then use the Edit Capture Time command to shift the capture time for all photos by the amount of time necessary (five minutes in this case).

More Detail: When you neglected to synchronize the clocks on your cameras before a photo shoot, fortunately you can correct the issue relatively easily in Lightroom Classic.

The first step is to determine the precise amount of time adjustment that is necessary. A common scenario is when a camera is off by a number of hours due to not setting the camera’s clock to the right time zone. In this case you will need to determine as accurately as possible the exact number of minutes and seconds you need to adjust by, such as by looking for photos captured at about the same moment from each of the cameras. In this case let’s assume that amount of time is exactly five minutes.

Next, you’ll want to filter the images so you’re only seeing the photos from the one camera that you want to adjust the time for. In this case, for example, you can filter based on the “slower” camera. In the Library module you can press the backslash key () to bring up the Library Filter Bar if it isn’t already displayed. Then choose the Metadata tab, and set a filter for the camera you need to adjust the capture time for. That might be as simple as choosing the applicable camera model from the “Camera” category, or you might need to change that column to Serial Number to identify a specific camera if they were both the same model.

Once you’ve established a filter, I recommend setting the sort order to “Capture Time” using the Sort popup on the toolbar below the grid view display. Then scroll to the first image and select it. Next, choose Edit > Select All from the menu so that all photos based on the current filter are selected.

To actually change the capture time choose Metadata > Edit Capture Time from the menu. In the dialog that appears, choose “Adjust to a specified date and time” from the “Type of Adjustment” popup. The original time will be shown for the image you initially selected, with a preview of that image shown for confirmation. Use the Corrected Time field to correct the time for that photo by the amount you determined. For example, in this example you would make the Corrected Time value be five minutes earlier than the Original Time value.

You can then click the Change All button, and the time for all photos will be adjusted. Note that the capture time for all selected photos will not be changed to the same single value you entered for Corrected Time. Instead, the difference between the Original Time and Corrected Time for the photo you initially selected will be used to calculate the same adjustment for all selected photos.

Complicated Book Arrangement

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Today’s Question: I am making a family photo yearbook using the Book module in Lightroom Classic. There are over a dozen family events that will be in this over-100-page book, with the photos organized into individual collections. My problem is if you create a saved book, Lightroom creates a collection for it, but it won’t allow me to create collections within that book collection. I would like to organize by event and sort photos within each event by my own order, not always in chronological order.

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can overcome this issue by using the collection set as the basis of your photo book, rather than an individual collection. You can set an individual sort order for each of those collections, which will be reflected as the sort order on the filmstrip when working on your book. Then, when saving the book, be sure to turn off the “Include only used photos” checkbox, so that all photos in all of the collections within the collection set will be available for the book.

More Detail: The Book module in Lightroom can be a bit tricky to deal with, especially when you want to include photos from multiple collections in the same book. Fortunately, there are ways to work around some of these issues.

First, create a collection set that contains multiple collections, and populate those collections with all photos you think you might use within the book. In this case, for example, each collection could be for an individual family event you’ll include in the book. Then, when you’re ready to get started creating the book, select the collection set rather than an individual collection. This will cause all images from all collections within the collection set to be shown on the filmstrip. In the Book module you can then clear the book layout if needed, and get started creating your book project.

The key is how you then save the book project. After clicking the “Create Saved Book” button at the top-right of the book preview area, make sure to turn off the “Include only used photos” checkbox. If you have this checkbox turned on, only photos you have actually placed into the book will be included in the collection created for the book. With the checkbox turned off, all filmstrip photos will be included in the collection for the book, regardless of whether they have been included in the book so far. That means the photos will be available to use within that saved book.

Note, of course, that you could also add photos to the saved book collection to make them available for the book, such as if you had neglected to include some photos in one of the collections, or if you had inadvertently left the “Include only used photos” checkbox turned on.

I would tend to save the book in the same collection set that the other collections for the book are in. That will just help streamline the overall organization of the book. But there’s no requirement to keep the saved book (collection) in the collection set. It can be a standalone collection if you prefer.

If you later need to add photos to the book project, you can just drag-and-drop them into the collection that represents the saved book. Those photos would then appear on the filmstrip along with all of the others that were already in the saved book collection.

When you initially save the book, the sort order from the existing photos on the filmstrip will be retained. So, for example, if you had set all of the photos to be sorted by star rating in the collections before moving to the Book module, that sort order would be reflected on the filmstrip when you get to the Book module, and would also be retained in the saved book (collection). It is therefore a good idea to sort the images in a basic way (capture time, for example) before getting started with the book.

That said, you can also drag-and-drop images on the filmstrip to redefine the sort order for the saved book.

“Artist” Metadata Field

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Today’s Question: How can I change the name in the Artist field in the metadata for my photos in Lightroom Classic? For some reason this field doesn’t seem to be editable.

Tim’s Quick Answer: Lightroom Classic does not allow you to edit the Artist field in the EXIF metadata. You would need to change the setting for your camera for future images. To edit the metadata for existing photos would require a software tool that supports editing EXIF metadata values.

More Detail: The Artist field in the EXIF metadata is generally established in the EXIF metadata for your photos by your camera. Like many of the other EXIF metadata fields such as camera model and serial number, most applications such as Adobe Lightroom Classic will not allow you to edit the Artist field.

You can change the value assigned to the Artist field for your camera using the software tools provided by your camera’s manufacturer. For example, I use a Canon digital SLR, and can use the Canon EOS Utility to edit the Artist metadata field for my camera. In addition, I can update other metadata field settings, such as to add copyright information to my photos at the time of capture. You simply connect the camera to a computer (such as via a USB connection), and then use the software to update the settings on the camera.

For photos that have already been captured with incorrect (or missing) information in the Artist field, you would need to use a third-party metadata utility to make those changes. There are only a handful of these utilities that I know of, and in my experience they can be a little difficult to use.

For example, the ExifTool software is a command line tool that can be a little complicated. You can learn about ExifTool here:

https://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/

Colored Glow Effect

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Today’s Question: Can you explain how you created the sunset photo from the Palouse that you shared on Instagram? In particular, what enabled you to capture the strong orange glow effect?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The orange glow effect was caused by dust and haze in the sky being backlit by the sun just before sunset, using a long lens to isolate a portion of the scene near the sun, but without the sun in the frame.

More Detail: The photo in question was captured in the Palouse region of eastern Washington State, where I lead photo workshops each June. You can view the photo on my Instagram feed here (https://www.instagram.com/p/BzXzKWHAIq7/):

There are several factors that make such a photo possible. The first is to have relatively clear skies, so that there will be strong sunlight close to sunset. However, it is beneficial to have dust or haze in the atmosphere, which help to create the strong color effect you can see in the photo.

As the sun gets relatively close to the horizon, the dust and haze will get backlit, and will generally be illuminated with a strong glow of yellow or orange. It can be helpful to be at an elevated position, so you’re able to include a view of the landscape in the photo. In this case, for example, I was photographing from atop Steptoe Butte, which put me about one thousand feet above the surrounding landscape.

To frame up the scene I used a long lens (an effective focal length of 568mm in this case, with a 355mm lens focal length on a camera with a 1.6X cropping factor). I point the lens in the direction of the sun, but without including the sun in the frame. In this case the sun was positioned a bit outside the top-left corner of the frame.

With hazy conditions it can be difficult for the camera to achieve autofocus. I will often point the camera at a relatively high contrast area of the frame to help the autofocus, or I’ll resort to manual focus if necessary.

The overall exposure is generally close to what the camera’s meter indicates. In this case I exposed one-half stop darker than the meter suggested, using the evaluative (matrix) metering mode.

The sun and atmosphere really did all of the work for this photo, with very little adjustment applied in post-processing.

Skin Tone Challenge

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Today’s Question: I have noticed that on some of my older photos of people their skins tones are decidedly red. What causes this and how can I resolve it?

Tim’s Quick Answer: A strong red color appearance for skin tones (or other colors, depending on the ethnicity of the person) are generally caused by over-saturation. Reducing the saturation for only the affected colors will generally improve the appearance of skin tones in a photo.

More Detail: Accurate color can be important for any photograph, but when it comes to skin tones color accuracy is especially important. In many cases you will find that saturation levels that are too high will lead to color problems for skin tones, such as a strong red appearance in photos of Caucasian subjects.

Some cameras (or films) may have a particular bias toward red, such as by interpreting reds at too high a saturation level. Increasing the saturation for the photo can also cause skin tones to have an inaccurate look.

The first step, of course, is to make sure the overall color for the photo looks good. That certainly involves shifting the color balance (such as with the Temperature and Tint sliders available with most raw processing software) to get the color as accurate as possible. With many photos you may also want to increase the overall saturation to create a more pleasing look. The boost in saturation, however, can make skin tones look too saturated.

In many cases this issue can be easily resolved with a targeted reduction in saturation. For example, if the skin tones look too red you can reduce the saturation for only the reds. In Lightroom or Camera Raw, for example, you can reduce the value for the Red slider under the Saturation heading in the HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance) set of adjustments. In Photoshop a similar result can be achieved by choosing Reds from the popup for a Hue/Saturation adjustment, reducing the value for the Saturation slider after selecting Reds.

Of course, if there are other areas of red in the photo that you don’t want to reduce the saturation for, the above approach won’t work. Instead you’ll need to apply a targeted adjustment, such as by using the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom or an adjustment layer with a layer mask in Photoshop. And, of course, these same concepts can be applied to any area of problematic color in a photo, even when it isn’t necessarily a skin tone that has the color issue.