Printer Tonal Range Correction

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Today’s Question: I was in a workshop and the leader was discussing your Printer Tonal Range Target. I can’t find the Range Target download anywhere on your website. Can you help me please?

Tim’s Quick Answer: My Printer Tonal Range Target image can be used to determine the compensation required to achieve full shadow (and highlight) detail with your specific printer, ink, and paper combination. I have published a brief article about the use of my Printer Tonal Range Target image on the GreyLearning blog here:

http://greylearningblog.com/printer-tonal-range-correction/

More Detail: Even with proper use of color management in your workflow, it is possible that some detail in your image will not be visible in the final print. This generally means that details in the darkest shadow areas of an image will appear entirely black in the print, but it is also possible for detail to be lost in the brightest highlight areas of a print.

Fortunately, it is possible to test the behavior of a specific printer, ink, and paper combination using a printer target image I created. The basic process involves printing the target image with your normal color-managed workflow, and then evaluating the print.

What you want to determine is which tonal value is the darkest (or lightest) before you can no longer see detail. You can then use those values to apply an adjustment to the image before printing. That adjustment will compensate for the behavior of the printer, ink, and paper combination you are using, so you can maximize detail in the final print.

You can download my Printer Tonal Range Target image (and get additional instructions about the use of this image) on the GreyLearning blog here:

http://greylearningblog.com/printer-tonal-range-correction/

A Better Backup

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Today’s Question: I recently purchased your course on Fixing my Mess in Lightroom [“Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom”, https://timgrey.me/mess29]. During the presentation, you stated that the backup in Lightroom Classic only backs up the catalog, not your photos. You discussed using GoodSync to backup photos. I need some clarification. During import I import photos to my “Photos” external drive and also send a backup to a “Photo Backup” external drive. Do I need to sync the photos in both drives periodically?

Tim’s Quick Answer: It is true that the built-in backup in Lightroom Classic only backs up the catalog, not your photos. Backing up during import is a good practice, but I highly recommend using a synchronization approach to backing up your photos either instead of or in addition to the import backup.

More Detail: The option to backup during import into Lightroom Classic ensures that you have a second copy of all of the photos being imported into your Lightroom catalog, which is obviously very important and helpful. My issue with this backup option, however, is that it doesn’t represent a perfect match of the overall folder structure of your primary storage. The backup during import will cause copies of photos to be placed in an “Imported on [Date]” folder, rather than a folder with the same name used for the primary storage of your photos.

So, for example, you might have photos from a trip to Iceland in a folder called “Iceland 2020”. But the backup folder would be called “Imported on…”. If your primary hard drive failed, you couldn’t just continue working with the backup, but instead would have to track down all of the backup images and copy them to the original folder structure. That would be frustrating because it would be difficult to ensure that all photos got to the right place.

By contrast, if you backup your Photos hard drive using a product such as GoodSync (http://timgrey.me/greybackup), the backup drive will be an exact match in terms of folder structure and file location compared to your primary storage. So, if the primary drive failed you could more or less just plug in the backup drive to replace the source drive, make sure the drive letter (Windows) or volume label (Macintosh) matched the original, and you’d be back in business.

For this reason, I generally use the backup feature in the Import dialog to backup photos to a temporary location. Then, after I have completed a backup with GoodSync, I can delete the import backup. Of course, I don’t delete that import backup right away, as it provides an “extra” backup in the meantime. But as soon as I want to free up some hard drive space, I can get rid of the import backup.

Note, by the way, that I actually maintain two backups with GoodSync for each drive. So, my Photos drive, for example, is backed up to a “Photos Backup 1” drive as well as a “Photos Backup 2” drive. You can learn more about GoodSync at http://timgrey.me/greybackup. And keep in mind that I have a video course that covers GoodSync, which you can find here:

https://timgrey.me/goodsync

Mobile to Desktop

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Today’s Question: I imported some photos from my camera to the Lightroom mobile app to do some edits. Now I am trying to figure out how to get them into my Lightroom Classic library. Any ideas?

Tim’s Quick Answer: When you import photos into the Lightroom mobile app (or capture directly within the app), those photos can be brought into your Lightroom Classic catalog simply by enabling synchronization on both your mobile device and your computer.

More Detail: The Lightroom mobile app makes use of synchronization for all photos, just as the cloud-based Lightroom application you use on a computer will synchronize all photos. However, the Lightroom mobile app can also synchronize with Lightroom Classic.

The first step is to make sure that synchronization is active on both your mobile device and your computer. In the Lightroom mobile app you can click the cloud icon toward the top-right of the screen to make sure synchronization is not paused. If you see “Resume Synching” on the popup when you click the cloud icon, simply tap on that to enable synchronization.

Within Lightroom Classic you can make sure synchronization is enabled by clicking on the identity plate at the far left of the top panel. When you click the identity plate you’ll see a popup that shows the synchronization status at the top of the popup. If the popup shows “Paused” to the right of the popup, you can click the “play” button (the right-pointing triangle icon) to enable synchronization.

Once synchronization is complete, you’ll see your mobile device listed as though it is one of your hard drives within the Folders list on the left panel in the Library module. You can browse the photos within the folder structure there, and even move photos to other folders and storage locations by dragging and dropping them within the Folders section of the left panel.

Is Calibration Necessary?

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Today’s Question: I have to buy a new computer and am buying a new ViewSonic monitor at the same time. I read that the display is a highly color-corrected monitor as is, but they do sell a color correction kit which is very expensive. I have been using an older Spyder 3 color calibration kit with my Samsung monitor and it was good. Would a much less expensive and new Datacolor Spyder calibration kit work as well with this new ViewSonic monitor?

Tim’s Quick Answer: With very few exceptions you can use third-party calibration tools (such as the Datacolor Spyder mentioned in the question) with just about any monitor display. Even though today’s displays are very stable and have generally accurate color with default settings, I still highly recommend calibrating your display to ensure both accurate color and appropriate brightness levels.

More Detail: There is no question that in terms of color, most monitor displays are highly accurate right out of the box. That doesn’t mean the color will be perfect, but it will generally be quite accurate. However, brightness levels are generally far too high by default, which can be a particular problem if you will be printing your photos.

Therefore, I highly recommend calibrating your monitor display to ensure the most accurate view of your images possible.

One of the most important steps of the calibration process is an adjustment to the overall luminance (brightness) for the display. You will typically find that out of the box a monitor display is about twice as bright as it should be, or a full stop too bright in the context of photographic exposure.

The color tends to be reasonably accurate in most cases, but you’ll still ensure more accurate color by using a display calibration kit. In particular, you want to be sure you’re using a display calibration kit that includes a sensor (a colorimeter) that actually measures the color and tonal response of your display, so an appropriate compensation can be applied.

Even for displays that have options for specific calibration tools, you can generally use third-party display calibration tools with the monitor to achieve excellent results. For example, the ViewSonic displays are compatible with calibration tools from Datacolor, X-Rite Photo, and others.

Want to better understand how to use color management in your workflow? Check out my “Color Management for Photographers” course, available at half price if you use this link to get started:

https://timgrey.me/color

Workflow Switch

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Today’s Question: Is there any advantage to switching from Adobe Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw to Lightroom Classic? I like my workflow now, but I’m worried that eventually Adobe will stop updating them and do Lightroom only.

Tim’s Quick Answer: From my perspective the key advantage of a workflow revolving around Lightroom Classic is the ability to easily search across your entire catalog of photos. If you feel this is an advantage, I think it is worth switching. But I wouldn’t recommend shifting to Lightroom Classic merely out of a fear of Adobe Bridge being discontinued.

More Detail: The key difference between Lightroom Classic and Adobe Bridge is that Lightroom employs a catalog to manage your photos, while Bridge is a browser. The use of a catalog enables Lightroom Classic to provide some performance advantages, especially when it comes to searching across your entire library of photos.

For example, if you wanted to search for all of the five-star photos in your entire catalog, the process can be very quick in Lightroom Classic, and quite slow in Bridge.

To me this is a tremendous advantage, and the primary reason I depend upon Lightroom Classic (rather than Bridge) in my own workflow. But there are some tradeoffs you’ll want to consider if you’re considering a switch.

Because Lightroom Classic employs a catalog to manage your photos, it is critical that everything you do with your photos be initiated within Lightroom. If you make changes to your photos or folders outside of Lightroom, you’re going to end up with a frustrating mess. In addition, Lightroom is obviously a bit different from Bridge in general, meaning there will be a learning curve involved in making a switch.

If you’re comfortable working with Bridge, Camera Raw, and Photoshop, I think it is perfectly reasonable to continue using those tools in your workflow. If you feel that Lightroom Classic provides compelling advantages, such as the ability to quickly search across your entire catalog, then you might consider the switch.

If you are contemplating a switch out of fear that Adobe will discontinue Bridge or Photoshop, I don’t think it is necessary to make such a switch right away. You could always make that switch at a later date if Adobe were to make such a move.

Safely Moving Catalog

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Today’s Question: I was thinking of moving my Lightroom [Classic] catalog to the faster of my two hard drives. How would that work out with leaving the images (and the catalog backups) on the original drive, and if it’s a good idea how do I to go about it?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can indeed improve performance in Lightroom Classic by making sure the catalog is stored on the fastest available hard drive. Moving the catalog is quite easy, simply requiring you to move the folder containing the catalog to the desired location, and then opening the catalog from there.

More Detail: While moving your Lightroom Classic catalog is easy, you do want to be careful not to create any problems in the process.

First, you’ll want to be sure you have a full backup of your catalog. You can perform a backup via the Catalog Settings dialog. Choose Catalog Settings from the Lightroom Classic menu on Macintosh, or from the Edit menu on Windows. Then go to the General tab and click the “Back up catalog” popup. Choose “When Lightroom next exits” from the popup. Then close the Catalog Settings dialog, quit Lightroom, and follow the prompts to create an updated backup.

Then you’ll need to know where your catalog is currently stored. If you’re not sure, you can find the catalog location in the Catalog Settings dialog. On the General tab of the Catalog Settings dialog click the Show button to the right of the Location field. This will bring up a window in your operating system showing you the folder that contains the catalog files. Quit Lightroom at this point so you can actually move the catalog files.

You can then move the entire folder containing your catalog (or copy it if you prefer) to the desired location on your faster hard drive. After the folder is in the desired location, you can double-click the catalog file (with the “lrcat” filename extension) to launch Lightroom with the catalog in the new location. The photos will still be referenced in their current location, so at that point you can continue working normally.

Note that by default the catalog backups are stored in a “Backups” folder within the folder that contains your Lightroom catalog. If you haven’t configured Lightroom to save the backups somewhere else, you may want to make that change the next time you perform a backup, and perhaps move the existing backups to a different location.

Also note that if you copied the catalog folder (rather than moving it), you’ll want to be sure to avoid confusion between the old location and the new location. At the very least you can rename the folder containing the original catalog, such as by putting “backup” at the beginning of the folder name. Since you created a new backup as part of this process, once the catalog is working properly at the new location you could also simply delete the catalog folder at the original location.

Mysterious Keywords

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Today’s Question: When I am importing photos [into Lightroom Classic], unwanted keywords are included. For example, for quite a while, my imports have included keyword from Croatia and New York. I’ve only imported one time for those two keywords. How do I stop them?

Tim’s Quick Answer: These keywords are most likely being added via a metadata preset being applied during the import process. You can simply edit (or disable) the applicable preset to avoid having unwanted keywords added during the import process.

More Detail: You can add keywords to photos during the process of importing them into your Lightroom Classic catalog in several ways. One of the standard options is to simply type keywords into the Keywords field in the Apply During Import section of the right panel in the Import dialog. Unlike many of the other import options, however, the Keywords field is automatically cleared out each time you bring up the Import dialog, to help ensure you don’t accidentally apply keywords to photos for which those keywords don’t actually apply.

Therefore, if you are having unwanted keywords applied to photos during import it is caused by one of two preset options.

The first option, as noted in the quick answer above, is a metadata preset being applied during import. If such a metadata preset includes keywords, those keywords would be applied to every photo you import.

If a metadata preset is the issue, you can edit or remove the preset. If you wanted to apply other metadata during import, you’ll want to edit the preset that is causing the issue. From the Metadata popup in the Apply During Import section of the right panel in the Import dialog, choose “Edit Metadata Presets”. Then select the applicable preset from the Preset popup in the Edit Metadata Presets dialog. Make any changes, such as removing the Keywords field found at the very bottom of the list of metadata fields.

When you are finished editing the metadata preset, click the Preset popup again and choose “Update Preset” from the popup. Then click Done to close the Edit Metadata Presets dialog.

If you are using an import preset that includes keywords, you’ll want to modify that preset. Click the popup to the right of the Import Preset label at the bottom-center of the Import dialog. Select the import preset you’ve been using, at which point in this case you’ll likely see a value in the Keywords field on the right panel. Clear the Keywords field, and then click the Import Preset popup again and choose “Update Preset” from the popup to update the current preset to exclude keywords.

The key is to make sure that keywords aren’t being applied as part of a metadata preset or import preset, and that you’ve not entered keywords into the Keywords field that are not appropriate for all images currently being imported.

Panel Exceptions

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Today’s Question: As a follow-up to your question [about hiding panel sections in Adobe Lightroom Classic] there does not seem to be a way to remove Navigator panel (top panel on the left) in this way. Am I missing anything?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You’re not missing anything. The Navigator and Histogram sections at the top of the left and right panels, respectively, can’t be hidden in Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: As I mentioned in yesterday’s Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, it is possible to hide individual panel sections to reduce clutter in Lightroom Classic. You can hide or reveal panel sections by right-clicking on the header area of any of the sections, and choosing the applicable section name from the popup menu.

However, I neglected to mention that the Navigator and Histogram sections at the top of the left and right panels, respectively, are “special” sections that can’t be hidden. You can collapse the Navigator or Histogram sections by clicking on the header for those sections, but you can’t hide them entirely the way you can with the other panels.

Lightroom Panels

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Today’s Question: Is there a way to customize the panels in Lightroom Classic? I never use the Keywording section, for example, because I use the Keyword List. Can I remove the Keywording section altogether?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can hide a section of the various panels in Lightroom Classic by right-clicking on a heading for the applicable panel, at which point you can turn off (or on) any of the panels you’d like.

More Detail: While it wasn’t always possible to hide panel sections in Lightroom Classic, it is possible now. This is true across the various modules, on both the left and right panels.

As noted above, you can right-click on any of the headings (or in an empty area) of the applicable panel. On the popup menu that appears you’ll see a list of the panel sections. A checkmark to the left of a section name indicates that the panel is currently visible, and the absence of a checkmark indicates that the panel is hidden. You can select the panel section name to toggle the visibility on or off.

The one thing I do recommend is to keep in mind that if you have hidden panel sections, you might forget they are available. So, remember that you may have certain features hidden from view that could be re-enabled by enabling hidden panel sections.

Built-In Lens Profile

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Today’s Question: I am using a Z series Nikon lens, and in Lightroom Classic under Lens Profile Make it shows None. When I scroll down and find and check Nikon there do not appear to have any Z series lens on the list. Is this the current state of play for Nikon Z series lens and Lightroom?

Tim’s Quick Answer: A variety of newer lenses (especially for mirrorless cameras) employ built-in profiles that are applied to the raw capture. With these lenses you won’t find a profile in Lightroom Classic or Adobe Camera Raw, but instead will see an indication that the built-in profile has been applied to the image.

More Detail: Lightroom Classic and Adobe Camera Raw make use of lens profiles in order to apply automatic corrections to photos based on the behavior of the lens used to capture the image. For example, a lens profile can compensate for the vignetting caused by a wide-angle lens.

Generally, you have the option to apply lens-based profiles in the Lens Corrections section of the right panel in the Develop module. For example, you could select the specific profile after selecting the appropriate options for Make and Model under the Lens Profile heading.

Naturally, not every lens that has ever been manufactured will have a profile available in Lightroom or Camera Raw. However, some newer lenses support built-in profiles, which are applied by the camera at the time of capture, even for raw captures. When that profile has been applied to an image in Lightroom Classic or Camera Raw, you won’t see a profile for the lens on the popup list in the Lens Corrections section. Instead, you will see an indication that the built-in lens profile has been applied.