Capture Date Lost on Export

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Today’s Question: I just got back from a trip with a few hundred NEF images from my Nikon Z6. I have developed them all and am trying to sort the exported JPEG copies by the date the photo was taken. However, the metadata indicates that the “captured date” is the date I exported the developed image from Lightroom Classic, not the date the photo was taken. The date on the NEF file is correct. When I look back at other vacations, this is not the case. The developed and exported JPEG inherited the date of the original NEF. What setting has changed? How to do I get the JPEGs to inherit the capture date from the source file?

Tim’s Quick Answer: In order for an exported copy of a photo to inherit the metadata from the original (including capture time) you need to select the “All Metadata” option when exporting from Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: When you export a copy of a photo from Lightroom Classic that copy can inherit the metadata from the original image, including all standard metadata fields such as capture date and time, keywords, star ratings, and more. However, that metadata is only included if you select the appropriate option in the Export dialog.

In the Metadata section of the Export dialog you’ll find various options related to the metadata that should be included in the exported copy you’re creating from the original image. To begin with, if you want to include as much metadata as possible in the exported copy you’ll want to select “All Metadata” from the Include popup.

The other options on the Include popup will cause various metadata values to be excluded from the exported copy of the image, including the date and time of capture.

In addition to the popup there are two checkboxes that enable you to exclude certain metadata from the exported copies of the photos. Even with “All Metadata” selected from the Include popup if you turn on the “Remove Person Info” checkbox then keywords that have the “Person” checkbox turned on will be excluded from the metadata for the exported copy of the image. Similarly, if you turn on the “Remove Location Info” then location information such as GPS coordinates will be excluded from the metadata for the exported image.

Resolution for Sharing Online

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Today’s Question: When I am saving a TIFF image as a JPEG for a web display, is there any advantage to saving the image at 100 pixels [per inch] vs. 72. I made an assumption that by adding pixels, it would allow the viewer to ‘zoom’ in for greater detail.

Tim’s Quick Answer: The pixel-per-inch resolution for an image is irrelevant for an image shared digitally, such as on a website. All that matters are the overall pixel dimensions for the image, and that those dimensions represent enough pixels to display at the intended size.

More Detail: The pixel-per-inch (ppi) resolution value is only applicable when printing a photo, and even then is mostly just helpful for making sure you have enough pixels in the source image to print at optimal quality for the intended print size. For images shared digitally only the actual number of pixels matters, with the pixel-per-inch resolution being irrelevant.

Generally speaking, when sharing an image online you will only be presenting that image at specific pixel dimensions, and therefore the viewer would not be able to zoom in on the image to get a more detailed look. The viewer could certainly zoom with their web browser, for example, but that would only be enlarging the view of the image rather than revealing more pixels, and therefore the image quality would suffer.

In some cases it is possible to have a lower-resolution image, such in a blog post, that links to the full-resolution image. In this type of situation, it can be helpful to use moderately large pixel dimensions if you want the viewer to be able to get a detailed look at the full-resolution version of the image being shared.

Again, when sharing an image digitally all that matters are the pixel dimensions, not the pixel-per-inch resolution. You therefore want to balance the settings for those pixel dimensions in a way that balances your desire to share the image with good quality at a reasonable size with the desire to keep the image relatively small so it can’t be printed very large if the image is copied without your permission.

Metadata for Video Captures

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Today’s Question: When I take videos with my Sony A7 and A7III, the side car files show up separately after downloading. They can be opened with Text Edit and I can at least see when the video was shot, but the video files themselves have no file information. This does not happen in my still pictures, where the file information is integral with the image. Is there a way to avoid that the issue of separate side car files so the metadata is incorporated into the video files?

Tim’s Quick Answer: For video files you will often find that very little metadata is available with the video itself and is instead stored in a separate “sidecar” file that would need to be browsed separately or with special software.

More Detail: While there are a variety of metadata standards established for still photos, the metadata situation for video captures is trickier. Most metadata is not embedded with the video, and in fact when applying metadata updates to videos (such as in Lightroom Classic) the updates can’t be saved to the actual video files in the same way that is possible with many still image formats.

Some cameras will include additional sidecar files with video captures. Those files are generally standard text files that can be opened with a text editor to review metadata. In addition, some camera manufacturers support the browsing of this metadata for videos with their own proprietary software

In the case of Sony video captures, for example, you can use the Sony Catalyst Browse software to review the metadata more easily than by opening the individual sidecar files. You can find the Catalyst Browse software on the Sony website here:

https://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/catalystbrowse

When it comes to video captures metadata is a particular challenge, but unfortunately there has been more emphasis put on metadata for still images than has been done for video captures. This can obviously make it somewhat difficult to manage videos alongside still photos. Note, however, that while metadata updates for videos can be tricky, in the context of catalog-based software such as Lightroom Classic you can at least manage metadata for videos within the catalog even though the updates aren’t reflected in the actual video files on your hard drive.

Pixology Magazine July 2022

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The July 2022 issue of Pixology magazine is now available, featuring the following articles:

  • The Case for Chimping
    Why reviewing photos on the camera isn’t necessarily bad.
  • Managing Develop Presets
    Learn to tidy up the clutter of numerous Lightroom Classic Develop presets.
  • Feathering in Photoshop
    Tips for optimizing a critical factor in targeted adjustments and composite images.
  • The Power of Virtual Copies
    Lightroom Classic enables the creation of more than one version of a photo.
  • Photo Story: Lilac-Breasted Roller
    The joy of photographing a subject I was told I wouldn’t even see.

Pixology magazine is included in the GreyLearning Ultimate Bundle, and is also available as a standalone subscription here:

https://www.greylearning.com/courses/pixology-magazine

Crashes and the Graphics Processor

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Today’s Question: My Adobe software apparently has a bug with the new upgrades. The Clone Stamp tool would cause Photoshop to crash every time I tried to use it. My computer would also restart. I called Adobe and they had me go back to an earlier version of Photoshop. That worked. Then the same thing started happening in Lightroom Classic. I called Adobe and he had me go back to an earlier version. He said it had something to do with “Graphic processor”? It worked for a bit, but it started happening again!

Tim’s Quick Answer: This sounds like a classic example of problems caused by having the graphics processor (GPU) enabled. I suspect if you disable GPU support in both Photoshop and Lightroom Classic the problems will go away, even if you update again to the latest version of both applications.

More Detail: A variety of software applications—including the key applications from Adobe—make use of the graphics processor unit (GPU) to improve performance. However, in some cases enabling this feature can lead to instability and crashes. As a general rule, whenever there are odd issues or crashes with a software application that includes GPU support, I recommend disabling that GPU support as a troubleshooting measure.

In Photoshop you can disable the GPU in the Preferences dialog. Start by selecting Edit > Preferences > Performance from the menu on Windows, or Photoshop > Preferences > Performance on Macintosh. Turn off the “Use Graphics Processor” checkbox in the Graphics Processor Settings section and click the OK button to apply the change. Then quit and restart Photoshop.

In Lightroom Classic go to the menu and choose Edit > Preferences on Windows or Lightroom Classic > Preferences on Macintosh. On the Performance tab set the Use Graphics Processor popup to “Off”. Close the Preferences dialog and restart Lightroom Classic.

After disabling the GPU in Photoshop and Lightroom Classic I expect the crashes will stop happening. You can then upgrade to the latest versions of each application to confirm the problem won’t recur with those updates, as long as you keep GPU support disabled.

There is a chance that if you update the drivers for your display adapter (graphics card) that you’ll be able to enable GPU support again without problems. However, you can also just leave GPU support disabled to help avoid these issues moving forward.

Quick Collection in Lightroom Classic

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Today’s Question: I usually tap “B” to add an image to the target collection, but what is the “Quick Collection”?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The Quick Collection in Lightroom Classic is a permanent collection intended for grouping together photos for a temporary purpose, such as when you want to export photos for a special purpose.

More Detail: Today’s question is a follow-up to my answer from the June 20th edition of the Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, which you can review here:

https://asktimgrey.com/2022/06/20/accidentally-clicking-on-badges/

The Quick Collection in Lightroom Classic is the default target collection, meaning that pressing the letter “B” on the keyboard will add an image to the Quick Collection if you haven’t set another collection as the target collection. The Quick Collection can be a helpful way to group photos together for a temporary purpose.

For example, if you want to export a group of photos to email to someone and you don’t need to have a long-term reference to that group of photos, you can use the Quick Collection. I often use the Quick Collection when I need to export images for sharing in situations where I don’t need to be able to easily go back to that specific group of photos later.

The letter “B” on the keyboard is the shortcut for the current target collection, and the Quick Collection is the default target collection. Therefore, if you haven’t assigned another collection as the target collection then pressing “B” on the keyboard will add the currently selected photos to the Quick Collection.

It is worth noting that if you right-click on the Quick Collection you can choose “Save Quick Collection” from the popup menu to create a new collection that includes the photos currently in the Quick Collection.

Cleaning Up Halftone Images

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Today’s Question: I am recovering old photos from family history. I have discovered a good one, but it is a newspaper clipping. Therefore, it is made up from dots, like a Roy Lichtenstein painting. It is a great image, remarkably sharp and worth working on. Can you give guidance on how to bring this back to a normal photo eliminating the dots in Photoshop?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Photos printed in a newspaper are produced with a halftone printing process, which creates a pattern of circles in the image that can be problematic. You can help minimize this halftone pattern by applying a blur to the image and then sharpening the image. Image cleanup techniques can then help remove remaining artifacts.

More Detail: The first step in cleaning up the halftone pattern in an image is to blur the image to blend the halftone dot pattern. In Photoshop you can use the Unsharp Mask filter for this purpose. Choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur from the menu. You will likely need to use a relatively high value for Radius, though this will depend on the size of the halftone pattern. Set the value for Radius just high enough to blend the halftone dot pattern in the image.

You can then sharpen the blurred image to enhance edge contrast. Choose Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. You’ll need to use a relatively high setting for Radius in most cases, compared to what you would normally use when sharpening a photographic image. Depending on the resolution of the image you’ll probably need a Radius setting of at least 5 and possibly higher. Adjust the value for Amount as needed to achieve improved edge contrast. You can also increase the value for Threshold if needed to prevent relatively smooth areas from being sharpened.

The key with this technique is to carefully balance the blurring and the sharpening. In some cases you’ll need to get very aggressive with both the blurring and the sharpening to get a good result. I recommend testing the process multiple times on the same image to get a sense of what is possible in terms of balancing the blurring and sharpening.

Once you’ve blurred and sharpened the image you can use normal cleanup techniques to deal with any remaining artifacts from the halftone printing. You may find the Dust & Scratches filter helpful for cleaning up a large number of small blemishes, which can be found on the Filter > Noise menu.

Moving from Lightroom Cloud to Classic

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Today’s Question: I need to move my photos along with edits, metadata, etc. from Lightroom mobile to Lightroom Classic. I need to avoid the sync process if possible because my Internet is extremely slow and I have over 9000 photos to move. What is the best, most efficient way to do this?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Synchronization may be your best option if you want to retain as many of the updates you have applied to your photos as possible (though keywords will be excluded). You could also export your photos from the cloud-based version of Lightroom to get them available locally, which would preserve most (but not all) updates. However, exporting may also require the photos to be downloaded via the internet.

More Detail: The cloud-based version of Lightroom uses online storage as the primary storage location for photos. Photos are not necessarily available locally at all times, as they may be removed from local storage based on available storage space. When you need to access a photo that is only stored remotely, that photo will be downloaded as needed.

Of course, all this synchronization requires an internet connection, and ideally a relatively fast internet connection. This is one of the reasons I do not consider the cloud-based version of Lightroom to be a good fit for my workflow and prefer instead to use Lightroom Classic.

If you want to preserve as much metadata as possible, you’ll need to synchronize to Lightroom Classic. Unfortunately, this doesn’t preserve all albums the way they were organized in the cloud-based version of Lightroom and keywords won’t be included. If you open Lightroom Classic and enable synchronization using the button with the cloud icon at the top-right of the interface, the photos from the cloud-based version of Lightroom will start to synchronize. When that process is completed you will find them in the “All Synced Photographs” collection in the Catalog section at the top of the left panel in the Library module in Lightroom Classic.

Once all the photos have synchronized to your Lightroom Classic catalog, you can of course manage those photos in any way you’d like, including defining a new folder structure. Note that with the cloud-based version of Lightroom there isn’t an inherent folder structure, as albums (collections) are used in the place of folders. Also, the albums you’ve created in the cloud-based version of Lightroom will be included as collections in a “From Lightroom” collection set in the Collections section of the left panel in the Library module in Lightroom Classic. The actual image files will be located in a folder structure based on the setting established on the “Lightroom Sync” tab of the Preferences dialog.

Another option would be to export all photos from the cloud-based version of Lightroom. I recommend doing this via the Lightroom desktop application rather than the mobile app. Within Lightroom you can go to the All Photos collection, select all photos, and click the share button (the rectangle with the arrow pointing out of the top) at the top-right of the interface. From the popup choose “Original”, and follow the prompts to export copies of your photos with most metadata included.

Note that if the photos are currently stored in the cloud this export process will require that the photos be downloaded for export, which obviously makes use of the same internet connection you would otherwise need to use the synchronization feature in Lightroom Classic.

Needless to say, there isn’t an easy and simple way to transition directly from Lightroom cloud to Lightroom Classic. This issue only amplifies the reasons I do not use the cloud-based version of Lightroom in my workflow, preferring Lightroom Classic with local storage management for my photos.

Unable to Perform Second Import

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Today’s Question: I’m using a USB hub that includes a card reader to download photos when importing them into Lightroom Classic. This works great for the first import, but when I then insert another card into the reader the card is not found. How can I import from the second (or third) card without having to restart my computer?

Tim’s Quick Answer: When you eject a card from a card reader the reader itself is disconnected as a device. That means you’ll generally need to physically disconnect and reconnect the card reader in order to download images from another card, which for a card reader that is part of a USB hub means you’ll need to disconnect and reconnect the hub itself.

More Detail: When you need to remove a media card from a card reader or disconnect a storage device from the computer, it is best to always use the option in your operating system to safely remove the device. In Lightroom Classic when you import from a removable device you can turn on the “Eject after import” checkbox to have the device automatically disconnected without having to go through the operating system, so you can simply disconnect the device after the import has completed.

When a card reader is the device that is disconnected, in many cases it will be the reader itself that has been disconnected, rather than just the media card that was inserted into the card reader. You’ll therefore need to physically unplug the card reader and then plug it in again when you want to import photos from another card.

If the card reader is part of a USB hub device, that means you’ll generally need to unplug the USB hub since you can’t simply unplug the reader that is built into that hub. This can add an additional challenge, since you may have an external hard drive connected to the USB hub. If so, you would need to safely remove any other storage devices before unplugging the USB hub, so you can then plug the hub back in to gain access to all connected accessories, including the media card reader.

Strong Color Cast Removal

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Today’s Question: I remember some time ago seeing you demonstrate a technique for quickly removing a strong color cast from an old family photo using Photoshop. I now have some images that could use this correction, but I can’t find any information about it. Could you refresh my memory of the technique?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes! The technique you’re referring to involves using an inverted version of the image with the Average blur filter applied, combined with the Color blend mode and a reduced Opacity setting.

More Detail: I’ve often found that especially with faded old family photos, it can be very difficult to get good color using normal adjustment techniques. Fortunately, a quick technique can provide an excellent solution to balance the color for images with a very strong color cast.

Open the image in Photoshop, and create a copy of the Background image layer by dragging the thumbnail for that layer to the “Create a New Layer” button (the plus in a square icon) at the bottom of the Layers panel.

Next, choose Filter > Blur > Average from the menu, which will apply a blur to the Background Copy layer that is so strong that all pixels will have the value of the average color of all pixels. In other words, this layer will now represent the color cast for the image.

We want the opposite of the color cast in order to compensate for that color cast, so from the menu choose Image > Adjustments > Invert.

On the Layers panel click the popup at the top-left that shows a value of “Normal” by default, and choose “Color” from the popup. This is the blend mode, which affects how the pixels on the current layer interact with the layers below. In this case that will cause the underlying image to have a stronger color cast than it started with, but of the opposite color.

The final step is to reduce the strength of the correction. To do so reduce the value for the Opacity control at the top-right of the Layers panel. A value of around 50% should work well, though the optimal value will vary based on the original image. Note, by the way, that in many cases you will want to increase the saturation of the image, and of course possibly apply other adjustments to fine-tune the overall result.