My photography students and photo friends frequently ask me how to resize a photograph. It’s super easy in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw.
Why would you need to resize a photograph?
A teacher like me asks that you submit homework at a particular size and ppi. (PPI is pixels per inch).
A photo contest needs the images to be a particular size.
Your camera clubs asks that photo be submitted a certain size.
You want to email a photo to someone but the photo out of the camera is too big.
You’re building a Powerpoint or Keynote program and a lot of images to be resized so they project well.
Photos on your website need to be a particular size.
From Lightroom Library, right click on the image or images, and select Export.
In Bridge, select the photo or photos to export (or save), right-click to open in Adobe Camera Raw. Once in Adobe Camera Raw, select the image(s) and select the tiny “save” icon. You’ll see that when you hover your mouse over one photo.
What size photo do you need?
Powerpoint or Keynote images look best when resized to 1280 pixels on the longest side at 96 pixels/inch resolution in jpg
Instagram likes 500 pixels square at 96 pixels/inch in jpg
Printing? Use the sizes recommended by your printer or printing company. You might need a tiff so do some research.
Webpage photos vary but jpgs at 800 pixels on the longest side at 96 pixels/inch show well and don’t take too long to load
Short lesson that I hope answers some of your questions. Comments welcome below.
The Photoshop program is becoming less and less needed. At one time, all the tools were in Photoshop.
Then Adobe made Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and moved Photoshop’s photography tools into sliders. We had everything we needed to process our photos in one place. Adobe gave us Bridge as a “light table” where we could layout all our photos and work with them.
Then Adobe made Elements and put photography tools into sliders.
Then Adobe made Lightroom and put those same photography tools into sliders. Lightroom took the Bridge concept to a new level. Lightroom’s Library is a database so you can layout lots of photos from different folders onto a “light table” and work with them.
Lightroom’s Library is super-powerful and super-complicated. I recommend the Scott Kelby book to learn and understand Library. Life gets complicated when you update computers, work on two external hard drives, merge or split catalogues, etc. Sometimes you have to call in an expert because the Library is a mess.
Thanks to Adobe we have three programs to process our photos.
· Bridge/Adobe Camera Raw,
· Elements, or
The one you choose is up to you. Bridge/Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom do exactly the same thing when it comes to processing. The difference is interface.
Bridge/Adobe Camera Raw lets you file your photos the way you want.
Lightroom files your photos for you and you need to understand what it’s doing. Hence the need for Scott Kelby’s book, lots of online videos, The Lightroom Queen, etc. I tell people on my workshops “I will not help you find your lost photos in Lightroom. I will help you process your photos in Lightroom.” If you use Lightroom, take time to understand the Library feature. In my experience, this happens in only 25% of Lightroom users.
Personally, I find the Bridge/Adobe Camera Raw combination easier to use. I copy my pictures from my card to a folder under My Pictures, open Bridge, go to that folder, start processing. Simple and easy. The 25% who understand Lightroom’s Library say the same thing about Lightroom. (The Lightroom versus Adobe Camera Raw argument is amazing among photographers. More powerful than Mac vs. PC or Canon vs. Nikon.)
But what about Photoshop? Photoshop has Layers and we still occasionally need layers. There are still photographers who use layers to make vignettes even though we have a slider for vignette in Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw. There are still photographers who use Layers to open shadows despite the great shadow slider in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom.
Layers in Photoshop are needed for a lot of advanced processing. Merging star trails, for example. Merging lightning strikes for a more dramatic photo, for example. Photos with light painting need layers. We can make a mat for our photos in Layers. Good stuff happens in Layers and we can only get that in Photoshop.
At one time, we could only get panoramas with Layers. Now we have a feature in Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw for that.
I’ll offer a Photoshop Layers class in the coming weeks. Layers is a powerful tool but has a steep learning curve. I’m not a master but know how to get what I need – most of the time.
I’m working through a folder of photos I took on a recent photo tour to the Lofoten Islands. We were at Haukland Beach late in the afternoon. The weather was mild, wind was calm, and the sea was spectacular.
At one point, I found a large rock out in the surf that was stable enough to stand on. I extended my tripod legs to the max, stabilized the camera, and then let the incoming waves wash around me while photographing. It was an exciting experience.
Yet, when I looked at the photos on my computer there was no escaping the fact that the horizon was crooked in each shot. I made a novice mistake of framing the photo with a slanted horizon.
The usual correction would be to use the straighten tool in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom. In this instance, though, that would cut-off part of the mountain at the top of the frame.
Crop with Content-Aware to the rescue.
Adobe software allows us to crop with Content-Aware. Content-Aware fills in gaps created when we crop. Amazing tool! Here’s how to do it.
The photography world is awash with presets. Companies like Luminar and Nik offer great presets. I’m a big fan and use presets from both companies.
Yet, I think photographers need to learn how to use presets.
Just because you can use a preset, doesn’t mean you should use a preset. We used to say the same about the saturation slider, by the way. Just because the slider goes all the way to the right, doesn’t mean you should move it all the way to the right.
What’s a preset? Presets are “pre-made” formulas for processing an image. The various sliders in a software are “pre-set” to give a specific look. Presets are a bit like using the Auto mode on your camera. Auto mode is okay but it’s better when you really learn how to use the camera.
I’ve used presets for years to process HDR image. It was simple to scroll through the presets in Photomatix back in the old days to get the HDR look I wanted. Critics were screaming “HDR looks so fake!” because photographers were overdoing the presets in Photomatix.
HDR looked great, though, if the processing was in moderation. A photo editor once asked me to send “more of those dreamy-looking photos” for a project. Those “dreamy photos” were HDR images with moderate processing.
Today we have presets from big companies, small companies, and individuals. A photographer recently told me that he only uses Pentax presets because that’s how Pentax files are designed to be processed. Turns out someone has made presets and is marketing them to Pentax users.
I recently watched a photographer accept gushing praise for an image that I know was processed with a preset. The processing wasn’t that great. To the uneducated eye, though, the photographer appeared to be on location at the exact right magical moment when the light was perfect. Nope! The magic came from a preset.
Photos entered in a recent contest were passed over by the judges because the presets were so exaggerated. These were possible winning images but the processing was too much. The photographer needs to learn where, when, and how to use presets.
I’m not suggesting that presets go away. I’m suggesting photographers learn how to process. We should understand what’s going on with the software and use it when and where it’s needed. Exaggerate all you want but tone it down when it’s appropriate.
Below I’ll show you my photos that are reasonably processed and then exaggerated with presets.
Yes, I use presets to enhance my creativity. I use presets sometimes to show me the potential of an image. Presets can support our creative vision as well as ruin it.
Below are some images that I processed with presets — and was thankful for the power of presets.
Great companies like Luminar and Nik make presets. Photographers should learn where, when, and how to use use them.
It’s interesting to compare images processed in Adobe Camera Raw then enhanced with Nik Color Efex Pro 4 versus Macphun Intensify. I’ve done pretty simple processing on each of the photos you see below. Each was processed in a minute or so — if that much.
Once again, simple processing on each image. Nothing complicated. No dodging, burning, layers, etc. Just some basic processing.
I was impressed with Nik but I’m really impressed with Macphun.
Some say that HDR, or high-dynamic range, is a great way to remove tourists from our photos taken in busy vacation locations. Well, maybe sometimes.
First some explanations. HDR is high-dynamic range photography. Our eye sees 22-stops of light but the camera can capture about 5-stops. HDR images allow us to photograph details in the shadows while still maintaining details in the highlights.
To create a HDR photo, we take 2 or more photos from the same location and vary the exposure. The examples below have been created from seven photos. The exposures range from balanced light meter to -3-stops all the way to +3-stops.
HDR software has an option to deghost or remove people. Deghosting removes people from the final photo if those people didn’t appear in the same spot in all the photos. There’s usually a scale so we can vary the intensity of deghosting. I’ve set the deghosting to maximum on each image.
You see that people are still in my photo of the busy street in San Gimignano, Italy. The only person who stood still through all seven photos was the man in the gray windbreaker on the left. Everyone else moved. The lady in the orange coat walked straight at the camera through all seven photos. The man with the umbrella walked across the scene from right to left.
In conclusion, the crowded street is still crowded with people. The different software, though, handled processing in a variety of ways.
Here are the seven photos used to build these HDR photos.