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Optimise your Lightroom catalogue

Lightroom has a tendency to make your catalogue file size increase over time. If you're using a catalogue time and time again to manage a whole shoot for example, it can start to affect performance. The simplest way to manage this is to use the optimise catalogue feature in Lightroom.

If you no longer need your 1:1 previews you can save some space by deleting these too. Go Library > Previews > Discard 1:1 Previews…

Both of these changes should help performance improve and are worth doing from time to time.

Submitting previews

Our preview gallery cuts the amount of time your imagery spends sitting on a hard drive and instead gets it in front of customers as quickly as possible. By submitting previews our registered users can browse your new shoots and we can put your imagery in lightboxes when live briefs come in.

The minimum requirement to submit previews is that the files are renamed with your contributor ID. We advise you then do an initial edit and select a range of shots that resemble the location packages you will eventually produce.

Once this is done, those images can be output with the following settings and uploaded to your FTP folder.

Flare pack 2

This new flare pack offers another twenty flares for you to use on your featured images. From natural sun flares to some crazy artificial 'out of this world' ones, overlay them on your images and give your location a whole new feel.

Remember, when using flares you can be a lot more creative than just slapping them on as they are. Tweak their colour and intensity, combine them, blur them, do whatever you want with them to create fantastic light FX. 

Watch our tutorial video on applying flares to your featured images here.

> Download Flare pack 2

Light spot pack 1

This new set of flares is specifically designed to allow you to enhance street lights in your urban night locations and will allow you to add a sun spot or moon where needed.

Overlay the artificial flares on the original street lights within your image to give an enhanced flare, bring more consistency to lights with variable white balance or even fix a broken light all together.

Use the natural flares to add a subtle bit of drama to your image such as a sun glint above a mountain or a moon in the night sky.

These flares are rendered on a large square at three different sizes so you can blend the edges in and apply as your wish.

> Download Light spot pack 1

Tracking shots

We've put these videos together for those of you who are interested in tracking your own featured images. Currently this requires specialist software and all our tracking is done using VirtualRig™ Studio.

Whilst the results can be stunning we appreciate this is an expensive piece of software to invest in and would therefore like to make it clear that we're not expecting you to go out and spend money on it. We just wanted to share these tutorials so you can keep developing your skill set overtime.

If you would like to practice these techniques you can download a full working demo version.

> VirtualRig™ Studio

Basic tracking

Standard tracking

Perspective tracking

Location example

All Photographers see things differently but the location packages below are considered good examples of how best to capture a location. By staying focused on the best compositions you will produce a consistent set of location packages that a customer can easily understand. 

The biggest advantage to yourself however will be the time you save when it comes to editing and grading. Trust us, we have been there and this advice comes from experience.

Browse the library and look at the work others have produced to make your own judgement of what works and what doesn't work for you.

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A few things to remember…

  • Stay focused on one place you see the vehicle working in
  • Aim to shoot 3–5 camera positions that work for that location
  • Always try and capture an HDR dome
  • Don't make life hard for yourself by being sporadic in approach
  • Get the job done and move on to the next one
  • Refer to the shooting help sheet when needed

Essential Software

To get going you're going to need a licence to some basic software, this list currently includes…

  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
  • LR/TreeExporter [Lightroom Plugin]
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • PTGui Pro

All our video tutorials and workflow are based on using the above software and we can offer support, should you have any issues. If you wish to use other software such as third party photoshop plugins or an alternative HDR stitching program you may do so however, we cannot offer any support. Please also note, you cannot use Capture One as it does not fully support the DNG file format.

Non essential software although recommended includes…

  • Name Mangler [Mac only - various PC alternatives are available] 

Tree Exporter

You are unlikely to find what on the face of it seems like a more mundane plugin out there. Yet, this little power house is one of those fundamental tools you can't understand why the guys at Adobe don't build into Lightroom.

What it does. Quite simply, it replicates the original folder structure on export [Lightroom can only export into one folder at a time without it].

The plugin is made by Photographers Toolbox and like several of their plugins they ask for a donation amount of your choice.

This plugin is essential and works with our export presets you have been provided.

> Get LR/TreeExporter 

FileZilla

Filezilla is a free, open source FTP client that works on both Mac and PC. You will need to deliver your imagery to us by uploading your locations to our FTP.

Although there are many FTP clients out there and you may already have a licence to another, we highly recommend using FileZilla as we have found it the most compatible with our FTP server. If you have any issues using a different FTP client our recommendation will be to use FileZilla, we can then offer support if you have any further issues.

You should have been given an FTP account, if you have lost your details please get in touch.

> Download FileZilla

Lightroom shortcuts

If you use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom a lot then you can speed up your workflow significantly by becoming familiar with the shortcuts for commonly used actions. Bookmark this page for reference.

If you want to take things to the next level you can create your own shortcuts. Some commonly used actions do not have a shortcut assigned by default such as 'Build 1:1 previews'. To do this the Photographers Toolbox have created a plugin called Keyboard Tamer. In return they ask for a donation amount of your choice. If you are a committed shortcut user then we highly recommend this plugin.

The plugin allows you to create your own shortcuts, as shown here with Option+Shift+D being used to convert photos to DNG.

The plugin allows you to create your own shortcuts, as shown here with Option+Shift+D being used to convert photos to DNG.

Editing locations

This two part video tutorial will walk you through the editing process of a location, from getting the raw files from your camera to being ready to grade your imagery.

Editing locations Part 1

Includes: filing, building a catalogue, editing into location packages, check for quality and preparing HDR captures for stitching.

Editing locations - Part 2

Includes: stitching HDR domes, filing and importing back into catalogue.

Flare pack 1

Using specialist VFX software we have created a pack of pre-rendered flares for you to use when grading your featured images. Make realistic enhancements to original lighting or add a dramatic stylistic effects to your images.

The pack contains a range or artificial and natural flares that are designed to be used with images of a resolution up to 36MP.

Please watch this tutorial video to help you get the best results.

> Download Flare pack 1