Get your mugshots/depth-of-field assignments turned in!

Make sure you get your last assignment posted to the website by the end of the week.

If you need a refresher in how to upload images onto the website, check this out:

Uploading images to WordPress.com

Most of us had problems with the captions we embedded in Lightroom transferring when we uploaded our images to Wordpress. I think I’ve located the problem:

When you export your final selections from Lightroom, scroll down in the Export window, find the “Metadata” section, and make sure you select “All Metadata” in the “Include:” dropdown menu.

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Let me know if this solves the problem.

As always, contact me (right away!) if you have any questions.

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What’s ahead?

Okay folks! Not to make your heads explode with information, but I want to give you a heads-up on what’s coming up in the next few weeks.

We are going to review the process of using Lightroom to organize, download, and prepare/process your pics, and I’ll show you how to upload your assignments to the class website next Wednesday (2/8). But be advised: we will fly through this, and I’ll give you until the end of the week to finish uploading both parts of your last shooting assignment (Mugshots/Depth-of-field/perspectives), if necessary.

So be prepared. Review the process. Here’s that link again:

Using Lightroom

Please review it. Practice it again, if you have a chance.

Also, we are going to briefly cover a few aspects of Constitutional law next class (2/8) that you should know before I send you out on further assignments. I will answer some questions, but we need to keep it brief. I will post a handout here on the website, after class, which contains the information you need to study for exams.

Then we’ll go over a lesson that will be central to this course – if you practice these principles, you will be successful at creating photographs that communicate something meaningful in the context of news. The concepts are simple, but practice is the key.

You will be getting another shooting assignment next week – but it won’t be due for another two weeks. It will be due on the website, 24 hours before class, on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 5:30 p.m.

While you are working on that shooting assignment, you will be required to watch a video before coming to class on 2/15. We’ll discuss this briefly next week, but it is required viewing! You cannot participate in class discussions without viewing this video. To ensure that everyone views it, there will be a quiz on the video at the beginning of class on 2/15.

If you have some time and want to get a jump on watching the video, here is a link:

Ethics in the Age of Digital Photography

Just a couple of notes on this video: It’s 57 1/2 minutes long, so you need to free up at least an hour to watch it and take notes. This is the only time this semester I will require you to spend this much time outside of class, other than shooting assignments or studying for exams.

Many of you might laugh at the production quality. And that’s okay. It’s essentially at live-to-tape production of a classroom lecture. And you might chuckle at the cutaway shots of student’s faces during the lecture. Trust me, I recognize some of those looks! However, this is STILL the best introduction I have found to the ethical issues that photojournalism faces today.

Despite being produced in 2006 – at the very beginning of the decline of advertising revenues in print journalism – these are still the issues we continue to face today. We need to have a foundation for ethical discussions in photojournalism, and this is where we start!

So watch this when you have a chance, and remember you will be quizzed on it (2/15) before we start class discussions.

More on Lightroom, workflow, and what to bring to class next week …

We ran through the basics of using Adobe Lightroom to create a catalog, download/import your pictures, select and edit those pictures, and how to export them.

There were some snafus. Sometimes, there are differences between software versions, computer operating systems, etc. and it slows me down a bit. And, like I said, I personally use a workflow based on CameraBits Photo Mechanic and Adobe Photoshop. It works well for me, but it is costly (for most college students) and it requires a sound foundation in journalistic ethics for professional use in the field of photojournalism. The Lightroom app is an industry standard, and it is a good introduction to image workflow. Plus, it’s available on every computer in Sanford, and many more around campus, including the library.

We’ll run through the Lightroom workflow in class (2/8) one more time, and I’ll show you how to upload your final selections to the class website.

NOTE: Bring the same things to the next class that you did for the last one (your camera’s card with your images, a carder reader, and your storage device). Since you’ve already created a catalog on your storage device, you can skip the directions on how to create one. I’ll show you how to load it. Just be advised: we will proceed with extreme haste! So review the Lightroom/workflow process so we can quickly dispatch with that task and move on to more important topics.

I gave you a handout with step-by-step instructions in class, but here’s a link to those instructions in case you need them on your devices or need to print them out again:

Using Adobe Lightroom

You’ll notice that the last two pages of this document include directions on how to use the Apple Photos app on a Mac, and how to use Google Picasa on a PC. I included these in case you want to complete your assignments on a personal computer that doesn’t have Lightroom installed. The process is basically the same. The interfaces are just a little different. If you have a Mac, you can install Picasa and use that, if you prefer. However, the Photos app does everything you’ll need it to do.

NOTE: Google has dropped support for Picasa. They have moved to a completely online model with Google Photos, but that is not sufficient for what we need to do as journalists. HOWEVER, the Picasa desktop app is still available to download and use on your computer if you need a free photo management application. If you have a Windows-based computer, try this link to learn more about Picasa and download the application: Picasa desktop application download for Windows.

Again, these are the basics of Lightroom and digital image workflow to get you started and complete your shooting assignments. I suggest you do a little reading if you want to know more.

Heres a link to Lightroom tutorials on Adobe’s website: Lightroom Tutorials.

There’s a ton of tutorials and learning materials out there, and you can take it as far as you like. I encourage you to share any materials you might find with your classmates (and me!) here on the website or on the FB group.

Ultimately, this is more about learning a proper workflow than about Lightroom. Frankly, I don’t care what software you use to turn in assignments, but these things are REQUIRED!

You need is software that is capable of :

  • browsing images for editing/selection purposes
  • embedding captions and other metadata into the image file itself
  • cropping your images
  • making basic color and tonal corrections (white balance, lightness and darkness, contrast)
  • saving or exporting your images as JPEG files

 

As always, contact me if you have any questions.

Bring something to take notes with!

Review the Nouns/Verbs assignment so you remember what to bring to class Wednesday.

First, we are going to learn the basics of creating an image workflow with Adobe Lightroom.

Creating images in the camera is only part of the task for a professional photojournalist. What happens to the images after capture is every bit as important. Simply dragging image files from your camera’s card into a folder on your computer to download them isn’t sufficient.

Creating a consistent workflow will enable you to efficiently deliver and publish images in a variety of ways and ensure that vital information is always embedded into the image files for future searches and archiving.

Please bring something to take notes with to class. Just so you know, I have a handout that I will distribute after the lesson, but you will better learn the steps if you first take notes as we go through the steps.

Taking notes is also important because we will move at a fairly brisk pace. After we process our Nouns/Verbs images and upload them to your Google Drive folders, we will learn about lenses, perspectives, controlling depth-of-field,  and writing captions. Then we get our next shooting assignment!

SD Cards – advice and deals!

We’re still a couple of weeks out from working hands-on with our cameras, but this is worth mentioning …

The FIRST thing we are going to do with our cameras is to insert our SD cards and RE-FORMAT them.

You should be doing this on a regular basis, anyway. It’s not a good idea – and certainly not professional – to use the memory card for your recording devices as longterm storage. File systems created by your devices on the cards can become corrupt over time. If that happens, you will not be able to access the files on your cards. Frequent reformatting increases the reliability of your card. Learn how to correctly store and backup your media files!

My very strong suggestion: get a card and use it just for this class. You can never have too many cards, anyway.

So I want to make some recommendations that should satisfy your needs, even if you’re on a tight budget. First, a 16 GB card should get you through shooting assignments for this class since we will be shooting in the JPEG format. The following are some cards I found on Amazon that I recommend:

Lexar Professional 1000x 16GB SDHC UHS-II/U3 Card (Up to 150MB/s read) w/Image Rescue 5 Software

This is a professional quality SD card that has the latest UHS-II/U3 standards. The $15.75 price is great. All Lexar professional cards come with their Image Rescue software, as well, so if you ever accidentally delete files from your card, you still have a chance to retrieve them. I’ve accidentally reformatted cards before downloading my images, and Image Rescue saved the day.

Another great deal from Lexar:

Lexar Professional 633x 16GB SDHC UHS-I Card w/Image Rescue 5 Software – LSD16GCB1NL6332 (2 Pack)

Two 16 GB cards for $13.49. It’s not the latest generation, but it should work great with the Canon Rebels and similar cameras. I still use one of these for backup in one of my cameras.

A 16 GB SanDisk card to consider for $15.75:

SanDisk Extreme PRO 16GB up to 95MB/s UHS-I/U3 SDHC Flash Memory Card

Here’s a pro-sumer card from SanDisk for only $10.85 that should meet your needs:

SanDisk Extreme 16GB SDHC UHS-I Card

SanDisk and Lexar are the most common brands you will see professional photographers and videographers using. Both are very reliable and built of quality material, and customer service is very good.

There are still many brands that are popular and good. Sony is usually top notch, but sometimes pricier than SanDisk or Lexar. Kingston, Delkin, Tobisha, and PNY are also well-known.

I have had good luck with Transcend cards. Consider this one for only $9.49:

Transcend 16GB SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 Flash Memory Card

Personally, I would avoid obscure brands and the bargain bin versions of the big name cards. They are hardly worth the few dollars you might spend on them – questionable reliability and durability, and usually very slow. They might make your camera buffer and download/copy speeds are typically very slow.

Check these out and let me know if you have any questions.

Software – what you’ll need for this course …

Today, visual journalism is almost entirely a digital process. Cameras and computers are necessary hardware, but you can’t do anything with them without the proper software to capture, download, edit, process, and share your images.

The software you need to capture images is already contained within your camera. The rest of the process is chiefly executed on a computer – either your own or one of the University’s computers.

First thing – you don’t need Adobe Photoshop®. Not for this class, at least. And I think you will find that the ubiquitous imaging editing program is becoming a smaller and smaller part of imaging workflow, even with professionals. Frankly, Photoshop is overkill for photojournalism. It’s features are seductive and mostly unnecessary. And it’s well-known capabilities for manipulation have caused the general public to be suspicious of news photographs.

You do not need to purchase a computer or software to participate in this class, but you will need access to computers with the appropriate applications installed. There will be a quick tutorial in using Adobe software (Lightroom) to perform basic and necessary processes before sharing/publishing your photographs. You will find this software in the classroom computers, in some other computer labs around campus, and on some computers in the library.

Be advised that this class will require you to use computers outside of class time in order to submit your shooting assignments to this website. So, in addition to planning time to shoot your assignments, you will need to make time to edit and upload your submissions before deadlines.

If you own your own computer, make use of it. If you are a communications major, you should own basic image editing software anyway. Even if you don’t plan on becoming a full-time professional photographer, it’s likely that most of you will end up shooting and sharing photographs, in some capacity, at some point. You need something to help you organize, edit, and share/transmit photographs.

Like I said, though, you do NOT need Photoshop. Most Adobe products are of professional quality, but they aren’t your only choices, either. All you need is software that is capable of :

  1. browsing images for editing purposes
  2. embedding captions and other metadata into the image file itself
  3. cropping your images
  4.  making basic color and tonal corrections (white balance, lightness and darkness, contrast)
  5. saving or exporting your images as JPEG files

That’s it. No fancy filters. No special effects.

There are free applications which will allow you to execute any assignment for this class and can be of use to you once you graduate into the real world.

Adobe now requires a monthly subscription fee to download and use its applications, rather than buying a disc from them and installing it on your computer. You should be aware that Adobe DEEPLY discounts it’s software for Georgia Southern students and faculty. You should take advantage of this!

However, Adobe typically requires that you pay one year’s subscription up front. If you cannot afford that cost, there are other options.

As long as you can perform the above tasks, you can use any software you like. Here are some suggestions:

Free software:

Picasa (for Windows and Mac) – Picasa was created by Google as a software client on your computer to help you use their Picasa Web Albums online sharing service. You don’t need to sign up for the online service, though – Picasa will function as a stand-alone application and allow you to save/export images on your computer hard drive. It will perform all of the functions mentioned above, plus more. It will catalogue every image file on your computer, automatically. When you download it, run it before you go to bed. By the time you wake up, every image will be catalogued and easy to search for within the program. It’s pretty easy to use, and best of all, it’s !00% free!

Apple Photos (Mac only) – if you own a Mac, you already have the software you need for this class, as Photos comes already installed. You can perform all of the functions mentioned above and easily organize all of your pictures.

LightZone (for Windows and Mac) – LightZone used to be a commercial product that was conceived to compete with Photoshop. It never quite found a mass audience, but developer Fabio Riccardi recently made the program open source. The learning curve is longer than Picasa and iPhoto, but this application has professional level image processing capabilities. To download it, you’ll need to register at the LightZone project page and await approval of your account, but on business days the wait isn’t longer than 3 hours. It’s image management/photo library capabilities are a little dated, but it’s definitely worth a try if you cannot afford to pay for applications developed for professionals.

NOTE: DO NOT USE WEB APPS! There are some free online photo editing applications will allows you to crop and make tonal corrections right in your web browser, such as Photoshop Express and Pixlr. You don’t need an application on your computer – just an internet connection. These applications are pretty slick and quite capable for casual shutterbugs, but they are NOT appropriate for our uses in this class. First, you still have to browse your pictures and make your selections on your computer, then import your individual selections into the online editor, and that’s not an efficient workflow. Second, these apps typically strip any embedded metadata (captions, camera info and settings, etc.) from your image file. This may be fine if you are simply sharing photos with friends and family, but metadata is extremely important when preparing images to be consumed by the public for informational purposes.

You don’t need to own professional imaging software to participate in this class, but you need something that is capable of performing essential functions. That said, read on …

Professional software: 

These are the very applications pros use for managing their photographs on a daily basis. They are not out of reach, cost-wise, even for college students.

NOTE: Adobe no longer sells stand-alone software. They have transitioned to the Creative Cloud where you download the software and pay a monthly license fee to use it. There are deep discounts for students, so make sure you check out the discounted software link on MyGeorgiaSouthern.edu. and at Adobe itself: Creative Cloud for Students.

Adobe Lightroom (Windows and Mac) – Lightroom is a professional level application for managing your photographs. It will perform all of the functions of the free programs mentioned above, only much faster and more comprehensively. It will help you create and organize image libraries. You can apply captions and other metadata at the same time you download your images. You can create slideshows and online web galleries. You can export files directly to existing online galleries and sharing sites. And you can transmit images via email or FTP, right out of the program itself. It also has sophisticated, professional level image adjustment tools that you can apply to single images or batches of them all at once. It’s all most folks ever need.

Adobe Photoshop (Windows and Mac) – This is the application most everyone knows about but you probably don’t really need. You cannot browse image files with Photoshop and you cannot export images directly to online galleries. Photoshop does ship with Adobe Bridge, which allows you to import files, organize them, browse thumbnails for editing, and embed captions and other metadata. But it is a separate program and if you want to make any changes to your images, you must open them up in Photoshop. I will give a short tutorial on a basic image workflow using Bridge and Photoshop because that is what some University computers have installed. But Photoshop is very complex, has a long learning curve, and is very resource hungry – that is, it takes a lot of RAM and processing power just to run it. Make sure your computer has the specifications necessary to even run it on your computer. The Bridge/Photoshop workflow is a workaround. If you own your own computer, I recommend Lightroom over Photoshop, as you can perform most necessary functions, all in one application.

Aperture (Mac only) – Unfortunately, Apple has dropped development of this application, and it is no longer available on the App Store. It’s every bit as powerful as Lightroom, it just goes about performing the same tasks a little differently. If you own an older Mac you may have Aperture and I encourage you to use it. Both Aperture and Lightroom work equally well on a Mac – for now. Most professionals who once used Aperture are now transitioning to Lightroom.

Pixelmator (Mac only) – This application is a comparative newcomer, but many are beginning to recommend on a frequent basis. It’s more like Photoshop than Lightroom or Aperture, in that it’s strictly a photo editor without any photo management features. It’s not a true professional quality application, but it could be classified as a “prosumer” application and has many professional level tools and will perform the functions necessary for this class. And it’s a relatively inexpensive $29.99 at the App Store.

Your instructor will walk you through the basics of digital workflow in class. Alway feel free to ask for advice and recommendations.

Card Readers …

If you’ve read the syllabus, you know that I recommend downloading your images from your camera’s card instead of directly from the camera with a USB cable.

There are a few reasons for this.

  1. It’s usually much faster.
  2. Some cameras require you to download software before you can download directly from the camera. That software often comes free with the camera, but it’s not usually the best choice of software for downloading and organizing images.
  3. It’s safer. If your camera’s batteries die in the middle of a download, you could corrupt the memory card and lose all the images on it.

The best way to download your images is to remove the memory card from your camera and use a card reader to download them to your computer.

Pros once had to spend up to $100 for super-duper fast card readers capable of downloading multiple cards at the same time. The cost of carder readers has declined recently, and even professional level card readers, with the latest standards, can be had for less than $20.

First, know what kind of card your camera uses.  SD (Secure Digital) cards have become the standard for consumer level DSLRs, and even many professional models. If you buy a high end SD card, sometimes the card reader will come with it. You can buy a basic SD card reader for less than $10, such as the Kingston Digital MobileLite.

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You can probably find something comparable and cheap just about anywhere locally that sells electronics, too. Wherever you shop, look for the USB 3.0 interface. Places like Walmart often sell readers with the older USB 2.0 interface. Try to avoid those. You will really appreciate the speedier downloads of USB 3.0, especially when you are transferring hundreds of photos or video files.

Higher end professional cameras and older consumer cameras often use the larger CF (Compact Flash) cards. You could buy a dedicated CF card reader, but I really recommend one of the multi-card readers. One of these can cover all of you downloading needs from just about any device you might use.

The Transcend TS-RDF9K All-in-One USB 3.1/3.0 UHS-II Card Reader and the Kingston USB 3.0 High-Speed Media Reader are both professional level, compatible with all of the latest card standards, and cost less than $20.

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Whatever you decide, just get a card reader!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions or need recommendations.