episode 56

Your Questions Answered

Hey everyone! This is Jordan from Sleeklens.com. Welcome to the first episode of the Sleeklens Photography Podcast in 2019. It’s been over two months and it has been a pressure to get back because there’s now a lot of people that actually really enjoy hearing these tips when it comes to photography.

So, there’s going to be a lot of stuff coming this year in the podcast, there’s going to be a selection of different topics to talk about, and also, we’re going to bring back the RAW Edit Contest that we do in our Sleeklens Members Club page. If you’re not yet a member of the Sleeklens Members Club page, make sure you do that as you can download a lot of free resources, like RAW photos, edit however you want to, with Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. whatever you want to do, and then post it to our Members Club. At the end of the month, we’ll vote on who’s the winner. So that’s what’s coming up; we have a lot of cool RAW files for you guys to play with, and so I wanted to give an update on that one.

For this show, we’re covering 5 of the most common questions, the ones that I thought would be really valuable to a lot of the photographers out there.

Let’s start with the first question! This question from Wyatt is: “I see some videos on YouTube of people using custom Lightroom Presets on their phone. How do I use presets on my phone?”

So, this is a common question, especially with the later versions of Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC. A lot of people actually think that you can take the Classic CC presets and use them with your smartphone, but basically, basically there are two – I’d say three – different versions of the Lightroom software now (even though they are not really classified as that), but there’s the Lightroom Classic CC – which is the one we all know and use – and there’s the Lightroom CC version, and then you have a Lightroom CC that’s more or less of a mobile app. Technically it’s still labelled the same but it’s a separate piece of software. So, kinda think of it this way: Lightroom CC version – not the Classic – that one kinda works hand-in-hand in a way with your iPhone/Android app.

If you were to import the presets into that app, into the Desktop app, the Lightroom CC, you can actually sync those files, those presets, over your phone. And it’ll be over there. It syncs through the CC Account, but once it’s in there, they’ll sync into your phone and you’ll see it in your presets menu in your phone. Please refer to the show’s notes so you can check a video walkthrough of that procedure, but basically yes, you just take the files in your Lightroom CC and you put them over to your mobile app. Much like if you were to put a photo, if you do a lot of editing, in Lightroom CC – not Classic CC – and you’ll see those photos through your phone, they sync back and forth.

So that’s how you put them in your phone, and there are a couple of caveats when it comes to that, as there are some presets that don’t have the same functionality in Lightroom CC than they do in Classic – some tools may be missing or something like that. So, there are going to be some small features that you won’t notice but there may be some features that won’t look correct when editing with your phone. Here at Sleeklens we’re working on the release of a selection of presets specifically designed for Lightroom CC Mobile, so please keep in touch for an upcoming release on that. Thank you, Wyatt, for that question!

The next question from Jesse is: “I want to start using flash in my photos. What would be the best way to start?”

There’s a lot of different ways to use flash in photos (laughs). I particularly do Real Estate Photography, so flash for me it’s going to be different from flash for a portrait photographer standpoint. For me, basically, the key is I’d stick to a manual flash. Don’t get a TTL flash or something like that, stick to a manual flash as you dial in the power, the camera is not trying to balance any sort of metering when analysing the scene, it’s not metering and trying to compensate for it.

Also, I’d start playing with either bouncing flash – putting a strobe or something like that, a flash unit – and bouncing flash off the ceiling, off the walls, see where the shadows fall, play around with that. And then also, get the flash off your camera as it’s a major thing, you can open a whole new world when it comes to flash photography with the flash unit off the camera. Get a pair of cheap triggers – I’ll put some that I like to use in the show’s notes as well. They are really cheap triggers but exactly what you need.

It’s going to open a whole new world for either landscape, portrait photography, or whatever. I’d first of all play with the manual flash, and you can actually get a cheapo flash and set it to slave mode (as they have a master and slave mode). When you have slave mode flash what’s doing it’s basically looking for another flash popping in the room or something like that. So, you can actually work if you have a camera that comes with a pop-up flash unit. You can take that flash and take a picture of something, a portrait of somebody, and that flash is going to be a fill flash and fill the areas of the face, but the slave flash, the cheapo flash, it will see that flash and go off as well. You can put that flash, maybe, behind the person and make like a cool spotlight or headlight. There’s a lot to play with, and if you don’t know exactly what I’m talking about, once you get a flash and you start seeing the modes, you see the power – you can work like with 1/64 power or something like that – there are a lot of differences you can notice.

Don’t get a TTL flash, get a manual flash and start playing around with bouncing stuff all over the place. You’re not going to hurt anything, and see what kind of shadows, what kind of dramatic lighting you can create. Thank you, Jesse, for that question!

Another question here from the Todd Brothers: “Here’s a fun question for some of the listeners of your podcast. If you only had 3 accessories that you can put in your camera bag to take to any shoot, what it would be?”

Um, this one is kinda a tough one for me! Whether you are… it kinda depends on the photography you like to do. I know the kind of accessories I not like but most likely need in my camera bag, but they may differ for portrait photography or landscape photography, or food photography… whatever.

So, I’m going to say that the accessories I like in my camera bag, because they are definitely needed and I just thought about two of them basically in this question. Number 1 is a flash, a Speedlight. Definitely need a Speedlight in my camera bag. Obviously, I like bigger flash units in some jobs but a Speedlight is a definite must. Flash triggers again, I just talked about them in the previous question. Big, big thing to get the flash off the camera, so you can play with it, do some light panning.

Next, I’d say the accessory I’d really have in my camera bag is a hotshoe microphone. And I know it sounds kinda weird because I talk about photography and I’m putting a microphone on my camera bag, but basically what I want to do is to be ready for any situation that might pop up. And again, this is the stuff I would like on my camera bag – and actually have on my camera bag. A nice little hotshoe microphone, cheapo, entry-level one. The reason I have it in there is if I’m going to a job in my field of photography, I might need to do video. It’s not going to be ideal as I’m not using a gimbal and all that kind of stuff, but I’ll put on a tripod and do static video, and I’d need to have better audio. So, the audio would be ideal to do the interview or something like that, and I’d really need that external mic. I always keep that mic on my camera bag; if I ever have to use it in the office or anything like that I make sure to put it back on my camera bag, that way I can say “Hey, can I shoot a quick video, maybe a testimonial or something like that. Can I have that videoclip? Do you mind?” I would have way better audio than if I stick to the on-camera audio.

That’s the three items I’d select but, again, I’m different than other photographers so they might have other things.

Okay, so the next question is from Vanessa: “I know you use hashtags in Instagram to promote posts and get them better seen, but what is the best way to come up with good hashtags?”

This is kind like a two-fold question. When it comes to doing hashtags on Instagram – I mean, that’s the main way for people to see your images, unless they follow you and see them – you can use up to 30 hashtags to promote your posts. So, the best way I’ve found to do hashtags is – if you’re not doing many hashtags and you don’t know what to put on there – basically just look at your images and see what’s there.

You can use a hashtag generator, and that would give you the right spot. The one I like to use is a smartphone app and it’s called LEETAGS. Basically, you type in what your photos are about on top and it will search for the most popular hashtags for that. So, if I were to type “beach photography” then it will give me relevant hashtags for beach photography. And you can just click ‘copy’ and then paste it to your post and you’re good to go.

You don’t want to do that every time as the Instagram algorithm likes to see diversity, so you want to start developing your own hashtags. See those hashtags, see the ones that are relevant to your photos, that go with that, and start developing your own list. For example, if you do portrait photography you can go with some from the hashtag generator and mix it with some of your own making.

I have a note on my iPhone’s Notes app that’s called ‘Instagram Hashtags’. And so, every time I develop a new hashtag list, I type it in there, so when I go to post a photo on Instagram I can go into that note and copy those hashtags into Instagram. Keep it fresh, do not use the same hashtags over and over as Instagram doesn’t like that.

So, the last question comes from Ross: “Recently I’ve been getting more into Photoshop, and I want to know what would be the best way to start, what tools do I need to learn?”

Um… if you’re just getting in there, you are going to know that once you open Photoshop is a whole new world. There’s a lot of different stuff, a lot of different tools, so you can do anything to any photo. But one of the tools that a lot of people use and not a lot of people talk about because it’s so common is Layer Masks. You can do almost anything, there’s a lot of stuff you can do just by using Layer Masks. And that’s what a lot of people do.

If you want to remove something from an image, or composite an image together you can use Layer Masks to do that. So, what I mean by Layer Masks is like picture two pieces of paper, and they are on top of each other. One piece of paper is all black, the bottom one, and the other is all white. If you want to reveal the black, instead of just erasing the paper you’re ‘masking’ or hiding the paper via the Layer Mask. You’re painting away from the white piece that covers the black piece underneath. The benefit of that is that if you work with the eraser tool and erase those parts you are not going to be able to get them back. It’s gone, it’s erased and out of there. If you missed some parts or made a mistake, with the Layer Mask you just paint it back in.

You’re basically hiding pieces of paper, and that’s how compositing is built upon. It’s compositing all those things together and hiding, and revealing certain things. So, Layer Mask is a big, big thing to kinda wrap your head around and understand.

The next thing would be to know how to remove unwanted elements from your photos, like people, and the tools for that would be Clone Stamp and Healing Brush. Different ways of doing that. That can give you a basic background and then you can look at all the other tools in Photoshop like Liquify, Lens Correction, different sorts of filters. Thank you, Ross, for this question!

All right, that’s it for this first podcast of 2019. It’s been a while but please look on the next week or so as we’ll be doing the RAW Editing Contest again via the Facebook Members Club page.

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