How to do HDR Merge in Lightroom with one of my photos of Santorini

Now I am back into my editing I want to explain how I have edited some of the images. I published this image last Friday. I posted the three RAW files in this post which you can get to here.

I want to talk about how to use HDR MErge in Lightroom in this post. 

As a reminder, I am merging three images taken as a bracketed set; 

Bracketing set to take three shots

  • 1 st photo the correct exposure
  • 2 nd photo 2 stops underexposed
  • 3 rd photo 2 stops over exposed

That is how I get the bracketed set of images

I want to merge the images together, and this is how I do it step by step. I should have called this my step bu step guide to how to use HDR MErge in Lightroom - oh well it is in the next now! 

First thing is to select the images in Lightroom. I do this by clicking on the first image, and then holding down the xx key and clicking on the other two images in the set of three.

Next I use the keyboard shortcut Control H to open up the dialogue box. 

Keyboard shortcuts

Before I go on, a quick word about keyboard shortcuts. I sue these all the time, and time is what they save me. They massively speed up my editing in Lightroom, and I recommend you check out the skull list of Lightroom keyboard shortcuts here INSERT LINK

HDR Merge dialogue box

 

Step by step walkthrough

 

 

 Tomorrow I will explain the rest of the image processing I carried out on this one photo.

 

Rick McEvoy Photography - How to use Lightroom

 

 

How to edit images in Lightroom - photos of Santorini

OK. Things are not going quite to plan. I was meant to have completed editing my photos of Santorini by now but that is not the case. Recent publication deadlines, work and life have got in the way. 

Today I am back to it. I need to complete the editing my photos of Santorini in Lightroom. 

Before I embark on this task I want to explain how I edit images in Lightroom.  I have started work on a major new post, title to be decided but something like

  • How to use Lightroom
  • How I use Lightroom
  • My step by step guide to editing images in Lightroom. 

Back to last Friday I published this image last Friday. I posted the three RAW files in the blog post which you can get to here.

 Santorini caldera by travel photographer Rick McEvoy

Santorini caldera by travel photographer Rick McEvoy

I am now going to edit this single image, and I will explain what I have done tomorrow on my photography blog.

Rick McEvoy Photography - Photography Blog

How I got the shot - my Greek sunrise article on Improve Photography

 My article on Improve Photography

My article on Improve Photography

Yesterday my latest article was published on Improve PhotographyHow I got the shot - A Greek Sunrise.

This is what the actual article looks like. 

 

 

And this is the image that I wrote about.

 

 Greek sunrise by Rick McEvoy Travel Photographer

Greek sunrise by Rick McEvoy Travel Photographer

I have not decided what my next article is going to be on - I am thinking a wrap up of my series of architectural photography articles. I will have a think.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photography Blogger

HDR Merge in Lightroom - how I do it

The next job is to merge all the bracketed sets of images in Lightroom.

Remember these three photos that I posted on Friday?

 Travel photography, Santroini, Greece by Rick McEvoy Photography
 Travel photography, Santroini, Greece by Rick McEvoy Photography
 Travel photography, Santroini, Greece by Rick McEvoy Photography

Well here is the fourth image - the HDR Merged image.

 The caldera of Santorini by Rick McEvoy - photographer in Santorini

The caldera of Santorini by Rick McEvoy - photographer in Santorini

This is the new file, which is the HDR merged image.

How I do this? Well its quite straightforward.

First - how do I take the images?

Firstly, I take three photos using the auto-bracketing function in my Canon 6D.

  • The first images is the correct exposure - 1/40th second, F22, ISO 400
  • The second image is two stops under exposed - 1/160th second, F22, ISO 400
  • The third image is two stops over exposed - 1/10th second, F22, ISO 400

As this is all about processing images in Lightroom I will this here for now - the point is that I want to capture more of the lights and darks than are in the original image capture.

How do I do an HDR Merge in Lightroom?

According to Scott Kelby, and he should know, the way Lightroom has been desigend you only need to merge the under and over exposed images. There is no point in using the correctly exposed image. Try it and see.

The new images are exactly the same.

So I select these two images, and use the Lightroom keyboard shortcut Control H (H for HDR - nice one Adobe).

And this dialogue box appears.

Lightroom HDR Merge box 13072018.PNG

There are a couple of options here.

Auto Align - I leave this checked. It does exactly what it says it does. Even though I take most of my photos on a tripod I still leave it checked.

Auto Settings - If you check this box Lightroom will give you a preview of the processing it thinks the image needs.

You can see the difference with Auto Settings checked.

Lightroom HDR Merge box 2 13072018.PNG

With the first image I try both ways, and go with what works for. More about doing this to more than one image in a minute.

Deghost Amount - I leave on high. Any areas where there is movement from one image to another will have a red mask over it. This is things like trees that have moved in the wind - we all want them sharp after all.

I always leave the Show Deghost Overlay selected - as there is no red on this image there is no deghosting, so I should turn this to None.

But I don't - this doesnt do any harm to an image (as far as I am aware), it just takes longer as Lightroom has more work to do.

The last check box is Create Stack - this is a new feature in Lightroom that I have not used - I stack the bracketed sets of images when sorting them out after import, and add each new image to the stack. As I am only using two of the three bracketed images if I select this option it puts the new merged photo in a new stack, leaving the original image on its own, so I do this manually - it doesn't take long.

And then I had a thought - this new feature could work for me.

I said before that you only need to use two of the three images - if I use all three images I get exactly the same results, and if I use Create Stack this will put all four images in a stack. And this is one less thing to do.

And yes I have just tried this and it worked nicely. And Lightroom even collapsed the stack after - that is two things less for me to do.

Sorry for the digression - back to the creation of the first HDR Merged file

The message "Photo Merge added to tasks" appears, and Lightroom creates the new image in the background. I wait for this message so I know that this is happening.

Once I am happy with the first image, this is what I do to the rest of the images.

How to HDR Merge lots of images quickly in Lightroom

This is the good stuff. There is a not so well known keybaord shortcut

Shift, Control H

I select the next two images, use this keyboard shortcut and guess what - Lightroom starts the HDR Merge process in the background using the last settings. There is no dialogue box. It just gets on with it.

And once you have done that - as I said above - I wait for the message "Photo Merge added to tasks" - select the next two images, hit the shortcut again and Lightroom starts working on the next HDR Merge.

And then I just keep on going.

I can do more than 30 merges at a time.

I tend to select as many bracketed sets as I can and then go for a cuppa or a beer and leave Lightroom to it.

When I get back I add the new image to the original stack - this is quite quick - select the four images, click on the newly created new file, which has the extension -HDR.dng, then use the shortcut Control G and the four images are in the stack with the new image at the top! I do this for all the images, it doesn not take long, and that is HDR Merge done!

That is what I wrote before I realised that if I use the three images, and the new Create Stack feature, I don't need to do these two last things - Lightroom does them for me!

Summary

I hope that this helps, and that you now know how to use HDR Merge in Lightroom - please ask any questions in the comments box or email - check out my home page for details.

Rick McEvoy Photography - How to use Lightroom

6 weeks on from the switch from .co.uk to .com

And where am I now? To be honest I am back to where I was. I need another week to analyse the data I think, so please pop back to my blog in 7 days if you are interested in knowing the effect of going from a website with a .co.uk to a .com URL.

This will give me another week of the changes impacting which will hopefully tell me more. And also to record what I had to do to make this change, which will hopefully help you if you are thinking of changing your top level domain.

Amalytics 12072018.PNG

There is lots to know. Here are the headlines

1 - Website traffic volumes

These plummeted, but came back strongly and my search volumes have gone up.

2 - Keyword rankings.

These went off the scale, but are gradually restoring themselves.

3 - Analytics

Things have changed here - I need more time to analyse and extract the data.

4 - Demographics

I now get more global visitors to my webiste.

5 - Work

The number of business enquiries has gone up. If this does not happen none of the rest matters.

Check back to my photography blog in a week for a full update.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - Photography Blogger

One of my new Santorini photos - before the edit.

This is one of the new images that I am going to process and include on my new website, photos of Santorini.

These are the three images that I took with no editing at all - and just look at that view of the Santorini Caldera! I will explan more tomorrow!

 

 The correctly exposed image

The correctly exposed image

 The two stop underexposed image

The two stop underexposed image

 The two stop over exposed image

The two stop over exposed image

Rick McEvoy Photography - Santorini Photographer

How I review my Santorini photo selections in Lightroom

This is an extract from Lightroom of my initial image selection. This is the Santorini 2017 folder.

Santorini Lightroom folder 1 06072018.PNG

2442 images taken. 762 separate image captures - these are bracketed sets of three images (with the odd exception). The 491 picks equate to 108 individual images.

I have decided to revisit my initial image selection now that I have my new website, photos of Santorini under construction

The initial selection was done 12 months ago, and needs reviewing as what I am going to do with the images has changed. It might be fairer to say that now I know what I am going to do with the images!

How do I revisit the images I chose to edit?

As you can see from the screenshot above, I organise my images into Picks and Rest. The Picks not edited folder is just that - images that I changed my mind about, which is fine.

Now I have potentially new images to select how do I keep track of them?

I start by creating a new sub-folder in Lightroom. Here it is.

Santorini Lightroom folder 2 11072018.PNG

And by calling it "New picks July 2018" I know exactly what the folder is for. Once I have completed the editing process I will get rid of this folder - it is just a working folder for now.

Lightroom Tip Number 1 - use Lightroom just as you would other folders in Windows - it works in exactly the same way and performs exactly the same functions. (For Mac users that would be Finder I believe).

Don't worry about the extra images - I will explain later.

How did I physically select these additional images in Lightroom?

In the Library Module in Lightroom, using the Loupe view (Lightroom keyboard shortcut E), I went to the Rest folder, and went though the images one by one. If I liked an image I hit P (the Lightroom keyboard shortcut for Pick) on my keyboard, and the image is assigned a little white flag.

Not surrender - a flag that shows that image that someone (me) likes them!

Once I have gone through the images I needed to reconcile the new picks with the old picks.

To do this I went to the Picks folder, used the Lightroom keyboard shortcut Ctrl A to select all the images, then hit P again.

Next I go to the Santorini 2017 parent folder, which has all the images from all of the folders. I want to view the images from these two folders only, and remove any duplicates or images that are too similar to the ones already selected.

This is where the filters in Lightroom come in, which are very useful.

In the Library Module, I now have the images in Grid view (Lightroom keyboard shortcut G). The keyboard shortcut for the filter bar is \. Next click on the white flag (remember - the symbol for a picked images?), and boom all the picks are there. And only the picks.

Lightroom filter bar 11072018.PNG

Lightroom is not just a powerful editing tool - it has a very powerful Library Module with excellent search capabilities.

The problem now is that there are some very similar images that I do not want.

Lightroom Santorini 11072018.PNG

All I do is zoom in a bit (moving the thumbnail slider bottom right over to the right), and use the Lightroom keyboard shourtcut U to "Unpick" the images that I do not want to spend time editing.

This is my benchmark for picking an image or not - am I prepared to spend the time editing the image, and do I want to publish this image on my website?

And here are the new images to edit.

Santorini new picks 11072018.PNG

If you are wondering why the thumbnails have a number 4 next to them this is because I forgot to do a screen shot of the images before I did the HDR Merge.

And finally a bit of housekeeping in Lightroom.

The important but boring bit. Keeping the files where they should be. I need to move the images that I do not want back to the "Rest" folder - to do this I click on the white flag in the filter bar, and then click on the flag in the middle.

The white flag is Picks, the black flag on the right is rejects, and the flag in the middle is neither pick nor reject. Click on that flag and the 4 images that I do not want are there - I just use Control A and drag and drop them in the "Rest" folder.

It is very important to keep on top of where images are - imagine not doing any of this and having to sort things out years down the line.

This is the big mistake that I amde back in the days of Lightroom 1.0. It is so quick to move things around in Lightroom these days, so best do it at the time.

Thats all for now - tomorrow less technical talk and more about the images that I have chosen.

Any questions please get in touch using the comment box - I always reply.

Rick McEvoy Photography - How to use Lightroom

 

My photos of Santorini – what do I need to do next?

Photosofsantorini 03072018.PNG

I thought I would start off with a list of things to do – it has been a while after all.

The end point here is a brand-new website, Photos of Santorini. I am delighted that I have waited until now, as before I did not have a purpose for the photos I took in Santorini – and now I do. A website just for my photos of Santorini.

Go through the photos in Lightroom

Lightroom Santorini 03072018.PNG

I am going to go through the images in my Lightroom Catalogue and see if there are any images that I did not select for the edit – I am now looking at these images with a different end in mind after all, so always good to have a quick look.

I took 2442 images, which equate to 763 images once bracketed images have been put together. I selected 108 images to edit last year – lets see what I come up with this time.

Calibrate my monitor

Yes, I need to do this – I keep closing the reminders when I fire up my PC in the morning, but I will behave and start with a freshly calibrated monitor.

Edit the images

When I say edit the images I mean edit the images. Get all the images that I want to use fully edited. I started doing this over a year ago, but thankfully I can pick up where I left off just fine. To date I have edited 52 images.

And I have to say that I am rather excited to be getting on with the editing – I have upgraded the RAM in my PC, and Lightroom has received significant updates from Adobe since I last worked on these images, so image editing will be a more pleasurable experience.

Rate the edited images

I need to assign a rating to the images in Lightroom – 4 stars. I am saying this as I often forget.

Add metadata to the images.

Very important. I need to make sure that I have added data to the following fields in Lightroom

  • Filename
  • Title
  • Caption
  • Keywords

I need to make sure that the metadata is correct, and to do this there is another job that I need to do.

Research the metadata

This is a big job on its own – not only do I need to research the metadata, but also research the content that is going to be added to my new website, Photos of Santorini. I need to do this before I start to construct the layout of my new website – this is all about getting the job done thoroughly, and once.

Once the images have all the metadata they are ready for upload – I need to make sure that the upload method puts the correct data in the correct fields on my WordPress website.

Create a new collection in Lightroom

This is something that I do so I have the images with me wherever I go, on Lightroom Mobile. I must remember however that that images on Lightroom Mobile rather infuriatingly do not have the keywords attached to them, so I have to do all the uploading and posting from my desktop.

SANTORINI BY TRAVEL PHOTOGRPHER RICK MCEVOY.jpg

Images done – now for the website

The website is live now on the internet with a few images.

Things that I have done to the website are

  • Change the URL to https.
  • Tell Google Search Console about the website.
  • Buy a theme.

I need to go back and see if there is anything else that I need to. I know that this is boring back of house stuff, but it is very important for a successful website.

Other things that I need to consider with the website are these

  • Layout
  • Theme
  • Page content
  • Number of images
  • Blog
  • Ecommerce or not?
  • SEO strategy
  • Yoast and other plug-ins
  • Image upload – file sizes
  • Target audience and market
  • Google strategy
  • Analytics
  • Videos
Santorini sunrise video 05072018.PNG

I am new to WordPress, and have never built my own website before, so there is lots to learn. Thankfully I have had some great advice from Jim Harmer at Income School and Improve Photography.

And this is a great reminder to me to check out some of his YouTube videos.

And another thing I need to remind myself of is this – the idea is that this is a quick process – not a l long drawn out search for perfection.

But for the first website I need to spend time learning stuff to make sure I do this properly – this is a time investment for the future, not a short-term thing.

Blog posts

I am thinking that the text content will be circa 50 blog posts on the website, talking about the photos I have taken – these are the headings I am thinking of.

  • Location
  • Intent
  • Image capture process
  • Gear
  • Settings
  • Image processing
  • Do I like the image?

I have also thought of a few pages about Santorini – these could be static web pages or blog posts. Possible things are

  • About Santorini
  • How to get there
  • When you get there
  • Timing/ seasons
  • Costs/ Currency

The website will then be a useful resource about Santorini, and not just about my photos. I want a website that is of interest to people, and also helpful – this is not just about me trying to flog advertising and images.

Well not just that, but that would be nice…

I need to add an amount of text, so Google will index the content and I will appear in search queries for photos of Santorini, and other keywords of course.

Recording what I have done.

I am going to extract out all the website stuff as I do things, so I know what I have done. The plan is that I can create more websites with photos from other locations, using the process I am going through on this website.

This is very much the beginning of what could be an exciting new chapter in my photographic life.

Summary

The photos are just a time thing. That I have sorted so I can just get on with it. The hard work here is the website itself – the technical stuff and the pages and content on each page.

Once the website is done my plan is this – leave it. I will of course keep far too close an eye on the analytics, but to start with I am going to leave it for 6 months and see what happens.

I have scheduled a blog post for the middle of September titled “How I built a WordPress website” which will be a useful guide for anyone else wanting to do what I am about to embark on. Obviously, the title might change but you get the idea.

I will report back periodically on what is happening with the website, which is very exciting. I love the idea of creating a brand-new website with my photos as the main content – this really is how I want to build a business – stay with me as I go through this exciting process.

Photosofsantorini 03072018.PNG

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photos of Santorini

Santorini photos - 14 days of nothing else but my pictures of Santorini

It has been a busy time. Time to kick back for a week and a bit to focus on finishing those Santorini photos. When I say kick back I actually mean

  1. Finish editing the Santorini photos
  2. Research keywords, metadata etc
  3. Add metadata to all the images
  4. Create a new web page called, erm, Santorini photos

I will have a think about this. And another idea I have for this set of circa 100 images.

By the end of next week I hope to have a fully edited set of pictures of Santorini.

Tomorrow - a brand new Santorini photo.

But for today, in true Blue Peter style, heres one I prepared earlier...

Rick McEvoy Photography - Travel Photographer

Check out this Santorini sunrise video

I know the video is not the best quality, but check out that surreal sky and sea. That is the reward for getting up at sunrise.

Santorini sunrise video 05072018.PNG

I came across this video prepping for what I will be writing about tomorrow - my photos of Santorini! A new website coming soon, but for the rest of the month it is all Santorini. Finally

Rick McEvoy - photos of Santorini

My favourite video - sunrise looking towards Lindos

This is 30 seconds of peace and tranquility at Navarone Bay, Rhodes. The bit of land you can see in the middle is Lindos, on which the Acropolis of Rhodes sits.

But this video is all about the moment, just me sat on the rocks waiting for the sun to appear. Camera set up and ready to capture this moment.

This is why I love travel photography!

Rick McEvoy Photography - Travel Photographer

To .com or to .co.uk? Which is the best top level domain?

Google me extract 03072018.PNG

Has it worked for me?

Which is the best top level domain?

I guess it depends.

Time will tell. I will provide an update on Bastille Day - this is 6 weeks after the switch to .com. That is the 14th July. And my birthday!

Rick McEvoy Photography