profiPhotos Lounge

Just a place to kick back and relax.

New way of working with Develop Presets in Lightroom 2

Posted by profiphotos on November 8, 2008

Sample Preset called BW-Color (mask is integrated into preset)

Sample Preset called BW-Color (the mask is integrated into the preset)

UPDATE: Nov. 23, 2008 – These presets are now also available on the Adobe Lightroom Exchange.

Hello again, I’m back in the Lounge to take a little breather.  I’ve been busy of late working with my favourite program – Lightroom.  I was pleased when Lightroom 2.1 came out and solved a number of problems that had been bothering some customers.  As I mentioned in my last video, my first impressions of Lightroom 2.1 was good and I am so glad I no longer have to wait while all the folders load when Lightroom first starts.  I’ve been working daily with Lightroom 2.1 and so far it has only crashed on me once – and I can’t seem to repeat the error!

Anyhow, I’m here to ask for your help.  I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how one could simulate masking in Lightroom.  I am sure that eventually Adobe will bring out version 3 and we’ll at least be able to import masks from Photoshop (which would open a range of new possibilities in Lightroom).  In the mean time, I’ve come up with an idea how to simulate masking.  Have a look at the photo on the left, click on it if you like to get a larger view.  It’s the result of a new preset that I’ve come up with. 

I might add, this all came about during the development of a concept I had based on the “Golden Rule of Thirds” principle in photography. This is one of the fundamental compositional techniques in art and photography.  Curiously enough, the masking sample shown here was not a planned thing – it just ended up as a result while developing my concept.

After I developed the core presets to give my concept form, I started making some sample Lightroom presets to show off the concept.  They are finished. Now, I’m looking for feedback from people who are willing to take the core concept and give it a try in Lightroom 2.  I’m making a full set of presets available on my WEB site for anyone to download and try out.  I would like those who do try it to give me their feedback so I can better refine the next version.   To wet your appetite, here’s a few sample presets I built using the core presets (a more complete list can be found in the article on the main site).

Original Photo Focus Beauty Builder

Ring of Color (BL – Bottom Left)

In this sample, I wanted to show how the flexibilty of the preset builder. Here you see the blending of colors in different areas of the photo combined with B&W and sharpness effects. Another wild example of this technique can be seen in the Alien effect further down.

Original Photo Focus Beauty Builder

Soft Focus (TR – Top Right)

An example using the Soft Focus preset. You’ll also notice I took advantage of the fact that I already had a couple of adjustment filters in place and darkened up a couple of trouble spots. The net result gives the photo much more appeal.

Original Photo Focus Beauty Builder

Alien Hangover

I had a lot of fun coming up with this preset. I took the base preset (Focus – Center) and played with the sliders. I tweaked and fine-tuned and flipped gradients to come up with this preset. I’ve tested it on lots of photos and in 75% of those tested, came up with some pretty wild results.

To show the preset in action, have a look at the next photo.  It shows how I’ve built a mask around the eye of the bird in the photo.  Now I know I could have done this with the adjustment brush, but the results take a lot longer and the resultant mask is not easily transferable from one photo to the next.

Soft Focus Preset

Soft Focus Preset

So having said all that, I’m hoping I’ve peaked someone’s interest enough to give it a go.  Here’s the link, the complete concept is described in detail on the WEB site.  If you download the presets collection from the main site, please return to the main site once you’ve played with the presets and leave your comments there.

Read about and download the Focus Beauty Builder presets collection.

Thanks a bunch and as Adobe suggests in Lightroom Rule #5 : Enjoy!

Cheers, Markus

Posted in Graduated Filter, Just Ramblin, Lightroom 2 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lightroom 2 Video – Installing Presets and Schönbrunn Palace

Posted by profiphotos on October 16, 2008

Palace Schönbrunn in Vienna, Austria

Palace Schönbrunn in Vienna, Austria

I’ve been busy at profiPhotos and have recently released a new Lightroom 2 video.  Earlier this month, I posted a new photo gallery featuring the beautiful Palace Schönbrunn and surrounding gardens in Vienna. Naturally, the photo gallery was worked on in Lightroom and I’ve released another set of presets that were used in the making of the gallery.

Privy Garden at Schönbrunn

The full story and gallery can be enjoyed on the main site.  Click into my About page on this site and follow the link back to the main site.

The newest video is a short one (3:27 mins) and is about installing Lightroom presets, organizing them and of course a quick how-to on backing up all your presets in Lightroom.  By the end of this month another Lightroom video will be released where I’ll be exploring the fine art of working with keywords.  Often over looked as a valuable search mechanism, this in-depth video will show the various ways to manage your keywords in Lightroom, and let you decide which one works best for you.  The video will end with a segment showing a “speed” work flow we’ve developed to get the job done quickly.  That way you’ll be able to get back to doing the thing we all love – taking photos.

Oh yeah, I’d really love to hear your comments – just take a moment and share your thoughts!

New Lightroom 2 Video

Until next time, take care,

Posted in Lightroom 2, Photo Gallery, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lightroom 2 Video – Graduated Filter Advanced Tips

Posted by profiphotos on September 27, 2008

Our exiting new video featuring the graduated filter is now online.  Here you’ll discover some tips that Adobe never told you about.  Do you want to sample a colour from your photo to use with the graduated filter or adjustment brush – we’ll show you how.

It’s been a lot of work and admittedly a lot of fun in producing our second Lightroom video.  We’re not completely recovered from the many days of work involved in producing this one and we’re already planning our next one.  But we’d like to get YOU involved.  Send us your Lightroom tips (simply write us a comment under the video on our main site) and the best ones will be included in our next video.  The topic is – “Speed Tips for Lightroom 2”.  These include all those little things that you’ve heard about, read about or discovered on your own that speeds up your work flow with the software.  It’s those “wow, you can do that!” tips that we’re interested in.

But first, have a look at the current video, I’m sure that you’ll discover something new about Lightroom 2.

Cheers until next time.  And don’t forget to leave a comment!

Link to profiPhotos second video

Discover advanced tips in Lightroom 2 that Adobe didn't tell about.

Posted in Graduated Filter, Lightroom 2, Video | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Download Lightroom 2 Presets and Customize your Grid View

Posted by profiphotos on September 18, 2008

Hello all, there’s a lot of new stuff been going on at our main site so I haven’t had a chance to drop by “the lounge” – but now I’ve got a free moment.  Just thought I’d mention that we’ve just posted our first free downloads of Lightroom 2 Graduated Filter presets that will help anyone who’s using Lightroom 2 get an edge.  You can download these presets and use them as a starting point in your work in the development module.  Each preset comes with two neutral density gradient filters already in place just waiting to be optimized for your best photos.

Aside from that, there’s another article about customizing your Grid View in Lightroom 2. It shows you how you can configure “the Grid” to show you as few or as many details of each of your photos. Don’t forget to have a peak at the bottom of the page where’s you’ll find a short tip on using Lightroom faster. OK, it’s not that big a deal but it’s just a small example of the kinds of tips that will be included in our upcoming video on – “improving your workflow speed in Lightroom 2”. Enough said, the direct links to the two articles are posted below. Have fun and if you come up with some cool shots as a result of using our presets – let us know about it!

Links to the Articles

Cheers until next time!

Posted in Graduated Filter, Grid View, Lightroom 2 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A New Look: profiPhotos gets a Face Lift

Posted by profiphotos on September 4, 2008

A much needed update to the user experience at is now live.

A much needed update to the user experience at is now live.

Hello again, it’s great to be back here in the Lounge after spending a number of very busy days preparing for the re-launch of our Main Site.  Anyone who has visited our site knows that we’ve quickly outgrown the old site. (it was launched little more than 4 months ago)

We’ve had growing pains of course.  We had a major problem with our bilingual plug-in that was stopping some folks from even visiting the site.  We worked with the plug-in developer to resolve that issue – and now it’s fixed.   Other users, who were using Internet Explorer 6, had display problems and were having difficulty navigating the site – that’s also been fixed.  The site NOW works with Internet Explorer versions 6, 7 and 8, Firefox 2 & 3, Opera, Safari (including the new Chrome browser from Google) and others.

We'll be bringing one gallery after another online here in this reserved spot.


I had no idea our Site was going to become as popular as it has – mostly in response to our releasing our first set of how-to videos!   You can be sure we’re busy planning a follow up series of videos on tips & tricks in Lightroom 2.  And that’s where we had some issues.  The site was simply TOO NARROW to support the wide screen videos and our dynamic photo galleries.  So, we’ve released a FULL SCREEN version of the site that provides us with much needed room for growth.

And grow we will.  First off, we’re bring all the videos back into the main site, we’re consolidating all of our photo galleries on one page.  Here you’ll see a description of the gallery, thumbnail and the option to view a flash gallery or normal slide show.  We’re also setting up a page where you can download our most popular photos as wallpaper in sizes to accomodate the most popular screen resolutions.

So have a look around, and if inclined, drop us a note or send us your ideas. There’s a new comments feature available from the About page.  At any rate, look for exciting new developments in the next few weeks!

Visit us here:  profiPhotos News

Bye for now.

Posted in Blog Ideas, Just Ramblin, Uncategorized, We're Growing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

profiPhotos Gallery: Myths surrounding Mount Untersberg

Posted by profiphotos on August 29, 2008

A panorama shot from the top of Mount Untersberg in Austria.  Click the photo to see a larger version of the file.

A panorama shot from the top of Mount Untersberg in Austria. Click the photo to see a larger version of the file.

We finally have the new profiPhotos Flash Gallery online and I’m pleased to say it looks great!  You are basically taken on a photo tour of Mount Untersberg in Austria.  Starting with cable car ride and ending in the pleasant backyard garden of our lovely hotel.  The scenery is simply awe inspiring and it doesn’t cost a dime to have a look.  This will be my last post on this magnificent mountain although I’ll be updating a couple of posts when the video of our trip to Untersberg is ready.  OK, maybe it deserves to be in a post of it’s own – I’ll decide that when it’s done.

Up next, I’ll be working up a few submissions over at where there’s a cool photo contest underway exploring the theme – “Jungle Atmosphere”.  Beyond that it’s time for a bit of clean up of the main Site and spending some time on getting stock library submissions back on track.  I’ll keep you posted on the topic of the next major article in a while.

In the mean time click on any of the photos below to direct you to our main site where you can view the photo gallery on Untersberg.


Just a small sampling of the photos found in the Flash photo gallery.  Click on any of the photos above to view the gallery.

Just a small sampling of the photos found in the Flash photo gallery. Click on any of the photos above to view the gallery.

Posted in Photo Gallery | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lightroom 2: Video from profiPhotos – Adjustment Brush

Posted by profiphotos on August 8, 2008

Well we finally pulled it off – not one, but two new videos covering the new Adjustment brush in Lightroom 2. Despite holidays, the English and German language versions are now online available for viewing and/or download.

We’ve taken an in-depth look at the adjustment brush and covered off important topics like;

  • Multiple layered adjustments
  • Using the “O” key to toggle mask view mode
  • Changing the mask colour with Shift-O
  • Using the ALT key to toggle mask paint/erase mode
  • Creating snapshots at various stages of your retouch work flow

I hope everyone can enjoy one or perhaps both videos – they’re equally interesting and different. Now we’re off on our new assignment in Austria where we’ll be photographing the Alps and the beautiful city of Vienna. A new photo gallery is sure to be in the mix upon our return.

In the meantime enjoy. The direct links are below.

English Version

Direct Link to Video

German Version

Direct Link to Video

Posted in Lightroom 2 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Lightroom 2: Adobe has added two COOL new Tools

Posted by profiphotos on July 30, 2008

Just yesterday, Adobe released version 2 of Lightroom.  Having used the beta copy for a while I wasn’t really expecting anything new … until I downloaded and installed the final version.  WOW!  I am stoked.  I wasn’t really expecting anything as sopisticated as the Adjustment brush.  It’s kind of like an adjustment layer in Photoshop and a brush all rolled into one.  You can basically “dodge” and “burn” areas of a photo like in the good old days in the darkroom.  But it doesn’t end there.  You can also use the brush to edit the sharpness, clarity, colour, saturation etc. of your image.

Mask and Stroke Start Points used for Retouching

Here you can see the mask that was generated for the lightening of the eyes. The Lightroom settings on the right show that the masked area had an exposure increase of .81. The beauty is that once you have the masks defined with your strokes you can play with the settings until you get the look you like.

And if that’s not all Lightroom automagically builds a mask during your “brushing”.  Top that off with the fact that you can layer these effects (i.e. apply multiple instances of the brush to the image and you’ve got a kick-ass way of really touching up those trouble areas in your image.

Before Retouching

Before Retouching

After Lightroom Retouching.  In addition to brightening the eyes, I also used a second mask to darken the background a little bit.

After Lightroom Retouching. In addition to brightening the eyes, I also used a second mask to darken the background a little bit. A secondary mask was used on the eyes to increase the sharpness of the eyes and surrounding area but unfortunately on an image of this size the difference is nearly indiscernable. A slight colour temperature change rounded things off and made this dude into a cooler looking character.

I also had a quick look at the gradient filter tool which is also very useful in some situations.  Suppose you go out and shoot a sunset photo and the sky just isn’t dark enough and you’re kicking yourself for forgetting to use a gradient filter during the shoot.  No problem – do it in post.  Feathering, spread and everything else you could want is all built in.  Got the sky just right and the foreground could use a little lightening … no problem, just add another gradient filter to the lower portion of the image.  Again, all filters can be stacked and everything is completely reversible.

I’m currently working on a how-to video to show how this these tools work so I shouldn’t be spending a lot of time here in the lounge.  I’ll just update a few pics of the tools in action and then I’ve got to get back to the video work.

Cheers for now.

Posted in Lightroom 2 | 1 Comment »

profiPhotos – Linux, Windows XP and Composition Rules

Posted by profiphotos on July 20, 2008

If anyone has been following my posts here you’ll notice I haven’t written anything in a while.  Simple explanation – my hard drive on the main server here at profiPhotos gave up the ghost last week.  Naturally, not all is lost (yes, I do make backups) but as anyone who has had the same kind of thing happen to them, knows, it is a time consuming effort to rebuild your system the way it was.

I decided that since I need to install Windows XP again, I might as well spruce up the old system with some more storage space and setup a multi-boot manager as well. I’m not going into a lot of technical details but when I decided I wanted to boot XP from from my faster SATA disks, I had no idea what was in store for me.  From the get go, Windows XP is not able to recognize these drives at installation time.  The only way to install the drivers that shipped with the SATA controller is to make an install diskette!  Now who in their right mind uses diskettes anymore today?  Well, I had no choice, install a floppy drive in my system or forget booting from a high speed SATA disk.  After borrowing a floppy drive from a coworker, I was on my long and arduous task of rebuilding my system.

openSUSE Version 11.0 As part of the process, I decided to install the latest version of Linux (SUSE 11.0) on one of the new hard disks.  It is in fact from within Linux that I am writing this article.  I had thought that after many YEARS of not having much to do with UNIX or the like, I was in for a treat with this latest version of LINUX.  I am happy to report I was pleasantly surprised and horribly disappointed at the same time.  Yes, Linux has grown up and yes Linux is still best left to the command-line lovers out there.  I, for one, am more interested in using my computer rather than having to search over the Net for software when I’d like to simply watch a DVD on my Linux system. Linux has a lot of really nice features and is very stable, albeit the new KDE 4.0 has many bugs in it (although the crash window is really pretty).  As an example, when was the last time you tried adding a floppy drive to Linux after installing in a system that originally didn’t have one.  It’s not fun.  Believe me Linux is not for the layman who is looking for an alternative to using Windows or a MAC.  I have been doing the most rudimentary tasks in Linux (like accessing my XP drives) and have spent literally hours trying to figure stuff out.  You have almost no choice but to visit the Linux forums if you want to get a simple answer on how to do things because with the online Linux help system you’ll never get a proper answer to your search keywords.  OK, I don’t want to bash Linux, this is just an opinion from one guy who has many years of UNIX experience under his belt – Linux is not an Operating System for the casual computer user!!

Anyway, getting back on track, I am now preparing my next article for the profiPhotos main site where we will take a look at what makes a good photo.  Yup, this will be another multi-part series focusing on some basic composition concepts.  I also plan to introduce a workshop to accompany each article where interested readers can review a photo assignment (part of the article), go out and take photos and upload them to the site.  I will be posting submitted photos in a special gallery dedicated to our reader’s photographic efforts.  With that said, I’m off to finishing the server UPGRADES and will be posting the first article shortly.

Bye for now.

Posted in Blog Ideas | 3 Comments »

Google Lively: Does anything there work?

Posted by profiphotos on July 13, 2008

There used to be photos on the wall - now everything is black

There used to be photos on the wall - now everything is black

I’ve invested many hours of work in setting up my Photo Gallery over at Lively.  The day before yesterday, I wanted to continue working on the room – had a few more photos to hang on the walls.  After logging in, much to my surprise all of the photos were gone!  I surfed around to other member’s rooms and everywhere I went there were no pictures on the walls.  According to an unofficial post from a Google person, there were some issues with the photo gadgets built into the photo frames and they removed them  from Lively – for upgrades.  Now I can understand this is a Beta Site but c’mon something so basic as Photos could have been better prepared before going public.

It seems that the only user gadgets that still are working are the streaming of video from You Tube.  Which brings up another point.  Supposedly you are able to add music and ambient effects to the rooms you create at Lively but as of this writing no one seems to be able to get this feature working.  On the Help Forum (located via the “?” on the room viewer) people have suggested hiding You Tube videos under the floor or behind walls just so that you can present your users with a musical experience when visiting your room.  C’mon using a video to play music just because it’s not possible to play background music in your room?

Sound was also supposed to work.  I don't know anyone who has gotten it to work yet.

Sound was also supposed to work. I don't know anyone who has gotten it to work yet.

I will say, the idea for this sort of thing is ripe (and I’m glad to say different than Second Life) and Google has done a wonderful thing in that you can integrate your room in your own Blog or WEB Site.  Hats off to Google for that one.  I guess we will all have to be patient until Google gets all the quirks out.  I, for one, will have to patiently wait until Google puts the photo frames back up before I can finish setting up my Gallery @ Lively.

Posted in Just Ramblin | Leave a Comment »