How I use Lightroom and Dropbox Together

 

I use Lightroom everyday as I'm always doing something with my images. I have multiple catalogs for the various kinds of photography that I do. My images are temporarily captured and stored on my internal hard drive of my MacBook Pro until they've been reviewed, selected, retouched, shared and delivered. After that the keepers are moved to my Mac OS X Server (Drobo) where they are backed up each night to another Drobo and to the cloud via CrashPlan. Once the images are moved from the internal drive on my laptop to the server, i update the catalog with the new location of this folder of images. This way if I ever need to work with or output those images again Lightroom will do so over my network to the server. The catalogs themselves always remain on the laptop drive. That's where the problem comes into play. What if I want to access one of those catalogs from a different computer? Networked Catalog access is not supported or recommended.

 

My Lightroom Catalogs are on Dropbox

I saw the value in Dropbox long ago and signed up for their 100GB plan. Dropbox basically became my "documents" and "pictures" folder so that I would have cloud backup and access to my documents/pictures no matter which computer or mobile device that I use. That's been working out GREAT! One day it dawned upon me to try it with a Lightroom catalog. I figured if my catalog is sync'd to Dropbox, then I would be able to access that catalog from any of my computers running Lightroom. I put my most frequently used Lightroom Catalogs in my Dropbox folder and I have to say that I love it! I can now go to any of my computers running Lightroom and access my catalog. Also something else works that I wasn't sure if it would or not. The images themselves (except for the most current shoot/work in progress) are on the server, all I have to do is mount the server and Lightroom sees the images too. No relinking necessary. 

 

Could you put the images in there too?

Sure! I could also put the images from my most current shoot in the Dropbox folder for a true "work anywhere" scenario. The only reason that I usually don't is because of the time it would take to sync hundreds of RAW files relative to the initial time I actually need access to that folder from more than one computer. The other option and the one that I would lean towards would be to immediately copy the current shoot folder to the server when I get home. The only reason I don't do that is because it just works faster overall when the images are on the local drive for the initial edits. If I were to pick either of the above workflows, I would just copy the images immediately to my server right after the shoot. This way I could work on them from any computer in the house.

 

Side tip

Dropbox is also an easy way to share the final images. You can zip them up, put them in your public folder and then right click on them to get a public link. Simply email that link to your client and they'll be able to download the large file without having to have a Dropbox account or even know what Dropbox is.

 

The Bottom Line

I use Dropbox for lot's of things (see my 5 Ways to Take Advantage of Dropbox post here). Every time I think of a new way it makes me value the service that I pay for even more. You can get a FREE 2GB Dropbox account here.



Should you use a knockoff camera accessory?

 

Camera manufacturers go out there way to make sure that you can buy their branded accessories for just about every major need you'll have. They sell lenses, batteries, cables, adapters, GPS units, filters, etc. However, these branded accessories usually come at the higher end of the price range and many would argue that the lower cost, 3rd party alternatives are just as good if not better. I tend to agree when it comes to certain things like Nikon compatible GPS units. Every 3rd party one I've tried to date blows away the Nikon branded GP-1. However, I haven't been as pleased with 3rd party lenses. When I first started getting into photography I bought lenses from Tamron and Sigma and while these lenses were good, I later replaced them with with Nikon branded glass that I liked much better. This could start a very long debate and that's not my goal here. If you're happy with your 3rd party glass, rock on! Recently I decided to try a 3rd party battery grip for my Nikon D7000 that was priced so low that I actually bought it more out of curiosity than the need for a battery grip.

 

The MeiKe Multi-Power Battery Pack for the Nikon D7000

I bought my D7000 the day it came out and I always intended it to be my travel camera, but also serve as a backup body for my D700. I have the Nikon battery grip for my D700 and I've always been quite happy with it. I have gone back and forth on getting the Nikon MB-D11 Battery Grip for my D7000, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Not because it's all that expensive, but mainly because I wanted to keep this camera small and light weight for travel. However, after recently having to use it in studio while my D700 was being repaired I realized that I really did miss having a battery grip for taking portraits. I sighed and said "oh well, time to order it and stop putting this off." On my way to order it I did a search to remind myself of the price. Although I primarily buy my photographic gear from B&H, I still like to check prices on Amazon because you never know when they may be having one of their one day sales. While the Nikon branded grip came up for $258.82, (B&H has it for $219.95) I noticed another grip in the search results for only ——- $40.41!!!!!

What? How can this be? How can it be sooooo cheap? It must be crap! Cheaply made, easily breakable, etc. 

I figured for $40 I could take the risk. Worse case I'd get a piece of crap, return it and have a topic to blog about. I ordered it. Meanwhile as I was waiting for it to arrive I saw this clip from F-Stoppers on an apparent scam where this very adapter is also being sold in a Nikon branded box, manual, etc. at full Nikon prices as a complete FAKE/rip off!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV_rxL3UV-g

Can you imagine paying full price and then later discovering that the item you bought is not authentic and worse yet also being sold for significantly less?

 

The MeiKe Multi-Power Battery Pack Arrived

While I was a little freaked out by the video above, the one thing I took away was that it was so good he really didn't notice that it wasn't the real thing. Mine arrived and it was packaged in a MeiKe box. There was no fake Nikon branding of any kind. I put my extra Nikon D7000 battery in it as well as a set of AA's in the optional tray. Both worked fine. With the Nikon battery in the camera even registered it as a MB-D11 in the menus showing the battery status. While there was no noticeable play in the connection, I can confirm that the dial works in the opposite direction just as the F-Stoppers discovered. Otherwise all the controls seem to work as they should.

 

The Bottom Line

This is one of those cases where I'm going to side with a using a knockoff accessory. I don't plan to use a battery grip on this body full-time. It's also not a mission critical accessory for this body. Actually it's PERFECT for what I wanted. I kinda wanted a battery grip for those times that I need one, but didn't want to pay top dollar for one in this case. Is it as good as the Nikon one? NO. The plastic is of a cheaper grade. The rubber definitely feels different. Functionally it works, but it does feel like a cheaper grade product. You do get what you pay for. This is a no frills battery grip. If your D7000 is your primary camera and you make a living with it, then you should probably get the Nikon one. If you are in need of a grip only on occasion, then it's hard to go wrong with this $40.41 knockoff. As a side note the 43 reviews on Amazon are mostly positive with an average rating of 4 stars. I'm happy with my purchase at the moment. Time will tell.



Why I Don’t Want More Megapixels

 

Yesterday I told you about how I broke my Nikon D700 again via a tethering accident. What I didn't mention was that I still had another shoot to do while the D700 was being repaired. I went to my backup body, which is a D7000. I love my D7000, but this was the first time that I actually used it during a studio shoot. I had no real issues with the camera or setup, but what I quickly realized was that there is a disadvantage to having more megapixels. The D7000 is a 16.2 MP camera, while my D700 is a 12.1 MP camera. If you do the math (it's not hard) there's a 4 MP increase in the image captured. What this translates to is that my RAW files on the D700 are about 10.4MB (average) in size and my D7000 DNGs are about 16MB (average) in size. This means that every shot is going be roughly about 6MBs larger than the ones coming from the D700.

 

Why is a larger file/higher megapixel image a bad thing?

The first thing I noticed that shooting tethered was taking longer. It makes sense. I'm used to a certain rhythm from the time I fire the shutter till the time image is displayed in Lightroom. There was a noticeable lag. The second problem was that my drive was running low on space and during the shoot I got a warning from the OS that I was basically out of space. I had to make some room right then and there. My shoots can range anywhere from 300-1,000 images. While I could have run out of space with either camera, the point is I probably ran out of space faster with the larger files coming from the D7000.

 

The Bottom Line

I'm not saying that camera manufacturers shouldn't build cameras capable of capturing more megapixels. What I am saying is that more megapixels no longer influences my buying decision. While I await the rumored Nikon D800 and D4, I cringe at the rumored specs of 38 Megapixels! Imagine having every photo you take be significantly larger in size whether you need it or not. I would much rather these guys build a 38MP camera (one model) for the guys that really need it and leave the rest of the line at a more reasonable/manageable MP number. 

Less is more :)

 

Added note for clarification: I would welcome the larger MP images if the camera manufactures would also add the faster transfer technologies (ie. USB 3, 802.11n, Thunderbolt, etc.) into the bodies as well. What I'm saying above is that I don't just want more megapixels and nothing else. If you're going to make the files bigger then also make the transfers faster too!



How I Broke My D700 By Tethering. Again!

It feels like déjà vu! It was a few days before Photoshop World Vegas and I was in the middle of shoot and all of a sudden I noticed the last couple of images didn't come up on the screen in Lightroom. I looked down at the camera and to my dismay I saw my USB tethering cable was at a 45° angle on the side of the camera. I thought, "that can't be good!" At some point my hand must have applied a bit of pressure to the end of the cable going into my D700 and as I suspected I damaged the port once again. Last time this happened was the week before Photoshop World Orlando. The only difference was in the previous incident I must have tugged on the cable too much. See that blog post here. I solved that problem with a TetherLock:

However, as I painfully found out solutions like TetherLock and the ones from TetherTools only solve the cable "tug" problem. As you can see in the image above the cable plug is still exposed and therefore it has potential to be bumped, pushed, bent, etc.

 

I need a cage or bracket

I started thinking about ways to protect the actual port with some sort of cage or cover that surrounds the port/cable connection itself. Little did I know at the time that such solutions already exist. Blog reader and friend Ken Toney suggested this "Cable Relief Spacer" from Really Right Stuff. I thought "PERFECT!"

However, there was a small problem. All of my tripod heads and plates are by Kirk. I bought them long ago and while I do plan to switch to Really Right Stuff at some point (just for compatibility with all the people I shoot with), I hadn't planed on doing it right now. I wondered if Krik offered a similar solution for the L-Brackets I already own and fortunately they do! I ordered the Kirk LBA-1 USB Spacer Block immediately While these solutions basically offer the same solution, I would give the nod to the Really Right Stuff one because it appears to do both: Protect the port AND keep the cable from being tugged. Nevertheless, I'm now using the Kirk Spacer Block and my existing TetherLock for the ultimate "Terry proof" solution.

 

The Bottom Line

These extra pieces add cost to tethering. However, I couldn't imagine not tethering to Lightroom during my studio shoots. Now if only the camera manufacturers would wake up and build fast wireless tethering right into these expensive camera bodies (or at least the battery grips) this breaking the usb port, tripping over the cable, stuff would be a thing of the past.


Printer Rebates Lexar Rebates Sandisk Rebates Tamron Rebates Olympus Rebates Nikon Rebates Canon Rebates B&H Rebates & Promotions



On Location: My Abandoned Warehouse Fitness Shoot

I wanted to do a fitness shoot. However, I didn’t want it to be just another shoot in my studio. I started looking at fitness shots like the ones in the Nike ads and I saw a consistent theme. The shots were mostly done outside and against interesting backdrops and walls. This lead me on a search for a location. It didn’t take me long to find a spot. I have to give credit to my photographer buddy David Birdsong for turning me on to this abandoned warehouse in downtown Detroit. I saw a shot of it in his portfolio and had to find out where it was. He gave me all the details.

There are lots of abandon buildings in the Detroit area. However, as you would expect many are boarded up or have no trespassing signs. This gem is wide open. There is a big 10′ open door right at the street with great parking.

I brought my Elinchrom Quadra for lighting as well as a deep octa softbox.

When you shoot in an abandoned building all bets are off when it comes to safety. Everything is “at your own risk”. Remember, technically you’re not supposed to be there.

You have to also be careful not only with your equipment, but also with the debris and broken glass. Falling is definitely not recommended :) We ended up just discarding the mat we brought because it was just too dirty to bring back.

I couldn’t get enough of this place, but I was on a time limit. I had a flight to catch later that evening as well as some more shooting to do in studio.

My beautiful & amazing model Kandice was a total trooper during the shoot. It was pouring down raining, wind blowing, dusty, dirty, etc. the whole time and nothing phased her.

One thing I’ll definitely bring next time is a broom. Also having some rags to wipe down everything after the shoot is over would have been really great.

In the shot above I managed to get more of the surrounding area. In many of the shots I took I wished I had done this more. I was too tightly composed on Kandice.

The Elinchrom gear performed like a champ. No issues with battery life or remote triggering with the Skyport Triggers.

I also have to give credit to my buddy Scott Kelby for his recommendation of hiring an off duty cop for security and keeping people off the set. It was great peace of mind to look over and see that unmarked police car the whole time :) While having security could be considered overkill you have to remember that most abandoned buildings aren’t in the best of neighborhoods. What would you do if two guys walked in, hands in their pockets and said ‘hand over your camera and all of your money?”

The fun continued back in the studio

In studio I used my Elinchrom 600 RX’s

When it was all said and done, my mistakes aside it was a great experience and I can’t wait to shoot there again!

Gear Guide (Stuff I used on the location shoot)

Nikon D700

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII Lens

Elinchrom Quadra Lighting Kit

Elinchrom Deep Octa

Elinchrom Adapter Rings

Impact 9.6′ Heavy Duty Light Stand

Portable Trampoline



Winners of the Terry White Drobo Contest!

photo compliments of iStockphoto.com

 

Without further ado I'd like to announce the TWO Winners of the Terry White Drobo Contest:

 

Judy Gitterman of California

and

Raymond Barr of Massachusets

Congratulations to the Winners and Thanks to all who entered! Drobo was very pleased with the response and hopefully that means we'll be able to do more giveaways in the future!

 



Last Call for Entries to the Terry White Drobo Contest

Just wanted to give everyone a heads-up that today Friday, September 16th 2011 is the last day that you can enter the Terry White Drobo Contest.  See my original post here. Enter the contest here. Also remember that the more entries I receive the greater the chance will be that we'll give away a second Drobo! You have til 2PM ET (GMT-4) to enter. Hurry!



How to Remove a Background from an Image in Photoshop CS 5

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bm7v1DUn-0M

One of the number one "how to" questions about Photoshop is "how to remove a background from an image or how to extract an image from the background." I've recorded videos on this in the past and people always comment/ask what about when the background is not a solid color like grey or white? In this video the background is multiple colors and I walk you though how to do it from start to finish.

See more of my Adobe Creative Suite Videos on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and get the App here. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see. This episode has a BONUS CLIP that is available only in the App:

Learn Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White - Wizzard Media

 



Photoshop World 2011 Vegas Photo Recap

[slickr-flickr search=”sets” set=”72157627647246470″ type=”slideshow” size=”m640″]


It’s the Terry White Drobo Contest!

  

While I've given away lots of things in the past such as Adobe Software at Adobe sponsored events, this is my first big "Terry White" giveaway! It's the largest prize I've given away on any of my blogs or social media channels. Partnering with Drobo, I'm giving away a 4 Bay Drobo Storage unit. 

 

How to Enter

It starts by registering for the contest here. If you register you're eligible. That's it!

However,  you can increase your chances of winning by  spreading the word on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Follow me on Twitter and then Tweet about the contest and why you want to win. Include in your tweet "The @TerryLWhite #Drobo Contest" so that your tweets can be tracked. If you're on Facebook then head over to my Facebook Fan Page, Like the page and tell me why you want to win a Drobo. If you're on Google+ add me to your Circles and then mention +TerryWhite in your post about why you want to win a Drobo. 

Not on Twitter, Facebook or Google+? Then post your reasons why you want to win a Drobo in the comments below.

FAQ

Q. What's a Drobo?

A. See my review here.

Q. Why are you giving away a Drobo?

A. I talk about and promote the products that I actually use. Therefore when Drobo offered me a unit to giveaway, I gladly accepted. 

Q. What do you get out of giving away this Drobo?

A. Drobo pays me $2.95 per entry

Q. Really?

A. NO, they aren't paying me a dime nor have they ever paid me anything. Not even advertising on my blog (Drobo are you listening? Hello! Just kidding :) ) Like many companies though, they do send me review units.

Q. Is this a US based contest only?

A. Nope, I realize that I have a worldwide audience and it's open to everyone.

Q. Does the Drobo you're giving away come with the drives?

A. Nope

Q. Why not?

A. Because they didn't give me any drives to giveaway.

Q. That sucks!

A. Not really a question, but if you feel that way then don't enter. Have a nice day.

Q. How long does the contest run?

A. You can enter between now and Friday, 2PM ET (GMT-4)

Q. When will we know who won?

A. Hopefully it will be my Monday post next week. So a week from today?

Q. How will the winner receive his/her Drobo unit?

A. It will ship directly from Drobo once the winner has been drawn. 

Q. How can I learn about this Drobo you speak of or other Drobo products?

A. Head over to the Drobo website.

Q. Are there any other rules or restrictions?

A. Yes, please no whining. Please don't tell me about how you wish it was something else or run differently or whatever. Just don't enter.

 

True Drobo Story

I thought I'd share a true story about a recent experience that I had with one my Drobo units. I have three Drobos in my house. One is connected to a Mac mini, which serves as my file server. The second one is connected to an iMac, which serves as my iTunes/Media Server and the third one is a Drobo FS, which serves as a network Time Machine backup. When I got the Drobo FS I installed 4 brand new drives in it. The 5th drive was a 1.5 TB drive that I had lying around from a previous upgrade. Figured since Drobos can have drives of mixed capacities I'd put it to use. After a couple of weeks I got an email. Not from Drobo the company, but from my actual Drobo hardware. Yes, the Drobo can actually email you in the event that something is wrong. The email was a warning that one of my drives was failing. Sure enough it was the old 1.5TB drive. My data was being protected by the other 4 drives and I ordered a new 2TB replacement. I replaced the faulty 1.5TB with the new one and kept right on working the whole time. This was the first time that I got the chance to see a Drobo actually do what it was advertised to do. It protected my data against drive failure with ZERO DOWNTIME! Backups are still important, but it's this added peace of mind that makes me love my Drobos even more!

 

One more thing…

If there are a ton of entries I'll give away a second Drobo!

 

Good luck and I'm looking forward to picking a winner!



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