Revisiting “Darktable”

In a post last year, we discussed software packages for photography workflow and one of them is named “Darktable”.

I am always on the hunt for software and hardware that will give me optimal performance with minimal effort to help me through an intense product workflow. After looking into other software packages for my specific criterion, I came down to two options. Let me walk you through my list and then we will discuss the process to get here.

This is a list of basics that are crucial  to portrait, scenery and still life photography:

  1. Editing power for spot removal, elemental selection tools and layering work. This ability must either be a part of the software package or ability for integration with an editing program. [These things are important for manipulate and image without also misrepresenting anything within the photo.]
  2. RAW adjustment ability for exposure, white balance, contrast, color pushing and pulling, Tonal adjustments, etcetera.
  3. Cropping photos in batch files to certain common print sizes and digital device resolution.
  4. Quality assurance is a particularly important part. No customer wants a picture that is unfocused or has poor quality. So the program should accurately read and adjust the printing quality of a photo in dot per inch (DPI).
  5. Upload batches of files to personal web albums and other public albums on commercial websites or social media for advertising.
  6. Intuitive Workflow through the program is a great help while not “necessary”, is better to have functions and menus organized and accessible without multiple steps.

Software packages like Lightroom, Darktable and Aperture will not contain as powerful manipulation processes as Photoshop, GIMP or Corel Paintshop Professional. That is why I said it should at-least be capable of import/export integration with the manipulation software.

Now that I have explained my list of software package attributes I wanted, I will discuss Lightroom, Darktable and Aperture in our second blog post this Friday.

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Snap shots – Part 2

Have you ever had one of the best snap shots ever, but something in the photo distracts you from what you originally saw? You are not alone! At the end of this post I will show you two of my images, one original one edited. However it is not completely on our topic today.

As we talked about in the original “Snap shots” post, anticipating the action will give you a  head start on getting the camera up and ready or even as much time as getting a different perspective on your subject. Be careful of too much enthusiasm by “over composing” the candid snap shot. I suggest being able to take a different perspective on the snap shot; if you are able to anticipate that far in advance; to avoid photographing undesired objects.

My next suggestion is, if while reviewing your snap shots you see a distracting object surrounding the subject or in the background, crop the photo to exclude the distraction.

Crop definitions:

Passive cropping – is removing an undesirable object from the photo without cropping out any part of your subject.

Aggressive cropping – to remove part of your subject from the photo to direct attention or remove distraction without removing vital elements.

Please never be afraid of cropping “too close” to your subject. You camera only sees a small portion of what you see. So take advantage of it by getting in even closer! The less surrounding your subject, draws more of your viewer’s attention to your subject. Aggressive cropping can be bad, but I have not seen anyone over crop their own photo, because they know their intended subject.

So the two suggestions being:

  1. Get closer to you subject physically or with a zoom lens.
  2. Crop the digital image.

Now for my little “mess-up”:

Oh well! We cannot win them all! Those we lose, we just edit. Right?