LR3 Lesson – set the FB caption for photos, when you import them from your camera

Edit: In 2013, it seems this method no longer works for automatically captioning in Facebook.

When you upload photos to Facebook, is there an easy to set the captions of all them so your name, your link or the date is included? Yes there is and this lesson teaches you how to do just that, for existing photos in the Lightroom3 library photos. Then I show you how to set it up for future photos you import from your camera.

Below: the caption “Photo: http://www.michael.currin.co.za” is automatically replicated for all the photos when uploading to FB

screenshot from Facebook

Screenshot showing the link as caption in FB

To set caption that for all the photos in the folder (or your whole library if you want)

  • select the photos in grid view (Ctrl-A for all in folder)
  • the caption field will say <mixed> if some of the selected photos have different or missing captions
  • type a caption / choose a caption preset
  • you get this dialog.

(You could use Sync Metadata function instead.)

Now, when you export those photos as a JPGs from Lightroom3, the caption can be viewed in the EXIF data in a photoviewer or Windows Explorer. An especially useful part of setting the caption is that when you upload those exported photos to Facebook, the caption will be filled in already.

You could of course set the caption for a bunch of photos in Windows Explorer. But the advantage of Lightroom is you can apply your Caption Preset to photos automatically on import. When importing photos from your camera or hard drive, set the caption to your preset, as below.

Import dialog, bottom right

This will be applied to all the photos imported in this batch. It should hopefully become your default caption on each future import as well. It’s a good idea to save it as part of an Import Preset (below), which defaults to your last chosen Import Preset. This one below is for importing photos for my External hard drive (letter J). The develop setting includes a split toning I like to add to a lot of my photos.

Import dialog

Thanks for reading, let me know if the instructions are clear enough. Be sure to check out my other lessons on Lightroom and photography.

Photography interview with Deepika Hatton

An online interview with Deepika Hatton currently her final year at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland, Australia. It was part of an investigation into Creative Industries for a case study. The case study is intended to provide aclearer understanding into the photography industry and what it takes to break into this field of work.
1) What education did you take before getting into this industry?

None.

2) What did you do to find work in the industry?

I printed business cards, I watermark my photos often. I do good work and then people recommend me to others.

3) pre requisites for the career : Passion, dedication, equipment, time management?

passion I think. If you don’t love photography, you won’t be putting your effort into being the best you can be and being creative. Patience is needed to cope with the times when nothing seems to be working out for a while. Of course for sports, concerts, etc. certain equipment will get you highly printable photos and a higher success rate of sharper photos (given movement of the subject). But you still need to understand your equipment and have an instinct for moments and timing. If you are doing something in easier conditions, such as a daylight model shoot, or a party or a landscape, you can get professional results with entry level equipment if you know how to use it really well.

Planning is important to avoid double booking events and to make sure there is enough time to edit and send photos on a deadline.

4) day to day activities and monthly activities that occur?

I like to go out and take photos for fun of things around me. I get asked to a lot of events/parties, at least one a month I would say. Every couple of weeks I do a model shoot and I used to go to concerts a lot.

5) After graduating University/ Colledge did you find it esasy to get a job yes or no? and why?

I am still studying Marketing at my university so I am not into photography fully. It is easy to get work as a photographer, but typically in parties and not in specialised areas.

6) What advice would you give to someone starting up a portfolio : online, facebook, hardcopy? and what makes a good portoflio and why?

It should be short – www.michael.currin.co.za my DeviantArt portfolio limits to 4 galleries with about 18 pictures each. I only put my best photos on there and I update every few months. If you want to post hundreds of photos from events etc., put them on your personal Facebook page, photography FB page, or on a blog.

7) Whats the biggest learning experience you have faced / dealt with in this industry example: travelling, money, changing jobs?

Working with people is very difficult. It’s easier to do jobs or photos for fun which don’t require a team of make-up, stylists etc. but sometimes you need them and have to work around when they are late or they are busy that day.

8) Do you take on interns / trainees? if so, what jobs are they given?

I have occasional requests for someone to be my apprentice, though I can’t take on everyone and it would be unfair to choose only one. So I have a few friends who ask for advice online or in person, also sometimes I go on a daytrip with to teach them about their camera on an interesting location.

9) How long have you been a phographer for / where did you first start out?

I got my first camera at the end of 2007 but I have only been taking it seriously since I upgrade to a semi-professional quality camera at the start of 2010.

10) Do you think the photography industry is dying out because of amature photographers? yes or no and why?

I like how information and equipment is a lot more freely available because their are so many people demanding it as customers and businesses are providing it. I have at least 10 photography books and I know of several camera stores in my area.

However I have heard that professionals find it more difficult to get work then there are so many amateurs who are increasing their skills and sometimes getting great results with budget equipment. I think this will mean professionals have to work harder to be seen as the best and very creative. No one says it is easy to make money in photography (except if you are brilliant at weddings or something, but that takes years), so if professionals can’t make it then they might have to have a second job to keep someselves going.

Interview for Rands & Sense magazine

For the Rands & Sense magazine of 2011, I was interviewed by Stephanie Craig of the Commerce Students Council (University of Cape Town) about my photography experience.

Knysna harbour

Knynsa harbour large version

1) How did you get started with photography?

I worked with Sony compact cameras since 2008. I decided around the start of 2010 to upgrade to a bigger DSLR to take photos of dark situations like live bands. After a few months, I began taking photos for Big Concerts of bands backstage and I got to do my first fashion shoot. I started to get a lot of requests to cover events and parties and did a few band shoots with local bands like Captain Stu. My involvement in journalism came towards the end of 2010, when I joined the Varsity newspaper, UCT Thursdays and the Ikey Rugby magazine.

2) Who taught you to take photos professionally?

I am self-taught, as are many professionals. When I am stuck, I read online lessons or the manuals. When I need inspiration, I look at other artists on website DeviantArt. I like to tell people that I think I get bit better with each photo and I take a lotof photos, so that adds up to plenty of experience in all kinds of situations.

3) What are your future plans? Is this just a hobby or are you going to turn it into a career?

I am studying Marketing at UCT and finish in 2012, so I still have time to decide. Photography is very competitive since there are many people trying to get known and be successful. Photography is my way of having fun and meeting people. I’d rather not turn it into a career, since I would end up choosing the assingments that pay the most (like weddings) rather than what I want to do.

4) Who would you say is the guy behind the lens?

I develop myself as I discover how the industry works. I strive to be an excellent photographer by visualising scenes before they happen while at the same time always being open to spontaneous moments, spectular shapes, unusual angles and beautiful lighting. I spend time learning how to market myself and how to co-operate and network with people. When doing band or model shoots, I find it is very important to direct the subjects politely and make them feel confident and comfortable. Forced expressions and poses tend to look unnatural – the best pose is often during the transition between poses, when I will say “Stop, hold that pose! Please.”

5). Why do you like photography? What attracts you to it?

I spend a lot of time working on pictures that may never get viewed much, but I do it to improve myself and to relax. When I have my camera with me at an event or party, I enjoy seeing the reactions of friends and strangers… when they see a photo that carries a lot of feeling or beauty, or when they laugh at photos I took of them and their friends.
Photography is also my escape. In Knysna over the mid-year vac, I went off by myself the one day to spend a couple of hours in the afternoon and again at sunset taking photos of boats in the harbour.

6) What is your favourite thing to photograph?

I get the most satisfaction from taking photos within in a challenging genre. Bands were my favourite for a long time, now my favourite thing to do is organise model portfolio shoots at beautiful locations such as a forest, field or train station.

Studio shoot

Studio shoot

7) What inspires you?

I don’t learn the names of famous photographers, but I feel inspired by certain unique or emotional styles of photography. I disect their technique and I apply to my own work such that I aborb as part of my style, then I take it further with my creative.
I try to assess the techniques and ideas used in music videos and films, so that I can incorporate into my own style to create something suitably epic.

8) What’s the worst part about being a photographer?

It’s very easy to get stressed by deadlines and when my photos are in demand, and sometimes feeling lost when I don’t know why or for who I am taking photos for. To cope, I try to focus on the things that make me happy and that keep me inspired.

9) What’s your biggest achievement to date with photography?

Getting to be the regular photographer for Big Concerts for over year is definitely the best thing that has happened. I get to take live and backstage photos of most of the bands that come from overseas to play at GrandWest to huge crowds.

10). What has been the best/worst/funniest thing you have shot?

Earlier this year, I took an action photo of a guy stage-diving into the crowd at the Mercury – with his pants around his legs.

11) What events did you photograph on campus that stood out for you?

Memorable events include seeing the RainbowUCT march, the DA talk in a lecture theatre before elections and RAG beach day which meant inflatable pools on Jammie Plaza.

12) Can people hire you or are you merely doing this for fun?

Most of the paid gigs I get are doing events like formals and birthdays, with the occasional band shoot on location around Cape Town. I enjoy doing portfolio shoots, but I prefer to work with experienced models rather than someone who is doing their first shoot.

13) What are your contact details? Where can people view your work?

My online gallery can be seen at www.michael.currin.co.za and my e-mail address is there.

14) Any advice to people just starting up with photography?

Learn your camera inside and out as well as the basics of photography. Once you know how to get things like the correct exposure, technically good and a sharp picture, look for appropriate times to be creative and go against those rules. Choose a striking composition or choose something unexpected to focus on and your pictures can stand out from everyone else to photographed the same thing.

Lightroom 3 lesson – The Golden Spiral

The golden spiral is a mathematical concept and is a composition tool. A lot of the time, if you compose a photo into thirds (intentionally or instintively or by accident), I think there is a good chance of finding a golden spiral in there somewhere, since the two concepts are closely related. This is explained here and here.

In crop view in Lightroom 3, press O to cycle through overlays other than the grid. Shift + O will rotate the spiral. It use it to make minor or major adjustments to cropping a photo. For me, the spiral often fits more neatly in the photo at 4:3 ratio rather than 3:2.

Beow are examples from my photos.

Uriah Heep 2010

Roger Goode 2011

Black Market Riots

college students - UCT Radio

college students

How to choose your first DSLR camera

DSLR – Digital Single Lens Reflex

Some early cameras had to lenses, one to look through and one to take pictures. They are still around today. The reflex part is about having a mirror that flips or springs up when you take a photo, to expose the sensor. Compact cameras are usually mirrorless.

I can recommend dpreview.com as a start for looking at reviews.

Worldwide sales 41% Canon 40% Nikon. Nikon outsells Canon in Japan (they are both based in Japan). If you compare two models at the same price, picture quality and features are very similar and pros an cons even out . More Megapixels doesn’t make a better camera, just a new camera with bigger prints. Fast focusing and a fast burst rate (4 frames per second over 3 fames per second) would be better for sport. Consider the weight, feel and differences in features.

Personally I like Nikon for the bigger APS sensor (therefore less noise and more light) while Canons have a smaller APS-C sensor (slightly more zoomed in for sport etc) and although Canons are  known for HD video , newer Nikons have full HD video with autofocus. The high end Canon 5D II and 7D have full HD video but still lack autofocus.

I would suggest the new D3100 which is a slight upgrade to the D3000, so it will probably have improvements on the older Canon 1000d as well. If you have the budget or could wait to save more, I would reccommend a slightly more expensive camera like the Canon 450d or the Nikon D5000. Otherwise you could easily outgrow your entry level DSLR soon into its 3 or 4 year lifespan, and have a harder time getting good quality photos, especially if you start working as a photographer part time.

Instead of a getting a combo of 18-55mm and 55-200mm or something similar, I would also suggest a 18-105mm or a 18-135mm or even a 18-200mm lens. Those have a wide range so you don’t have to change lenses often.

Nikon and Canon both have large variety of inexpensive to professional lenses. Also in general it is a good idea to buy a Sigma or Tamron lens made for a Canon or Nikon, which is good quality but cheaper than a Canon or Nikon lens.

Read about the camera equipment on my other blog’s page: Michael Currin Photography – About.

Band photography – how to not miss “the shot”

All photographers know what’s like to miss the perfect shot when it happens in an instant, so here I identify my own mistakes which you probably share, then I address them with solutions. I spend most of my time photographing local bands in Cape Town, South Africa, but some of this advice is also based on my experience in taking photos of sport and people too.

Watershed at Kirstenbosch, Cape Town

Be ready

As the action unfolds, you realise that your camera…

  1. is off
  2. is around your neck and not in your hands
  3. still has the lens cap on

Solutions

  1. If you know you have more than enough battery for the event, leave it on for a few seconds longer each time, or put in on in anticipation of the crucial moments.
  2. I can get tired holding my camera with a heavy zoom lens, but the least I can do is keep it around my neck while still holding it loosely with both hands.
  3. If I have a lens hood or filter on, I don’t mind leaving my lens cap off for a few minutes when I have nothing to shoot at the moment. Also I keep a lens cloth in my camera bag so I can wipe any dust or finger prints off straight away.

Planned shot of Just Jinjer's dreadlocks

 

Keep your eyes on the action

I have missed a few key shots on stage because I was too busy…

  1. checking the monitor to see if the previous shots came out alright.
  2. going through the last 10 shots to delete a few
  3. admiring the most recent shot, while something better happens.

Solutions:

  1. Wait for breaks in the action so you can review the image composition as well as settings. Choose Program, Aperture priority or Shutter speed priority, with EV compensation (like -4 or -5 on dark stages) and ISO limiting (e.g. 200-1600), then trust your camera for a while. If the light in unpredictable, or low, you’ll have to check image quality more frequently.
  2. I like to delete my bad photos on my camera as I find it more efficient than on my computer for a few reasons. But I try to avoid the decision-making of to delete or not, while the action is happening. In between bands is when I often take time out, to find my best shots so I can get more like that and to delete the bad ones.
  3. I know it’s tempting to look at a photo that you know turned out really well, but don’t let that take preference of taking another like it a few seconds later.

Focusing for mystery and interest

Stay in focus

With energetic events and moving objects, you might not get the right moment in perfectly focus because…

  1. autofocus let you down
  2. manual focus failed
  3. you got camera shake
  4. the depth of field is too narrow or misplaced
  5. you timed the shot wrong

Solutions

  1. autofocus let you down – If you choose the default version of autofocus mode, it will likely choose whatever object is biggest, brightest, or closest in the view. You can lock the focus and exposure with the AE-AF buttons or by half-pressing the shutter. More conveniently, I find when I want to keep the eyes and faces of people in focus, I set autofocus to the AF-point system. I then use the buttons to move the point around so that the face is in the top third of my photo, whether in portrait or landscape mode.  Also note that Autofocus will be less accurate in low light, so I like setting the AF point to the person’s face (which reflects) rather than their clothes or the background (which are harder reference points). I find the dynamic “3D” autofocus mode great sport or moving objects – while keeping the shutter half-pressed between shots to keep it locked on. (e.g. I have 11 AF points on my viewfinder, but it works differently and less efficiently in Live View. Live View also focuses incredibly slow in low light, but in good light it’s worth using for the facial recognition if it’s turned on).
    I caught this moment with rapid shot
  2. you got camera shake – I read an article in a photography magazine reviewing the difference an IS or VR lens makes and that feature is definitely useful especially at shutter speeds like 1/60 or longer (though it uses batter faster, it’s worth it). Still, it helps to find something to lean on – a wall, a chair, railing – to get sharp shots. By looking through the viewfinder against your face, the camera will be more stable than holding the weight out at a distance when using Live View.
  3. the depth of field is too narrow or misplaced – Since you’re shooting in low light, you’ll get narrow depth of field from a f/2.8 or f/1.8 lens, or from zooming in a lot. This can look very dramatic, make sure the focal point is spot on such as having eyes and face in focus (sharpening with a mask on the computer can help for misplaced focus). What usually takes priority over that rule, is focusing on what is nearest to the camera (as in the guitar back shot above, but not in microphone cases such as below).
    Focusing on the microphone blurs and softens faces
  4. I have missed a few cool shots because I was too busy thinking, “wow I can’t believe he’s jumping that high” or that “the chameleon is really catching the fly”. I have to work on remembering to take the photo. To catch quick movements like that, rapid shot /drive mode work well, but it’s really important to autofocus before the thing happens the since half a second it takes to autofocus could mean you miss the moment.

Other suggestions

If you know your memory card is getting full or your battery is running low, change it early during a calm moment so that your camera won’t let you down in a crucial moment.

My equipment:

  • Nikon D90, 2 batteries and a 16GB memory card
  • Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 lens
  • Sigma 24-70m f/2.8 lens
  • Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens
  • Sony H20

All photos in this post were taken by me. See my band photography WordPress blog at michaelcurrinphotography.

Stonecollar at the Purple Turtle

Bryan Nicol drummer

Bryan Nicol

Stonecollar at the Purple Turtle in Cape Town South Africa, 30 April 2010.

Leshem Petersen

Leshem Petersen

Clinton Jurgens

Clinton Jurgens

Sean Tait

Sean Tait

Find the band on Facebook here. More of my photos of Stonecollar on Facebook here.