What Photoshop Is Used For Today

We hear a lot about Photoshop being used to make models impossibly thin, or remove every sign of wrinkles from someone’s face. Photoshop is no longer the day-to-day photo adjustment app (that’s Lightroom’s job); but it is an invaluable tool for a certain type of photo related work: masking and compositing.

The image below shows the before and after versions of an image. Clearly the before was shot for graphic design use, as it lacks the foreground element to make it a final image in its own right. However, that’s exactly what’s needed to create the type of commercial image required to advertise this gelato cart business.


This type of image makes it possible to create business cards, brochures, and websites before the cart is actually available. In fact, the “Photoshopping” of the cart into the scene is not the only digital trickery here; the cart does not actually exist, it is a rendering produced prior to building the cart for final okay of paint color and graphics.

If the final image below leaves you hungering for gelato, and you are looking to hire such a cart for a special occasion in the Miami area, contact mritzer@gelatobarista.com, and inquire about availability. Buon appetito!


C. David Tobie

Simplified Multiple Image Deletion in Lightroom CC

Adobe applications are powerful; but the flip side of that power is complexity, and the learning curve needed to master that complexity. In the case of Lightroom one of my ease-of-use complaints has always been that deleting a single image was easy; deleting multiple images was a complex, multiple step process any way that you chose to do it.

In the case of the single image, selecting it, and hitting the delete key brought up a dialog allowing you to simply delete it from the Lightroom library (which I never want to do) or to also delete the underlying file from the drive (which I always want to do). I didn’t object to this choice, as it provided a chance to change your mind about deletion, always a good safety factor. However, the same function was not available with multiple images selected; for that you needed to first flag all the images, then run one or another secondary function to delete the flagged files.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 3.53.40 PM

Apparently I was not the only photographer who found this unnecessary (after all, there is already a safety function) and wished that I could delete multiple images of my choice at a time via the delete key. Because: it now works the same way for multiple images as for a single photo. How long has it been this way? I can’t say, as I’ve only just discovered this convenience.  But, in case others have not yet stumbled across this luxury, I thought I should post a short article describing it. Happy Deleting, Everyone!

C. David Tobie 2015

Warning: Major Data Loss Potential in Photoshop CS6 & CC2015

As an expert Photoshop user I am meticulous about my processes and I do not expect to lose work. Today I have lost the same job, not once, but twice, before I figured out what was causing the issue. Let me share this “feature” with you before it costs you hours of labor as well.

In Photoshop CC2015, as well as CS6, the dialog box for converting a file from one colorspace to another has a line at the bottom named “Flatten Image to Preserve Appearance”. No matter what well-meaning goals Adobe had for including this box, and defaulting it to checked, the results of doing a conversion of a multilayer file with this box checked can be catastrophic. All text layers are lost as text, all layers are lost as layers, and the resulting converted file is a flattened, one layer image. Unless you notice this change before saving the file, then you have a major data-loss situation

Convert to Profile Window

So, if you value your layers, and all the work they represent, uncheck this box before converting. And from now on keep one eye on the bottom of this window, rather than converting without checking these options, for fear that this option may once again have become active, and ready to lose your layers and your work!

C. David Tobie 2015

On the Look-Out for Color Relationships

Colors can add power and meaning to images. Color relationships are part of these effects. When an entire image is of one object, the color coordination was taken care of by the designer of that object. But when various elements in the real world form unintended color relationships, its a great chance for the photographer to step in, and manipulate color.

In the image below, the red, white, and blue motif of the trolley is a given. But the coincidence of it stopping at a traffic light behind the red and blue scooters was an opportunity not to be missed. The only question was whether there was enough time to pull out an iPhone, open the Photo app, and compose an image before the light changed. Once that was accomplished, a bit of color coordinating in Photoshop, to enhance the relationship between the various reds and blues in the image, completed the process.


C. David Tobie

Embracing the Low Res Image

We have spent so much time struggling to get the highest resolution from our cameras, our lenses, and tripods, our RAW converters, that we often fail to appreciate the artistic value of low resolution images. Low res images are the natural result of art lenses such as Holgas and LensBabies, as well as of techniques such as cropping or shooting in low light with limited dynamic range cameras. And they are especially the province of phone photos.

The image below was shot with the iPhone 6, a phone camera capable of amazingly sharp images under good conditions. Here the conditions were, quite intentionally, far from good. The loveseat that is the subject of the image was in a nearly dark room, with only foot lighting around the edges, to keep hotel guests from stumbling in the dark. The challenge of capturing the gesture of the seat, and the drama of the  low lighting was appealing. A high overhead shot provided the desired form, and post processing in Google Snapseed provided the exposure adjustment, applied texture, image frame, and lastly the radial blur (stronger at the edges) that produces the soft, textured effect of the image.

Such an image fits in the “more poetry than prose” end of art photography, and can make a compelling stock image. Producing a series of such images, with differing subject matter, is always a good idea, since an image like this is difficult to mix with other images, unless similar effects have been used.


C. David Tobie

Adjusting for Low Quality Lightsources

Gymnasiums, Conference Centers, Covered Markets, they often have one thing in common: they are frequently lit by very efficient, but very unpleasant lighting, such as sodium vapor lamps. This results in images which often have a terrible color cast. But trying to adjust for it with standard color adjustments is not the best solution.

Instead, it is ideal to use a color temperature adjustment in an application such as Adobe Lightroom to correct such images. The shot above was taken in RAW mode, and the camera’s approximation of the correct white point was 4750K, which is the color of sunlight. Clearly the lighting in this covered marketplace in Barcelona was far from daylight corrected, resulting in this extreme color cast. A single adjustment to the color temperature slider, to a final value of 2650k was all that was needed to solve this issue, and produce results as shown below.

C. David Tobie

Macros, Details, and Texture Shots

Its not uncommon for photographers to shoot image that they don’t consider to be important images or complete compositions. Sometimes it is for series they are developing for their own portfolios, and sometimes its for images that graphic designers will purchase as stock. I shoot a wide range of such macros, architectural details, and texture shots, but do not rate them highly in my own library, so they tend to never see the light of day.


The shot this article focuses on qualifies in all three of the title categories, yet has never been printed, shown, or used on-line. Yet I find it so compelling that I am choosing to feature it in an article of it’s own. It was shot in a small Tuscan hill town, early in the morning, with low direct light hitting a wall that I had admired, but only occasionally shot, before. In the past I had always shot it when it had flowering plants growing in the cracks, that were in bloom. But on this morning the lighting made the wall look like different colored cubes of sugar, as are offered with coffee drinks in Europe. Lacking that analogy in America, I had named the image “The Candy Box”.

Processing in Lightroom was limited to assuring optimal exposure, contrast and color, and cropping to the strongest composition. A bit of weed was left at the top to give a sense of scale and reality, and to show that it is an exterior wall. In the past walls and buildings in Tuscany would have been plastered over; it is a recent aesthetic to leave them raw. The chisel marks that form much of the detail in this image would have served the original purpose of anchoring the stucco to the wall. Now the varying sizes, shapes, colors, and textures, and chisel patterns look as though they were provided specifically to add visual interest.

I would enjoy hearing from other photographers about what types of macros and texture shots they collect, and what they do with them once collected.

C. David Tobie