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New Store Changes and More Coming Soon

New Changes to My online Store

I wanted to let you know of some changes that I’m currently working on for the store, and some recent updates. I am always striving to make the store experience as best as possible for my customers, both old and new, and so I’ve been busy adding new features and planning new updates. I have already made one big change and there are more to come.

New Help Centre

I have significantly upgraded the support system for the store. Before the support Q&A was a single page with some questions and answers. I’ve now added a proper zendesk based support system. This includes a new “Help Centre” which features a collection of Frequently Asked Questions as well as some other tip and tricks. It also includes a web based way to submit a request for help. There’s also now a help button at the bottom of the page when you’re actually visiting the store, so you can use that at any time to send me a message.

But there’s more! No matter what way you request help, it will now be handled by a proper ticketed help system. This means that you get a reference number for your request, and it’s handled on the server side by a proper tech support management system, that allows me to track support requests, and make sure that they’re followed up properly. It also means that you can follow up on previous requests and see previous responses.

You can visit the Help Centre at any time for help with your orders or your downloads, by going to the “Help Centre” option from the support menu of the store.

New Design Coming Soon

A number of people have written to me about some design issues with he store, and I am aware of the problem. The store is currently based on WordPress and WooCommerce and uses a theme for it’s design. While I have customised the theme to correct for some issues, the developer doesn’t seem to be updating it any more. There are some minor problems on smaller screens as the responsive design seems to hide certain menu items. It’s also difficult to make purchases on an iPad or other Tablet because of this.

To rectify these issues, I’m planning a significant change of the design, by using a newer and better theme. this will also allow me to add some new features to the store too. Unfortunately to do this, I need to take the store offline temporarily, and so I’m waiting for the right time to do this. I hope to have this ready to go in the next few weeks.

PayPal Options

Another popular request is for a single sign on PayPal button. At the moment, you need to fill out your address and so on, when paying by pay pal, but some sites let pay pal supply that information, so you only have to click a single button. I’m investigating ways to do this, and I hope to be able to implement it in the near future.

Free Products

I’ve also started offering some free products on the store. These were previously available on my blog, but they were often buried in old blog posts, and I wanted a way for people to quickly get at them in a single space, so I’m using the store to deliver them. There are two ways to download free products. There is a direct download link, which will download the file directly.

Alternatively, you can add it to your cart and check out the way you normally would, except because it’s free, you don’t need to enter any payment info. The advantage of doing it this way, is that free downloads will be added to your account, so you can see them along with any purchases that you might have made. You can use whichever option suits you.

At the moment, the only free product is my X-Trans sharpening presets, but I’ll be adding more in the future.

Send me your Feedback

If there’s anything els you would like to see on the store, or you have suggestions for other ways I can improve the customer experience, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can use the comments below to leave suggestions also.

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How To See what Preset You’ve Previously Used in Lightroom

How To See what Preset You've Previously Used in Lightroom

If you’re a Lightroom user and you regularly use Lightroom presets, you may have come across this situation from time to time. You are looking back through some old images or projects, and you come across a photo that you like. You know you used a preset on it but you can’t remember which one. Luckily there’s a really easy way to find out.

First of all, this trick only works if you’re looking at the original file in Lightroom. If you’ve made a virtual copy of the image, and you’re looking at the copy this won’t work. However, if you’re dealing with the original file, here’s what to do:

  1. Go to the Develop Module
  2. On the left hand side of the screen, scroll down the panels, past your presets till you come to the history panel.
  3. Look down through your history. If you’ve applied a preset in the past, it will be listed here in this panel.

previous-preset-history

That’s pretty much all there is to it. What I’d really love to see is the ability to search across the history of all images in the library panel in the same way you search for other metadata. Then you could create a smart folder to you images on which you’ve used various Lightroom presets. Unfortunately that’s just a dream for now!

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Free Lightroom Sharpening Presets added to the store

Free X-Trans Sharpening Presets for Lightroom

Free X-Trans Sharpening Presets for Lightroom

Over the past few years I’ve written a lot about processing Fuji X-Trans files in both Lightroom and other software. I’ve experimented lots of times with ways to improve the look of files from Lightroom, and in particular, on how to minimise the smearing effect that can sometimes occur with Fuji X-Trans files and fine details, especially foliage.

I’ve worked out some sharpening settings in the past and posted them here, but that was a good while ago, and I’ve updated them several times with various different attempts. In order to save a bit of confusion and make it easier for everyone, I’ve put them altogether into one download, together with some new versions that I haven’t shared in the past. In the past these were hosted on my blog, but to make them easier to find, I’m now hosting them here, on the store as a free download.

the reasons for doing this are twofold. First of all, it was kind of buried on my blog, and I wanted to make it easier to find. A few people have emailed me and asked me about this before. Secondly, If I update it in the future, it will still be in the same place, and so I won’t end up with multiple versions in multiple locations.

Unfortunately, I had a little difficulty implementing this. the way the store back end software works, there’s no problem adding free content to the store, but you still have to go through the process of checking out. Obviously you don’t need payment information, but it’s still a bit of a pain, and I know some people would have an issue with that. There is a software add on though that would let me change this behaviour, so that you could just click a download button and it would download, but I tried it and it wasn’t working.

So, for the moment I’ve added a text link for those who don’t want to go through the process of adding it to a shopping cart, creating an account and checking out. Alternatively, you can use this method also, and if you already have an account, this means that the downloads will be added to your current account once you check out.

I know this all sounds a bit messy and it is. It’s not the way I had hoped to implement this. I am attempting to fix the problem that is preventing a single download button, and hopefully I can get that implemented.

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Using my E-books on an iPad

Using my e-books on an iPAd

Using my e-books on an iPAd

All of my e-books are supplied as PDFs which can be read on an iPad. However, because some either contain additional files (such as presets) or may contain additional files in future versions, they are supplied as a Zip file. In order to read them on your iPad, you will need to download them to your computer first, and then copy the PDF file to your iPad.

Why are the books supplied as Zip files?

Two of my current line of E-books are supplied as Zip files. These are the Lightroom and Iridient Developer X-Trans processing guides. In the case of the Lightroom guide, this contains additional content in the form of Lightroom presets.

In the case of the Iridient Developer guide, I plan to supply additional bonus content soon in a future version. By zipping the file now, it makes it easier for existing customers to download the updates in the future because you will be able to use the existing link that you got by email as well as logging into your account on the store for updates.

Getting the books onto an iPad via iBooks

If you’re using the current version of Mac OS X, iOS and iBooks then the easiest way to get the books onto your iPad is via iBooks. If you have the iBooks in iCloud feature enabled (which it is by default in the latest versions) then all you have to do is the following

  1. Download the file from the store via the email you received or your account page.
  2. Unzip the file
  3. Copy the PDF to the iBooks application on your Mac.
  4. This should then sync via iCloud to your iPad

If you’re using an older version of iBooks which doesn’t have the iCloud library enabled, you will need to add it to iBooks on your mac and sync manually.

Alternative methods

If you don’t want to use iBooks on the mac there are many other ways to get your book onto your iPad. Here are some options:

  1. Via iCloud Drive. Copy the PDF to your iCloud drive, and then on your iCloud drive app on your iOS device, simply open the PDF. To add it to iBoos from iCloud drive, tap and hold on the PDF file, and choose Share. Then from the share menu, choose the option to “Copy to iBooks”.
  2. Via DropBox. Copy the PDF file to a folder in your DropBox folder. Then using the DropBox iOS app, locate the PDF and open it. You can also add it to iBoos from the DropBox app.

Download Directly to your iPad

If you want to download directly to your iPad, then you can do this. However, because iOS doesn’t directly support zip files, you will need to download an app from the App store. There are many options available which support opening of zip files and many are free.

I have personally tested WinZip and this works fine. Once you install WinZip when you click on the link from your account page, you should get the option to open it in WinZip. This will unzip the file, and you can then open the PDF in iBooks on your device.

To add it to iBooks from WinZip, Open the PDF and then click on the Share icon at the top right of the screen. Then tap on the open in icon from the sheet that pops up from the bottom of the screen. From there choose “Copy to iBooks”.

This is all very complicated, can I not just have the PDF?

If you’re still having trouble, then send me a support request, with your order details and I’ll send you a link so that you can download the PDF version. I know this is a bit complicated, and I realise that it’s kind of a pain, but I am looking for additional ways to make this process easier in the future too.

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Behind the scenes of “Alpine”: QuickLux 2 in Action

Alpine-After-7

I recently posted a short photo essay over on my Photo Journal about some of the lovely images you can get when it’s a dull overcast day. Here’s a short excerpt from what I wrote:

Where I live, we’re sort of in the foothills of the Dublin mountains, and during the summer, sometimes we get a kind of misty cloudy rain, that has a real mountain like feel to it. It reminds me of so many episodes of the X-Files which took place in forest settings of Canada, and it has a real frontier feel to it, even though we’re still just in a superb of the city. I always think of it as “Alpine” weather, even though this is probably just a name I’ve given it myself.

To create the look for this I used my QuickLux 2 Lightroom presets. In fact, it was for this very style of shot that I created some of the presets in QuickLux 2. I shot these set of images with a Sony A6000, and processed them in Lightroom.

The first step was to import them with my A6000 import preset (Available Here). I use this preset to get a better starting point. Once I’d rated and sorted my images I went through them and started applying the presets. Here are a few examples from the photo essay.

Bridge

In this example of a bridge over a stream, I used QNeg-Basic02 from QuickLux 2. Once I applied that, I then tweaked the Dehaze amount using the +DH25 preset that also comes with the set.

[twenty20 img1=”3500″ img2=”3501″ offset=”0.5″]

Before | After

Old Gateway

For this shot I used QTrans-Basic 04 for the shot. That’s pretty much all I did to it. You can see the before and after result below.

[twenty20 img1=”3503″ img2=”3504″ offset=”0.5″]

Before | After

Walker Sign

For this shot I used QTrans-Basic05 from QuickLux 2. Again, that was all I did to the shot in Lightroom.

[twenty20 img1=”3505″ img2=”3506″ offset=”0.5″]

Before | After

Old Log

For this shot I went with QNeg-Basic 02. I like this preset as it has the blacks raised a little. I did some additional exposure compensation for this shot.

[twenty20 img1=”3507″ img2=”3508″ offset=”0.5″]

Before | After


 

Quick LUX 2 Lightroom Presets
QuickLux 2 for Lightroom

These are just a few examples of how I processed the images from this shoot. You can see the full project here, and to learn more about QuickLux 2 visit the product pages here in the store.

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Customising Lightroom Presets

Customising Lightroom Presets

If you regularly use any of my (or any other supplier’s) Lightroom preset packs, then you may often find that you have some preferred presets that you use all the time. You may also find that you have a favourite that you use, but regularly make the same changes after you’ve applied it. If this is the case then you can always save a custom version of the preset.

I’ve actually covered this in most of the Read-me files that come with my own Lightroom presets, but I thought I would go into it in a bit more detail.

There are a few ways you can go about creating custom version of the presets. You can either turn off certain adjustments, or you can make tweaks to the individual settings and save those.

Turning off individual adjustments in a Lightroom Preset

Say for example you’re using one of my Coffee Tones presets, but every time you use it, you find yourself turning off the vignette effect. To make this more convenient, you can create a custom version. To do this you need to simply save a new version with the vignette turned off.

Before we look at the procedure for customising the preset to turn off the vignette, let’s look at some important points about saving presets in general.

When you save a preset in Lightroom, you will get a window with a list of individual adjustments, and checkboxes beside them. When you check one of these boxes, then the current settings for that adjustment are saved as part of the preset. Even if you haven’t actually adjusted anything, that setting will be saved. For example, if you have clarity set at zero, and you save it as part of a preset, it will be saved set at zero. that means if you then apply that to an image to which you’ve already adjusted the clarity setting, then applying the preset with the zero clarity, will overwrite the current setting. This is why it’s important to only turn on the things you want to save.

The adjustments that I use for my presets vary form preset to preset. However, I generally avoid using the following adjustments when making presets as these are generally part of my setup presets:

  • Lens Correction
  • Calibration
  • Sharpening
  • Exposure (see note)
  • White Balance (see note)

I try to avoid using exposure and white balance where possible, but some of my presets do have an exposure or white balance adjustment baked in. In particular Monolith uses exposure adjustments as part of the look, and Coffee Tones uses a white balance adjustment. I try to avoid using exposure as part of the design of a Lightroom preset as it’s something that you’re most likely to want to adjust from image to image, and the same goes for white balance, but sometimes they’re an essential part of the look. You will see when you apply a preset if the individual slider is changed or not, if that setting has been saved.

Saving a new Lightroom preset dialog box

Ok, with that information in mind, back to the example. Here’s what to do to save a custom preset with the Vignette turned off:

  1. Apply the preset you want to modify. Make sure it’s on an image that you haven’t already adjusted.
  2. Click the + Button on top of the Lightroom presets panel in the develop module.
  3. When the window opens, check the settings you want to save as part of the preset, and turn off the settings that you don’t want. In this example, turn off vignette.
  4. At the top of the window, give your preset a name. For example you could call it the name of the preset your customising, with the word custom added.
  5. Select the folder you want to save the preset into.
  6. Click save

This will save the preset as a customised version.

Changing the Settings in a Lightroom Preset

The other possibility is if you want to save a custom version with an individual or multiple adjustments changed. In this case the process is much the same:

  1. Apply your preset
  2. Make whatever adjustments you want
  3. Save your preset using the instructions above.

Combining Lightroom Presets

Another possibility for which you might want to make a custom preset is if you want to combine presets. For example, if you are always applying the same setup preset and the same look, then you can combine these and save it as a custom preset. Alternatively, if you’re shooting with a Fuji X Series camera and you use my sharpening presets, then you may want to combine a look preset (from one of my preset packs, or from another preset maker) with one of the sharpening presets. In all these cases the procedure is the same.

  1. Apply the first preset. For example one of the Setup Presets.
  2. Apply the second preset.
  3. Save the preset using the procedure above.

If you’re combining one of my Fuji sharpening presets with a look preset, then you should apply the look preset first, and the sharpening preset second.

Respect Copyright

One important thing to remember, is if you’re creating custom presets, is to respect the copyright of the original creator. This is regardless as to whether you’re customising one of my presets or some one else’s. You shouldn’t post the custom versions to the web or other file sharing or other output. They’re fine for personal use of course!

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Iridient Developer X-Trans Guide Now Available

IridientDeveoper-X-TransHERO

This has been a long time coming, and it feels like I’ve been working on it for ages, but my third Fuji X-Trans guide is now finally available. This time, I’m covering Iridient Developer, and the e-book is a comprehensive guide to using the software for processing Fuji X-Trans files. I also cover some workflows for integrating Iridient Developer into a Lightroom Workflow.

The guide covers the following topics:

  • Opening a folder and getting images into Iridient Developer.
  • Using Iridient Developer as a Lightroom Plugin.
  • Understanding the Iridient Developer controls.
  • Understanding the demosaicing and sharpening settings.
  • Noise reduction and lens correction.
  • Creating black and white images in Iridient Developer.
  • My recommended settings for sharpening
  • Batch processing and exporting.
  • Workflows for working with Lightroom.

As with my previous guides, I’ve also talked about the settings (or range of settings) that I use. Where appropriate too, I’ve given specific X-Trans tips. I also cover how to set up the software to use it as a plug-in for Lightroom, and I also briefly cover using the Apple Photos edit extension.

It’s 68 pages, and I hope it will help all of those who have written to me, who have struggled with Iridient Developer. I hope it offers something for those who are both experienced and relative beginners alike.

It’s available now from my Digital Download store. the normal price will be €5 but for the launch and the next week it will be available for €4.

There’s more information on the product page, including a PDF excerpt. I’ll be publishing some more excerpts over the next little while too.

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Important Store Updates

laptop-and-ipad

In order to help create an even better experience on the store, I’ve made some behind the scenes changes to improve the functions on the store. The biggest of which is that I’ve added a second payment processor. I’ve had many requests for this, and so you can now make payments directly by credit card using via Stripe, rather than PayPal.

Stripe Payments

I’ve had a number requests from people who do not like or want to use PayPal to add an alternate payment processor to the store. To that end, the store will now accept payments directly by credit card via Stripe. Stripe is a reputable payment processor, and is the chosen provider for SquareSpace commerce and a number of other premium services.

You can pay by credit card directly in the checkout using the Strip payment option. Note that we still do not store credit cards on the site, and all payment processing is handled on Stripes servers.

For more information on Stripe see their website.

Additional Security

I’ve always taken security seriously on the store. Your payment information has never been stored on our server and we’ve always taken steps to ensure that our back end is kept up to date and has additional security software in place to protect the data on the server.

Now that I’m adding a second payment processor, I’ve also added additional security throughout the store. The entire store is now securely accessed through https, not just the checkout phase. While the credit card entry for the stripe checkout is integrated directly into our checkout page, as mentioned above, we still do not store or handle your credit card information. It will be handled by Stipe’s secure servers, and we never have access to that information.

If you have any questions see the FAQ page for more details.

More to Come

I’m committed to improving the experience even further. In the future I have plans to improve the design, making it easier to use. I also plan to offer additional member benefits for existing customers. I’m also going to offer more tutorials for previous customers, such as how to get the best from our presets and more.

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Introducing MonoLux for Lightroom

MonoLux for Lightroom - Virtual Box

MonoLux for Lightroom - Virtual Box

I had stated when I launched Coffee Tones for Lightroom last month, that it was my intent to launch a new set of Lightroom presets every month this year. Well, it was getting close, but it looks like I made it with a few days to spare! I’m happy to announce today, that my newest set, MonoLux for Lightroom is now available.

MonoLux is my second set of black and white presets for Lightroom. The set was designed with the aim of creating a rich but natural black and white filmic feel. Within the pack are 10 variations with some extra special effects presets. This set also comes with separate Grad, Grain and Vignette presets, as well as set-up presets to help speed up you’re workflow.

MonoLux makes use of Lightroom’s dehaze function to add depth to images, and so requires Lightroom CC 2015.1 or higher, or Lightroom 6.1 or higher. In fact, dehaze was integral to the look of the presets, and I think the way that I’ve used it creates an interesting black and white effect. Because the dehaze slider is only in the creative cloud version of Lightroom, I’ve included some presets which will let you adjust the de-haze amount without using the he slider.

[MonoLux is available now for just €5](because the De-haze slider is only in the creative cloud version of Lightroom, I’ve included some presets which will let you adjust the de-haze amount without using the he slider. ) and requires Lightroom 6.1 or CC2015.1 or higher.

In some other store related news, and in the theme of black and white, I’ve put Monolith, my first set of black and white presets, on sale too, with the price reduced to €8 from €15. Many of my other presets are on sale too, with up to 40% off in some cases. Finally, I’m discontinuing my ACR presets, as there simply wasn’t enough demand. For the few people who bought them, you can still get support and re-download them through your accounts, but they are no longer available for sale.

In the mean time, here are some more examples of MonoLux in action. For full details and more samples, stop by the store and check out the product pages for MonoLux.

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Introducing Coffee Tones for Lightroom

coffee-tones-intro-screenshot

I’m happy to announce that my first new set of Lightroom Presets for 2016 is now available. Called “Coffee Tones” the set is, as the name suggests, inspired by the look of coffee. It has a number of looks in both colour and black and white. All have some variation of warm earthy coffee coloured tones.

Coffee Tones is the first of a new set of smaller “mini packs” that I’m planning on releasing this year. Smaller than some of my other presets, it will be available for a very reasonable price of just €5. There are 10 main looks and a few of these come with some variations too. As always, there is extensive documentation included, and you can download the readme file before you buy to see what’s involved if you would like.

Requirements

Unlike my other sets, Coffee Tones requires Lightroom CC 2015.1 or Lightroom 6.1 or higher. The presets make use of Lightroom’s new Dehaze function to add contrast and warmth and so require the newer versions of Lightroom which support dehaze. The best version is the latest version of Lightroom CC as it includes full dehze controls, however, the dehaze function is supported in Lightroom 6.1, but you just don’t get any controls for it.

I know that it’s kind of a pain the way Adobe implemented this with two different versions of Lightroom, but using dehaze is an integral part of these looks, and it is important to the effect. Please make sure you have the correct version of Lightroom before buying Coffee Tones.

Samples

Here are some examples of Coffee Tones in Action. For more samples see the Product Page.

Coffee Tones for Lightroom Available Now!

Coffee Tones for Lightroom is available now for €5. See the product page for more information or to buy the presets.

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Christmas & New Years Sale

Christmas Sale

Christmas Sale

To celebrate Christmas and the end of the year I’m having a Christmas and New Years sale on all Lightroom presets, Photoshop ACR presets and Texture Box One in the digital download store. Im giving 30% off everything except the e-book guides. To take advantage of the sale just use the discount code at the checkout. The code is

MERRYXMAS2015

This will give you 30% off everything in your cart except any of my e-book guides. The sale will run till the 1st January and you can use the code as often as you want in that time period!

In addition, over the next two weeks, I’ll be offering spot discounts on various different products. There will be a different product on sale every few days. These will be marked down on the store so check back to see which products are on sale that day! You can still use the discount code with these sale products too!

Enjoy, and for those who celebrate it, Happy Christmas.

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Black Friday Sale: 50% 0ff All Presets and Texture Box One

Black-day-Sale

I’m delighted to announce that I’m having my first ever Black Friday sale. From now until Monday (Nov30th) you can get 50% off all my presets from the download store. You don’t need any coupons or codes, just head to the store and the sale price is already there!

This includes all my Lightroom Presets, and my ACR Presets. I’ve even knocked 50% off Texture Box One for the sale too.

To check out my Lightroom presets and take advantage of the sale stop by the store now and have a look around!