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Lightroom Split Toning, Not your Average Black and White

Jared Polin November 24, 2010 7

Lightroom has a (little used, at least by me!) Split Toning panel in the Develop Module. It is quite powerful and can create very dramatic images. What its not is a fix for a bad photograph or a crutch. Used sparingly the a photograph split toned can be a nice addition to your portfolio, website or gallery of images.

There are a few presets for split toning that come with Adobe Lightroom 3. I am not a huge fan of presets because I believe every image has its own character and style that should not conform to what someone else thinks it should. That doesn’t mean the presets can’t be used as an educational tool to help you to learn and expand your knowledge of photographic processes. In my opinion a split toned image starts out at capture as an abstract, then is tweaked, pushed, pulled and manipulated to add to its abstract nature with two tones. One tone for highlights and the other for shadows.

When using the tool I suggest increasing the saturation quite high and then decreasing it to taste, allowing you to see the adjustments much more easily. Since, IMO, an image is abstract when using this tool don’t be afraid to use the other options available to you in Lightroom. Applying a wacky white balance, exposure, contrast, vibrance, saturation, etc etc can only increase the interest in the image and give the viewer a sense of the image you had in mind when clicking your shutter.

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Digital Photography Lightroom Edit

Jared Polin November 23, 2010 22

Back again with another Head to Head battle of RAW editing between Greg and Jared. This weeks photo is an interior shot captured with the Nikon D3000 and Nikon 14-24 2.8 taken in Italian restaurant. You will get your chance to edit and upload this RAW file with us, read below for details.

This is a tough photo to edit as you have to decide if you are going to let the windows blow out or try to balance the inside light with outside. I chose to focus on getting the inside processing to where I wanted and let outside blow out. I can say that my edit this week goes snap crackle pop and you will be surprised which slider I actually used.

Greg decide to go with balancing the light inside and out as much as possible. His edit resulted in a more realistic feel which looks like what you would see if you walked in yourself.

It always is a toss up but let us know which edit you prefer. Mine (Jared) which goes bam bam pow or Greg’s which goes “hello I look like I should probably look”.

To download and EDIT this weeks RAW file Click HERE for directions. Feel free to post your edit as well as a ScreenFlow video if you would like.

Jared’s Edit

Jared's Edit

Greg’s Edit

Greg's Edit

User Submitted Video – Thanks Gavin it was great to see what you would have done to the image, Check out

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Digital Photography Lightroom Editing Tips

Jared Polin November 16, 2010 25

Here we are again editing another user submitted RAW file, remember that neither Greg nor I took this picture and it was submitted by a reader of the web site.

This weeks image was captured with the Nikon D3000 and Nikon 55-300 VR Lens. It is a great capture of a blade of grass with water on it. I was really surprised to see how sharp the focus was on the blade of grass and water.

When I was editing it I took the approach of making it pop as much as possible but making it seem a little darker. If you remember the movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids a lot of the movie is filmed in the grass and it just seemed darker when you were on that level. That is why my image looks darker, i figured if your on the level of the grass its probably in the shade and should take on a darker quality.

Greg decided to try to very different edits this week, one a little warmer and the other a little colder. This excursive week in and week out shows you different ways that images can be edited, Always remember that photography does not stop when you press the shutter button, it continues into your post processing.

If you would like to submit a RAW file for us to edit please e mail

Jared’s Edit
Jared's Edit of User Submited Raw File

Greg’s Edit #1
Greg's Edit #1 of uder submited Raw FILE

Greg’s Edit #2
Greg's Edit #1 of uder submited Raw FILE

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Digital Photography Tips – Blowing out the background

Jared Polin November 12, 2010 9

When it comes to selecting a lens for a specific photo shoot there are so many factors that come into play. Do you want to shoot wide angle and have everything in sharp focus or do you want to shoot super tight and blow the background way out.

In the video below you see Greg demonstrating how by just changing the distance to the camera the background will totally change. The first section of the video is being shot with the Nikon D3s 70-200 2.8 VRI at 200mm. You can see that the background is blown out but you can still make out the shapes in the background. In the second part of the video Greg got closer to the lens and all that changed was the focus. Now you can see that being closer to the lens the background has been totally blown out and anything in the back is unrecognizable.

You don’t always need to have the best glass or fastest F stop to blow out the background. If you get closer to your subject and have a deeper background you can still get a similar effect with a 5.6 lens. Sure it is harder to blow out shorter backgrounds but it is possible with just about any lens.

Now lets look at what happens when you use wide angle lenses vs telephoto. When you use a telephoto lens you are compressing anything in the image, when you use wide angle you are doing the opposite of compressing. For example when I shoot head shots I love using my Nikon 70-200 2.8 VRII because I can isolate my subject form the background. I zoom in as well as get closer to my subject which makes the compression even greater. If I were to use a Nikon 24-70 2.8 and try to get the same portrait at 24mm it would be pretty hard to replicate. The subject would look awkward and the background would probably be really sharp and distracting.

You may be wondering if it is possible to blow the background out even with wide angle lenses and the answer is yes. As you will see at the end of the video, if you get really close to your subject and your focus is much closer the background may still blow out.

Be sure to watch the full video as I go through actual sample images showing you how changing your focus and how close you are to your subject will change the amount you compress the background.

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Nikon D3000 RAW Lightroom Edit

Jared Polin November 9, 2010 16

Let us edit your RAW file week 8  Each week Greg and I edit a reader submitted raw file sent to  We do not see each others edits before we do our own.

Who said you can’t get great images form the Nikon D3000?  This shot right here shows you that just about any digital camera with a good piece of glass on it is capable of capturing quality images.

I selected this image this week because it was an interesting subject matter that looked like it would be fun and interesting to edit the RAW file. Greg went first this week where he chose to do some very interesting edits followed by my edits where I pretty much made them go boom!!!! I may have made them go a little to boom after seeing what Greg did but I still like the color and clarity of how I edited the image.

As always we would like to know what you think about both edits. Coming up in the future we may give you guys a chance to try your hand at editing one of the RAW files to see what you come up with.

Greg’s Edit

Greg's Edit

Jared’s Edit

Jared's Edit

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Engagement Session in NYC – Photo of the WEEK

Jared Polin November 1, 2010 9

I had the opportunity to photograph Chris and Sarah’s engagement session in New York City last week and it went very well. Sure it was raining just about the whole time but they were not fazed at all. They were great to work with and were not as afraid of the rain as I was. I wish i brought my think tank hydrophobia as that would have been my first chance to use it. I guess I will be packing that from now on in my bag.

We were photographing at what is called the High Line, a raised train line that no longer runs and has been converted into a park. Being that it was raining we had to get inventive and try to find covered areas to photograph under as well as use the umbrellas in some photos.

The image that I chose for the Photo of the week is the one below. You can see Chris and Sarah embracing in the rain with the Empire State Building in the background. In my mind when trying to capture the subject and a landmark you have to be very careful how you photograph it. You want to pick one of the other to be the main focus which is why Chris and Sarah are nice and prominent and the Empire State Building is blown out in the background.

When editing this image I felt like I would like it to be black and white but on the other hand the color felt like it would look great as well. Take a look at the video below to see how and why I made the edits I made.

Nikon D3S Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR II
1/320th F/2.8 ISO 2000



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Photo(s) of the Week

Jared Polin October 11, 2010 5

This week I chose two photos of the the week, both from a recent wedding Greg and I photographed. These images are very similar in nature as they were captured within seconds of each other.

This highlights the importance of having two photographers capture a weddings. Each photographer brings a unique style to the wedding day and that leads to more and better quality images.

Take a look at the video below to hear more about these images as well as how they were edited.



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Super Secret Project Photo Shoot

Jared Polin October 9, 2010 83

I wanted to show you how easy it is to do a full photo shoot with multiple angles and one lens in 10 minutes. As you can see I am shooting with the Nikon D3000 and 35 F/1.8. I was able to capture 4 or 5 different angles from full length to head shots to detailed shots.

I guessed my settings based off of pre visualizing my environment. I knew there was not a lot of light inside which told me I should shoot at a higher ISO like 800. I know in the D3000 that if I go higher than 800 ISO i may be compromising the quality of the image. I chose 60th of a second at 1.8 as a starting point than tweaked from there. You have to be very careful when shooting wide open at 1.8 that you do not miss your focus. As you can see in the picture with the pencil you have such a narrow focus that if you move forward or back or your subject moves you may miss your focus all together.

Start to get into the habit of pre visualizing your situation so when you walk into it you have a basis for your initial settings. Over time you will start to be able to read the light before you take the camera out of the bag.

Be sure to watch the entire video as you will see the photo shoot first followed by a screen flow where I discuss composition of each image as well as how I edited the RAW file.

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Photo of the WEEK – Candid Photo

Jared Polin October 5, 2010 1

This weeks photo is a candid image I captured of a really amazing person and business man Yanki Silver.  I had the chance to spend some time capturing some images at one of his weekend getaways including this image below.


Nikon D3s Nikon 24-70 2.8
1/5000th F/4 ISO 500

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Let us edit your RAW file Week 3

Jared Polin October 5, 2010 15

Each week on Greg and I try our hand at editing a RAW file that a reader sends in. If you are interested in having us edit your file please e mail one file to

Greg and I will both tweak the RAW file in Adobe Lightroom without knowing how the other is editing the file. This is a great way for you to see the different techniques we use for editing our files.

This week I think you may be surprised with how I edit the file, take a look and send one of yours in for editing!!!

Greg’s Edit
Greg's Edit

Jared’s Edit
Jared's Edit

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