Malia Campbell Photography

Seattle Real Estate Photography by Malia Campbell

Exporting photos: Lightroom or Bridge?

Several months ago I made the transition from a PC to a Mac. Switching platforms was easier than I expected (thankfully) but one thing I hadn’t anticipated was the change it caused in my workflow. Some things, bad habits mostly, that I was able to do easily on my PC weren’t possible on a Mac.

One change to my workflow has been how I export files for delivery to clients. On my PC I had an action set up in Photoshop to resize, sharpen and save images as .jpgs. For some reason I’m having difficulties with creating actions on the Mac (sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t) and even more bizarre, I’m unable to save a .tif as a .jpg.

Partly because of this and partly because of my new archiving system (The DAM Book has changed my life!) I started using Lightroom for exporting files. It was quick, I could save my settings for each resolution batch and it auto sharpened for web or print, which I liked.

I just loaded a shoot that I did earlier today on flickr (I like to do this so that I can see how the images will look on the web and can tweak images, if necessary, before delivering images to clients) and everything looked awful. The colors were a little off, the brightness and vibrancy seemed dulled down and everything looked too over-sharpened. The first two issues I wasn’t too worried about as I know flickr sporadically tends to mess with colors and vibrancy. The sharpening issue, however, concerned me. I wasn’t sure if it truly was over-sharpened or if I’ve just been staring at the computer too long so I decided to do a little experiment.

I took an image and exported, once through Lightoom and once through Bridge/Photoshop. The results, pictured below, confirmed what I thought. The auto-sharpen feature on Lightoom over-sharpens images and, since there’s no way to control how much sharpening it’s applying, it looks like I’m going to have to change my workflow again.  It’s difficult to see the differences here, on the blog, but if you click through to the images you’ll be taken to a larger size where, if you go back and forth, the over-sharpening should be obvious.

Lightroom Export

Bridge Export

Written by Malia Campbell Photography

February 26, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Posted in Reviews, Words

13 Responses

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  1. I’ve hesitated getting Lightroom, I didn’t want to take the time to learn another program. Let me know if you love it, I’ll go with your recommendation.

    jerikoegel

    February 26, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    • I’ve had LR for awhile and like it but I don’t use it for post processing. I use it for cataloging/organization. If you have a cataloging system already in place it’s probably not worth it to switch over.

      TulipChain Photography

      February 26, 2010 at 8:34 pm

  2. Thanks TC, I’m bad, I use Flickr. Pitiful.

    jerikoegel

    February 26, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    • Hey, whatever works, right?

      If you ever want to get a more comprehensive system set up try reading The DAM Book. It’s a bit dry but once you get past the first three or four chapters it gets really interesting. I promise!

      TulipChain Photography

      February 26, 2010 at 8:38 pm

  3. Thanks! I’ll get it! I appreciate that.

    jerikoegel

    February 26, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    • Let me know what you think if you read it. It has some interesting ideas but it’s mostly geared toward commercial/stock photographers. It would be neat to get a discussion going as to how to apply these methods to real estate photography.

      TulipChain Photography

      February 27, 2010 at 8:59 am

      • Have you made it all the way through? I just browsed it on Amazon. It does have some interesting ideas. I need to explore it more. Thanks for the tip.

        jerikoegel

        February 27, 2010 at 9:31 am

        • I’m about 3/4 of the way through. I keep marking pages that I want to go back and re-read or institute in my current workflow.

          TulipChain Photography

          February 27, 2010 at 9:51 am

  4. Have you touched any of the sharpening sliders on those images in the Develop mode in LR? I think that you do have the ability to adjust sharpening that LR may have been doing by using Develop presets. Were you applying sharpening through the export dialog in LR?

    Doug Cranmer

    February 27, 2010 at 12:03 am

    • No, I don’t really use LR for post processing. I was using the “sharpen for screen” option when I was exporting, which I thought was convenient but now that I’ve taken a closer look I’m not sure I like it.

      TulipChain Photography

      February 27, 2010 at 8:58 am

  5. Impressive!. Thank you for sharing this.

    iPhone ringtone creator

    March 8, 2010 at 2:32 pm

  6. Malia,
    What do you use for sharpening now? Your photos look so crisp and sharp, I am curious if you have set up an action in PS, or if you found something better in LR?

    Sinead Kelly Hastings

    August 25, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    • Hi Sinead,

      I don’t really do any sharpening, per se. I use the Structure feature in Viveza which is similar to the Clarity feature in RAW/LR but no sharpening.


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