Professional Outdoor and Nature Photography 7: Organizing Your Business | Charlie Borland | Skillshare

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Professional Outdoor and Nature Photography 7: Organizing Your Business

teacher avatar Charlie Borland, Professional photographer for over 35 years

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (1h 26m)
    • 1. Introduction to Your Business

    • 2. How to Organize Your Business

    • 3. Editing Your Images

    • 4. Naming Files

    • 5. Strategies for Naming Files

    • 6. Importance of Metadata

    • 7. Intro to Lightroom Archiving

    • 8. Keywording in Lightroom

    • 9. Captioning in Lightroom

    • 10. More Keywording

    • 11. Lighten and Darken Images

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About This Class

Like all business, organization is critical. In this course we cover how to organize your photography using Lightroom. We show you some cool tips that will make your images more discoverable. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Charlie Borland

Professional photographer for over 35 years


Charlie Borland has been a commercial and stock photographer for over 35 years. Based in Oregon, his clients include Xerox, NW Airlines, Fujitsu, Tektronix, Nike, Blue Cross, Nationsbank, Precision Castpart's Corp., Mentor Graphics, Texas Instruments, Pacificorp, Cellular One, Sequent Computer, Early Winters, Cascade Bancorp, and AGC. He has won numerous awards for his photography and received recognition for annual reports he has photographed.

His imagery has been used thousands of times worldwide, including National Geographic Adventure and Traveler, Outside, Women's Sport and Fitness, Newsweek, TV Guide, CIO, Sports Illustrated for Women, Time, Backpacker, Sunset, American Photo, Outdoor Photographer, Eco Traveler, Southern Bell, to name a few.

Charlie has been teaching... See full profile

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Photography Creative

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1. Introduction to Your Business: Hi, I'm Charlie Borland. And welcome to my short course on organizing your photography files, part of my Siris of how to be a professional outdoor and nature photographer. There are many things that are important to a successful photography business, and one of them is an efficient system toe. Organizing your photography files and light room is a great program for doing that. In this course, I'm going to show you how to add metadata to your images with effective captions and keywords. You may already understand how important this is in getting your images discovered by clients doing online searches. If you already use light room, you know that this could be very time consuming. But I'm going to show you some steps to not only increase efficiency but also create more effective captions and keywords. I will mention that this course is about metadata primarily and its importance and its not a course on light room image processing. But that should not deter you because once you see these quick steps, you'll be amazed at how fast you can optimize the metadata for your images and make them easier to be found online. Are you ready? Let's get started 2. How to Organize Your Business: So you've been out traveling widely and photographing plenty of fantastic images, and now you're ready to cash the checks that will be pouring in from sales of your work. Well, if only it was that easy. In reality, you must first have a business with an open sign and customers to buy your projects. To effectively keep your business organized and fill your customers requests, you must have an efficient workflow and well organized image database. Here's where a sound image management system is worth its weight in gold. Before we get into organizing the office, let's step back and look at methods for organizing your images and these start right with your photo shoot. I have travelled widely on assignment, where I often shoot all day for many days or even weeks at a time. While traveling America, photographing in the city's historic sites, natural areas and the national parks, I have shot hundreds of images a day and sometimes even more. Can you picture the problem In the early days, I would return from a trip, pick up my slides from the lab, spread them across the lightbox and then spend many hours trying to recall where I took that picture of those colorful aspens or wondering just exactly where that natural history Museum waas. If you travel for two weeks and shoot thousands of digital files, there's a chance that you may not recall everywhere you photographed and especially way back from the beginning of the trip. If you cannot accurately caption your images as to the location, you may as well toss those images because photo buyers are going to request accurate captions in almost every case. As an example, here's a photograph that represents a well known landmark, the mountain in the Lake. And if you live on the West Coast of the United States, you might know that this is a favorite mountain to photograph among nature photographers. Because it is well known than photo buyers will look for images of this mountain if they're wanting to feature this part of central Oregon. This image of a false scenic along a creek is not too far from that previous image, and it's been published many more times than that mountain range image. While the mountain is easy to remember exactly where it was shot this fall, color image was from wandering around looking for photographs, and if I was on a long trip, I might not remember exactly where it waas. So the point is, organized your images right from the beginning of your photo shoots. Here's a real life scenario of what happened to me. I have been fortunate to Raph the Grand Canyon three times, and each of these trips was 21 days in length. The 1st 2 times I went digital was not around and the last time Digital's were available, and it was an option that I had considered. The reason I decided against it was the fact that I had no way to download my flashcards because that technology was in its infancy. There's no electricity that you can use when you take that trip, something you would need to keep a laptop or other digital download device fully charged. Nor did we have those really great solar charges that are available today. So in the end, I chose to shoot film for my third trip. However, no matter whether I shot film or digital, I still have the same problem. How to keep track of each of these locations that I would photograph if you photograph rafters running mile 207 here in the Grand Canyon. As this image indicates, it must be identified as such, or some buyers will not use it. So how can you keep track of where you shot a photograph? The first is to download it to a laptop or a digital storage device in the camp or wherever you might be staying that night and then captured the images while locations air fresh in your mind. Even when I'm on a trip that takes several weeks and I'm traveling, camping and photographing, I have power inverters that plug in tow. What used to be the cigarette lighter in my truck These air now designed for power outlets , but they allow me to keep my laptop and other devices fully charged. Then, at the end of the day, I can open up light room on my computer and import all the images off the hard drive. Other cool devices are available with the latest cameras using GPS receivers that tagged the digital files. Canon makes the G P E two, which records location information like longitude, latitude, elevation direction and universal time, and applies that data as exit information to the image files while you're shooting, it can also act as a standalone GPS logger. An onboard electronic compass and camera time can all be sync by the built in atomic clock . This will be perfect in just about any location where you can achieve a signal. But if you are rafting the Grand Canyon where a signal may not exist, you need another plan. So when I'm travelling to remote locations or anywhere that a GPS signal might not be available, I use a slate, which is sort of like the slates that Hollywood filmmakers clap at the beginning of each scene. I just don't clap it. My slate is much more primitive and designed just to record the location, so I write on it with an eraser, will marker and then take a picture of it. For example, while rafting the Grand Canyon, we float along, and sometimes the scenery looks the same, and I do know from experience that photo buyers expect the image to be identified as to where it was taken along the Colorado River during that trip in the canyon. On the other hand, there are many notable landmarks that are easily identified in the Grand Canyon, but also plenty of beautiful scenery that's best identified by indicating the river mileage point. For example, if I'm rafting mile to 32 I need toe identify the photograph that it was captured at mile to 32 rapid. So what I did is I went to the plastic store and bought a five by seven inch piece of white plexiglass and sanded the corners for smoothness. So then, while floating along the river, if I do a bunch of shots, I will check the river mileage map right that on the slate, and then take a quick picture of that. I also make note that previous shots or the next shots are at Mile 123 as an example. A slate is a great technique for recording locations when you can't do captions on the computer right away or get a GPS signal. Whatever you decide to dio, make sure you're organized right from the time you're shooting, so you can keep track of your photography after the photo shoot. If I can return to my office and add the digital files toe light room, I do it immediately. But if I'm on a long road trip and have my laptop and some of my portable hard drives. I will download and rename the files and bridge, and I'm doing it this way so that I don't forget, of course, where I took the pictures, then when I returned to the office, those files were then imported in the light room, along with the data I applied in the field, and at the same time, I add additional metadata, such as captions and keywords. So you really have two options. You can do light room in the field or bridge and naming in the field later to import in the light room. So once you return to the office after a photo shoot, you're gonna get busy organizing your files and all your new products, so to speak. And by this time you hopefully have an office where you can organize and manage your business. You start by determining where that space will be, and for most outdoor photographer's, it's located in the home or, if you have a budget for it, an office elsewhere. Many photographers where the beginning or well known professionals simply work at home in a spare room or a home office designed specifically to accommodate their business. This, of course, is less expensive than running commercial space. And now that your passion for photography is a business, it's time to start considering the bottom line. Since I also do studio photography for many of my outdoor clients, I share a studio with a videographer, and this has worked out very well and made having a commercial space much more organized for me. If you feel you need that kind of room, be sure and look around at a co op arrangement with a group of other artists to share space and keep your costs down. But until you can afford it, keep in mind the bottom line and set up your office wherever it's the lowest cost in the most convenient. 3. Editing Your Images: so you're back in the office now. The next part of the process after you do your photo shoot is to edit your images, and this could be pretty challenging part of your job. Nature photographers shoot a lot of images and at some point to have to wade through all of them and determine which are the best for the markets With digital photography. It's so easy to shoot massive amounts of images because the equipment is fast at capturing in volume. And there's really no cost to having volumes of images unless you consider the amount of time it takes tow wade through all those images and storage of those images. Back when I was shooting with a four by five you camera, setting up and composing a scene took substantial effort. Film was expensive, so there was much more of a tendency to work longer on a composition, wait for the perfect light and do everything you could to make sure an image worked. This slow process was in many ways editing in the field. You work longer on each image, took fewer of them and had a higher rate of keepers. With digital photography. It's easy to blast away, and we all do it at some time or another. The scene is perfect or the lightest fading fast, so moving around quickly in an effort to not miss anything is very natural response to great conditions. You want to get as many images as you can before the light is gone, but you know the result. Lots of digital captures that have to be edited. If you post your images on social media sites and received thumbs up from all your followers, family and friends, you feel really good about your work. But most people viewing your images on these social sites are not buyers of photography in the commercial sense. So those opinions really carry far less weight. If you're in the business of earning money from your work, the only people that matter are the clients. Loving your work also does not guarantee sales, and in many ways we are own worst enemy When it comes to what we present for sale. No matter how long you stared a bad image, it won't become a better image, and especially when you really know deep down it's a poor photograph. A great image tells a solid story conveys a powerful concept and, ideally, licenses over and over. So scrutinizing all your images from a shoot in finding those that will be the most successful is the goal of editing. And this is why learning the fine art of doing that is so crucial to business success. That first edit you dio right after you return from a photo shoot is the most challenging. And when I do this, I hope I see a few killer images. But more importantly, all the images with problems I will immediately dump the obvious out of focus, unsure AARP bad exposures and anything else that clearly shows a less than perfect image beyond the obvious bad images, as I just described, one of the first things I learned a long time ago was not to make too many serious and final decisions about most of the good looking images on that first review. Maybe not on the second, or maybe not on the third. Either we have an immediate attachment to images right after they have been shot, and that emotional connection can swear decision making. On the 2nd 3rd reviews, you might have a different perspective, and especially if some time has passed since the photo shoot. If you've been off photographing other subjects, projects or commitments and then return to editing, that emotional attachment tends to fade even after a short time, allowing a better perspective of the images. Then, if there's an image that still doesn't cut it, technically or aesthetically, despite how excited you were when you photographed it, you feel less bad about weeding it out. What happens at this time is the stars begin to shine. Those great images rise to the top because you have weeded out there poor cousins and these stars get more of your attention. Editing your images is a fine art, as I like to call it, because the definition of good photography is so subjective. What one person loves another one hates, and I've seen it over and over in many places. I recall numerous occasions when I used to send images off to my various stock photo agents before the Internet agencies reach was not as global as it is now, and you had the option of non exclusive contracts. Mean you could send the same images to stock agents on the East Coast. Another one on the West Coast, maybe in the Midwest or the South, and anywhere you had contracts with them. There was not as much overlap today, and that's do really to the Internet. While I would send one set of images toe one agent who might love them, I would send a second set to another and get a rejection and occasionally a note describing all the problems with the images Which agent was right in which was wrong. Here in lies. The problem with editing effectively when relying on others opinions to help you form yours , social media likes and Google plus ones are the worst way to determine what a marketable image is and what is not now for clarification. I'm not referencing selling prints to followers, but rather photo buyers in the commercial sense. And there's an important difference. This makes the fine art of editing your images to find the best sellers, a task reserved for you and it is one that takes time to learn When choosing the keepers. You should strive to always be right, since being wrong is costly. Some photographers don't weed out anything, and it's obvious when you look at their websites There will be many of the same scenes showing higher angles. Lower angles. Zoom in, zoom out all on the same Web page two photo buyers. This concertos oh, lack of experience. Some will think the photographer really does not know what a good images, because they cannot pick one to post by itself. Take a moment. Look at a major stock photo agency website, where you rarely see multiple images of the same scenes shot in the same ways on the same day by the same photographer. I cannot say that that doesn't exist, but generally there's very rare or very few cases as such. It's fair to say in these markets, saturated with nature photography, that most pros probably only create a handful of good sellers every year. Sure, that's an unsubstantiated claim, and some photographers may do much better, but you have to be realistic as well. Putting every image shot on a website probably won't achieve the desired work. A photo buyer might look through a page or two, and if they don't like what they see, they move on to the next site. Instead. Put a handful of killer images uniquely different, all on the same site all on the same page, making it look like a portfolio. And there's probably a much better chance of selling something simply by the look and presentation of the site. A buyer will tend to look up mawr images because they like what they're seeing good variety for situations where it's obvious that many images of the same scene are very marketable. Place the best image on the website and stack the others in light room or bridge for easy access. Occasionally, a client will inquire about an image, and you can tell them you have more options of the same scene with slight variations and then ask them if they'd like to see more. So how do you master the fine art of editing? Well, there's an old saying. If in doubt, throw it out. Once, an agent told me to edit and edit and edit again until I had only 10% from the shoot left and then submit those for their consideration. From the agent's perspective, that 10% was a good shoot if they kept only 2% of the images weed out the ones that just don't knock your socks off. You can store them for later review, but don't put them on your website. The rating systems of stars were labels or culler. Coats are a great tool, went editing. Every photographer has their own system that works, and you can easily develop your own. I like rating with stars, none for poor images and 1 to 5 with five being the killer shots. You can then sort by rating and evaluate your decisions and adjust if needed. The more you edit ruthlessly, the more you will learn and the more you will become proficient, observe what you see published in the magazines and the postcard rack calendars and even online. I know that each image you see published there was a photographer who likely captured many more that scene. And by analyzing all the aspects of the published image, you begin to understand what made it perfect enough to publish. So I just spoke pretty generically about editing. And if you're shooting adventure or any type of outdoor sports, you need to evaluate if you captured or missed the peak action of the moment. And if so, those images as well should not make it through your editing process. Let's say you shoot a skier launching off a cornice against a blue sky, and your camera is shooting away at 10 frames a second, you got nine frames shot before you're looking at the skiers backside as he goes behind a tree. When you stop to look at those images, you noticed that the skiers arm was too high and covered a portion of their face in eight of those nine shots. You know, that's a problem, since you have been subscribing to Ski magazine and you can see what they use and know that most images of skiers used by the magazine don't have an arm blocking the face. This image here was shot on assignment, and the image on the left was absolutely a perfect pose. But she was so close that her head got cut off. So the left image gets tossed. These four images air selected from an assignment. I did have a family kayaking on a lake that was used in an advertisement. I shot hundreds of images in just a few hours, but the's four represent my point about selecting and keeping on Lee the perfect images. The image on the left will definitely be tossed because the child's paddle is in front of his face and his mother's as well. While Dad and the other kayak is hidden too much. The second image is better. Mom and Child's paddles air in a better position, but Dad is still hidden. The third image has Dad in a perfect position, but Mom and the child's paddles are not in the best position. Finally, Image four is the perfect and the one. I would call the Keeper, the child's and the moms paddles Aaron opposite positions of each other and active looking , and they're not blocking anything. Dad is in a perfect position in the back, with nothing interfering with him. So the fourth image is the one that I kept. When editing your images, Force yourself toe only pick one image from every single scene, assuming it is worthy, and put that one on your website. That will be the image that tells the story. The best is technically perfect, aesthetically pleasing, and might even make your jaw drop. I'll mention one more thing. I usually burns DVDs immediately after a shoot. Even when I'm on a long road trip, I usually have a laptop computer with me, I'll burn DVDs and then these will be stuffed in a file cabinet that I really don't do anything with. That way, if I go back and I'm brutal in the editing process, keeping on Lee a few images in my light room catalog but yet later wished I'd included something else. Well, I could go back to the DVDs and grab them. While there are no guidelines to make you a perfect photo editor of your own work, there is a concept behind it, and that is to gain an understanding of what makes marketable image, no matter how many likes and plus ones and all the social media love you might get. The true measure of effective editing is the sales records of your images. 4. Naming Files: since your photography, which is also known as your digital assets, is your business, then it's these assets that are going to feed you and make your house payment and put your child through college and by your new lenses and pay for travel and all that type of stuff . A good workflow and organization of your digital assets is really paramount to a successful business, just like electron ICS company or something like. Amazon has a warehouse that's very organized so they know exactly where all their products are. So what's the best way to organize your photographic library? The first question you should ask yourself is. What's the best software to keep your images organized? Fortunately, there are a few programs out there to do this, but I'll give you a little bit of history first. Once upon a time, in the days of slide film. Yes, I was born when they were still shooting film. There were many programs that were designed for not only keeping a database of your images but also printing out labels with captions, and then you apply these to your slides. There's also been a fair number of programs out there for organizing your digital files, but I'm not going to really talk about any of them because the one that stands out far and above the rest is light room. Apple made aperture, but it never really took off like light room did. And in 2014 Apple discontinued Aperture. There are some others like Extensions Portfolio and Hindsight's in View and Stock View, and these will all help you manage your digital files. Both hindsight programs will also do billing, bookkeeping and some marketing tasks, and this could be pretty attractive to get software that handles all of it. The program you eventually choose depends on how you plan to market and sell your images, as well as how you plan to stay organized. I have found light room to be the perfect program for organizing all my raw files, but it will not invoice for track photo submissions. So I use QuickBooks and I was actually using QuickBooks long before Photoshop and light room and comparable programs came out. Quikbook handles all my accounting needs, including accounts payable and accounts receivable, but the program you eventually choose is totally up to you. If your plan is to have an e commerce website that sells your photography. Then you have to ask yourself if it's really necessary to have one of these software programs beyond light room. For me, the answer is no. I'm using light room to import my files, caption and keyword, and even apply a processing preset once in a while, then choosing the selects for final processing in Photoshopped. Once I'm done with that image, it's uploaded to my website or, in my case, given to my stock photo agency. There's no need for me to organize any further. The next step is how you choose to identify your images. In the analog days when we were shooting film and applying labels, I preferred a simple number system because it was easy, Like this image shows here. I found it so easy to file the slide and keep everything organized. There are as many strategies toe identifying and numbering your images as there is to the imagination. Why number or name your images? Well, for a long time, publishing clients would require a number on the film or your slide when you submitted them , and that helped them keep track of photo submissions and to also later recall an image if they wanted to use it. The client might choose, for example, to license an image that you send in a couple years ago for consideration, and they contact you and say they're going to use image 11436 as an example. They want to know when it was shot, how many times it may have been published, and by whom, and possibly other information that you've kept track of in your computer image database. I originally started many years ago with a software program called Photo Track, and it was so simple. It was a cost based database program with a simple numbering system. And honestly, to this day, I still prefer that approach. You have ability to have up to 100,000 different subjects up to 1000 pages of slides in each of those subject categories and, of course, up to 20 slides in each slide page. That's a total of 20,000 slides in each subject category. I was never be able to shoot that much, but in addition, I chose to file my images alphabetically, such as Arizona at the beginning and Wyoming at the end The reason I like this is because I did not have to search the computer to find an image, which was a manual task, not a computer search. But that changed with Digital and I no longer number like that but do still use an alphabetical organizing strategy. The names assigned to digital files by the camera are very inefficient and almost confusing . It is important for photographers to develop file naming conventions that are much more descriptive and uniform for each file. There are as many different approaches to naming your images as there are photographers out there, and I will discuss just a couple here and share my opinions, and I consider these to be the most popular ways to do it. Light Room has many different options for you to name your files upon import, including naming images by date first, then followed by any number in any sequence. Here's an example. The way this works is every time you import new images from your camera or DVD or any other device. Light room will automatically give the images a file name based on a date and original sequence number or any sequence number you wish to apply. So if you went and did a photo shoot on May 9th, 2000 and nine, which is what? 20090509 stands for And you were in Yellowstone National Park, you would set up light room to import them as 2000 and 90509 Underscore Yellowstone underscore sequence number Then let's say you dropped down from Yellowstone to Grand Teton National Park two days later. Did a bunch of photography and you then again, import these digital files as 20090511 underscore Grand Teton underscore sequence number. Now you're downloading again and it's been three days and Europe in Glacier National Park. Having a great time. I'm sure if you're using the date as the main file number, these images would be 200905 14 dash glacier dash sequence number. Okay, your trip sending now you're gonna head for home and get to work and decide five months later to do exactly the same trip. But this time you're photographing the fall color. So your first import of images is going to be 20091002 which is October 2nd 2000 and nine. Underscore Yellowstone, underscore sequence number and so on, followed by the Grand Tetons and the Glacier National Park imports. So here's how your images air. Sitting on your hard drive. You got your very first images sitting at the top from Yellowstone, followed by Grand Teton. Then you went to Glacier and then you're back home doing some or whatever summer again, summer again, summer shoot summer again. Then it's fall again and you're back to Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier National Park. So if you look at this and think about it, this demonstrates just six months of shooting and how these file folders would be stacked on your hard drive after you import them. But here's the problem. As I see it, at least for me, I have Yellowstone in different folders. Now, remember, I come from the days of slides. It's demonstrated a little bit ago where images were filed by alphabetical order. They were also filed by numerical order, but my numbers matched the alphabet. With this approach. I kept all the same locations in the same folder, and it didn't matter when they were shot all my Yellowstone was together. All my glacier was together and so on, and then I would number consecutively. But the numbers were not the basis for the organization. The alphabet waas. I would never when I was shooting film, go to Yellowstone five times and then file everything in order by dates as I shot them. If I'd been to Yellowstone 10 times in 10 years, all those 10 photo shoots images were in the same place in the file cabinets. That way, when I got a photo request for Yellowstone, I only had to goto one file cabinet. So my brain is stuck in this type of an operation with file naming conventions. I want everything to be together, no matter what the number is. 5. Strategies for Naming Files: Okay, so this is part two of file naming conventions. A file naming convention organized by date does not make sense to me, but it might to you. The cool thing about light room is that you can do a search for all your Yellowstone and everything will come up no matter where or how they're organized. For me, having to do a search to find an image is just one more step when I could easily just click on the folder that has all my Yellowstone in it, and that allows me to view everything at once. So the file naming convention I've come up with and for which I believe, works better isas follows. It starts with W Y for Wyoming and then Yellowstone, followed by old Faithful and then my last name with the date the picture was taken, finishing with the original sequence number. All these files are placed alphabetically on my hard drives and are easily accessible without doing any searching whatsoever. The reason I add my name is simply for the client, so they don't have to open an image and dig in and see the metadata to figure out who took the picture So I add my name to the end of the naming convention. As an example, you send a DVD, or maybe you send a light box to a client online or even a drop box, and they go through the images or they download him all onto a hard drive. But then they grab an image and drag it over to another folder, which is for the project they're working on, and they get rid of the rest of them. They can then look at the images, all of them in there, and know which image belongs to me. But again, this is just my approach to naming conventions, and to this point, it's worked very, very well. The next thing you have to think about is captioning your images, and this is essentially where you tell the story about the photo. Since your intention is to sell your imagery to customers for a specific use, they have accurate captioning of your images is very important. I once received a request from a major magazine on rafting Oregon's Rogue River, and I had just wrapped it six months prior. I had, however, broken my rule of captioning and filing as soon as possible. Following the shoot, I had no time to capture the images and submitted the entire lot without captions and with just the image sequence numbers. About a month later, I got a curt little note reminding me that images must be submitted with captions. And, of course, that made me look pretty bad. The best captions should be as complete as possible and include who, what and where. Not every image will include these three, but if they are applicable, they should be included for landscapes. The where is essential. But for the close up of a rose, it's not for a cross country skier in a meadow with mountains showing behind the where again is essential. But if it's a generic close up of the skier without anything identifying where the location maybe such as that mountain, then you don't really need to include it. If you've photographed a historic site, the When is applicability. How a picture is made is really of no relevance. Unless, of course, you're doing and magazines story, for example, and illustrating how you made the shot when a photograph was made is also relevant. If the subject is journalistic in nature, and the timing is part of the images story, such as the space shuttle. Launching. Buyers of this image will want to know which launch it was and when. Your captions also need to be accurate in the biological sense as well. Many times of buyer of images needs the biological species name of a particular flower or wildlife. If you're specially happens to be flowers, you can bet that your clients, magazines, books and other publishers will require the biological name in addition to the common name . So the sooner you do this, the better. And for me, I honestly found this to be a real nightmare. And it's one of the reasons I never really got into flour photography very much is because all the effort it took to find the biological names of the species, let alone just even identifying, combined with the fact that flowers don't really sell very well. Organizing your digital files is very important, but it shouldn't stop just with your digital images. Model releases also should be organized so that they can quickly be sent to a client who might request one. So when I receive a release from a model I open up an Excel spreadsheet where have created a template with the following information the model release number on the left, the name of the subject, the date it was photographed, as well as a description of the shoot. The information is entered into the spreadsheet, and that number that I assigned to their release is then written on release itself. Here is an example of a small release I used to carry with me a lot. These were about four by five inches, and they were carbon copy, so I'd have the model Sinem, then tear off and give them a copy, which is basically proof that they signed it. And then once I entered that information in the Excel spreadsheet, I wrote the number on the side. Then, when I got back to the office, I scan Immel and I turned him into P D efs, which are then stored on the computer. Just like the images are in light room and the final model releases put into three ring binders, which are stored in a fireproof safe. Then any time I need to produce a release and send it to a client, I can use the spreadsheet toe, look up the models name or the photo shoots name, find the release, send it to the client or say off to my stock agents if they requested it. It is important to understand, and we already talked about this, but without releases, the images sometimes are gonna be worthless in the commercial markets. So this is the workflow I've had going on for years. But you should know that you can now skip the Excel spreadsheet and add the release numbers to the image files in light room directly, as well as other programs that accept metadata. You can still assign numbers to the release, keep them in a binder and store them in a safe and fireproof location. But just add the file number two the images directly in light room and skip the spreadsheet . Stock photo agencies are often asking the photographer to submit the release at the time they submit the images this way, they commend make the release is available to a client in an instant when they purchase an image for download the releases there for download as well, and it becomes very handy 6. Importance of Metadata: metadata is all the information about a particular image that's attached to that digital file. Some of this has already created in the camera as part of the digital file, like the camera model, the aperture that was used, the shutter speed, I s O color, temperature lands and even the GPS data that I talked about earlier. My latest camera allows me to go in and enter my name through a menu so that every single picture that I capture has my name included in the metadata. There are other metadata options as well, and it's up to us to whether you want to add them or not. Some of this metadata can include copyright address, website email and a whole lot more can be attached every one of your digital files. The reasons to do this are simple, but also very important. Photographers can use metadata fields to add or save the copyright status. The copyright owner, the caption of the image keywords, the location, the model released number and even how the image has been used and by whom. It can include any licensing issues such as restrictions. It can include subject categories and again, so much more now, you may be wondering why is metadata crucial to your photography? Because it's used by search engines and photo management programs to help you find your pictures, but it also helps clients find your pictures. If your website contains images rich with metadata, especially your stock photo images, this can aid a client searching for an image you may have. You can apply metadata to each image during important light room or bridge as part of a batch process, and it can all be done in one step. This is so important in our social media environment, where posting images to these networks is a solid marketing strategy. But it's not without risk. People copy or steal images all the time from online sources, with some using them commercially and others simply posting them on their websites to imply that they took the picture. If someone takes your images and is making money off of it, you should be paid, and if they did it in violation of the law, they should pay heavily. There are many websites that chase after people who steal images, and sometimes it's entertaining, to say the least, to read about this infringement the site you might want to take a look at is called Stop stealing photos dot com, and I actually just find it pretty entertaining to see what people try to get away with and what they're excuse might be. I will mention one other option that you can use for free to monitor. If there's been any copying of your social media images and it's called Google Images, just go into Google and search for Google images, and you will find a search template where you can upload the photo you want to know about. And it will show you all the websites that have that photo. I've used this many times. In fact, if I blogged or I post an image socially, that I think is really, really killer, the chances of somebody wanting to swipe that picture are higher because it's a cool image . So I will do a Google search just to see if anybody lifted that picture to use it. One of the things I do to combat image grabbing of my work is used watermarks. You may already be doing this, and there's plenty of online chatting about how annoying watermarks are, and I guess I do agree at some point, but I have watermark all my social media images because I want the world to know I shot them no matter where they might end up. And when an image gets liked and shared, you have no idea who's going to see it. I am friends on Facebook and in Google, plus circles with several editors of big magazines. And if my works on there and they notice it, that's just one more way I might potentially make a sale. I want the world to see my images, but I don't want anything swiped. So what I've started doing is create a more formal presentation, so to speak. I create a border and a drop shadow with the title of my website and my name with the title , including my Web address and my name, and it really looks good. I received numerous comments stating as such, but have yet to make a sale. Hopefully, that will come tomorrow, though metadata is very important to your images and really crucial to the success of not only your digital asset management system but to clients finding your images in an Internet world so toe admitted data. You can use bridge where you can use light room, and I'm sure there's other programs out there that will do that. But it's really important that you add all the crucial contact information as well as information about the image and the location. 7. Intro to Lightroom Archiving: So now I'm gonna talk a little bit about light room because I find it perfect for archiving my digital assets. I'm only going to mention a few ways that I use light room and plan to point out what I think are some good features. But you should understand that this is not a class on light room. I don't have an in depth light room. How to in this lecture. So if you want to learn how to use it, I encourage you to go and check out some of the online classes or workshops that actually teach that. I also should mention that light room is very popular for processing photographs. A lot of photographers prefer it over Photoshopped. I totally understand why it's at a much lower price point, and it does a great job on processing images. I'm not going to even provide an opinion on which is better. I actually started out using photo shop and knew it very well before light room came out. So it's been very tough for me to abandon photo shop and move over toe light room. So at this point, I really only use light Room four, manage my digital assets, and that's about it, and I still prefer to take everything into photo shop and work with them. However, this view is not held by a lot of other photographers who feel light room is all that you're ever gonna need, and I fully support their opinion as well. So I encourage you to go out and learn about light room vs photo Shop and see which one you like. If you're not using either of them. The cool thing about light room is it truly is a digital asset management programme, plus a lot more when you import your images into light room. Those images remain in the program as thumbnails. No matter where the original files are located. This is totally different than bridge in bridge. You can on leave you what is actually in a folder or on a hard drive. And if bridge can't access those locations like that hard drive, you don't get to see those images that you've imported on to your hard drive with light room. Once the images air imported, the thumbnails remain in the light room catalogue when you load light room on your computer for the first time it's going to automatically place the light room catalogue and all the previews in your picture folder. I, however, prefer to place my light room catalogue on a designated external hard drive simply so I can take that catalog with me if I ever feel I need to. Why would I want to take it with me? Well, if I'm traveling for any length of time, such as a week or several weeks or it doesn't matter how long. But I'm shooting every day and I want to download and import my files in tow Light room. I can do it right there using that catalogue on that portable hard drive. This then allows all the data to be applied during import and really gets me all set up where I don't have to repeat the work. When I go back to my office, there are course workarounds to this process and lots of different opinions. And again, I'm just sharing what I do. When I returned to my office, I simply download the files to my other main external hard drives and by reconnecting my light room catalogue on that external hard right, I have all that data still readily available. There are other reasons to keep your light room catalogue on a separate drive and your files on separate drives as well. With today state of the art digital cameras, the files are becoming huge. And to store all these on the internal hard drive in your computer will fill it up very quickly. The light room catalogue can be pretty hefty in size by itself. In case you did not know for Photoshopped toe operate at maximum speed. You never want your internal hard drive to be more than 50% full. So what I've done is I have four external hard drives connected to my computer, all my raw files air downloaded to that external hard drive, and it's called Library. I have a second hard drive daisy chain to that first hard drive called Library Backup. The library drive contains all the raw files, while the library backup is a mirror image of that first hard drive. I should also tell you that I shoot both J peg and raw when I'm out doing my location shooting. But when I'm importing toe light room, it's after I've edited and I do not import the J picks. I remove those. There's no sense storing those along with all the raw files, and it saves on hard drive space. I also have 1/3 hard drive called files. What this hard drive contains are all the finished files. These are, for the most part, all the Photoshopped files, which might have all the layers and all that kind of stuff. Or you could call it the project files. They could have 10 or 20 layers, but they're almost always PSD Photoshopped files. The fourth hard drive is called files back up, and it simply is a mere image of the files. Hard drive. If you've been on a computer for a long time, you probably have at some point experienced the hard drive failure. So having backups is really a good idea. The idea of the library hard drive is to store only raw files and nothing finished in case anything goes wrong with one or the other. The other reason is for speed. Having raw files is one thing, but storing hundreds or thousands of 100 megabyte finished PSD files mixed in with your raw files will really slow light room down. I should also mention that when I set up my cataloging system here, I was using one terabyte hard drives because that was state of the art at the time. They're now making four terabyte hard drives, but I'm currently at three terabytes for each of the hard drives that have emphasised here . And finally I will mention one more thing. My raw files air in the library. Hard drive. I open an image. I process it, make it the way that I want get it ready to sell. I store that Photoshopped document on the files hard drive. Then, if it is a multi layered Photoshopped document, I flatten it and I save it as a tiff, and that is then stored on a separate hard drive called Stock. This is all my stock photo files ready to go, and then on top of that, I recently bought 100 gigabytes of cloud storage, and I now convert all of those tiff files to J. Pegs, and I'm starting to upload those for online cloud storage. So that's how I set up my images for storage in my office. But there's more to come 8. Keywording in Lightroom: key words are so important in today's digital photography environment and marketplace. When you think about it, anytime you or anybody else searches for anything on the Internet, you're essentially using keywords. Clients looking for stock photography do the same search again using keywords. So to say that thorough and accurate key wording for every one of your images is critical is an understatement. I've heard a few people say that as many as 400 keywords might be required to accurately describe an image. So besides processing your images to the highest standard and all the other things we've talked about as far a subject, and lighting key wording is the next most important thing for getting your images discovered on the Internet. It so happens that key wording can be one of the most time consuming aspects of organizing your digital photography files. I admit myself that I just cannot sit there and stare at a photograph and come up with 400 keywords to accurately describe that image. Fortunately, there are some great options for key wording, including software and websites that really help you find the best keywords for your images , and it only takes minutes the basic strategy behind key wording is to think globally and act locally. An example could be an image from Yellowstone in which your keyword architecture starts with North America, Wyoming, Yellowstone, national parks, old faithful and then you would add more key words to describe the image. If this photo had blue sky and clouds, you would include both of those in your keywords as well as Geiser, steam eruption, spout water hot and more if you had photographed and more. One software program out there to help you find the keywords for an image is made by Craddick, the same company that makes Craddick captioning software. In the next couple videos, I'm going to show you how I expeditiously caption and keyword my images because, as they say, time is money. You should have no illusion about what lies ahead in organizing your images and your office . There's a lot of time and effort required in preparing your business to have efficient workflow and getting your image is ready to market and sell, Plan and prepare ahead of time and begin implementing your digital asset management system immediately as you build your image files. You will then have a system in place that allows you to quickly work through the necessary steps and speed up the administration time and most importantly, efficiency allows you more time to shoot photography and keeps you in the office, much less. 9. Captioning in Lightroom: So now I want to talk about how I captured my images. And again, hopefully this is just to give you an idea of how I do it, but also give you the option of coming up with your own system. But I think this works pretty slick, and I got a feeling you'll probably agree the first thing is over here I have I have 42,000 images of my light room catalogue and down here, under folders are the two hard drives that are currently connected to my computer. Out of the folders that I have on here, I have one called Montana Banik and Banik happens to be a ghost town in Montana that if you haven't been to, I certainly encourage you to go there. It's a fun place to photograph for good old historic buildings like these, so I have selected an image here right in the middle, because there's there's some history behind that particular building, but also selected Banik Montana because there's a rich history here that should be included in a caption. This is a little bit different than cataloging or captioning, a paintbrush flower in the wild, where it's just the flour. There's not much to add to the caption other than maybe the biological name. But with a historical building, you're gonna want to add a little bit more information. And all this is pretty crucial because just like keywords, captions do have key words in them that can help within the search online searches for images. So besides getting an effective name, which makes it easy for you, you also want thorough captions and superb key wording. So I'm going to start with this image right here, and I'm coming over here to the metadata template right here and I'm gonna open this up and here you can see my file name Montana Banik Ghost Town Borland. I shot this in October 8 and there's the original file number. It's got the ex MP sidecar file as well. Then it's in the folder Montana Banik stock. STK stands for stock. I no longer do that anymore. By the way, then the title of it is Hotel Mead in Banik Montana. Now this is just a title that a client could use, but it's not necessarily the file name. Okay, then under it, I have the caption which is really long. If you look at it, it's a very long caption. So if you're looking at this, you're thinking My God, you did all that research and type that in well, sort of kind. And I'm gonna show you how I do it. Then, of course, I always have copyright information applied on import the photos copyrighted and my name Charlie Borland as creator, and then all the regular metadata as toe what it was shot with when it was shot in that sort of thing. Now back to this caption, which is what we're here talking about. I did not go and get a book on Banik and then write this caption. I am lazy. So I chose a different route. I go toe Wikipedia and I searched for Banik Montana right here and I come in and I start looking down through this part of history and I simply go in cop, right click. Copy it. Then I go back to a light room here and I paste it. There you go. There's your caption. Wait a minute, though, there's a problem. I just violated somebody's copyright, so I can't really do that. Nor do I really want to do that. I don't like people ripping me off from my photos. So why would I want to do somebody else's research? I don't know if it's a big deal, but technically it's a copyright violation. So I will sit here now and I will go in and I will completely rewrite this. Edit it out, use my own words, and I'm not going to show it here. But if you were to go through these paragraphs and compare him to the Wikipedia page, I just showed you. You see substantial difference. So I go do that. Then I select it all again, right? Click copy. Then I go in and select all the hotel needs, which there's only forum showing here. And I then paste that caption into each of them so that they all have the same caption. And that's pretty much what I do. Those four images will get the same caption, so that's pretty much how I go in and create really effective captions for my light room images. This method allows me to really create solid captions very, very quickly, without tons and tons of research, and really the only thing that takes a lot of time is making sure that you're not violating somebody else's copyright by copying off a Wikipedia and pasting it in. So look at it as if you're doing research for a thesis or on article you're writing and you're going toe Wikipedia and you're learning about Banik Montana, and you're taking that historical information and rewriting it for your article. You don't want to plagiarize in that situation. You don't want to violate copyright in the caption, so can't emphasize that enough. But anyway, that's how I go. Get captions quickly select all the images pasted in and rewrite it and I'm done. 10. More Keywording: The next thing is very critical to your cataloging and organizing of your digital assets is key wording. In fact, if you're represented by stock photo agencies, most of them are requiring that you do all the key wording and that requires some time and some effort. And if you're gonna put your images online in your own e commerce website or even on your own website just for display. If you add keywords to your images, you're going to increase the chances that they're going to come up in a keyword search online. So I want to show you a really fast way to do this. Now here's the key word drop down menu for this particular image and what I have in Here's have Altitude America, Aspen, Autumn and a whole bunch of different keywords. And just like I described with captioning, I don't sit here and try to think, Okay, what else is in their trunk? Should I do trunk standing for tree trunk? Or should I do clouds or, you know, that type of thing? What all should I include in this particular image for my keywords? So the thing that I dio and I select all the images that are the same. The San Juan Mountains in Colorado during fall color. Now they already all have their keywords, so I'll show you what I did to get those keywords. I come over here to your er kers photography, Your ER. Kers is a South African photographer who makes millions of dollars a year off his stock photography, or it's been reported as such. The guy is brilliant, and he has created a key wording tool on his website, free for the public to use. So pay attention right here to the domain name are Cure's dot com forward slash key wording forward slash index dot PHP that will take you to this website. He's got all the instructions on how to use it, and I'm not going to sit here and read it. But basically, here's what I'm gonna do. I'm going to paste in because I copied and pasted Colorado, San Juan Mountains fall color and I'm going to do a search. Okay, It came up with one image. That's very, very poor results. So I'm gonna try something else. I'm gonna get rid of fall color, and I'm just going to do Colorado San Juan mountains and do another search. Here we go again. Look what came up this time. Now, this is much better. That is the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. So let's go ahead and click on that and I'll click on this. And I got some images that are similar to this and so on. And the reason I'm clicking these is I want to know what keywords these photographers used for their images. So the next thing you do accept chosen images and proceed to selection of keywords, and now we wait for it to do that searching for us. So then this is the result. These are the key words that have been applied to those six images that I chose. And it tells you which ones have had the most searches. Trees at this point tends to be the top search. But when you come down to the bottom here, read has been searched. Even mawr. Problem is, I don't really have any red in my yellow colored aspen trees. So what you do now is you come through here and you uncheck anything that doesn't really apply to these images because you don't want to be coming up in fault searches. For the most part, Google's pretty smart and configure a lot of things out. Okay, I don't really have a sunset. I do have forest. Let's see what else. And so I went through and I basically unchecked, as you can see, keywords that I didn't feel applied to my images. Like I said, You want to be careful about doing that? But I left pretty much everything else there and I have chosen. I don't think I've chosen 39 keywords for my images. So now what's going to give me a list of chosen keywords? And there they are, right there. So you come in, you highlight it. Copy. Go back over the light room and you would paste it right in there. And you are done with all your keywords. For the most part now, one other thing based on the title of your images is light rooms going to give you some keyword recommendations, and you can still go ahead and select some of those if you want. And I'm not going to go into it. But you can create all types of keywords set. You could even buy these and add them toe light room. So if that's of interest to you, go ahead and search her that. But once again, I hope this gives you an idea of how easy key wording is when you use a tool like your er kers key wording index. The other thing is, Craddock also makes keyword harvester software that you can buy, and it does pretty much the same thing. So you can choose this free tool, or you can go ahead and get the software. I've never looked at Craddick, so I can't recommend it or tell you much about the details. But there is that option. So there you go. That's how you go ahead and add, please, keywords toe all of it. And then the final thing I'm gonna mention is, now that I have selected everything I want those keywords applied to you click Sync settings and it will apply the same name and keywords as well as captions to all these images. So there you go 11. Lighten and Darken Images: for a very long time in photography, when you're working in the dark room and making your prints, there was a technique called burning and dodging and you're probably familiar with that. Burning was for darkening areas of a photograph. Dodging was for lightning areas of a photograph. Well, today, in digital photography, some people still call it burning and dodging. Others call it lightening and darkening. So I'm gonna show you two different methods for lightening or darkening or burning and dodging if you wish areas of a photograph. So I have this image here from Petrified Forest in Arizona. I would like to lighten this up a little bit, and I'd like to darken the sky down just a little bit. But I'm gonna leave the mid tone areas here pretty much as they are. So we're going to start with one using adjustment layers for burning and dodging. And the first thing you do is you come in and you select a curves adjustment layer and you add that to your stack. You don't really make any adjustments over here. You just leave it as it ISS. But you do come in and change the blending mode we're gonna start with burning. I'm gonna start on the sky. You set that to multiply as a blending mode and you see what happened? The image is much darker. Have been told about 100% darker or one stop in photographic speak. So the next thing is, you don't really want this. You want to add the darker areas selectively, not an overall darkening of the image. So you double click on the mask here which happens to be a reveal all meaning showing everything through the mask. We want to change that to a hide, all a mask. And so we inverted. Now it filled it with black and we're back to our original image. If I turn this on and off, you can't see any of the adjustments. The next thing you dio, she come in and select your brush tool right here, which is already selected. And you change your foreground color here toe white. So as you go back and forth with the toggle here, the foreground color is white. That means when I use the brush, I'm going to be adding white where I'm going to be clearing out some of the black to reveal the darker part of the underlying curves adjustment layer which is set to multiply or one stop darker. So if you hold down the shift key, you can turn this mask off and see what's happened again. I'm gonna paint the sky now the darker area and bring it through. And what we're going to do is go turn the mask back on by heating this shift king clicking on the mask. So now that the brushes selected the foreground is white, I need to make the brush a little bit bigger so that I can cover more area up here. So what you can do is you can go up and select Thea Brush tool in the top, or you can use your bracket keys. So I'm gonna use the bracket to do this. I've said the opacity, which I'm sorry isn't showing up here to 20% to very lightly come in here and start painting white on the mask. You can see I've added a little bit of removing black. It's now gray and what I am doing here at the 20% opacity slowly building so that I don't overdo it in the end I'm going to probably be at 100% meaning this is clear in here. So it 20% you hold down your mouse button, and as you go across the full area, you then let go the mouse. So you've done a 20% paint onto the mask. Now hold down the mouse again. Come in. I've done 40%. Let go the mouse! Click it again. Go across And I've done 60. Do it again. 80 again. 100% has been applied to the sky. So the mask for the most part is clear here. And you can see that. So I've darken the sky. Let's talk about this on and off. Okay? You can see that it's now clear. Okay? The next thing is that I'm going to apply another curves layer so that I can lighten this foreground up a little bit. So I'm gonna come in here, select curves. I'm going to set the blending mode here to screen. Now the image has been brightened at roughly one stop or 100%. But I'm gonna do the same thing. Double click on the mask. Click. Invert Now I'm hiding that effect. You can't see the effect. But if I turned the mask on and off by holding the shift key, you can see what's gonna happen. Okay, so then I select the brush tool, and white is my foreground color. Now, I'm not going to build as much in here as I did in the sky. The sky needed 100% darkening to get the effect I want, but I don't want the shadows to be as bright as this. I'm holding down the shift key, clicking on the mask and that turns the mascot. I don't want the shadows to be this bright, so I'm not going to need to do five passes and make the area that I'm dodging or lightning to be 100%. So I'll probably only do 2 to 3 passes at 20% to get exactly what I want here. So I'm going to start in this corner down here, and I'm going to make just one pass to start. You can see it's lightning a little bit and I'm gonna come into here. Okay? That's one pass with the brush this size, which is pretty big now I'm going to make them. It's smaller using the bracket tools. And I'm gonna come in and I'm going to make one pass in this area, and then I'm gonna make one pass in this area. Okay? So let's turn this on and off. You can see there's quite a bit of difference, and that does look very natural. So let's give it one more pass just to see what it looks like keeping the brush small for the first little bit here, coming into this area. Okay. Doing this area. Okay, now I'm gonna make the brush bigger, and I'm gonna come in and do these areas around in here. OK? That's basically two passes. So let's turn this on enough. You can see the difference doesn't look too bad. So maybe somewhere in between, the way to get in between these two passes, which is about a 40% lightning of these shadow areas, is to use a different opacity on the brush. If I had used 15% opacity on my brush, then I would have 30% total buildup and not 40% total build up. Now, here's another little trick. So I've done 40. Let's say I feel it's too bright and I don't want to start all over. I can come in and I can change the opacity here, see how it's going back right there. That's probably let's see it. 75%. That would be also similar to a 15% opacity on the brush. 75% opacity clicking on and off That looks pretty good as well. So that's technique number 14 lightening and darkening areas of an image. So now I'm going to show you another one by getting rid of these, dragging them down to the garbage can, starting with my base image again. So I also change the screen land a little bit so we could see the opacity settings up here . Now, the way this technique works and it's probably preferred by more photographers than not, is to, um at an empty layer right here, Then fill it by going over to edit Phil and filling it with 50% gray. Okay, there you go. So now the next thing is, you change that overlay. So when black is painted on here, it's going to be a multiply effect. When white is painted on here, it's going to be a screen effect so it's not a whole lot different than what I just did with those curves adjustment layers. But maybe this is a faster way to work. So I got the brush set. I'm going to change the foreground to Black because I'm going to start on the sky again. I'm leaving my opacity a 20% which, by the way, here's a scrubby slider for increasing or decreasing the setting. So we're gonna leave it right at about 20%. And I got my brush ready and I'd set the size that I want, which is to kind of cover the whole sky. And I'm going to paint black on this layer and it will start turning dark. And what I'm doing is I'm burning again. And here I can keep going as much as I want now because I'm using such a big brush, you'll notice that the hills right here have kind of dark it in this area. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to a smaller brush by using the bracket keys, so will re select the brush using the bracket keys, and I'm gonna change the foreground color the white, which is going to kind of dodge the area that I did here. But I accidentally burned, you could say, and it's lightened up a little bit back to where it normally was. So let's toggle this on enough. So I like the contrast is going on in here and the sky is darker. OK, so now we've still got the brush selected. We got white is the foreground color, and we're going to use it to Dodge. I'm going to make a bigger brush again, and I'm gonna come in here at just a 20% opacity, and I'm going to start brushing in here. Okay, that's one pass at 20%. I'm going to use the bracket keys to make the brush a little smaller. So I don't kind of spill outside the lines, so to speak, come in and lighten that side of the log, like this side of this log and the shadows. And there you go. I turn this off. That's what it looks like here we darkened. Then we went back, enlightened a little bit to keep those hills from being too dark. Then here's where I lightened up the sides of the log. The sides of log and a little brighter down here, and you can see there's some overlap making for even mawr lightning. But it doesn't appear to be that big of an issue. So let's turn this on and off, lightening and darkening. And again, that's just a different technique for lightening and darkening, using a empty layer filled with 50% gray set to overlay and then just painting right on top of it, painting black on the areas you want. Dark painting white on the areas you want to be lighter, and you can control the brightness of those areas with the opacity of the brush, which is set right here. Or if you decide you like what you done. But you went a little overboard. You can change the opacity, but just understand that you're changing the darkness of the sky and the lightness of the shadows when you use the opacity slider. So there you go. There is a simple burned dodge or lightening and darkening technique for your outdoor images. Have fun