Again, we are really looking forward to meeting our newcomers, welcoming back our alumni, and working with all of you. It will be both intensive and great fun.
There are some things you can do before arriving at the workshop to speed things along, so out of respect to yourself and your fellow participants, please read this document through to the end.
The time spent reviewing the following will make your workshop so much more productive. Yes, even you seasoned alumni!
If people come unprepared, it is usually because they have ignored this list!
Alas, in spite of our warnings, some people still ignore all this and wish they hadn’t!
FAQs - We can't tell you how often alumni have forgotten something critical because they never bothered to review the FAQs! Ay-yay-yay-yeee!
Tripod & Ball Heads - There are many first-time participants who don't believe how important a decent tripod and ball head are. That can lead to great frustration during a workshop. Review this blog, and you may find some helpful information.
Please note, we do not consider a ball head one of those Machiavellian devices with umpteen handles or a pistol grip that does not allow the ball to easily move in any direction at any time. A ball head literally has a ball with minimal knobs to adjust it; therefore, it is easy!
For any questions on what is appropriate, contact us, and we will steer you in the right directions. Better no tripod than one that will put your camera and lens at risk!
Imaging Programs - While we use the latest version of Lightroom in our workshops, this is not a Lightroom workshop. For that, we hold regular and private workshops. For those already familiar with Lightroom, we will be able to physically help you work on your images; for those who use other programs, you can observe and adapt the principles we show in your own imaging programs. And we can always look over your shoulder and suggest you do this or that.
Basic Camera Setup
(Make sure camera is not in auto-mode, or set-up won’t work!)
The last time I sent my camera body in for repair, I expressly told them to not reset everything. They did (arghhh!), and my camera was set on jpg, sRGB, the lowest bit depth, auto white balance, etc., etc.
Needless-to-say, I was less than amused, so please be sure to check ALL your settings to make sure everything is in place.
Every camera has a slightly different menu, even amongst cameras of the same brand. That said, the principles in the menu are usually similar. For best results, get out your camera's manual and use the following settings, and if your camera does not have a particular feature, select the next best choice:
Image quality (usually found in Shooting Menu marked by a camera icon) = RAW (CR2 for Canon, NEF for Nikon, etc.) with no need of additional JPEG (whatever your imaging program, it will make a jpg preview for you, and the jpgs just take up room on your card);
Bit depth (possibly found in the Shooting menu) = 12 or 14 bit (may be called “RAW recording” or similar wording); some more basic cameras as well as an increasing number of recent models will not have this option;
Color space (also usually found in Shooting Menu) = Adobe RGB (1998) or Adobe RGB (RGB=Red Green Blue) ... NEVER sRGB;
ISO = lowest standard number, usually 100 (generally for Canon or newer Nikons) or 200 (on older Nikons), for daytime photography, and higher for low-light situations (check online reviews to see the highest ISO you can practically use without introducing noise — grain in old film parlance — as that may be lower than the choices offered on your camera);
Mode = either Aperture priority (for targeted depth of field) or Shutter priority (for shutter speed for soft water effects, to stop high-speed action, or to compensate for “camera shake”);
Color Balance = Cloudy (check, but this is often a good starting point for making an image warm and welcoming); and
Focus = single-point auto-focus (look in Shooting Menu).
We will go over the reasoning for these settings on the first day.
Be sure to set your camera (under Settings menu) so that it shows the current date and time. Check your computer for the accurate time. The reason for this is that if you ever want to return to a location and know the best time for photography, it will be there in your metadata! After your travels, be sure to set the camera back to your home time zone!
This is not a Lightroom workshop, but for those who already use Photoshop Lightroom, you may want to download the following ZIP file by right-clicking on it and saving it to your laptop's "desktop" in a folder called BCPA LR, Then unzip the contents, but do NOT attempt to open them. These presets only work from within Lightroom! I can't tell you how many people don't believe me and wonder why they cannot "open" these files!
Now, go to my blog called Lightroom Setup and carefully follow the instructions.
Attention Mac users; your computers often have a nasty habit of adding ".txt" after the Lightroom preset files extension (.lrtemplate), so of course, they will not work. Once you have downloaded the ZIP files and opened them, check the extensions (the letters after the period) and if necessary, rename them, removing that ".txt" extension. Then, everything should work just fine.
For those who do use Lightroom, before you embark on your LR setup, please follow these directions carefully. It will make everything go so much more smoothly.
You will only be able to open the PDF file, so don't frustrate yourself by trying to open the preset files with the .lrtemplate extension; they will become part of the program and will work once you put them in the right places according to the instructions below:
Return to Preferences in Lightroom, and click on the Presets tab. Remember, you had already ticked the box "Store presets wtih this catalog," so now click on the button to the right labeled "Show Lightroom Presets Folder..."
You will see a window pop up containing either a Lightroom folder or a Lightroom Settings one. If the former, open it, then open the Lightroom Settings one.
Now, open up your BCPA LR folder with the files unzipped and put into the following folders, the following files:
Lightroom Settings > Develop Presets > User Presets:
Margo's iPhone Tweaks
Margo's Tweaks Lightroom Settings > Export Presets > User Presets:
BCPA Post-workshop Critique
BCPA Web Gallery Lightroom Settings > Filename Templates:
Your Name File Renaming Lightroom Settings > Metadata Presets:
2016 Copyright Lightroom Settings > Watermarks (if you do not have such a folder, create one and make sure it is plural with the "s" on the end):
BCPA Student Watermark
You will now modify most of these
lrtemplate files for your own use, but first, close out Lightroom and reopen it...
In Library module/grid view, click on an image, then F2 or in the menu at the top Library > Rename Photo ...
Click on the drop-down arrow to the right of "Custom Setting" and select "Edit" at the bottom of the list; when the next window pops up, select the "Your Name File Renaming" template.
Highlight FirstnameLastname only and substitute your name in there; mine would be MargoPinkerton (note no space and the use of initial caps).
Above, to the right of where you now see (edited), click on the drop-down arrow and select Save Current Settings as New Preset... and name it as I might, Margo's Renaming and click on Create, then exit out of those windows.
Now, pretend you are going to export that file, and when the choices come up on the left:
Select BCPA Post-workshop Critique.
At the top in the Export Location section, click on the Choose button.
Navigate to and select your own Desktop.
Be VERY careful on this next step...
RIGHT click (Mac users, if you don't know, look it up) — NO ONE SHOULD LEFT CLICK IN THIS STEP — on the BCPA Post-workshop Critique in that left panel, or the work you have just done will be negated.
Now, LEFT click on Update with Current Settings.
Repeat this same process for the BCPA Web Gallery preset.
You will not actually export the image, but make sure you did things properly and click on the BCPA Post-workshop Critique to make sure the Export Location points to your own Desktop; if it doesn't try again.
Ditto with the BCPA Web Gallery preset.
Once you have confirmed everything is all set, you may now exit the Export window.
Next, open the Metadata section in the right panel:
Once again, pretend you are going to export an image.
For now, select the BCPA Post-workshop Critique in that left panel.
In the main panel, scroll down to the Watermarking section.
Check the box Watermark.
Then in the drop-down choices, select Edit Watermarks and when the Watermark Editor box pops up, select BCPA Student Watermark.
Substitute your own name for Your Name and add your web address if you have one on the third line.
Above, to the right of where you now see (edited), click on the drop-down arrow and select Save Current Settings as New Preset... and name it as I might, 2016 Watermark.
Click on the Create button, then exit all windows without exporting the file.
Copyright Information Is Critical
As creatives, we feel copyright is very important. So, if you missed the link above, read about it, then use the template in the template file above and adapt it for yourselves. If you use another imaging program, use the blog or the downloaded Lightroom Setup as your guide.
Remember, we have student galleries, and if you do not have a proper copyright notice in the proper place in your metadata, your images will be anonymous. Very sad! To that end ...
Occasionally, we get word that someone cannot access these links. It has turned out thus far to be a computer issue. It may be that a computer at work has stringent firewalls and protections that keep our links from working. In that case, try it at home. If worse comes to worst, just e-mail us, and we'll e-mail them to you.
For clothing, check out the weather link and plan on dressing in layers. Don't forget your bug dope. Mother Nature has a mind of her own, and so do the bugs!
If you need to reach us, you should have our cell phone numbers. Like you, we do not hand them out lightly. Mine is 603-359-4804, while Arnie's is 603-359-0402. Use our regular phone, 919-643-3036 if it is not right before the workshop, as our cell phones don't have us on a leash, and when we're at home, we often don't have them turned on or even with us. If we are out of the country, use Arnie's number, as he switches to an International phone package.
We all have busy lives, but it is important to come as rested and as hydrated as you can. Your brain needs both of these, not only to get the most out of the workshop, but to help guard against changes in altitude, hypothermia, and illness. If you are tired, you are more prone to hypothermia, even though the weather is generally warm. Before you arrive, pick up some waters and energy snacks. If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated!
Most of our inns have WiFi. Check to make sure, but this workshop is about immersing yourslf in photography and leaving your "real" lives back at home or work.
We are really looking forward to working with all of you, and we think you will egg each other on to produce ever-better photographs.
Meanwhile, safe travels! Remember, we are often on the road with sometimes-limited Internet access.