Compress Your Images Without Compromising Quality with Squoosh

Remember when it took forever to download images on dialup? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Images on the web have been increasing in size throughout the years, and the displays we are viewing these images on have followed suit accordingly. High resolution desktop monitors and large mobile phone displays have become the norm, but unless you’re paying for the fastest internet plan, chances are these large images online will still take a second to load. This is where the recently launched browser utility Squoosh comes in. An open sourced project created by the fine folks over at Google Chrome Labs, Squoosh promises to “make images smaller using best-in-class codecs, right in the browser.”

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Review: Capture One 12 (Most of the Enhancements We Really Needed and Wanted)

We’ve been waiting patiently for Capture One 12; it’s finally here.

I’ve made a conscious effort in the past few years to move away from Adobe Lightroom Classic CC in every way possible. With today’s release of Capture One 12 I can say with certainty that it does most of what Lightroom does even better. There is a big emphasis on most, but the truth is Capture One 12 will do everything better than Lightroom does for most photographers. In that previous sentence there is a HUGE emphasis on everything. With today’s announcement integrating into Capture One 12 the addition of plugins, a variety of masks, and the long awaited Fujifilm Film Simulation additions, there are lots of major reasons why Capture One 12 is the best version yet.

At the same time though, it still isn’t the most perfect program out there.

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Review: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC 8 (The Software Equivalent of an Abusive Relationship)

With today’s update of Adobe Lightroom Classic CC 8, photographers are getting more of the same.

I’m going to begin this review by stating that during my review period for Adobe Lightroom Classic CC 8, I gave the program every single advantage that it could truly have. But I’m going to stand very strongly by my next statement: I think that any photographer that continues to use Adobe Lightroom Classic CC 8 on the regular is seriously doing themselves a massive injustice and genuinely doesn’t care about the livelihood of their own business–and that goes for whether you’re a professional photographer, influencer, or a blogger/journalist like I am. To that end, if you don’t have a business and you’d just like to spend more time on forums, Facebook groups and your most private Instagram pods complaining about it amongst yourself, then please do. Despite the fact that the Phoblographer partially came up on social media, I’ve never been one to want to willingly engage in toxic discourse and to instead look for solutions. At the same time, realizing that this isn’t going to help you get images out faster and it won’t give you much of what Capture One Pro has been delivering for years now. Capture One has never sponsored the Phoblographer at all; instead I say all of this due to my own experiences, frustrations and for what I’ve implemented as a standard amongst our staffers.

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Review: Excire Search Plugin for Lightroom CC Classic (AI Search in Lightroom?)

Excire could be giving Adobe Lightroom CC exactly what it has desperately needed for a long time.

Machine learning and AI Image search have improved a lot over the last few years, moving on from keyword-based searching (where you find images based on a keyword that another human tagged it with) into the realm of computers analyzing images and presenting you with what it thinks you are looking for. Adobe has introduced features like this into new Lightroom CC software, making searching for specific images a whole lot easier. But for those who are still married to Lightroom CC Classic this sort of advanced search capability has not been possible; at least until now, thanks to the Excire search plugin.

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Review: Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery (This is How You Mostly Undo Silly Mistakes)

When a data disaster strikes, Stellar Phoenix will help you rise from the ashes…in theory.

It is the stuff of nightmares, the unthinkable happens and you accidentally format that SD card containing the images from the wedding you just returned home from, or worse, you click the wrong button and wipe out your primary photo storage hard drive and all of your original files are gone. These are the sort of things that can keep a photographer up at night, and it is why data redundancy and backups are preached about so often by the photography media.

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Quick Apple iPhone Camera App Review: Obscura

The Obscura app for iOS is a fun camera tool, but surely needs refinement

We’ve been playing with the brand new Obscura app in Beta mode for almost a month now. First off, it’s not at all going to replace Instagram for you as there is no social feature of any sort. In fact, it may not really even replace your regular shooting and editing process. But what it will do is provide you with a bit of fun at least at first. Though to be honest, you’re probably better off simply skipping this app altogether.

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First Impressions Review: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC April 2018 Update (Mac, PC and iPad Test)

Adobe Lightroom Classic CC just got a big update involving the way Profiles work

Today, Adobe Lightroom Classic CC is receiving a pretty big update: the way camera profiles work is getting a revamp. They’re first and foremost moving to the top of the interface and Adobe has been working with a number of third party companies to create even more. Profiles are pretty big if you wanted your RAW image to look the way that the JPEG preview did. For Fujifilm users, being able to apply the Astia, Velvia or Acros film simulations are huge–and Profiles did those. For Sony, being able to add something like their Portrait or Clear simulation is also pretty big. And for Canon, there are options like Faithful, Landscape, etc. In addition to that, Adobe has added a number of their own options.

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Review: RNI Films All Films Lite 4 Capture One Styles

RNI Films All Films Lite 4 does a decent job with emulating the look of film. 

Every time RNI puts out an update of some sort, I get very excited. For years, they’ve been my go to for film emulation simulations in times when I want my digital files to look like film and didn’t happen to shoot film. So with their new RNI Films All Films Lite 4 update that came out for Capture One, it was almost like it was a match made in heaven. Capture One’s RAW file editor with RNI Films All Films Lite 4 sounds wonderful. Photographers who want the actual look of film, have shot film, and like the look of it will greatly apprecaite what RNI Films All Films Lite 4 can do. It won’t give you some of the horrid photos you find in Facebook groups where you see, “OMFG IT LOOKS LIKE REAL FILM THIS IS A GAME CHANGER OMFG!!!!” that the folks who have never shot film would say. Instead, it does a good job in most situations. Granted, it can also do a very hit or miss job.

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Review: Capture One Film Styles (Capture One Pro, New Version)

Capture One Film Styles has a brand new way of altering your images.

Capture One Film Styles, as it was properly called, were styles (otherwise known as presets) created by a third party developer. But recently, Capture One decided to make their own. Indeed, with more people coming to Capture One, there are great reasons why they needed to do something like this. One of the biggest things people want to do is more or less what they did in Lightroom, but with the enhancements and superior RAW editor in Capture One. For those photographers, it means film-like presets. As a film shooter on the regular, Capture One Film Styles is sort of an awkward situation.

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Review: Luminar 2018 (Is it Really an Adobe Lightroom Killer for Photographers?)

Luminar 2018 is a great photo editor but needs to mature

Luminar 2018 is the latest offering from MacPhun, now Skylum, for photographers who want a better editing solution for their images. Luminar, which has been around for a while, is the company’s flagship product in many ways and is not only available for the Mac, but also for Windows computers. While much of their marketing is targeted to consumers and hobbyists I can see how Luminar, with maturity, will be able to take on a lot of what Adobe is trying to do and how they’re trying to shift things. On a recent press trip, a number of photographers and photography-based journalists were introduced to Capture One; and a lot of them liked it vs Lightroom.

On a personal level, I don’t see myself switching yet, partially because of the way that Capture One makes photographers approach images. But if you’re coming from Lightroom and Photoshop dominating your workflow, then I can totally see how you’d want to switch to working with Luminar, once it matures a bit.

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Review: Capture One 11 (A Blend of Lightroom and Photoshop in One Program)

Capture One 11 is here now; and it’s going to push photographers in the direction they want to be in

I’ve been a Capture One convert for a while now as all our testing involves running RAW files and more through the program. It’s simply a better piece of software than Lightroom is; and at this point both versions of Adobe Lightroom feel way too pedestrian for the type of work I’m doing. In some ways, I want to relate to something that my late mother used to do. You see, we grew up in a household where my mom spent way too many hours in front of the television. So she tuned into Home and Garden TV and fell in love with doing a lot of stuff on the house. What that would mean is a whole lot of trips to Home Depot carrying many pounds of cement, plywood, sheetrock, plaster, and tons more in a 1997 Toyota Camry. It was honestly madness and it eventually drove the car to the point of breaking; literally. The fact is that a Toyota Camry wasn’t designed to do that type of work; a Toyota Tundra on the other hand can do it with no problems at all. This is synonymous to what I feel Adobe Lightroom and Capture One is; Lightroom is the paltry but reliable Camry for everyday needs while the Capture One is the Tundra designed for actual work. At a certain point, you’re going to hit walls and realize the software you’re using is rather subpar.

With the newest upgrades to Capture One 11, I feel like even more photographers should be joining the ranks. So for the past week or so, I’ve been testing the beta version of Capture One 11.

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Review: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC (Apple iMac)

The New Adobe Lightroom Classic CC has surely improved, but it could still do much more

In light (pun intended) of the new changes that Adobe is announcing today at Adobe Max, we got the chance to play with the new Adobe Lightroom Classic CC to put it through its paces. For a while now, photographers have been complaining about Lightroom. While most haven’t moved away the way that I have to Capture One, they kept trudging through it. Lightroom has been suffering from performance issues for a long time due to changing technology, algorithms, cloud sync, etc. Then consider that cameras have file sizes that have been getting bigger and bigger. Of course, Adobe needs to keep up. Today’s announcement gives us the latest version of Lightroom: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC. This is more or less the Lightroom that you’ve known and loved for years. But there are some changes that are pretty subtle and that arguably most photographers may not use or really notice.

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Review: Richard Schneider’s Street Photographers Lightroom Presets

Richard Schneider’s Street Photographers Lightroom Presets are obviously designed for the street photography community; and they’re primarily designed to target a whole number of different street photography styles and creatives out there. Shoot at night? There’s something for you in here. What about only during the day? Yeah, there are things for you here. And what I’m pleasantly surprised by is not only how many presets are available but how good many of them are for a variety of situations involving street photography. The presets are currently part of the massive 5Day Deal bundle, so you can get these and much more.

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App Review: LightLeaker (Apple iOS, Apple iPhone 6s)

Very few apps really make me want to review them, but in the case of LightLeaker I’m more than eager to do so. LightLeaker joins the list with LensDistortions and RNI Films as some of my favorite apps for iOS that appeal to the photographer who wants much more than what the current suite of editing platforms offer simply because of their emphasis on creating a clinically perfect photo. I’m a person who loves the aesthetics of disposable cameras, souped film, scratched lenses, etc. Essentially, I really am in the pursuit of something that modern digital photography just doesn’t give me due to an engineer’s goals being much different than mine.

I’ve learned how to find perfection in imperfections.

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Review: Capture One Styles (Capture One 10, All Packs)

Presets are the lifeblood of so many photographers who don’t have a whole lot of time, and so Capture One Styles is more than a welcome entry into the photography world. Capture One has had a number of styles built into the program itself. Then there are other options such as the large variety of film styles (presets) available. But earlier this year, Capture One Styles was released–therefore expanding the number of official presets made available directly from the company. Available with a number of different packages for purchase, photographers and editors using the latest version of Capture One can utilize some of the newest and interesting options available for editing.

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Review: Lens Distortions (Photoshop Actions and Apple iOS App)

Lens Distortions arguably solves the problems I've been having with photography for a while now: a clinically engineered lack of character into lenses that results in a sterile image which therefore doesn't make me want to purchase a product. That's a mouthful for sure, but it's true. While many photographers these days would prefer a clinically clean look where they can then add in their own modifications to the image in post, I'm not like that. There's a generation of photographers that truthfully don't like sitting down at computers because we do everything on a tablet or a phone instead. And for those photographers on both sides of the line, Lens Distortions makes a lot of sense.

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Review: VSCO Mobile Presets for Lightroom

Arguably, VSCO’s mobile presets are perhaps the most popular options as opposed to the company’s film packs. Perhaps that’s why they brought them to Adobe Lightroom recently. The presets are a number of the company’s best products and have been casually slapped onto images all across the web for years now. But for a while, the company seemed to target the film presets at the desktop based crowd via Lightroom and the mobile presets at perhaps the less serious crowd via the phone. Years have gone by and now we’re starting to see the worlds sort of crash into one another.

So if you’re a VSCO preset user and you’re a big fan of the app on your phone, you may be blown away by this.

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Review: Capture One Film Styles Extended (Capture One Pro Preset Collection)

Capture One Pro isn’t as preset friendly as Lightroom simply because of the fact that when photographers go to it, they really try to create and massage their own ideals of color into the photos. Afterall, that’s part of what it was designed for. But with the Capture One Film Styles Extended, you get a whole lot of that if you’re a film shooter. We previously reviewed the Capture One Film Styles preset pack, and honestly didn’t feel like it held up against real film. Granted, the images still looked good–though if you’re a film fanatic the way I am, you’ll want something close.

However, with Capture One Film Styles Extended, you get a lot more options. And this time around, the options get closer when it comes to colors though not totally when it comes to tones. And either way, it’s tough to create a bad photo.

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Review: Priime Lightroom Presets

The folks over at Priime have been doing some really interesting stuff over the years. They’ve had tutorials and tend to focus in some way or another on the fashion industry; but their newest Lightroom presets are expanding on the company’s iOS app and bring presets to the world’s most famous photo editing software: Lightroom. Now, I know what you’re thinking: not some more film-emulsion based presets. In fact, that’s not the case.

Priime CEO Arthur Chang tells us these aren’t based on film emulsions, but instead on just getting pleasing looks. “The presets are a set towards creating a set of modern day presets, stuff that is actually seen commercially and not strictly film based,” he says in an email to the Phoblographer. To that end, they’re named after some cool locations and hubs for photographers to go shoot.

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Review: Alien Skin Exposure X2 (Slightly NSFW)

In this world that we are in now with Adobe virtually refusing to fix the simplest of performance concerns with Lightroom after what has been years of complaints now, more and more third-party processing packages and software is getting looked at by photographers.

One such program is Alien Skin Exposure X2, which as long been a favorite plugin for many photographers looking to add some spice to their images that Lightroom couldn’t. We have had a chance to play with Exposure X2 adding it into our workflow and even giving it a shot as our primary image processor for the last month or so. Today we wanted to share our thoughts on it. Continue reading…

Review: Capture One Pro Film Styles (Capture One Pro 10)

For a fairly long time now, I’ve ditched Lightroom for Capture One and I couldn’t be happier. But something I’ve missed is having film profiles for my images–if not because they didn’t necessarily look like film, because I just genuinely liked the look of the photos. Then I discovered the Capture One Styles, that makes the Capture One Film styles which emulate the look of lots of very popular film emulsions.

Considering just how good Capture One is, I was very delighted to test these out. But for this film shooter, I found some disappointment.

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