Review: Adobe Lightroom Mobile


Earlier last year, we had a peek at Adobe Lightroom Mobile behind closed doors. It was in an Alpha stage at that point but had most of the functionality that the company wanted to get out with its release today. Fast forward to last week, and we were invited to sit with Digital Imaging Product Manager Sharad Mangalick to be briefed about the new Adobe Lightroom Mobile. If you’re the type of person that does some very minor edits to their photos (as most users seem to do) then you’re in for a real treat. While the mobile version of the product isn’t as robust as its desktop brother, it still gives the user quite a bit of control over their images as well syncing  with the also announced Adobe Lightroom 5.4.

At the moment, Adobe Lightroom Mobile is only available for the iPad. Sharad tells us that they’re focusing on the iOS version right now that the Android version will be done afterwards. Working with Android provides a host of problems, the least of which are the different screen sizes.

Coupled with calibration software like those from Spyder and X-Rite, Lightroom Mobile can be a great use to photographers that have a need for it. And like the full version of Photoshop vs Photoshop Elements, not everyone needs it.

Continue reading…

Review: Really Nice Images Film Presets for Lightroom

Iconic Films: Agfa Chrome 1978

Iconic Films: Agfa Chrome 1978

If you like the look of photographic film, but don’t care for the hassle that comes with the analog workflow, there’s a simple and effective recipe: film simulation tools. There are a lot of them out there, but finding a really good one that accurately reproduces the look of specific types of film is not an easy task. We’ve reviewed a couple film simulation tools here at The Phoblographer before, including DxO Film Pack 3 (which also included a comparison with Nik ColorEfex Pro 3) and the VSCO Film Packs 03 and 04. Today, we take a look at another contender: the Really Nice Images Film Presets for Lightroom.

Continue reading…

Review: Flixel Cinemagraph Pro–The Simple Way to Create Cinemagraphs

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 2.51.10 PM

When we first heard about cinemagraphs, we were quite excited about how they would change the industry despite how trippy the looks were. They can be attributed to Jamie Beck, who in collaboration with her husband created a sensation that made them the most in-demand creative team for a while. Their method took lots of work both technically and creatively. And now, Flixel lets you create cinemagraphs simply.

And to be quite honest, this is the program that we believe that more photographers should pick up and have in their standard kits along with Adobe Lightroom.

Continue reading…

Review: Chris Martin’s Fashion Presets (Adobe Lightroom)

Screen Shot 2014-02-07 at 11.37.29 AM

Chris Martin has released presets before for film lovers, but for the specialized fashion shooter you can never have too many presets to help speed up your workflow. With that said, shortly after we announced the recent Fashion preset package, we decided to give them a go. Since I’ve done fashion work before, I put myself into the mentality of needing to deliver images super fast to clients. But in this case, it was instead to give the models I work with another way to display images of themselves for their own portfolio. With that said, retouching wasn’t done to the images–but in these situations they didn’t really need them.

What I found is something that you’ll either scoff at or praise.

Continue reading…

How to Edit a Photo in VSCO Cam


Image taken from Chris Gampat’s VSCO Grid.

With VSCO Cam recently opening its doors to the Android world, lots of new users have joined but not everyone (even iOS users) know how to use the app. There is a lot more that you can do than just apply some beautiful filters. Indeed, your images can be  massaged to become beautiful showcases.

In this post, we’re going to show you a quick guide to what all the terminology means.

Continue reading…

Review: Google Nik Analog Efex Pro


When Google acquired Nik Software in late 2012, I was among those photographers who wondered what this would mean for the future of the software suite of plug-ins. Silver Efex Pro II, Color Efex Pro, Sharpener and the other plugins had become an integral part of my workflow. So, I not only wondered whether the plugins would continue to be updated but also would there be any new plug-ins in the future?

Well, it seems that both questions have been answered with the latest addition of Analog Efex Pro to the Google Nik Collection which gathers together 7 plugins  for$149.00.

The new plugin that simulates a variety of cameras, films and lenses is not a revolutionary introduction. There are other plugins on the market  that have covered similar territory. However, Analog Efex Pro provides a unique editing experience that complements the other apps found in the collection.

Continue reading…

Review: Imagenomic’s Real Grain 2


In continuation of my theme of reviewing film-inspired plugins, we have one more to share with you all: Imagenomic’s Realgrain 2. Realgrain has been updated to perform faster with improved code to allow even more accurate reproduction of the emulated film stocks. So how is it in actual operation? Well that’s what I set out to to discover. Head on past the break to find out what we thought of Real Grain 2 by Imagenomic.

Continue reading…

Review: Cameleon (iOS)


It’s not Instagram and it totally isn’t Hipstamatic’s Oogl, but Cameleon is an app that is designed to go after the more pro-minded mobile photographer. You won’t get all the classic cool named filters that either of the previously named apps offer but the cool thing about Cameleon is that it allows you to basically make your own with lots of control over how the final image is going to look. If you have the patience or the color theory knowledge, then this could become an app that will really appeal to you and your pro-set mind–providing the app starts to take itself more seriously.

Continue reading…

Review: Replichrome Plugin for Adobe Lightroom

Untitled. (Greece)

It would seem that our undying fascination, no, obsession with all things analog has led multiple software developers to set out and replicate the looks of favored film stocks from decades past. Totally Rad! (yes that is their name) has put a lot of effort into their plugin for Lightroom (and Adobe Camera Raw) and what they’ve created is something rather like VSCO Film. So is it worth your time to consider a plugin like this? Read on for our review of Replichrome by Totally Rad!

Continue reading…

Review: Topaz Labs Clarity


Since the introduction of the Clarity slider, it’s become one of my favorite tools for controlling the finer contrast of my images. I’m not the only one as many photographers have discovered how this one control is capable of adding a nice “pop” to photographs. However, when this tool is used with a heavy hand, it not only begins to not unnatural, but it also creates unwanted halos and artifacting.

Enter Topaz Labs Clarity, a software that takes this tool and provides far greater control over clarity, while eliminating that common issues of haloing and artifacting that commonly occur when the control is applied aggressively.

Continue reading…

Review: Hipstamatic Oggl


Hipstamatic never really caught on with the photo community the way that Instagram did. Sure, it was big. Sure, it was all the rage back in the day–but Instagram was simpler and significantly more widespread. As a reinvention of themselves, Hipstamatic released Oggl–which has more of an emphasis on the high end, or at least that’s what we feel. Every image that we’ve seen is either stunning or at least can be found to have value to someone. The environment isn’t infested with teenage girls doing selfies, awful food photos, or even short vine-like videos. Instead, it is a true place for a creative.

But this paradise comes with a couple of caveats.

Continue reading…

Review: Chris Martin 2013 Summer Preset Pack for Adobe Lightroom

Felix Esser The Phoblographer Chris Martin 2013 Summer Preset Pack Review Screenshot

A little under a year ago, we reviewed Chris Martin’s Vintage Film Fades preset pack for Lightroom, and we loved the washed-out look of faded film they give to a digital image. For the summer of 2013, Chris updated his preset pack, and added a High Contrast as well as a Light Fade preset to the existing Faded Film preset. Additionally, the Summer 2013 Preset Pack contains variants of each preset that either convert the image to black & white, or give it a colored tint. Accordingly, the usability and the creative spectrum of the presets have improved greatly over the original preset pack. In this review, we take a closer look at Chris Martin’s 2013 Summer Preset Pack for Adobe Lightroom.

Continue reading…

Review: VSCO Film Pack 04 for Lightroom

vscofilm_04_LR_45-pid29Visual Supply Co. is a brand that’s really making a name for itself in the image editing arena lately. Between their fantastic plugins for Lightroom, Aperture and Adobe Camera Raw, and their VSCO Cam app for iOS (and soon Android devices), they have a pretty substantial audience of amateur and professional photographers alike. Visual Supply Co.’s latest release is the VSCO Film Pack 04, which emulates popular slide (transparency) films from decades since past. However, they have chosen fairly “modern” film stocks from Agfa, Fujifilm, and Kodak for this pack, which leaves room for some classic stocks such as the famed Kodachrome line in the future. I had a chance to spend some time with VSCO 04 (already being a big fan of 01, 02, 03, and VSCO Cam), and I wanted to share my findings with you all. Continue reading…

Review: Topaz Labs B&W Effects 2


Over the last few years, software manufacturers have been creating stand-alone applications and Photoshop-compatible plug-ins, which are designed to achieve beautiful black and white conversions, while providing as little or as much control as photographers might want.

Topaz Lab B&W Effects 2 is the company’s second generation black and white conversion application, which provides a big step up from simply desaturating a color digital file or using the tools found in most photo-editing applications.

Continue reading…

Review: Sequence a Mac Time Lapse Compiler

Sequence App Review

A few months ago I found myself looking for an easy way to compile all the images I took into a timelapse. I browsed the web and found ways to compile using an older version of Quicktime which I no longer had. I knew I wanted an app that would “deflicker” my footage so into the Mac App Store I went hunting around until I found Sequence. The app stood out as the premium app to transform images into a timelapse.

Trusting brief user reviews in the store was tough for me so I headed over to the Sequence’s homepage to download a trial. Sure enough this turned out to be the one stop app for getting my timelapses ready for editing.

Continue reading…

Review: Adobe Lightroom 5 (Mac version)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Lightroom 5 review images (7 of 13)

Adobe has today announced Lightroom 5–the latest version of their software that has become the bread and butter of many photographers. We’ve been testing both the Beta software and the full release for a while now and putting it through its paces in both the normal workflow for our standard testing for this site and professional work. The new Lightroom 5 incorporates some interesting changes such as an advanced healing brush to help users accomplish minor retouching for portraits or object removal, a radial gradient filter that helps to emphasize some areas of an image more than others, and the upright tool to help landscape and wide angle photographers. There are more changes, but for the sake of what this site’s audience might mostly do, we didn’t really spend too much in-depth time with them.

So is Lightroom 5 worth the upgrade for you?

Editor’s Note: Adobe Lightroom 5 can be (pre)ordered now

Continue reading…

Review: Unified Color HDR Expose 2

Felix Esser The Phoblographer HDR Expose 2 Screenshot 1

It’s been a while since HDR Expose 2 was first released, and we took a first look at the software a while back. HDR Expose 2 is a relatively affordable and easy to use HDR software which still leaves you a lot of options for fine tuning the HDR effect. Anything from a slight dynamic range improvement to over-the-top HDRs with insane colors and local contrast can be achieved with the software. In this review, we take a closer look at its functionality and assess what and who it is suited for.

Continue reading…

First Impressions: Helmut Film Scanning App (Beta)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer First Impressions Helmut (1 of 8)ISO 40001-125 sec at f - 1.0

Today, Helmut launched as a free download in the Android store in its Beta production phase. Helmut is a new app that is touted as being a great way to scan your old film images and has already won an award. To take the best advantage of this app, it is highly recommended that one uses a lightbox. However, there have been DIY hacks involving Macro lenses and flashes before. For this quick test, we used an iPad Mini and a MacBook Pro Retina display.

Continue reading…

First Impressions: Adobe Lightroom 5 Beta

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adobe Lightroom 5 beta Radial Filter demo (5 of 9)

Today, Adobe is announcing the Lightroom 5 Beta–which is obviously hinting at a newer version of the highly loved program. The new version incorporates a bunch of changes but the biggest ones are the addition of a spot heal/clone brush (no longer just a tool), radial gradients, smart previews that will sync with an external hard drive when hooked up later, a new tool called upright which dramatically fixes perspectives, and much more.

We’ve been testing the program for a couple of days now, and here are our first impressions.

Continue reading…