Focus Stacking Using Lightroom & Photoshop

One of the ways of overcoming the current technology limitations in photography is called Focus Stacking.

This technique allows us to overcome the area of focus (DoF) in images. We can take multiple shots with different focus points and later combine these to get the entire image in sharp focus.

Let us see how this can be done using Lightroom and Photoshop.

Lightroom Classic 9 – Nik Collection 3 and Luminar 4 not showing up?

If you are like me, you probably store your presets along with the Lightroom catalog for an easier, automated backup.

Unfortunately, applications like Nik Plugins, ON1, Luminar and more will put their plugin data into the default Lightroom folders which are different from the catalog folder.

So, if you are not seeing all the edit options in Lightroom, then, it is a simple fix.

Just copy the following folder:

/Users/<Your Name>/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/External Editor Presets


<Your Lightroom Catalog Folder>/Lightroom Settings/External Editor Presets

Just make sure Lightroom is not running when you copy the folder. That’s it. Done.

Let’s see how this is done in the following video.

Now when you start Lightroom, you will see all the edit options.

#Lightroom #Luminar #Nik #Post #Photography

Creating Textures in Photoshop 2020 and more…

Photoshop has built-in actions for a variety of functions that not many people that I know of actually use.

Not that I personally use those a lot, but, these built-in actions can save a huge amount of time if you need to do anything similar.

Before we look at the actions, there are a couple of points to keep in mind…

  1. If you invoke Photoshop from Lightroom, you will get all kinds of errors and this is definitely a bug in the Lightroom-Photoshop workflow.
  2. In case you get any errors while running these actions, just reset the settings for Photoshop by pressing CMD+OPT+SHIFT and then clicking on the PS icon to start PS. You will be prompted to reset the settings and just click okay on that.

Now that we are done with the issues, let us take a look at all the goodies we have already built into Photoshop.

#Photography #Lightroom #Wildlife #Photoshop #Nikon

Lightroom Auto-Mask in Photoshop? Yes, there is one!

Sometimes, when I already have made some edits in Photoshop and find that I missed out some small areas when using the auto-mask in Lightroom, it was a pain using a brush to fix it.

Turns out that Photoshop not only has an equivalent to the Lightroom auto-mask feature but, it is far more powerful in the way you can control how the auto-masking works.

So, without spending any more time on explaining this, let us open a raw file in Photoshop and see how this works…

Photography #Lightroom #Wildlife #Photoshop #Workflow

Luminar 4 – Why layers are practically useless

To my way of thinking, working with layers implies the ability to precisely mask areas or subjects and apply effects based on the selections or masks.

This is exactly what makes the Luminar 4 layers practically useless. The implementation of the masks/selections is similar to using a paintbrush app vs something like Photoshop.

In Luminar, you only have the fixed brush and gradient tools for the masking. There is no option of something like an edge/tonal detection auto-mask (as in LR) or the perfect brush in ON1 Photo Raw 2020.

This means that you cannot really do clean masking or selection of any subject. Since you cannot make a clean mask, the whole purpose of layers is defeated.

Although there is a luminosity mask in Luminar 4, the same issue makes it practically useless. There is no control over the luminosity mask as in LR (which is not great) or ON1 (which is far better than LR).

While Luminar 4 remains a choice over LR and ON1 for noise reduction and the AI-based image enhancement features, the layers can be ignored almost completely.

The only place you can use layers is when you have shots where you can apply one of the blending modes in Luminar 4 and achieve the effect you want. Other than that, forget layers in Luminar till they have better masking tools.

#Photography #Luminar #Post

Lightroom 9.3 and Photoshop 21.2.0 Updates

These updates were released a few hours ago and we will take a brief look at both to figure out the changes.

Of course, the individual features and internal changes will follow in a later video…

Photography #Lightroom #Wildlife #Photoshop #Nikon

Download free backgrounds, textures and sky replacements

I have hundreds of shots that I have taken over the years to use as a background.

These shots include clouds, sunsets and bokeh shots.

Since both Luminar 4 and ON1 Photo Raw 2020 make it easy to replace backgrounds, I decided to make this set of 25 backgrounds/textures/sky replacements that people can use with their own images.

These are all full-frame images in the TIF format which would allow you to further process them where needed.

The link to download these images is given below. If you find this useful, do leave a comment and I will try to create more such packs.

We will just run through the images in this pack and see how they can be used in ON1 and Luminar…

Photography #Luminar #ON1 #Photoshop #Post

Luminar 4 – No Sky No Problem…Just a bug!

This is just a followup after the previous video where Luminar could not detect the sky when it was very obvious in the image. Even the “trick” I tried did not work within Luminar.

This is just one of the bugs and nuances of Luminar 4. If I export the same file as a raster (JPG, TIF etc) it works, but, you cannot process the image as you would a raw file.

Interestingly, if you export from Lightroom as a DNG raw file, even though the image looks exactly the same as the one Luminar 4 could not replace the sky on, it does so on the DNG file. There are, perhaps, issues that go deeper than just this…

For now, you can use this workaround to use the Luminar 4 AI power. If you do not have Lightroom or similar, Adobe has a free DNG converter at

My advice would be to edit the DNG in Luminar instead of a JPG/TIF.

#Photography #Nikon #Luminar #Birding #Landscape

Birders would love Luminar 4!

If you ignore the DAM (Digital Asset Management) part, it is probably the simplest to use to create dramatic enhancements in just a few clicks. Of course, it is not without the bugs and nuances that most such applications would almost always have, but, it is quite stable and works as advertised.

It has automatic, AI-based, enhancements which are not matched by any other such application currently. The support for layers is far better implemented than ON1 Photo Raw which insists on creating a new file for layers.

Birders would love this for BIFs and more…

Luminar 4 can really make dramatic changes and make images really pop without any high-end editing skills. I would recommend this for all class of users. I use this along with Lightroom. LR manages my image collection and Luminar gives me dramatic images in a snap like no other application can.

Let’s dive in and see what Luminar 4 can do…

These are all my shots from the rooftop during the lockdown. Let’s see how we can transform some of these…

Overall, birders would love Luminar and beginners would have a ball 🙂

Would I use Luminar? Absolutely yes for some of the features that really help in making better images in a hurry.

#Photography #Nikon #Luminar #Birder #Portrait