Searching for multiple filenames in Lightroom.

I knew it was possible to search for multiple filenames in Lightroom. But recently when I went to search for about 20 filenames I could not get this simple but very powerful time saving search to work. Here is what I did wrong and how the search should be carried out.

My workflow from low res to processing full res selects involves the following. Before sending low res files to client they are renamed with the suffix LR.jpg. e.g. xxxx_xxxx_LR.jpg. So I know that this is a low res file and is easily distinguishable as such. After a client has made their selection of images to process, I am usually sent a text list either in an email or Word document from which I must mark the corresponding raw files to process and supply as full res jpg or tiff. So I usually end up with a text list of filenames not necessarily in numerical order and with the suffix LR.jpg. In order to perform the search of corresponding raw files I need to remove the suffix and add either a space or comma between filenames. I usually use a basic text editor or Apple Pages to do this. This new list can then be copied and pasted into the text search of the Lightroom Grid module.

When a search of multiple filenames is undertaken in Lightroom it is recommended the following parameters should be set:

Text search set to Any Searchable Field & Contains All

This is where things are not as simple as you would expect.

When you use a text editor invisible elements like carriage returns (¶) are added to the document and so when you cut and paste these invisible elements are also copied and pasted along with the visible text. In  my case this would happen and subsequently Lightroom would be unable to search.

This is what I did to remove the hidden returns and add space instead.

From within Pages

  1.  Set View to Show Invisibles
  2. Open the Find and Replace dialog. Tick Whole Words.
  3. In the Find field, insert the return character by typing option-return. You should see “/n” added and all the ¶ highlighted.
  4. In the Replace field, insert a space, then click All. This replaces all newlines with a space, so you’ll have one long line of all your text.

I could then copy and paste this new line of text into Lightroom and find all the correct corresponding filenames.

With large numbers of images and sometimes across different job files this can save a lot of time.

RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 or 10 – Image Editing – Part 1of2

Which RAID level should I use for image editing?

Going to invest in a Promise Pegasus 4 disk RAID array for the purpose of keeping much of my image editing work away from from my main on board computer hard drive. I would like to also have a large volume where much of my recent work can be kept in order to access it quickly. I currently store job images on my onboard computer HD while editing and processing. This work gets backed up daily to three external hard drives. Two are  kept on site and  eventually archived, with the third kept off site . I also back up my onboard hard drive to a bootable copy. While also backing up other important files to cloud storage.

This has worked as a great backup system for many years until the release of the new Apple Mac Pro. On this computer onboard storage is limited to 1TB maximum. Because of this I very quickly have to move job images onto the external hard drives in order to make room for new work. This is fine although often I need to access the work on the external drives for a quite a long period. Finally it would make sense to have the current active work mirrored, so that if I do have a HD failure I can continue to work, while the failed drive is replaced.

The options for the best RAID levels are a choice 0, 1, 5, 6, or 10. Each provides advantages and disadvantages with respect to performance and security. I am not going to provide an explanation of each. A good explanation of the different RAID levels can be found here by this excellent blog post by Pre or on wikipedia.

So the question is which RAID level would be most suitable to provide performance and security with 4 discs?

Screen Sharing using Apple OSX and Messages

Screen Sharing using Apple Mac is straight forward however both parties wanting to share a screen will need the latest version of OSX, Messages and an apple or icloud email address.

My method is as follows:

First you will need to add your apple email as an AIM account in Messages.

In Messages Goto Preferences > Accounts > Add new account by pressing the plus + lower left of window.

  • Choose ‘other messages account’ from the list.
  • Select AIM as Account Type.
  • Type your apple or email username and password and create the new account.

Now that you have an AIM account you will need to add the person you wish to share your screen with as a buddy to this account. To do this goto the menus at the top next to the apple icon make sure your still within the Messages app find Window > select the AIM account you just created.

A new window should appear on screen titled with your AIM account name and should include a a list of online and offline Buddies. From this window you can add a new buddy who is also using an AIM account. Add them using the Plus sign at the bottom left of the window. Once a buddy has been added you can then request a screen share by using the screen share icon at the bottom of this window. It looks like two overlapping rectangles.




Corporate Portrait Photography for LinkedIn and Social Media.

LinkedI Social Media portraitWith the abundance of portrait images on the net, from selfies to super corporate LinkedIn profiles, images for social media need to stand out from the crowd and project the professionalism and confidence you have. Often a linkedIn profile is the first impression you make or it will reinforce your personality after that first contact. It is surprising how many professionals on linkedIn still use holiday or family photos as their profile image.  While this is fine for Facebook. The images tend to all look the same. By this I mean that the lighting, the colour and ambiance are all very similar and are usually  quite flat, lacking contrast, or with unnatural colour tones. These type of images can present you as down to earth and approachable, but do not suggest that you follow through with the same attention to detail that perhaps you have given to your CV or profile.

This is where a professional photographer’s portrait can really make a difference. By creating a flattering, approachable and confident headshot, that presents you uniquely the way you want and with attention to your target audience, it will stand above the abundance of selfies or friends snaps.

Whether you choose a pro photographer or not, when it comes to taking your profile portrait there are few guidelines you can follow to improve how well the final results works. From your clothing choices, grooming and the food and drink you choose to eat beforehand.

When I undertake this type of assignment, whether for an individual or a group session, I will use lighting which is complimentary to each subject, and select a background appropriate to the intended use. I will also ask the subjects to follow a few simple guidelines:

  • MEN/WOMEN – Clothing should be neutral and coordinated. Its better to opt for darker tones black/grey (Reds, blues, yellows area Acceptable). Avoid stripes and busy / loud patterns. Including clothing with patterns on the inside lining or inside collars etc.
  • MEN/WOMEN – Try to get hair done as close to the shoot as possible or at least within 2 weeks of the shoot.
  • WOMEN – Bring hair clips / bands, ties brush etc in case needed.
  • MEN – Shave on the day of the shoot if you don’t wear facial hair.
  • MEN/WOMEN Bring a choice of jacket, shirt/blouse and tie. Clothing should be ironed and if possible bring a fresh shirt to avoid creases. If you usually walk or cycle to work and the weather is windy and wet try to arrive in time to sort out any hair or clothing issues which might result because of the weather.
  • Without sounding like an overzealous health guru. Try to get an early night, stay hydrated but avoid caffeine and hot drinks on the day, before your photographed as this can make you sweat and look flustered. Eat a light meal before the shoot. If your travelling to my studio space in Surrey then I’ll happily reward you with fresh tea/coffee after the shoot.

During the shoot its advisable to apply the same body language and postures you would adopt when meeting colleagues or clients.

  • Maintain eye contact with the camera.
  • Keep expressions close to neutral without exaggerating emotions/expressions. Its ok to smile.
  • Keep your posture upright but loose, lean towards the camera without slouching. Try to keep shoulders straight.
  • Its often the case that crossed arms is a defensive unwelcoming posture. However in some sectors this can be interpreted as the posture of someone who is confident and control. Research your target sector and inform the photographer who will be viewing you portrait.

If you are going to upload images yourself to LinkedIn below are thee current guidelines for images.

  • You can upload JPG, GIF or PNG files.
  • File size – 4MB maximum.
  • Your photo should be square.
  • The ideal pixel size for your photo is between 200 x 200 to 500 x 500. If either width or height exceeds 4000 pixels, your photo will not upload.
  • Select who you want the photo to be visible to.Click Save Settings.


Example LinkedIn Portraits

Quick location portrait lighting in the Surrey Hills

I recently shot a quick self promotion photograph of a model holding a champagne glass and watching a Sunset on Reigate Heath, Surrey. The image was pulled together at the last minute, due to my schedule and wanting the ideal weather conditions, despite the amazing weather we have had in the last few weeks. There has not been many clouds or there has been to much cloud cover at the time I wanted to shoot. I finally got my window of opportunity after the first wave of thunderstorms toward the end of July. This is an explanation of how the shot was created.

Reigate Heath Sunset

I found the location after many evenings walking from home to the Windmill at Reigate Heath Golf club. I was struck by the calm and tranquility  of the surroundings with the quiet occasionally interrupted by the metallic tang of golfers teeing off from the nearby golf course. As the Sun set the view and hills seemed to take on a grand ambiance. I returned with a camera and captured a basic wide/panoramic landscape image. I had not really intended to shoot into the Sun before sunset but while waiting for the Sun to vanish I took a few shots to review.

1) Here is the first image before the Sun set

Sunset Reigate Heath, Surrey - Photographer


2) and image after the Sun had set.

Reigate Heath, Surrey LandscapeIt was clear after reviewing the results that the winner was the shot before Sun set. The image shot into the Sun had a greater tonal range than I was expecting this was increased with enhancement in Lightroom using the graduation tool. The contrast was also excellent and this is mostly in part due to the amazing  optics of the 21mm Zeiss (Distagon T* 2,8/21) lens used. A fantastic lens for landscape photography by reducing flare exceptionally well.  The first image taken directly into the setting Sun struck me as a great image to use for an email announcing my recent relocation to Surrey. It is positive, bright and has the obvious connotations with bright horizons and new beginnings etc. It only lacked one thing a person.

I decided then that I needed a model to complete the composition and because the location is very close to the Reigate Heath Golf Club house restaurant/bar it must have one of the best views for dining and drinking in Surrey and so it seemed appropriate to have a model posed with a drink enjoying the setting Sun and views toward the north downs. I just needed my schedule, a model and the sky conditions to align. When they did one evening after a long hot day I grabbed my camera equipment two lights and raced to the location before the Sun started to kiss the horizon.

I had planned the lighting placement and new where I would need my two flash lights. As the model was placed very close to the camera position would certainly be in shadow I wanted to place my lights so that they complimented the existing and only other light source of the setting Sun. The position I chose to shot from had the added complication being on a slope downwards from the camera position and in my haste to leave and get to the location I had forgotten to bring anything to put under the light stands to make the ground level, in the end this was overcome with my camera bag and by using the club patio area.

I placed the first light (1.) in front and to the right of the model aimed slightly on her right side and front. The second light (2.) was placed on camera left much further away from the model and in the polar opposite direction of light (1.)  I took a couple of test frames and decided that the position of light (1.) was to directional and created obvious harsh shadows behind the models right arm as seen here.

Reigate Heath photography Lighting test

Light (1.) was  positioned closer and more to the side of the model with the expectation that the shadows would shorten and soften. The second light (2.) also needed tweaking this was placed again to be more in  the opposite direction further forward and aimed back toward the model. In order to stop the slight stand from toppling over on  the ueven ground I put the handle of camera bag under one leg of the light stand. Ordinarily I would have an assistant hold the light or tie the stand down with weights and bungee cord. Both lights were unmodified SB800’s. It made sense to leave the lights bare so as to align with the suns very directional light fall. Exposure ended up being f/10 1/50th sec iso 100 with the lights set at 1/4 – 1/2 power I think, as I was working very fast I don’t recall the exact power level. I used an exposure which would give a good balance between the brightest area of sky and the foreground trees/foliage. I recall wanting as much depth of field as possible without exceeding the output from the lights. As the sun was brightest light source I worked quickly at finding the right aperture to expose the flashlights and then reduced the shutter speed to provide the exposure for the model sky and foreground trees. The unprocessed raw file would need work to further help balance the foreground and background this was achieved by using grad filters in Lightroom and curve layers in photoshop. Then adding colour correction, contrast layers and a solid colour layer of mid grey set to 27% opacity in a lighten blend mode to soften the dark shadow areas. Finally adding a subtle vignette mask to the edges to further bring draw your eye into the image.

Final Lighting position digram below:

Photographer lighting diagram for photoshoot in surrey


Surrey Hills photograph enjoying a drinkFinal result works very well and conveys the relaxed atmosphere and beauty of the location. It also demonstrates the importance of lighting on location. The result would not have been possible without supplemental lighting to add shape and detail. Post production was also an important element to balance the foreground with background and enhance contrast.

Useful ical subscription calendars for location photographers

Here are two great ical subscription calendars useful for location photographers.

sunrise sunset calendar this site also has a weather calendar.

weather calendar from Finding the ical link is not obvious. You will need to first search for your weather location and then find the drop down sharing button at top right.

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 website weather london ical link


Control click ‘Download ical’ to copy link, then paste this into ical under the New Calendar Subscription: ical> File> New Calendar Subscription.

You can show or hide these calendars as and when you need them.



Simple Corporate headshot Lighting Setup

Simple corporate headshot diagram. The is a typical lighting set up I use when space is limited and I need to travel with minimal equipment. The back light usually a lastolite umbrella softbox allows for the choice of either a rim highlight with lighting on the background as well or just a rim light if the umbrella is swivelled 180 degrees and feathered away from the subject and background.


Switching to Mac OS Lion: My experience testing on a separate drive.

For anyone who is contemplating switching to OS Lion and has been delaying this update. Due to the many negative reviews or for fear of losing important software. I have decided to post my experience with testing the new OS on a separate drive. This is by no means meant to be a definitive guide, review or in depth look at the changes to the new OS. I just thought it useful for those that do not know how to test and install on a separate drive or just want to hear a positive reaction to the experience.  I strongly recommend testing the OS first before installing on a mission critical drive.
The steps I took before downloading the new OS were the following:
• Update all software to latest versions
• Create 2 bootable backups of the main volume. (I use SuperDuper which is very easy to use and straight forward)
• I used an external volume lacie 500Gb hard drive. Connected via firewire to test the new OS.
• After creating the clone or bootable backup on the Lacie drive I then restarted the Mac to boot from the Lacie drive.  To do this you just need to hold down the Option key ⌥ while restarting. When prompted I selected the volume I wanted to start up from which was the Lacie clone.
• Once the computer had restarted using the Lacie drive I then used the App store to purchase and download the new OS Lion 10.7.2. I did the download overnight as its about 3gb and would have taken about 3 hours.
• When I returned to the computer there was a window asking me if I wanted to install the new OS. I clicked install and selected the clone Lacie drive to install to. Installation took 30mins.

I could see straight away in the dock software which was no longer going to work (icon covered with no entry symbol) this included:
Dreamwever MX
Epson Scan software for the 3170 model scanner
The following is a list of my  critical software which all appears to be operating well (latest version unless stated);
Filemaker Pro
Photoshop CS5
Lightroom 3
Epson Print Driver for the Stylus Photo 2100
Epson Print CD
Word 2008 v.12.3.0
Expression Media v1.0.3
Omni Focus
Colour Navigator 6

Overall the finder seems snappier and quicker when changing views. Its also less intrusive all icons now seems to be the same colour for folders, buttons etc.
All my settings have remained intact. Although one noticable change is that the sidebar on open finder windows is now reveresed, so that where before I had all my devices listed at the top below my folders and then favourites.  This is now reversed which was little annoying at first. It is possible however to drag devices into the favourites area so actually this is an improvement over the previous design. I also notice that  scrolling up/down using the  wheel on my Wacom mouse and wireless Apple mouse has reversed. Apparently Apple believe that this is more intuitive way to use a mouse. It is possible to change this via System settings > mouse settings.
So far this is as much testing as I have done, but I feel confident that I will not have problems using the new OS. I have also not looked closely at new features.
Drop me a comment if you have any questions or suggestions!


Finding the #Hash key on Apple Mac Keyboard (press alt+3)

This post is for anyone who is searching for the hash # key on an apple keyboard.

Hold down the “alt/option” key then press “3” 

If you don’t get a hash appear when you press alt > 3; open the Keyboard Viewer (you will find this on the top right of your screen next to the date and time.) If when you have opened the keyboard viewer you don’t see any other character changing when you press the alt/option key. Try this:

Open system preferences > Keyboard > Select the ‘Modifier Keys’ button at bottom right > you will see a list with the Option key and a drop down list next to it. It should say ‘Option’.If it says ‘No action’ change this to ‘Option’

For anyone who is an avid Twitter user the # hash key is important character.

Free CheatSheet for Mac OS overlays keyboard shortcuts on screen – Via Rob Galbrath

Surrey Photographer Alex Orrow