Clare Louise Studios: Blog http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog en-us (C) Clare Gibson clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) Sun, 20 Aug 2017 19:01:00 GMT Sun, 20 Aug 2017 19:01:00 GMT http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/img/s6/v146/u141922175-o121825726-50.jpg Clare Louise Studios: Blog http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog 90 120 Behind The Lens: My New Photography Workflow http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2017/8/behind-the-lens-my-new-photography-workflow I have made a few changes to my photography workflow after following an online course from Creative Live titled The Ultimate Lightroom CC Workflow. It ensures that my photos are dealt wth systematically and efficiently and are archived both to my own external hard drive and this website. I have invested in a new LaCie Rugged 250GB SSD external hard drive, which serves as my working drive. It means I can transfer seamlessly from desktop to laptop, and carry on working from whichever device I am using.

Behind The LensBehind The LensGetting ready for post-processing

Workflow Summary

I am still using Lightroom CC to archive and catalogue my images, and I make use of the colour labels to tag images according to which stage of the workflow process they are at. This way, if I only get part-way through the post-processing and need to come back later, I know exactly which step of the process I am up and can pick back up again easily. 

I like to have as much data as possible tagged to each image as I process the photos. I use the GPS tags and face recognition, as well as keywords, ratings, captions and titles. This means that each image has a full set of information applied to it as soon as possible after it was taken, before I forget where or who. Even if I don't intend to use all of this data straight away, I would much rather have it included now, than try to remember five years down the line.

My workflow

Step

Label Colour

1. Transfer photos from camera to hard drive  
2. Import photos from hard drive to Lightroom  
3. Review photos and set Picks and Rejects
4. Make adjustments
5. Assign metadata
6. Set star ratings
7. Prepare exports and publish

 

Transfer Images from Camera to Hard Drive

First of all, I move all of the images from my camera's memory card to my working hard drive. I have a template folder structure for each shoot, which includes a folder for 'Raw' images straight from the camera. The top level folder includes the date and name of the shoot. If the shoot spans multiple days within a month I would use 00 to represent the day (e.g. 20170800 represents images taken during the month of August).

Folder structure for photography projects

📁_YYYYMMDD_Project

📁RAW

📁Documents

📁Video

Import Images to Lightroom

I then use the Lightroom Import module to import photos from the hard drive into Lightroom. The only preset that I apply at this stage is to add my copyright notice to each image. I also assign each photo a red label to indicate that they are ready for the first of the processing steps.

Once in Lightroom, I set up a Collection Set for my new shoot. I give the Collection Set the same name as the shoot. Within the Collection Set I include several Smart Collections which will separate my images according to certain criteria, e.g. 'for portfolio' or 'picks'. 

Collection Set for Photo Shoots

Collection Name

Type

Criteria

🗄<PROJECT>

Collection Set None

🗂All

Smart Collection

Match all of the following rules:

  • Folder contains <PROJECT>

🗂For Family Album

Smart Collection

Match all of the following rules:

  • Rating is greater than or equal to 1 star
  • Folder contains <PROJECT>

🗂For Portfolio

Smart Collection

Match all of the following rules:

  • Rating is greater than or equal to 5 stars
  • Folder contains <PROJECT>

🗂Picks

Smart Collection

Match all of the following rules:

  • Pick Flag is flagged
  • Folder contains <PROJECT>

🗂Rejects

Smart Collection

Match all of the following rules:

  • Pick Flag is rejected
  • Folder contains <PROJECT>

Review Photos and Set Picks and Rejects (Red Label)

My first processing step is to review all images one by one and make a quick 'yes/no' decision on whether or not to keep it. At this stage I am just trying to weed out the real chaff, so if there's an image I'm not sure about at this stage I keep it. I am only interested in getting rid of the images that are truly not worth spending any more time on (out of focus, bad facial expressions or otherwise just totally uninteresting). As I work through each image in the shoot, if I like it (or rather, if I don't hate it enough to rule it out right now) I give it a pick flag (just press P on the keyboard), and if I want to reject it, I flag it as rejected (press X on the keyboard). 

Once the review is complete, I move into the Picks collection and continue working from there. I select all images and change the colour label from red to yellow, to indicate that they are ready for the next step.

Make Adjustments (Yellow Label)

At this point in the flow, I move over to the Develop module and begin to process my images. During this stage I may also further refine my selections. It may be the case that I have two or more shots of the same subject, with different camera settings. I may already have rejected some of the duplicates at the 'red flag' stage, but sometimes I leave the decision until I reach the 'yellow flag' stage and start processing the images. Sometimes the act of adding contrast or clarity can transform an image so much that what I originally thought might have been one to reject becomes a pick, or vice-versa. I won't go in to details of my work in the Develop module. That's for another blog post. Suffice it to say that I use this step to polish up my images and refine my selections.

After all the processing is done, and staying within the Picks collection, I select all of the images and change the colour label from blue to yellow, to show that they are ready for the next step.

Assign Metadata (Green Label)

At this stage, I assign the following metadata to all of my images:

  • Title: The title is short and snappy and simply sums up the main subject of the image (e.g. "Reservoir at Caesar's Camp"). Sometimes I use the same title for multiple images, if the subject is the same.
  • Caption: I use the caption field to keep more detailed notes about an image, anything which I would like to remember in the future. It could be details about the location or subject, or why I shot that particular image.
  • Keywords: See notes below.
  • GPS Coordinates: I assign GPS coordinates to all picked images. My camera doesn't capture GPS info automatically, so I do this myself using the Map module in Lightroom. Sometimes, if I'm in an unfamiliar place or deep in the countryside, I might remember to take a quick shot with my iPhone while I'm out, which does capture GPS coordinates, so that I have a reference for the images I took with my camera. But if I haven't done this, then I use the search facility within Lightroom, which seems to be pretty good.
  • People: I use Lightroom's People module to locate and name any known faces in my images. This really helps when looking for images to print into a yearbook or photo gift for a specific person.

Once I've finished assigning metadata, I select all of the images and change the colour label from green to blue, to show that they are ready for the next step.

Notes on Keywording

This is possibly the most time consuming part of the process, aside from the developing. But, I think that taking the time here to add keywords to all of my photos really helps later on when hunting for specific images. By doing it at this stage, rather than at the start, I ensure I am only keyboarding images that I intend to keep. All of the keywords I apply to my images get uploaded to this website as well, which drives the search engine capabilities that are available here. Type 'tree' in to the search box on this website, and you'll find all of my public images of trees. 

I use a hierarchical structure to my keywords, which helps me to remember what types of keywords to apply to each image. I have six broad categories of keywords:

  1. Collection. I add a keyword to designate which collection the image belongs to (e.g. National Trust).
  2. Place. This is the geographical location, and within this category I define the country, state/region, city and place (e.g. UK > Surrey > Farnham > Caesar's Camp).
  3. Event. This can be a generic event (e.g. wedding, bike ride) or a specific event (e.g. Wellington Triathlon, Mathew Street Festival)
  4. People. This could be a generic tag (e.g. cyclist, fisherman) or a specific person's name.
  5. Technical Description. This covers any specific processing techniques I have applied (e.g. monochrome) or specific photography techniques (e.g. still life, silhouette)
  6. Subjective Description. This covers a large range of keywords to describe the subject of the image. I further divide this category in to several sub-categories:
    1. Action. What is happening? (E.g. cycling, dancing, picnic)
    2. Animal. (E.g. cat, dog, monkey)
    3. Architecture. Any terms to describe buildings or architecture (e.g. airport, cafe, door)
    4. Emotion. If the emotion is the central subject of the image I tag this (e.g. fear, friendship, tired)
    5. Food & Drink. (E.g. cake, lemonade)
    6. Indoor Object. (E.g. camera, candle, glass)
    7. Nature. (E.g. tree, flower, lake)
    8. Outdoor Object. (E.g. bench, flag, railing)
    9. Season. (I.e. spring, summer, autumn, winter)
    10. Time of Day. (E.g. sunset, night)
    11. Transport. (E.g. car, boat, scooter)
    12. Weather. (E.g. sunny, cloudy, rainy)

Set Star Ratings (Blue Label)

My final step before exporting is to set star ratings for my images. This is my way of deciding which images are going to the Family Album and which are going to the Portfolio. If the image is going to the Portfolio, I assign it 5 stars (press 5 on the keyboard). If it is only going to the Family Album, I assign it 1 start (press 1). 

The Family Album contains every image that I have picked and processed. It may include personal images of family and friends. My Portfolio, on the other hand, is purely for images that I am happy to be made public (so not usually any family portraits) and that I think show off my photography skills as best I can.

Once the star ratings are set, I select all images and change the colour label from blue to purple.

Prepare Exports and Publish (Purple Label)

So now, I have all of my final selections, all processed and ready to go. The final step is to prepare the images for export. In my workflow this means firstly editing the filenames to match my own naming conventions. Staying within the Picks collection, I use a consistent naming convention for all of my images which follows the format:

Format: <DATE> - <SHOOT CODE> - <INDEX>
Example: 2015-05-27_GDN_001

I assign a 3 letter code to each shoot. In the example above, I used the abbreviation GDN for 'In The Garden'. This format keeps the filenames short (which is good for Twitter posts) and consistent, yet more descriptive than the default filename applied by my camera. I don't need any greater description than this in the filename, since this is already included in the Title and Caption that I added earlier.

Once the files are renamed, I also now convert each raw image to the DNG format, which will preserve edits across platforms.

All of my images that reach this stage are published on to my website, so the next step is simply to use the publishing tool to get them out of Lightroom and on to the website. At this stage I move into the For Family Album collection and perform my export from there. Then within Zenfolio, I create the Portfolio folder. A few more minutes spent adding gallery descriptions and a quick blog post, and my publishing is complete! At this stage I remove the colour-label from all of the images, to show that they have been fully processed and published.

The very final step is to delete out all of the rejected photos.

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) lightroom photography workflow http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2017/8/behind-the-lens-my-new-photography-workflow Sun, 20 Aug 2017 19:00:57 GMT
Victoria http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2017/8/victoria In May 2017, I was lucky enough to be able to travel to Victoria, Canada for work. I spent an enjoyable week by the sea with my colleagues from PRA Health Sciences, and was able to see quite a bit of the city as well. My trip started and finished with a fabulous breakfast at the Jam Cafe. It is certainly somewhere I'd like to go back to some day. The Travel section now contains photos from Victoria. As always, more personal pictures can be found in the Family section.

Jam CafeJam CafeMy breakfast on my first morning in Victoria. Pancakes with vanilla frosting and maple syrup.

 

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) british columbia canada spring travel victoria http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2017/8/victoria Sun, 06 Aug 2017 20:59:03 GMT
California http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2016/5/california It might be 8 months late, but I have finally posted photos from our trip to California in September 2015. It has been a battle to find enough time recently to process my photos. But sitting down to review my California photos certainly brought back lots of happy memories! The Travel section now contains photos from San Francisco, Big Sur Coast, Los Angeles and San Diego. As always, more personal pictures can be found in the Family section.

San Francisco PresidioSan Francisco PresidioGolden Gate Bridge from the Immigrant Point overlook

 

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) Big Sur California Los Angeles San Diego San Francisco USA holiday summer http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2016/5/california Mon, 23 May 2016 10:06:34 GMT
Luscious Lavender http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/9/luscious-lavender I got together with a bunch of photography friends and had a day trip to the lavender farm at Hitchin, Bedfordshire. I have wanted to shoot a lavender farm for a while now, and I suggested this trip to coincide with the flowering season. We were in luck, as the blooms were beautiful, and highly fragrant. As well as a memory card full of photos, I came away with a brown paper bag full of lavender, which I carefully made in to bunches and hung to dry in our airing cupboard. I'm planning to make some little lavender-filled pouches to hang between the towels in the bathroom to keep them fresh. I might also have a go at baking some lavender scones.

Click the image to see more pictures.

Hitchin Lavender FarmHitchin Lavender FarmLavender and crop fields side by side

 

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) Bedfordshire Hitchin UK lavender http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/9/luscious-lavender Thu, 03 Sep 2015 16:41:35 GMT
National Trust Collection: More from Hughenden http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/7/more-from-hughenden We had another trip to Hughenden Manor, in Berkshire, recently, to meet up with friends from Milton Keynes. It was a beautiful sunny day. After a very fresh and tasty lunch in the kitchen garden cafe, we took a stroll around the grounds, with cameras in arms, to enjoy the sunshine and take a few pictures. I think the scarecrows and flowerpot men in the walled gardens are fabulous!

Click the image to see more pictures.

Flowerpot GirlFlowerpot GirlFlowerpot Girl sitting with the sunflowers in the Kitchen Garden

 

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) Berkshire Hughenden National Trust Nature http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/7/more-from-hughenden Thu, 02 Jul 2015 21:40:54 GMT
Smile! http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/6/smile  

I once watched a documentary which talked about how we humans are automatically programmed to recognise faces and smiles, even in inanimate objects. This is certainly true for me, especially in cars, with their headlamp 'eyes', wing mirror 'ears' and front grill 'mouth'. I started noticing a few around the house as well, and thought that this could make a fun photo project.

Click on the image to see the full collection.

Laundry SmileLaundry SmileMy laundry bag sits and smiles, waiting patiently for me to empty the washing machine.

 

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) face laundry smile still life sunglasses http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/6/smile Mon, 15 Jun 2015 17:07:43 GMT
Behind The Lens: My Photography Workflow http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/6/workflow Some things are changing around here. I have gone and got myself a new camera! I've made the jump from compact system camera all the way to full frame in one fell swoop and I am now the proud owner of a Nikon D610. I got the camera body at a discounted price, as it was classed as 'refurbished', but only had 13 actuations, and still even had the plastic film on the LCD monitor, so it was pretty much brand new. Optics-wise, my budget would only stretch to one lens, and I've opted for the Nikkor 50mm F/1.4 AF-S as it will suit most of my photography needs... for now!

I've also decided to jump ship from the sinking Aperture, since Apple announced it is no longer developing this software. Like so many others in my position, I'm making the move over to Lightroom, and I'm currently two-thirds through a 30 day free trial. I'm using this time to really get to grips with my workflow, and for my sake as much as anyone else's, I thought I would make some notes here about the steps I follow.

Behind The LensBehind The LensGetting ready for post-processing

Workflow Summary

I am using Lightroom CC to archive and catalogue my images, and I make use of the colour labels to tag images according to which stage of the workflow process they are at. This way, if I only get part-way through the post-processing and need to come back later, I know exactly which step of the process I am up and can pick back up again easily. 

I like to have as much data as possible tagged to each image as I process the photos. I use the GPS tags and face recognition, as well as keywords, ratings, captions and titles. This means that each image has a full set of information applied to it as soon as possible after it was taken, before I forget where or who. Even if I don't intend to use all of this data straight away, I would much rather have it included now, than try to remember five years down the line.

I did quite a bit of reading around while I was deciding on a workflow to use, and I found the tip on using colour labels to define workflow steps in this article. Although the article was written for Aperture users, the same principles can be applied to Lightroom. I have taken inspiration from this and adapted the labels to fit my own workflow. And I don't mind if anybody wants to follow the same steps!

My workflow

Step

Label Colour

Import photos from camera to photo management software  
Rate/reject and assign GPS metadata Red
Process images and review ratings Blue
Assign titles and captions Yellow
Assign keywords and face recognition Green
Prepare exports and publish Purple

 

Import Images to Photo Management Software

I import my images directly from my camera's memory card to Lightroom, using the Lightroom Import module. I usually convert my camera's raw files to the Adobe .dng file format to ensure continued compatibility with any of Adobe's future products. If there are any .jpeg files (e.g. from my phone), I leave those as .jpeg.

Rate/Reject and Assign GPS Metadata (Red Label)

My first step is to review all images one by one and make a quick 'yes/no' decision on whether or not to keep it. At this stage I am just trying to weed out the real chaff, so if there's an image I'm not sure about at this stage I keep it. I am only interested in getting rid of the images that are truly not worth spending any more time on (out of focus, bad facial expressions or otherwise just totally uninteresting). As I work through each image in the shoot, if I like it (or rather, if I don't hate it enough to rule it out right now) I give it 1 star (just press 1 on the keyboard), and if I want to reject it, I flag it as rejected (press x on the keyboard). When I've been through all images in the shoot, I choose Delete Rejected Photos... from the Photo menu, to get rid of all those rejected photos.

After the rate and reject step is done I assign GPS coordinates to all of the keepers. My camera doesn't capture GPS info automatically, so I do this myself using the Map module in Lightroom. Sometimes, if I'm in an unfamiliar place or deep in the countryside, I might remember to take a quick shot with my iPhone while I'm out, which does capture GPS coordinates, so that I have a reference for the images I took with my camera. But if I haven't done this, then I use the search facility within Lightroom, which seems to be pretty good.

Once I've finished GPS tagging for all photos, I select all of the images and change the colour label from red to blue, to show that they are ready for the next step.

Process Images (Blue Label)

At this point in the flow, I move over to the Develop module and begin to process my images. During this stage I will also further refine my selections. It may be the case that I have two or more shots of the same subject, with different camera settings. I may already have rejected some of the duplicates at the 'red flag' stage, but sometimes I leave the decision until I reach the 'blue flag' stage and start processing the images. Sometimes the act of adding contrast or clarity can transform an image so much that what I originally thought might have been one to reject becomes a keeper, or vice-versa. I won't go in to details of my work in the Develop module. That's for another blog post. Suffice it to say that I use this step to polish up my images and refine my selections.

Once all of my processing is completed, I work through the set again to check the ratings. This time, as I work through each image, if I still like it, I give it 2 stars (by pressing 2 on the keyboard), and if I don't, I flag it as rejected (press x). I'm pretty ruthless about my selections. If I don't like it now, the chances are I never will, and therefore there is no point in keeping it. When I've been through all images in the shoot, I choose Delete Rejected Photos... from the Photo menu, to get rid of all those rejected photos.

After all the processing is done, I select all of the images and change the colour label from blue to yellow, to show that they are ready for the next step.

Assign Titles and Captions (Yellow Label)

I give every image a title and a caption, which can be viewed in the galleries on this website. The title is short and snappy and simply sums up the main subject of the image (e.g. "Reservoir at Caesar's Camp"). I use the caption field to keep more detailed notes about an image, anything which I would like to remember in the future. It could be details about the location or subject, or why I shot that particular image. Sometimes I use the same title for multiple image, if the subject is the same, but I try to use a different caption for each one.

Once all of the images have a title and a caption, I select all of the images and change the colour label from yellow to green, to show that they are ready for the next step.

Assign Keywords and Face Recognition (Green Label)

This is possibly the most time consuming part of the process, aside from the developing. But, I think that taking the time here to add keywords to all of my photos really helps later on when hunting for specific images. All of the keywords I apply to my images get uploaded to this website as well, which drives the search engine capabilities that are available here. Type 'tree' in to the search box on this website, and you'll find all of my public images of trees. Immense! 

I use a hierarchical structure to my keywords, which helps me to remember what types of keywords to apply to each image. I have six broad categories of keywords:

  1. Collection. I add a keyword to designate which collection the image belongs to (e.g. National Trust).
  2. Place. This is the geographical location, and within this category I define the country, state/region, city and place (e.g. UK > Surrey > Farnham > Caesar's Camp).
  3. Event. This can be a generic event (e.g. wedding, bike ride) or a specific event (e.g. Wellington Triathlon, Mathew Street Festival)
  4. People. This could be a generic tag (e.g. cyclist, fisherman) or a specific person's name.
  5. Technical Description. This covers any specific processing techniques I have applied (e.g. monochrome) or specific photography techniques (e.g. still life, silhouette)
  6. Subjective Description. This covers a large range of keywords to describe the subject of the image. I further divide this category in to several sub-categories:
    1. Action. What is happening? (E.g. cycling, dancing, picnic)
    2. Animal. (E.g. cat, dog, monkey)
    3. Architecture. Any terms to describe buildings or architecture (e.g. airport, cafe, door)
    4. Emotion. If the emotion is the central subject of the image I tag this (e.g. fear, friendship, tired)
    5. Food & Drink. (E.g. cake, lemonade)
    6. Indoor Object. (E.g. camera, candle, glass)
    7. Nature. (E.g. tree, flower, lake)
    8. Outdoor Object. (E.g. bench, flag, railing)
    9. Season. (I.e. spring, summer, autumn, winter)
    10. Time of Day. (E.g. sunset, night)
    11. Transport. (E.g. car, boat, scooter)
    12. Weather. (E.g. sunny, cloudy, rainy)

When all of the keywording is complete, I then use Lightroom's People module to locate and name any known faces in my images. This really helps when looking for images to print into a yearbook or photo gift for a specific person.

Once I've finished keywording and face-tagging all photos, I select all of the images and change the colour label from green to purple, to show that they are ready for the next step.

Prepare Exports and Publish (Purple Label)

So now, I have all of my final selections, all processed and ready to go. The final step is to prepare the images for export. In my workflow this means firstly editing the filenames to match my own naming conventions. I use a consistent naming convention for all of my images which follows the format:

Format: YYYY-MM-DD_(3 letter code for the shoot name)_Index Number
Example: 2015-05-27_GDN_1

I assign a 3 letter abbreviation to each shoot, which I define in the folder name and collection name where the images are stored. In the example above, I used the abbreviation GDN for 'In The Garden'. This format keeps the filenames short (which is good for Twitter posts) and consistent, yet more descriptive than the default filename applied by my camera. I don't need any greater description than this in the filename, since this is already included in the Title and Caption that I added earlier.

All of my images that reach this stage are published on to my website, so the next step is simply to use the publishing tool to get them out of Lightroom and on to the website. A few more minutes spent adding gallery descriptions and a quick blog post, and my publishing is complete! At this stage I remove the colour-label from all of the images, to show that they have been fully processed and published.

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) Aperture Lightroom Nikon workflow http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/6/workflow Mon, 15 Jun 2015 16:54:40 GMT
A Good Washing Day http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/5/a-good-washing-day I was out hanging the washing and noticed how beautiful our garden is looking at the moment. We have some baby apples appearing on our two apple trees, and flowers of all colours are attracting the bees.

Click the photo to see the full collection.

Early ApplesEarly ApplesThe spartan eating apples are just starting to grow

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) Farnham flower garden nature washing http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/5/a-good-washing-day Wed, 27 May 2015 15:15:29 GMT
National Trust Collection: Leith Hill http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/5/national-trust-collection-leith-hill Easter Day this year brought a bit of respite from the recent rain. We decided to don our wellies and get out in to the countryside. This was the first time we had visited Leith Hill, and we found a lovely guided walk to follow (the orange trail) around the woodlands, park, tower and rhododendrons. The day was hazy but we still got a good view from the top of the Tower. The free telescope up there allowed us to catch a glimpse of London in the distance, and we could make out the landmarks of Canary Wharf, the London Eye and Battersea Power Station.

Click the photo to see the full collection.

Leith HillLeith HillLeith Hill Tower

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) Leith Hill National Trust Surrey UK outdoors tower http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/5/national-trust-collection-leith-hill Tue, 19 May 2015 10:48:39 GMT
New Kitchen http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/5/new-kitchen We've been busy these last few weeks having our new kitchen installed, and I'm very excited to show off the results! When we bought our house back in July 2014, we knew that we wanted to redecorate all of the rooms to make it our own, and we decided to plunge in at the deep end and start with the kitchen. We had quotes prepared almost as soon as we moved in (before we had even unpacked any boxes), but we waited until spring 2015 to do the work. This was mostly because we needed time to save up, but also because we were planning to get a new boiler installed and we didn't want to be without heating over the winter months!

We chose a local firm, Saffron Interiors, to design and install the kitchen, and local builders, Merrow Construction, for the building, plumbing and electrics. We've been really pleased with the attention to detail that went in to the planning and design stage. Working with a local company rather than a multinational chain, we've been able to incorporate a lot of unique ideas in to our kitchen, such as different height worktops (as there is almost a 1 foot difference between me and Alan!)

So... here are the pictures. Full gallery can be found here.

BeforeBeforePine cupboards interspersed with white appliances meant there was no real continuity before. AfterAfterWe chose a neutral grey and wood theme for the new kitchen. The wooden flooring and breakfast bar give warmth to the grey cupboards. I think we need a new back door now!
BeforeBeforeWe had a freestanding cooker with gas hob and electric oven and a built-in microwave. There were no hooks for tea towels so we had to drape them over the drawer handles. AfterAfterNow we have a whizzy induction hob, and built-in single oven and combination microwave/oven. We are still waiting for the splash back to be fitted behind the hob. We added a breakfast bar so that we can eat in, and we couldn't resist a super duper tap!
BeforeBeforeThe back of the old kitchen was very sparse. We had an old freezer that we had acquired from Freecycle, and a £20 IKEA table, looking very forlorn. The glass panelled back wall was staggered with the blue part being recessed. AfterAfterWe flattened out the back wall by removing the glass panels and moving that part of the wall and door frame backwards. We opted for a monster American-style fridge-freezer, which should hopefully see us through the next few decades. And we replaced that little IKEA table with something a little more in keeping with the rest of the kitchen!
BeforeBeforeWe originally had a larder cupboard next to the microwave stack and a small utility cupboard (containing the gas and electric meters and fuse board) next to that. AfterAfterWe extended out the oven stack to accommodate two oven units and a warming drawer, which meant that we lost the larder cupboard. But we have so much storage space in the new kitchen that this isn't an issue, and it means that we can reclaim the space that was the larder cupboard in the adjoining lounge at some point in the future. We replaced the internal door with a new oak door to tie in with the floor and breakfast bar.

 

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) interior design kitchen redecoration renovations http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/5/new-kitchen Mon, 18 May 2015 17:00:49 GMT
New Landscapes Added http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/1/new-landscapes-added  

I have added a couple more landscapes taken on Sunday 25 January at Caesar's Camp, an Iron Age hill fort which straddles the counties of Surrey and Hampshire and is a 10 minute walk from my house.

See the gallery here.

View from Caesar's CampView from Caesar's CampLooking east towards Aldershot

 

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) Caesar's Camp Farnham Surrey landscape outdoors rugged terrain winter http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/1/new-landscapes-added Mon, 26 Jan 2015 09:08:54 GMT
Welly Walk at Caesar's Camp http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/1/welly-walk-caesars-camp  

We got out our wellies on Sunday and took a walk up to Caesar’s Camp, a large expanse of MOD rugged terrain just a stone’s throw from our house. There are hundreds of paths to explore here, and the views are far-reaching. On the way back we stumbled across a motorcycle event taking place at Hungry Hill, in the woods.

See more photos here.

Clare on the Welly WalkClare on the Welly WalkOn top of one of the many hills

 

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) Caesar's Camp Farnham Surrey UK outdoors rugged terrain welly walk winter http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/1/welly-walk-caesars-camp Mon, 26 Jan 2015 09:02:31 GMT
New Year New Look http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/1/new-year-new-look I decided to give my site a bit of a refresh and bring more of my photos out in to the public galleries. I have added collections for Urban Life, Country Life, Seasons and National Trust. 

Urban Life includes my photos of cities and towns, high streets, shopping streets and other urban scenes. I've also added my collection from the Tower of London Poppy installation, which was one of my favourite photographic events of 2014.

Country Life includes my photos of animals, flowers and landscapes.

Seasons, as the name suggests, has photos that represent the four seasons.

National Trust includes my photos from all of the Trust properties I have visited.

Church Street, GodalmingChurch Street, GodalmingThe Crumby Bakery is a new coffee shop serving hand made cupcakes. Poppies at the TowerPoppies at the TowerMemorial cross and poppies Blue DoorBlue DoorA blue door leading in to the grounds of Farnham Castle, from Farnham Park Himalayan BalsamHimalayan BalsamPink Himalayan Balsam growing beside the east path. I later discovered just how much of a pest this plant is considered, since it takes over the land it grows in, killing off other plants. Gypsy in the Bluebell WoodsGypsy in the Bluebell WoodsGoyt Woods, near St Helens

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) New Year http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/1/new-year-new-look Thu, 15 Jan 2015 15:57:53 GMT
Poppies at the Tower http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/1/poppies-at-the-tower Mum and I visited the poppy installation at the Tower of London on the day before Remembrance Sunday, 8th November 2014. Nearly all of the 888,246 ceramic poppies had been installed in the moat of the Tower at this point, with the last one due to be planted on Armistice Day. The installation commemorates the centenary of the outbreak of World War One.

Click the photo to visit the gallery.

Poppies at the TowerPoppies at the TowerMemorial note and poppies

 

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) London Poppies at the Tower of London Tower of London UK poppy http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2015/1/poppies-at-the-tower Thu, 15 Jan 2015 15:46:30 GMT
Summer Weekend in Bath, UK http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2014/8/weekend-in-bath  

We enjoyed last year's long weekend in Bath so much that we decided to do it again this year. This time we stayed at the beautiful Gray's B&B, the sister hotel to Brindley's, where we stayed in 2013. The welcome was warm and the tasty breakfasts kept us going until dinner time. This year we hired bikes and cycled along the Kennet and Avon Canal to Bradford-on-Avon, and back through the Two Tunnels Greenway, a four mile stretch of disused railway line, complete with two long tunnels with lights and music. After a 20-mile cycle ride, we had an evening in the Thermae Spa with dinner, massage and 3 hours in the spa, which finished the day off perfectly!

Click the photo to see more photos in the public gallery (includes photos from both last year's and this year's trips). Friends and family can click here to see the full set (access with password).

Dundas AquaductDundas AquaductA panorama at the Dundas Aquaduct along the Kennet and Avon Canal

 

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) Bath Kennet and Avon Canal Somerset UK canal summer http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2014/8/weekend-in-bath Thu, 14 Aug 2014 14:04:50 GMT
PhotoWalks Part 4: Farnham Park http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2014/8/farnham-park Since I was recovering from a sprained ankle and unable to go running, I took advantage of a sunny morning to take my camera out for a spin in my new surroundings. Farnham Park is just a stone's throw from my house and is abundant with wildlife.
 
The Friends of Farnham Park maintains a good list of wildflowers on their website which I used to identify some of the flowers in this shoot.
 
Click on the photo to see the full collection.

Sunlight Through The TreesSunlight Through The TreesFirst rays of sun coming through the trees along the east path

 

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) Farnham Farnham Park Surrey UK outdoors park path sign summer sunrise http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2014/8/farnham-park Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:09:41 GMT
National Trust Collection: Hughenden http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2014/6/hughenden Hughenden Manor, in Buckinghamshire, is the former country home of Benjamin D'Israeli, and is another convenient spot to meet up with my photographer friend. As the day was so beautiful, and we had a lot to catch up on, we did not venture in to the house on this occasion. But we enjoyed the formal gardens of the house and the walled garden next to the cafe.
 
We also took a walk along the well marked footpaths and soon spotted an interesting looking monument at the top of a hill. Not sure how it would take to get there we decided to give the climb a go. We made it to the top and discovered the monument is the D'Israeli Monument, commissioned by Benjamin's daughter-in-law, and the views from the monument were well worth the hike.
 
Click on the photo to see the full collection.

Hughenden HouseHughenden HouseOrnate grounds and gardens of Hughenden House

 

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) Buckinghamshire Hughenden National Trust UK garden outdoors summer http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2014/6/hughenden Sat, 28 Jun 2014 09:59:08 GMT
First Wedding Anniversary on the French Riviera http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2014/6/french-riviera A blast from the past! I have just completed archiving of our trip to Nice, from September 2011. Going through the photos has brought back a lot of good memories. See all the images in the Travel Collection, or access the Family and Friends Gallery if you have the password.

For our first wedding anniversary we spent 5 days in Nice, in the beautiful September sunshine. We stayed in the heart of the city, in a cosy 1-bedroom apartment that we rented through Nice Pebbles. Probably the best thing about our apartment was the fact that there was a boulangerie right outside where we could find our fresh bread and pastries for breakfast!

We managed to fit a lot in to our five days away, including a visit to Nice Castle, trips to Monaco and Eze and on our anniversary itself we dressed up to the nines for a lunch at the Cafe de Paris, in Casino Square, Monte Carlo. The Mediterranean Coastline, Monte CarloThe Mediterranean Coastline, Monte CarloBoat approaching the harbour in Monte Carlo

Stay

Massena Apartment, NiceMassena Apartment, NiceClare ready for the day trip to Monaco to celebrate our anniversary

We spent 5 nights at the Massena Apartment, which we booked through Nice Pebbles. I found this travel company through a recommendation in my guidebook to Nice. They have a range of self-catered apartments in central Nice, and for us, the 1-bedroom Massena, located a stone's throw from the Old Town, was a perfect base for our stay.

The guys from Nice Pebbles were really welcoming. A rep met us at the bus stop when we got off the airport bus, and walked with us to the apartment. We had a little welcome pack of essentials (bread, milk, wine...) left for us in the apartment along with a guide to the local area with very useful info on getting around.

 

 

 

Visit

  • Castle Hill, NiceCastle Hill, NiceThe cascade on Castle Hill, Nice Colline du Chateau, Quai des Etats-Unis, 06300 Nice. Castle Hill is accessible either via a lift located beneath the west side of the hill on Quai des Etats-Unis, or by walking up the footpath. We were feeling fit so decided to make the hike. The views at the top were definitely worth it, as was the walk around the castle gardens. The cascade waterfall was my favourite feature of the gardens.
  • Cafe de Paris, Place du Casino, 98000 Monaco. Brash, busy and expensive, but this is the iconic place to dine in Monte Carlo and for that reason alone we chose to lunch there on our anniversary. The long wait for food can be pleasantly whiled away by people (and car) watching, trying to pick out the wealthy Monagasque yacht owners from the crowd of tourists.
  • Fragonard Perfumerie, l'Usine Laboratoire, 06360 Eze-Village. Fragonard produce their own range of fragrances, which are relatively unknown, but they also provide ingredients for some of the more renowned perfume manufacturers. The factory at Eze serves as a museum, and the guided tour takes you through the perfume making process before, of course, bringing you to the factory shop. Even at factory prices this is not a cheap gift. I treated myself to a tiny 30ml bottle of Etoile, which I keep tucked away in my travel bag and which always reminds me of this trip.
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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) Cafe de Paris France French Riviera Monaco Monte Carlo Nice holiday summer http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2014/6/french-riviera Thu, 19 Jun 2014 16:33:23 GMT
PhotoWalks Part 3: Pool of London http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2014/6/pool-of-london After a rainy morning spent at the Science Museum on Saturday 7th June, the sun came out in the afternoon and we enjoyed a pleasant stroll along the Thames. By doing a quick Google search, we found the Pool of London Walking route. We took the Tube to Bank station and walked over to The Monument (Sir Christopher Wren's memorial to the victims of the Great Fire of London). From there we headed to the river and followed it east to the Tower of London and crossed Tower Bridge. On the other side, we discovered a quaint alley of shops and restaurants at Butler's Wharf and headed back west, past the City Hall to London Bridge station.
 
See all the images in the PhotoWalk Collection, or access the Family and Friends Gallery if you have the password.

 

Shad ThamesShad ThamesWe found this quaint alleyway of shops and restaurants along the south bank of the Thames, near to City Hall

 

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) Hungerford Bridge London Pool of London UK bridge river skyscraper summer sunset http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2014/6/pool-of-london Wed, 11 Jun 2014 11:10:42 GMT
Behind The Lens: Migrating from Lightroom to Aperture http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2014/6/behind-the-lens-migrating-from-lightroom-to-aperture I had a bit of a 'light bulb' moment yesterday in my endeavours to migrate my back-catalogue of photos from Lightroom (LR) to Aperture, and I thought I would share here, in case anybody else is trying to do the same thing as me.

Tip: Use Aperture's RAW+JPEG Pairs function to migrate image collections from LR to Aperture

When I decided to make the switch from LR to Aperture, my immediate concern was how to migrate the image collection I had built up in LR over to Aperture. I had already decided that I wanted only one archive moving forward, but I had a stack of photos from 2010 (when I bought my first SLR) up to 2012 that needed to be moved. Since mid-2011 I have shot almost exclusively in RAW, so for every image I have a RAW master version, and a JPEG 'final' version, including all of the adjustments I made in LR.

The adjustments made in LR cannot be converted into Aperture adjustments, and vice-versa. When I started out with my archiving, I thought that the best I could do would be to import the RAW file and its corresponding JPEG edit as two separate images, and link them together in Aperture using Stacks.

However, Aperture does have a much neater way to import RAW+JPEG 'pairs'. The option can be found in the Import Dialog (see image). I believe it was originally intended for photographers who use the dual RAW+JPEG capture mode in their camera when taking photos, but it works just as well for this purpose too.

You will need to save a JPEG copy of each of your RAW images in LR, which includes all of the adjustments you have made. This JPEG must reside in the same folder on your hard drive as the original RAW file (for some reason, if it resides in a different folder then this process doesn't work).

Using this option means that your RAWs and JPEGs are linked together in Aperture, and will retain any metadata changes that you made in LR. If you make additional metadata changes in Aperture (for example, you add a new keyword), that will be applied to both versions simultaneously. Aperture treats the pair like it does any other master/version pairing.

This is not an article about why you should choose Aperture over LR, or vice-versa. I have tried both programs. I used to use LR on my Windows laptop, but about a year ago I bought a Mac and at that time I decided to give Aperture a try. I found I liked it, it works great for me and my workflow, and I have been using Aperture ever since, to catalogue, develop and export my images. The tide of opinion at the moment does seem to be very much in LR's favour, but for those who are contemplating Aperture, here is an excellent article on the benefits of Aperture over LR.

Aperture's Import DialogThe RAW+JPEG Pairs option is found within the Import dialog in Aperture.

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clarelgibson@gmail.com (Clare Louise Studios) Aperture Behind The Lens Lightroom archiving http://www.clarelouisestudios.co.uk/blog/2014/6/behind-the-lens-migrating-from-lightroom-to-aperture Tue, 03 Jun 2014 15:26:37 GMT