Just for Fun

I have traveling quite a bit this summer, especially during the past few weeks. Consequently, I have not posted anything recently. I will be resuming my series of new Photoshop Elements tutorials very soon.

In the mean time, a friend emailed me this graphic that I enjoyed. I have not seen it elsewhere, so I thought I would share it here. Click on the figure below to go to the graphic. Then zoom in and then scroll to view all of the slides.

Funny Link

Until next time.


Quick Video Tour of Don’s Digital Photo Corner

Many of my students who come to my blog as the first step of accessing the handouts for their class have no idea just how much other content is in the blog itself and its pages. Hopefully this post, which includes a video, tour will help them find the additional digital photography information contained here.

Below is a quick video tour of my blog and its pages.

I have had my blog now for over four years, so there is a wealth if information that, which I hope will be of interest and useful to you. The video shows where you can search for a title topic, and I have put together a list of all of my posts for the last couple of years. This list is at the link below. It is an Excel spreadsheet. Once you open the file, you can click on its title and go immediately to that post in my blog. Your browser may ask you whether or not you want to open the file or save it. Just follow its prompts.


Please comment, Like, and share this post if you have found it useful.

My Photo Workflow Continues to Evolve


Your post production workflow – the steps you take after uploading your photos to your computer – is always a topic that is worth reviewing from time to time. As the technology, software,  and your knowledge change, you will probably find that your workflow also evolves.

A few weeks ago, I posted an article that described how and why I retired from active service the Photoshop Elements Catalog I have been using for well over ten ears. To se that article, CLICK HERE. In this post, I describe what the basic steps are after I have uploaded my images to Photoshop Elements 13. Yes, I still use PSE 13 for managing my 50K images. Since I teach beginning Lightroom classes, I have been exploring it more thoroughly as of late. In fact I even “upgraded” (Adobe’s term, not mine) my prime photos catalog to LR5. I have a few initial thoughts on the success of this, but that is the subject of another article.

PSE 13 Welcome

Here is my current workflow that uses both the PSE 13 Organizer and its Photo Editor, with Photoshop CC added to the mix when needed. The description begins as soon as the photos and videos have been imported to the PSE 13 Organizer.

1. The first thing I do is tag my photos. If the subject matter is pretty fixed, this step takes only seconds. For example, on a typical weekend of watching my granddaughters’ softball and soccer games, I may find that come Sunday evening I have 500 images and several videos on my memory card. I already have the tag structure and tags defined. It’s just a matter of selecting the right images and dragging them over to the appropriate tags.
A. If the input batch is from a trip or similar event or photo shoot, I will at least tag the images at the Category level,
and then come back later to sub-divide them into Sub-Categories, and Keyword Tags.

B. Since PSE 11, I have made use of the Events, People, and to a lesser extent Places tags.

Org Grid

2. I next screen the images using the Full Screen View option (F11) in the Organizer. I will also make use of the side-by-side display option (F12) as needed.
A. I skip over any videos I have imported at this point
B. To cull out the best photos I use the Organizer’s Star Rating feature:

1 = Delete

2 = Needs work, provides a good class example, or is member of a burst, HDR, or panorama sequence.

3 = Will most likely be included in a slide show, or DVD I plan to make at some point. Often these are not the best photos in the world from a technical standpoint, but are needed to better tell the story. I will also give the best photo of a sequence 3 stars.

4 = These are pretty good for me, and probably are the ones that I will most likely end up printing.

5 = Hardly ever awarded at this stage

After Step 2, I still have many images that have not been rated. They will remain in my Catalog.

3. I now screen the video clips that were uploaded in the grid view. I double-click on the video file and play the video in the enlarged window that appears, rather than in the full screen mode.

PSE Video Preview

4. More recently, if I have essentially completed the keyword tagging of my images, I will write them and other metadata to the image files – File > Save Metadata to Files. If I do not do this, only those images that I have at least opened in the Editor will have the tagging and other metadata written to the file itself.

5. I then delete all of the 1 star images/videos from the Catalog, as well as the hard drive. Typically from a weekend of shooting soccer and softball games, I’ll end up with in the order of a couple of hundred images. This is far too many, and I’m working on raising my standards. The percentage of keepers is roughly the same when the images are of general subjects, such as scenery.

6. Next comes editing those photos and videos that are either in a sequence (2 Stars) and those that have 3 or 4 Stars.
A. Since I almost Always shoot RAW, I will naturally do my initial editing using the ACR.
B. Normally, that is all the editing I need to do. I fact, that is my goal, for individual photos.
C. If I can do that, I do not need to save an edited version. My changes are recorded in a small .xmp file.

7. To print the photo or make editing changes requiring, for example selections or layers, I will open the image in Elements’ Photo Editor.

Alternately, I will on occasion, send the RAW image directly to Photoshop’s ACR to take advantage of its added tools and/or Photoshop itself. However, this will require that a dupe (actually a Version Set) of the RAW file to be generated, which will take up additional disk drive space.

8. The final step of my basic workflow is to periodically do either a Full Backup or Incremental Backup of my Catalog and all of the media it contains (File > Backup Catalog).

This pretty much summarizes my basic workflow. Somewhere between Steps 7 and 8, I put together my photo projects, whatever they may be.

I would love to hear your thoughts and workflow steps that you use or in PSE or other programs.

Doing Incremental Backups in Photoshop Elements Saves Disk Space But Not Time

I have been a long time user  of  the Backup/Restore commands in the Organizer of Photoshop Elements. My general practice has been to use the Full Backup option. However, as my photo/video collection has grown (about 600 Gb and 46K items) over the years, the time to do the backup and storage space it requires have grown tremendously.

More recently, I have begun to use the Incremental Backup option more and more.

PSE 13 Bkup OPtion

The Incremental Backup builds on the last Full Backup done and only adds those files and Catalog changes since it was done. Obviously, the storage space is significantly reduced, and initially I thought the time to do an incremental backup would also be significantly reduced.

That is definitely not the case. Generally speaking, on my PC, an incremental backup takes just about as long to do as does a full backup.

Here is an example for my most recent incremental backup.

  • The first two three steps take only two or three minutes.
  • After calculating the media size, there is message with no progress bar that says that PSE is loading the previous backup. This message stayed on the screen  for about an hour and half with no other indication that PSE is even running. In fact, if you bring up the Task Manager, it shows that the PSE Organizer is not responding.
  • At this point it is very tempting to abort the process, thinking PSE has basically crashed. Don’t. It is still hard at work.
  • Eventually a dialog box appears where you click on the Save Backup button. A message appears stating that PSE is identifying incremental files and soon after, a progress bar appears.
  • In this example, it took one and a half hours or so for the Successfully Completed the Backup message to appear.

In this example the backup was about 17 Gb and took about two hours and forty minutes. I basically did not use the computer during this period. Also of note, is that I was backing up to a portable USB 3.0 external drive, but it was plugged into a USB 2.0 port on my PC. Also, I was using PSE 13.

So, using the Incremental Backup saves tons of disk space but still takes a significant amount of time. It would be nice if Adobe would add some type  of status or progress report during the time period when no real helpful information is being displayed.

I generally do two or three incremental backups before doing a full backup. To find out more about my use of the Backup/Restore commands, you can check out the link below or use the Search bar on this page to view a list of all of the posts on this and related  subjects.




Carbonite’s Sync and Share – A Resource Hungry App You May Not Need

A few months ago I summarized my experiences starting and initial usage of CarboniteRemember Carbonite is a popular and excellent way to back up your important files to the cloud. I use Carbonite as my doom’s day backup to supplement my local backup strategy.

Also in an earlier post, I pointed out that Carbonite does not automatically back up your Photoshop Elements Catalog. You have to manually direct it to do that, which is not difficult.

 I like Carbonite and it seems like a good product, one by the way that I hope I never after to see just how good it is. Carbonite has an optional free iPad app, Sync and Share, that allows you to access your backed up files from anywhere from your iPad/iPhone – and probably all smart devices. I installed it and also the small computer program on my PC.

To be honest, I never tried using Sync and Share in the couple months I had it on my PC and iPad. I was experiencing some probably unrelated PC performance problems and was using the Windows Task Manager to see what was going on. To my amazement, Sync and Share was using 3.8 Gb of my 16 Gb of internal RAM. That was an order of magnitude above any other program/process on my PC.

 I contacted Carbonite to verify that I could just uninstall the Sync and Share program in the normal manner without affecting my Carbonite backups. I did indeed uninstall Sync and Share and removed its companion app from my iPad. As I write this, the largest memory using program/process on my PC is only 118 Mb (OneNote), and I’m using about 22% of my total PC memory.

Task Manager

 Your mileage may vary, and there may have been steps that I could have taken to reduce Sync and Share’s use of my PC’s resources. But for me, I am sticking with the plan vanilla Carbonite that is doing what I expected.