Building a Website Part 2: Editing A Gallery

In this tutorial, I demonstrate how I use Adobe Lightroom 4.0 to edit a gallery on my new Squarespace website. In it, I demonstrate my workflow for evaluating my website and editing the images that end up in a gallery showcasing my street photography. It provides some important tips for editing one's photography to provide the best presentation and impact for a body of work. You can visit my new website by going to

 Visit and subscribe to my YouTube Channel by clicking here.

And take advantage of the a 14-day free trial of Squarespace to create your own photo website and blog. Click below to get started. 

Building a Website - Part 1

In our latest video tutorial, Ibarionex begins to share the thinking and the process behind building his new photographic website. Using Squarespace, he begins to walk you through his process for selecting, editing and organizing the images that eventually find a home on his site.

This is a work-in-progress and this series of videos as well as the blog postings at  will provide you a unique over-the-shoulder view of the editing process from one photographer's perspective.

You can view the video below or subscribe the the YouTube Channel to be automatically updated when a new video is released.

Improving Composition with Cropping

Here is a Adobe Lightroom tutorial on how to use the overlays available in the crop tool to improve your compositions.

Visit and subscribe to my YouTube Channel by clicking here.

To take advantage of the special offer on Adobe Lightroom 4 visit the link below or go to

And take advantage of the a 14-day free trial of Squarespace to create your own photo website and blog. Click below to get started. 

The Voices in My Head

One of the things that I share with my students about the practice of photography is the role of “the editor”. And by that I don’t mean the software that one uses to massage a digital photograph or even the person sitting at the computer working the mouse or the stylus. Rather, I am referring to the voice in the head that makes the judgements of what’s good or bad, what works or doesn’t work. It’s the voice that’s meant to guide me as to whether I’m walking the right creative path or that I’ve actually stumbled into the overgrowth and am now tangled in the burrs and weeds. 

The editor is an important part of my creative process whether I am raising my camera to my eye or attempting to put words on a virtual blank sheet of paper. It’s my innate power of discernment that help me to evaluate the work that I’ve produced and which allows me to effectively separate the wheat from the chaff. It’s a skill that I’ve been able to develop especially well because of the many opportunities I’ve had to serve the role of editor for other people work, be it photography, videos or fiction. It’s something that I know that I’m pretty good at. 

However, that editor can also be my worst enemy, especially when it comes to moments of creativity. 

Many times, I’ve used the example of finding something that I think is interesting to photograph, raising my camera to my eye and than deciding not to make the image, because something is telling me that it’s really not worth expending the energy of depressing the shutter release button. It’s the moment when the editor steps in and makes a judgement call, but it’s a call that I’ve come to find that it has no business making. 

I’ve come to discover that something has piqued my interest, that there is likely something there that has the potential to make a good photograph. It may not be a great photograph, but that’s not important. There is something that is triggering my response to stop and observe it and though it may not be immediately obvious to me, even when I frame the scene with my camera, it doesn’t mean that I should listen to the editor and not make the image at all. 

In my experience when I begin the process of making the images, I can sometimes discover what it was I was responding to. It might not happen with a single photograph. It often calls on me taking a variety of images using different camera orientations, focal lengths, perspective. It demands that I move around and think about the juxtaposition of the foreground and the background, or maybe even adjustments of exposure and background. It’s about me exhausting all the possibilities of the subject and the scene as I make the attempt to assess what it was that was calling me in the first place. 

When I let the editor dissuade me from even making that first photograph, I’m allowing it to put a stranglehold on my creativity. Like a child that’s given a camera, I need to be free to see, react and create. See. React. Create. It’s a mantra that I have to repeat as I am out there exploring through the viewfinder of my camera. It’s that kind of openness,  free of judgement that opens opportunities for discovery and surprises that can become interesting or even great images. 

The role of the editor come into play later when I am sitting at the computer culling through the hundreds or thousands of images that I’ve created. It’s then and only then that I should welcome the editor’s voice to the process. It’s then that the the dozen images that I’ve made of the single subject provides the material the editor needs to make comparisons and judgements and to ultimately make the decision as to what works and what doesn’t work. 
If I don’t make the image or worst yet, only make one shot and walk away, I leave the editor with nothing to work with. Instead, it begins to speak up when it shouldn’t and makes my time of creativity, my “play time” a period of frustration and anxiety. Being out with my camera is about having fun, but if that joy is stripped away as a result of hyper-criticalness, I am just giving my index finger exercise with little hope of producing anything that will prove satisfying. 

I am sensitive to this dynamic because I experience the same thing when I am writing. Whether’s a non-fiction piece or a short story, I face that same voice of the editor trying to step in to make a judgement call on the words that I’m putting on the page or am even considering putting on the page. It can dog me even when trying to work out a simple outline. When I do that, I struggle. I stare at the blank screen with an increasing feeling of anxiety and frustration. I begin to think that I’m foolish for even trying, because obviously I don’t have sufficient talent or skill to be able to do this as well as I think I should. 

That’s the peril of listening to the editor during the process of creating. It’s a critical voice by nature, which is important to have to refine a body of work. However, it’s a crippling one when it’ a time when you are supposed to be in the midst of creating the raw material from which you will work from. Invite the critic into the moment when I’m meant to be most creative and it’s most often less than a satisfying experience.

When it comes to photography, I just start shooting. I don’t just make a snap and go off chasing the next best photograph that may be waiting for me around the corner. Rather, I linger, stay present with the subject and the scene and really try to discern frame by frame how I can capture the thing that caught my attention. I work on making the image that can express that moment of discovery for the viewer who sees the images later. And though there may be moments that don’t provide me the opportunity for such exhaustive exploration, it’s getting my mind into a state of being completely present, free of judgement when opens me and readies me for those images that can only be captured in a fraction of a second and a single frame. 

Though I struggle with achieving such a state of mind with my writings at times, I nevertheless know that regardless of the art that I’m attempting to create, it’s ultimately about me getting out of my own way. It’s about tapping my editor on the shoulder, asking him to step aside to allow me the joy and freedom that comes from making something from nothing. 

The Candid Frame #152 - Brian Matiash

Brian Matiash is a professional photographer as well as the Education Manager for OnOne Software. In his role as an educator, he teaches photographers how to improve their photographs and their editing skills with his many webinars, articles and blog entries, but he also has his own passion for photography.

He has specialized in developing and refining his use of HDR (High-Dynamic Range)  to use it not merely as a gimmicky visual effect, but rather as a tool to help him realize his own personal vision of a subject and a scene. You can find our more about Brian and his photography by visiting his website and his blog.

To read his guest blog entry on Scott Kelby's blog click here.

Brian Matiash recommends the work of Nicole Young.

For streaming audio click here or subscribe to the podcast for free viaSubscribe via iTunes

How to Edit Your Travel Photos

Here is a short video in which I demonstrate how I use Adobe Lightroom to edit down thousands of images from my recent vacation. Using rankings, collections and the Compare view, I demonstrate how to create a more manageable collection of images that best capture the story behind my travels.

This is a technique which I use not only for winnowing down images from my travels, but also large bodies of work including personal projects.

If you like these videos, please subscribe to the YouTube channel for future releases.

Review of Alien Exposure 4

Alien Skin Exposure 4 

Push-button, analog-funk in a digital age 

by Martin Taylor

Fern Processed in Exposure 4
In a perfectly clean, digital world it is easy to romanticize the film look and the results we achieved after spending hours in a chemical darkroom in the past. The funny thing is, back then we were usually trying to make perfectly clean, neutral, realistic images and we often cursed the affects the analog process imposed on us. When digital came along, I for one couldn’t wait to leave behind problems with dust and scratches and the inconsistency of chemicals. The promise of never having to spot a print again was a Nirvana I couldn’t wait to inhabit.

Fast forward a decade or more and the popularity of Instagram and the Impossible Project and their like demonstrate a thirst for an analog feel in a digital age. Admittedly, a lot of ‘digital sucks’ hipsters never knew a time when there wasn’t a choice between analog and digital and, like most new converts, they have been born-again as puritanical zealots. But I digress; for the rest of us who want the flavor of analog processes without the toxic chemicals there are many options at many price points. From the cheap (though not cheap for Facebook) Instagram at one end to plugins like Aliens Skin’s Exposure 4 at the other. But we’ll get back to price in minute; for now let's look at what Exposure 4 can do for you.

Alien Skin's Exposure 4 UI

Instagram on steroids? 

It sort of is but in another way this comparison belittles Exposure 4. It’s nearly as easy to use as Instagram. For the purposes of this review I was using it mainly within Lightroom but I also tried it from Elements and Photoshop too and it felt properly integrated into them all. From Lightroom ‘Edit in Exposure 4’ launches the Exposure plugin and it fires up pretty quickly. Even without reading and documentation you will be up and running in no time. A preview image takes up the center of the window showing the effect of your filter in real time. You choose your preset or saved custom preset from the list in the bottom left quarter. The top left quarter preview image shows the effect of a preset just as you roll over it, even without clicking. It also shows the whole image with a indicator frame showing what area of the image you’re looking at in the main preview window. This is useful when you have zoomed into your main image (using the scroll wheel achieves this) and got lost within your image.

Color Presets in Exposure 4

B&W Presets in Exposure 4

There are hundreds of presets to choose from creating effects that date back from the dawn of photography through to the latest film stocks and trendy cross-processing. You can filter the effects by monochromatic and color of you can search if you remember any part of the name of the effect you are looking for.

Civil War Fort Point Powder Room processed in Exposure 4
Once you have applied a preset you can use the tabbed controls on the right side of the window to customize the result. This is useful if, like me, you found the presets a little heavy-handed and you wanted to dial back the effect. Before applying an effect I did try to get the exposure as accurate and as neutral as I could in Lightroom. Even so, after applying an effect, I did often find some range of tones would be looking much darker than I wanted. This is why I found the levels curve adjustment within the tool so useful. I’m sure I could have tweaked the effect after the fact when I was back in Lightroom but it was so easy to correct in Exposure I found myself using the levels on nearly every image I applied a preset to.

Although the presets may be a bit unsubtle out of the box that’s not to say that the effects you can achieve are not professional. When you tweak a preset and you like the results you can save your own presets for future use. The film grain effects, borders and various alternative technique overlays are amazingly convincing. The effects you can achieve are pretty inspiring and you can find yourself wasting hours on one image messing around with presets and tweaking them as you see fit. On the other hand, if you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve you can very quickly find a suitable preset to achieve it, tweak it to perfection and be done with the image in soft order. A nice feature is that, in Lightroom, you can work on several images at once. This means that, if you find the look you want and apply it to one image you can apply a consistent look to other images you think will benefit from the same look.


Golden Gate Bridge processed in Exposure 4
As someone who loves ‘straight photography’ I’m conflicted by the use of push-button effects to add funk to pictures. I love the ease of use and flexibility of Exposure 4. I like how it integrates into Lightroom, Elements and Photoshop equally well. Some of the effects you can achieve are amazing and look very authentic to my eye. It is so easy to use I do feel a little guilty showing the resulting images: am I being a fraud showing an effect I haven’t earned? Would I feel less guilty if it had taken me an hour to achieve the same effect following some long-winded Photoshop tutorial?

Truth be told, this product is probably not aimed at me. I am not rich enough or trendy enough to be their target audience. I do see Exposure 4 being incredibly useful for photographers who need a grungy, retro-look with a fast turn around. Senior and wedding photographers may find it pays for itself very quickly if you have a certain kind of client. For those kind of photographers the relatively high price might be an advantage because it will keep the riff-raff out. Uncle Jim is unlikely to buy Exposure 4 if he’s currently using Elements to process his images. This means that even the out-of-the-box preset looks will not be seen that commonly on Flickr. This exclusivity maybe what you need if you’re selling an expensive post-processed look as part of your package. Certainly this grungy look is very fashionable at the moment. Exposure 4 is one of the simplest, most customizable ways to achieve many of these looks resulting in very professional looking images. If you need this high-concept look, Alien Skin’s Exposure 4 may be just what you’re looking for.