Tokyo Game Show 2008 with LightRoom 2

TGS Cosplayer I’ve posted the photos of Tokyo Game Show 2008. I can’t believe another year has come and gone. This time I was in Japan on vacation and, since I didn’t need to be there on a “business” day, I attended on the weekend when the cosplayers are out in force. It was a welcome change of pace, though traveling long distance with a family was new and challenging in its own right. I was on my own that day and took a little bit longer than usual to get going in the morning. By the time I got to Makuhari Messe, I had less than four hours to look around and take pictures before I needed to start heading back to Tokyo.

I’ve been looking at ways to improve my photo workflow. Though I’ve been actively taking digital photos for eight years now, I’m still just a part-time hobbyist and don’t really take time to tweak my photos. My current workflow is Adobe Bridge and PhotoShop CS2. It’s real basic usage: exposure tweaking, leveling, cropping and downsampling / sharpening for posting on the web. Occasionally I’ll need to do something more like try to correct the picture’s temperature or white balancing (typically if the home lights are too strong). I could probably get away with just GraphicConverter but I’ve been using PhotoShop since version 3 in college and it feels more natural. Since the majority of my photoshopping is so photo oriented, I’ve gotten trial versions of LightRoom 2 and Aperture 2 to play with.

The TGS 2008 photos were organized, tweaked and posted using my LightRoom 2. I used Jeffrey Friedl’s LightRoom plug-in for the SmugMug posting. LightRoom 2 runs on my 1.5GHz PowerBook G4 with 1GB of memory but it’s a bit pokey. Since I’m not printing and not generating a standalone site, my experience was just with the Library and Develop modules. Loading images feels slow and I’m guessing a good chunk of the time is spent on histogram calculation and other analysis work being done. I haven’t taken the time to see if I could optimize the experience.

Basic editing is easy. In the Library view, there is a histogram and some “quick develop” tools like exposure adjustment. Move to Develop mode allows for cropping, red-eye and other common tools as well as greater control over image’s appearance. A history of the changes to an image is kept and it’s easy to undo changes to get to the original image. This is probably the biggest advantage over something like Bridge / PS CS2 where I typically would copy an image for editing (maybe in PSD format), make my crops and edits there. I would then bulk scale down and usually sharpen up original and edited images for posting, leaving multiple instances of the photos around. With LR2, it’s abstracted out and the originals are left intact while adjustments are applied and updated previews created. Having an integrated workflow with history capability has freed me to try more things. I’m certainly cropping and making minor exposure adjustments more than I have in the past. That’s a good thing.

With my initial experiment with LR2 out of the way, I’m debating the approach for working with my next “roll” of vacation photos. Either A) continue with LR2, making better use of saved settings and trying out more adjustments or B) move to Aperture 2 to be able to more accurately judge the beginner’s learning curve. In any case, it’ll be a few days before I can devote time to grinding through another hundred or two pics.

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