Best of 2019

In Master Photography Roundtable by Jeff HarmonLeave a Comment

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Software Update Status

Before we get to that list of the best episodes from 2019, I need to take a quick minute here and update everyone about the status of software updates available from Adobe, Microsoft, and Apple.  

I want to make sure everyone knows you don’t have to wait for these updates in the podcasts now to know the Photo Taco status on them.  I created a page that has all of the current information about the versions of software from those three companies and my advice for photographers on how ready those updates are for them to use.  You can find that page at phototacopodcast.com/updates.

The most current versions of Lightroom and Photoshop have been upgraded from a WAIT status to a CAUTION status.  You are very likely to have no issues when upgrading Lightroom and/or Photoshop here in January 2020 to the most current versions of those programs.  I expect to give them both the Photo Taco seal of approval very shortly.

The same goes for Windows 10 1909 that I have upgraded from WAIT to CAUTION as it is likely you will not have problems in applying that update from Microsoft.

I cannot give the same recommendation for MacOS Catalina from Apple.  The status on that upgrade is still a strong WAIT as changes made in that release of MacOS continue to cause lots of problems with drivers and programs not functioning that mean I can’t take it out of the WAIT status.  

That doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to have problems if you have applied the update, there are plenty who have done that and have been just fine.  If you know enough about these things to validate that all of your drivers and applications are updated to be fully compatible with Catalina then you will be fine.  With the most recent updates from Adobe most of their software is now working far better on Catalina, though there is one really big issues with tethering not working in Lightroom if you are running Catalina.  

For most photographers I just recommend you continue to wait and ignore that red circle on the settings apps telling you there is an update pending and giving software makers more time to get things working.  My sense is there is a few more weeks to go here in early January 2020.

Most Used Post-Processing Software in Late 2019

The other thing I wanted to cover in this episode before we get to the best of 2019 is the poll we ran late in 2019.  I researched a pretty complete list of the most common programs that can be used for editing photos and from the beginning of October through the end of December we ran a poll asking you listeners what of them you primarily use for editing your photos.

Before I share the top ten in the results, let me preface this by saying this shouldn’t be taken in any way to mean that one program is better than another.  There are a lot of factors involved here and with the survey being a single question you shouldn’t draw too much from the data.

Here are the top 10 programs you use:

  1. Adobe Lightroom – 57.379%
  2. Adobe Photoshop – 10.069%
  3. On1 Photo RAW – 7.310%
  4. Phase One Capture One – 6.897%
  5. Skylum Luminar – 5.793%
  6. Afinity Photo – 2.897%
  7. Darktable – 2.069%
  8. Apple Photos – 1.379
  9. Adobe Photoshop Elements – 0.828%
  10. ACDSee – 0.690%

Almost 70% of those listening to the show who were willing to fill out the survey use Adobe products to edit their photos.  More than 3x the amount of the next highest program, On1 Photo RAW.  

I don’t think we can mistake this data as saying anything specific about market share.  Kind of a chicken and egg problem here. The hosts on the show use and talk a lot about Adobe products which probably leads to a high percentage of those listening being photographers who use Adobe products to edit their photos.  If we had more hosts on the show that used and talked more about other products then we would attract more listeners who use other products.

That is why I don’t think this data can be taken as market share percentages.  The reason we wanted the data was to make sure we are meeting the needs of our audience.  We hear from listeners who ask about other programs on a fairly regular basis and I wanted to validate that the majority of our listeners are using Adobe products like we are to edit their photos.

I really wish that I had the time to dig into other programs as much as I have Adobe products.  I think there are some really compelling competitors but I just don’t have the depth of experience with them that I have with Adobe products to talk more about them.  I spend nearly as much time testing Lightroom and Photoshop as I do just getting my photos processed using those tools and there just isn’t enough time to really get into other programs the same way.

The bottom line for everything we talk about on the show here is that there isn’t a “right” way to do photography.  You choice of the camera, lens, tripod, lights, and post-processing software is up to you. The most important thing is to learn how to use what you have so that you can create the images you want to create.  If you are getting the results you want, it doesn’t matter what another photographers is using.

Best Episodes of 2019

OK, now for the main event.  Let’s talk about the best episodes of 2019 as voted by you incredible listeners 

  1. Instagram and Photographers In 2019: Aired January 2019.  Connor and Jeff talked about a massive commercial job a fully qualified photographers lost because they didn’t have a strong enough presence on Instagram!  Then we talked about how we are choosing to use, or on my case NOT use Instagram, as a way to market our photography.
  2. Backup for Photographers: Aired May 2019.  Jeff and Brent talked about the 3-2-1 backup solution that all photographers really need to make sure is implemented.  That means having three copies of your photos on two different mediums and one copy offsite. We walked through the details and offered some suggestions on how photographers can do this.
  3. Lies From Camera Companies: Aired in February 2019.  Jeff and Brent talked about an episode our friends Tony and Chelsea Northrup did in their PictureThis podcast where they outlined the five biggest lies that camera manufacturers are telling photographers.  We added three more lies (Fuji X-Trans, expoanded ISO, and upgrading to improve) we thought should be part of the list as well.  
  4. A Guide to Photographic Terms Part 1: Aired June 2019.  Brent, Levi, and Jenna Martin teamed up on this episode to go seven words photographers tend to drop that non-photographers, or those starting out, don’t really understand.  If you are newer to photography and need the translation guide to understand what other photographers are saying this is a good episode to review.
  5. How Photographers Can Improve Their Black and White With Jenna Martin: Aired in May of 2019.  Jeff and Jenna Martin talked about photographers can get better at creating compelling black and white images, something Jeff needed a lot of help with because he appreciates good black and white images but always thinks his own are better in color.
  6. How to Sharpen and Reduce Noise in Lightroom With Greg Benz: Aired August of 2019.  Jeff and Greg walk through a technique Greg shared in a post on his own website called “How to Reduce Noise in Photoshop”.  They went through each slider in Adobe Camera Raw and how to use them to do something called “decovolution” sharpening.  If you want to get better at sharpening in Lightroom or Photoshop you should check out that episode.
  7. 10 tips for photographing fall color: Aired Sept 2019.  Jeff and Brent shared their top tips for giving yourself the best possible chance to create stunning fall color photos.  They actually ended up sharing 11 tips.
  8. LinkedIn for Photographers with Brent Bergherm and Jeff Brown: Aired May 2019.  Brent brought on expert Jeff Brown to talk about how photographers can leverage the LinkedIn platform to market their services.
  9. Thoughts On Sony A7R IV: Aired March 2019.  Jeff and Brent went over all the new specs of the A7R IV that had just been announced then and what they thought about each of them.  Jeff was really tempted by this camera in 2019, the specs were amazing, but it was just too expensive and too much work to switch from Canon for him as a hobbyist.  Brent was similarly tempted and wanted rent it and see if it might be the camera for him but he didn’t switch to it either.
  10. Printing Revisited: Aired January 2019.  Jeff and Brent talked about photographers printing their own photos.  Jeff had just invested in the Canon Pixma Pro-100 printer and talked about his experience with it. Brent talked about his printing course that he got going in the early part of 2019.

Doodads

Jeff: Godox X1R-C/N/S/P/O 2.4G Wireless Flash Trigger Single Receiver ($40).  I don’t actually own these, but thanks to a ton of help from listener Michael Hampton in the Facebook group he was able to show me that these receivers are really incredible with how they function with different brands of flashes.  They not only make it so that you can pop a Yongno or Canon branded flash from the Godox XPro controller, but you can also use them to change the power and zoom levels of the flashes. In fact, Michael could get a Canon, Godox, and Yongno branded flash to all change their power and zoom settings without the Godox XPro controller just using the wireless flash control capabilities in his Canon camera!

Reminders:

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