Category Archives: Photography Software

Need Help with Lightroom Classic CC?

Get the most out of this excellent program for organizing, managing, and editing your photographs!

In private one-on-one online sessions where you can share your computer screen, working directly with YOUR computer (remotely), I can help you with the many questions users often ask, such as:

  • How to best set up / configure Lightroom Classic CC including setting up your catalog and destination folders for importing photos
  • How to use Lightroom Classic CC with one or multiple external hard drives
  • Avoid some of the mistakes people sometimes make that get them in trouble
  • Help sort out problems you might have encountered where you have accidentally moved or renamed folders and lost track of where the images are by doing so outside of Lightroom, and caused some problems. I can help you fix it!
  • Cover different organizational approaches to explore what best works for YOU
  • How to best use the excellent keywording features in Lightroom Classic CC
  • Learn to use the powerful image editing features in this amazing program

You can arrange a session with me by looking here to see how my online private teaching options work CLICK HERE

And then email me at and we can talk about the best days/times that work for you and arrange a session (or more)!


A Caution About “Upgrading” to Mac OS Catalina 10.15.2

An Update on This Article:  Almost two months after Apple released Catalina 10.15.2 (12/10/19) that caused the breakages, they released Catalina 10.15.3 (1/28/2020) which fixed the tethered capture bugs.  The other problem I reported regarding that “Disk Error” message persisted even after updating to 10.15.3.  I never found anyone with an answer to what was causing that, but I discovered on my own that it was a file permissions issue that was somehow introduced with the 10.15.2 upgrade.  I had to modify folder permissions to allow Lightroom and Photoshop to have read and write access to the folder containing the files, even though in earlier versions there was no problems with this.  I am still experiencing intermittent problems with my Mail app since upgrading.  Not sure what the cause is. Very frustrating.

I have a MacBook Pro and recently upgraded to the latest Mac OS Catalina 10.15.2 and have been TOTALLY regretting having done so.  I am hearing from several of my former students that they are also running into problems since upgrading to Catalina 10.15.2.

I have personally encountered several problems that I would categorize as SERIOUS and I hope will be addressed ASAP. 

Here’s what a rep at Adobe says about Catalina upgrades on Mac: “You may want to remain on your current version of macOS until these issues have been resolved.”

For me, it was specifically the upgrade from 10.15.1 to 10.15.2 that started causing the most grief.

  • Strange behavior in my Mac Mail app, intermittently not being able to connect to my mail servers, but then the problem goes away, and then comes back again.  Seem awfully coincidental with having just upgraded the OS.
  • The latest version of Adobe Lightroom Classic CC Version 9.1:
    • Tethered capture connecting via USB to any Canon DSLR (I have 3) simply does not work at ALL any more.  Tethered capture is totally broken.
    • The Edit In Photoshop command when using the “Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments” is totally broken.  Now I just get an error claiming there is a “Disk Error” but there is no problem with my hard drive (after scanning with Disk Utility for problems).  The only time I get this error is when doing this one command from Lightroom.  It simply does not work any more, at all.
    • I have heard from a couple of other people who were having problems opening their catalogs, although I haven’t encountered this problem (yet, at least).
  • Canon EOS Utility (3.11.1 latest version)
    • Tethered capture connecting via USB to any Canon DSLR (I have 3) simply does not work at ALL any more.  Tethered capture is totally broken by any means, whether using Canon’s utility or Adobe’s.
    • Canon tech support says 3.11.1 is compatible with the latest Catalina, but I am experiencing results that are contrary to that.
  • My battery on my MacBook Pro is virtually brand new.  I just replaced it a couple of months ago.  I am noticing the power is draining at a much faster rate than it ever did before.  At the moment, my battery is at 50%, but one hour ago it was at 100%.  Checking to see what app has been the biggest power consumer, it reports Photoshop is the culprit.  BUT I didn’t have this problem until I “upgraded” to Catalina 10.15.2.
    • p.s. 5 minutes have passed since I type this and I am already down to 40%

SO the bottom line is unless you have a very compelling reason you just need to upgrade to Catalina 10.15.2, I’d say DON’T DO IT.  

Some people respond saying they haven’t experienced a problem with Catalina, but I am not sure that is relevant because lots of people ARE experiencing problems like this and if you search, you will find a lot of discussion and frustration over the problems.  So if you upgrade, maybe you’ll be fine, or maybe you will totally regret it.  I am in the latter category.  :-/

I guess I’ll have to look into rolling back my MacOS to a previous version.  That’s a pain also though.  I am hoping Apple will make some fixes to resolve these problems OR I am hoping that Adobe and Canon can put out releases that work around these problems caused by the most recent Catalina release.



p.s. If anyone is curious about my particular model of MacBook Pro, here are the specs: Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013 model,2.6 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3, Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2 GB w/Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB; Hard drive: Apple SSD SM1024F


Using Adobe Lightroom to Edit a Nature / Landscape Scene

Hi friends!

Here’s a short video demonstrating the use of Adobe Lightroom CC to do some quick enhancements of a nature / landscape scene.

Also, I am considering adding another Adobe Lightroom Workshop at my studio in NW Austin on August 28, 29, 30, 31 2017 9am-Noon each day.  The price is $349 for 12 hours of very hands on instruction in a small group setting, teaching the use of Adobe Lightroom.

If you would like me to add the course, please let me know ASAP!   Click Here to let me know!

Now, here’s that video I was talking about:


You Can Change the Background

With a few Photoshop edits, you can alter the appearance of an image, changing the color, brightness, as needed.  I just wanted to mention that, just in case you hadn’t thought of that!

For this image, it was originally shot against a green backdrop.

For this quick example, I intentionally did not do any super dramatic changes, like totally substituting a different background. These are just some super quick edits all made within about 3 minutes max.

Here are the steps I used in Photoshop:
(You’ll have to know a bit of Photoshop terminology for this to really make sense. 🙂 )

  1. I used the menu item Image -> Adjustments -> Replace Color command. Then after I used the eyedropper to select the green background I simply shifted the Hue and Luminance sliders until I achieved the color I wanted.
  2. I just did a few quick edits to remove one of the catch lights in her eyes using the Brush tool, and then some quick Clone Stamp edits to clean up a few hairs, followed by a tiny amount of small cleanup of very minor blemishes using the Healing Brush (her skin is amazing anyway though!).
  3. Finally I created an Adjustment Layer (choose any type, really) and change its Blend Mode to Multiply. Then I used a black brush on the Layer Mask to removed the effect of that layer mostly in around the top half of her body to provide a nice vignette.  That’s all!


Alien Skin Software: Exposure X2

First, I have to make a clear confession.  I am a proficient Adobe Lightroom user, and don’t have much experience with Exposure X2 from Alien Skin Software.  BUT I just took Exposure X2 out for a “test drive” and thought it was worthy of pointing out this nifty program to you all.   Yes, Exposure X2 can be used as a plugin from Lightroom, but it also can be used as a standalone program.

If you have experience with Adobe Lightroom, the first thing that you’ll notice is the incredible similarity of much of the user interface. With some portions of the program, you’ll almost feel like you are using Lightroom!  In spite of it feeling sort of like Lightroom, it’s definitely not Lightroom. Exposure X2 has an impressive set of photo adjustment tools built in.

You’ll quickly notice that there are not different “modules” for managing and organizing that are separate from the developing and editing of the images.  Unlike in Lightroom, it is all kept together in one interface.  That has some advantages.  Also, as soon as you start using Exposure X2, you might notice that you immediately have access to ALL of the images on your computer.  There is no need to first “import” them. They are just there ready to be edited when you open a folder.

When you do any editing, remember that Exposure X2 still does “non-destructive editing”, meaning that it doesn’t really change the image until you export it.  (Believe me, thats a good thing.) And it works handily with RAW and other image formats. As you look over the editing capabilities, you will see a range of additional tools not found in Lightroom, such as overlays of really cool borders, light effects such as flames and flare, infrared simulation, simulated bokeh adjustments, and a variety of textures.

All of these additional built-in editing tools make Exposure X2 still useful as a plugin in Lightroom even if you don’t use it as a full Lightroom replacement.  But keep in mind it is indeed a fully capable standalone program.  Just note that if you were to make a complete transition from Lightroom to only use Exposure X2, Exposure X2 will not automatically know about the edits that reside within the Lightroom catalog.  So even though the interfaces look similar, it does not mean it’s an instant switch to quit using Lightroom and switch fully over to Exposure X2.

As I mentioned, Exposure X2 is capable of browsing any drive or folder to view and edit images without having to use any sort of ‘import’ operation.  Its response is pretty snappy when you browse to a folder it hasn’t viewed before. Exposure X2 appears to be a well designed program, not just in its user interface, but “under the hood” with fast efficient processing of images, which you really need when you work with thousands of images.

OH and one last point. You can also use Exposure X2 as a plugin from Photoshop!  That is really cool because if you are proficient in Photoshop, you can use layers to mask in Exposure X2 effects in portions of an image or mix and blend the effects, further enhancing the value of using Exposure X2 as a handy tool in your bag of tricks along with other plugins and tools.

Check out Alien Skin Software and see if their software or plugins might be a fit for your photography workflow!


P.S.  My students get a generous 10% OFF Alien Skin Software!  Thank you Alien Skin!

Happy Photo Editing!

Kevin Gourley