Ever wonder how we edit our images? Do you want a quick and easy way to edit your own phone snaps or even your DSLR images? It’s all about Lightroom Presets!
We love taking photos.. duh, obviously – we love Instagram! We’ve been taking snaps with anything we could put our hands on. From Canon DSLR, to many iterations of the iPhone, to drones and camera gimbles, to Sony Mirroless, all the way to GoPros, 3D and Polaroid cameras. Often times especially while traveling, the best photo is not about the composition but if you get the shot (the timing) – we’re not the type of couple to pose, set up intricate shots and spend a lot of time on a single image (not that there’s anything wrong with that), we’d rather experience all of it first hand (and we’re also pretty goofy so there’s that too).
The “Just Wander Pack” is now being introduced at a reduced price for a limited time.
YOU SHOULD STOP USING INSTAGRAM FILTERS
“Instagram filters” have been around long before Instagram, they were just called something else. I remember shooting on a Pentax K1000 and developing images in a dark room trying to achieve various practical effects that would alter my photos. Years later, I was using physical Tiffen filters on matte boxes to play with density, skies, water and color correction. The main issue with these techniques as with Instagram filters is that they just cover your image with a “baked in” look. There is very little wiggling room with them.
The image on the right of the Arc de Triomphe during the Tour de France was taken with an iPhone 5s and edited within the phone using Snapseed, Filterra or Enlight.. I’m not really sure anymore and that’s also the problem; I do not have the original picture to play with because I got lazy and discarded the picture from my camera roll since it wasn’t of great quality to being with.
If I would have taken this picture with a “proper camera” in RAW mode with a flatter profile, I would have kept the high quality original file and all its information for later post-processing. That’s the point of shooting RAW: your camera will embed so much more information into that digital file that you will be able to make variations of the same picture by playing/editing those details and tweaking them to your heart’s desire. It gives you more options and more opportunity to see where you can take that image.
WHY ADOBE LIGHTROOM? A LITTLE HISTORY
I’ve been using Adobe products since the early 1990 when they were expensive and most folks were “sharing” licenses of their breakthrough Photoshop app (the most pirated software in history behind MS Office). I had to wait 17 years for Adobe to release Lightroom which would change the way I take, classify and edit pictures. Previously, I would edit layers within my images in photoshop and create “actions” to paste those effects onto multiple files. Lightroom made it possible to, non-destructively, edit images and quickly apply those changes to an entire album and go back to my original file in one click of a mouse. All original files would remain untouched and backed up into a library.
The other great thing Adobe did was that, in 2011, they changed their business model to subscription based which made it more affordable to use for the every day user. At the time of this post, Adobe charges $9.99 for their Photoshop/Lightroom package.
Without a doubt, the fastest way to use Lightroom is with presets. We have put together 23 of our most used presets. These are perfect for many different types of images ranging from nighttime, sunsets, indoors, beach daylight in portrait, landscapes, nature, crowds and architectural.
The RAW slightly underexposed image below can, with one click of a mouse, get a total different feel. The edited image looks sharper, finds some details in the shadows and brings color into the highlights.
The next edit shows how color can affect an image. Tones were altered, shadows, highlights and especially the blues. It almost looks like a totally different image taken with a different camera.
In this next shot, our sister in law is shooting waves crashing onto the rocks below. I underexposed the shot just slightly, knowing I would be applying this preset to it. The edited image looks like a bounce card was used on her face (on her bottom left) and makes her skin tone glow while the background water and sky lose a bit of their harshness and get that trendy teal highlight.
Adding presets pack to Lightroom is quite easy. Launch Lightroom and click on the preferences panel. Under the Presets tab, click on “Show Lightroom Presets Folder”.
Take the “Just Wander Presets” folder you just downloaded and drag it inside the “Develop Presets”. You’re done!
Quit and launch Lightroom again and you will see the presets on the left pane within the develop tab.
THE RIGHT CAMERA SETTINGS AND MORE TIPS
It’s also important to know that your camera settings will have a direct impact on our Lightroom Presets. As we stated before, we shoot everything in RAW format and in manual mode on our Sony A7ii camera.
The most important thing is to shoot using a flat profile. A flat color profile (also known as a “log” setting depending on your camera – Canon has C LOG and Sony has S LOG, although some models don’t have it so you need to manually adjust your settings to “flatten” your image) is a low contrast, high dynamic range and flat color profile that provides the base for color grading, allowing you to play with the color and sharpness in post, rather than baking in that effect within the camera. Yes, some might say that cameras nowadays are so advance that the automatic setting works just fine. I would disagree – learn your camera’s manual setting from top to bottom, it’ll be the best thing you do for your camera game.
When possible, especially in low light situation, break out the tripod. A good sturdy tripod will ensure your images will be sharp and your subjects in focus. Also, it might lead to some fun long exposures too 😉
Get yourself a Variable Neutral Density filter and use it. They will make your pictures and videos look incredible polished, especially outdoors when you need to bring down the exposure while still shooting with a wider aperture or slower shutter speed. Something like this one: Tiffen Variable Neutral Density Filter , don’t just buy this one, make sure it fits your lens (55mm, 77mm, etc) *not an affiliate link*
The minute we stepped into Hotel Monteleone we knew it was going to be something special. Everyone greeted us with a smile and a “hello”, but not the fake kind, it felt sincere. We felt like we were taken back in time, a time where customer service mattered and going above didn’t cost extra.
The lobby is breathtaking. The chandeliers bounce light across the room and glow over the amazing portraits hung about. The furniture has a look from a different era, but remains classic and chic (and not to forget comfortable). Check in was easy, fast and informative; we were given information about the hotel, our room and the surrounding area.
We stayed in a lovely suite that had a king bed with more pillows than we knew what to do with! We were in love with the high ceiling and the granite and marble bathroom. We had plenty of space with so many extras we weren’t expecting (amazing bathroom products, plush bathrobes, perfect water pressure in the shower and cleanliness that was noticeable). Catching some shut eye was easy to do (a little too easy 🤗).
A Look Inside
We set a breakfast alarm everyday, something we have NEVER done on vacation before. It was the best meal of our day and something we looked forward to and consistently talked about- HA!
We tried something new everyday and weren’t disappointed once. One of the coolest things on the menu was the “eggs Benedict of the day”. They featured something different each day to spice up the usual Benedict, like short rib or blue crab. The item that stood out the most was the beignets, hands down! Everyone tells you that you HAVE to go to Cafe Du Monde to try theirs, but the Criollo Restaurant in Hotel Monteleone was a hundred times better! Trust us, we never lie about food!
Speaking of food in New Orleans, it is TO – DIE – FOR! Forget what you think you know about cajun dishes and seafood, you will be floored when those incredible flavors hit your palate. We had some of the freshest and tastiest oysters ever and the most delicious and authentic gumbo with shrimp mac n’ cheese on the side (and that was just on Seb’s plate).
You Spin Me Right Round
The Carousel Bar and Lounge was like nothing we had experienced before. We were so fortunate to spend almost two hours with Marvin, the head bartender, getting the ins and outs of not only the bar, but also the hotel. We had a 10 to 15 minute interview scheduled, but Marvin was so full of information we didn’t even realize the hours were flying by. He told us about the founder of the hotel, Antonio Monteleone – how he had moved from Sicily in 1880 in search of the American Dream. He had an extremely successful shoe factory before coming to America and planned to continue that success in New Orleans. Antonio opened a small cobbler’s shop on Royal Street and then six years later bought a hotel down the road. The coolest thing about his story is that Hotel Monteleone is still family owned and run. It has stayed in the family this whole time, something so rare nowadays.
Marvin also told us that Hotel Monteleone is a historic landmark and a member of Historic Hotels of America (hotels that have maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity). We learned about all the famous authors who not only wrote about Hotel Monteleone and The Carousel Bar, but who stayed at the hotel, like Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Anne Rice, Stephen Ambrose and John Grisham. Truman Capote even claims to have been born in Hotel Monteleone, but he actually wasn’t, his mother lived at the hotel during her pregnancy, but she made it to the hospital to give birth. In 1999, the hotel was designated an official literary landmark by the Friends of the Library Association (one of three hotels in the US to hold this honor).
Marvin continued sharing more about the Carousel Bar and Lounge, a place he has worked and called home for almost 20 years. The bar was installed in 1949 and it’s the only revolving bar in New Orleans – and a first for us. The 25-seat carousel bar turns on 2,000 large steel rollers, pulled by a chain powered by a one-quarter horsepower motor. It takes 15 minutes for the bar to complete a full circle (Watch our short video above to see the carousel in full swing).
The original carousel was renovated in 1992 with a new top and fiber optics in the ceiling to create an appearance of stars in the sky. One of our favorite things about the bar (besides the amazing drinks and the impeccable service) are the hand painted seats which the hotel commissioned Disney artists to paint. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting with a lion, tiger, elephant, zebra or monkey on the back, the amazing details and colors are stunning!
Vogue Living has named The Carousel Bar and Lounge one of the top 20 bars in the world (only nine bars in the US made the list). Vogue Living’s list was hand selected to showcase places at the forefront of the drinking scene that are as dynamic and spirited as times past. After hearing Marvin passionately speak of his cocktail recipes and the Carousel’s history, we 100% agree with Vogue’s list.
The drink list is unique and impressive. Of course you can order all your regular favorites, but we encourage you to try one of their tops 5, like the Pimm’s Cup or the French 007 or the famous Sazerac! Our passion for drinks is just as strong as our passion for food, our recommendations won’t let you down! Marvin proudly showed us his latest book – filled with cocktail recipes, anecdotes and history. It has become the perfect companion to our growing collection of spirits – Get your copy here. 😉
We loved watching Marvin in action behind the bar! It isn’t easy keeping track of drink orders while the bar is not only moving, but there are people standing 3-4 rows deep behind the seats. We got a good laugh at watching the bartenders and staff members hopping over the bar to get in and out- there’s no door! Often times guests sitting at the bar are asked to please stand to the side for a minute, and to hold their drink, because someone needs to hop in or out. The quick disturbance doesn’t bother anyone as it brings a smile to their face to watch the staff hopping up and swinging their legs over.
We asked Marvin how he does it without crashing into anything and he replied, with a smile, “Practice makes almost perfect.” His smile may have implied his attempts over weren’t always perfect or without ending in glass shattering.. hahaha!
New Orleans’ Heart
The location of Hotel Monteleone couldn’t be more perfect. It’s in the heart of The French Quarter with valet parking and two garages. It sits at the top of Royal Street with so many shops and restaurants at its doorstep. It’s in walking distance of many New Orleans’s tourist attractions like the popular Bourbon Street, the quieter Jackson Square and French Market, and the Riverwalk (head down there to get on one of the steamboats along the Mississippi River). We couldn’t have asked to be better situated, especially as first timers to New Orleans.
All of the Hotel Monteleone’s staff members, especially Della and Kathy from Criollo, were so kind and always up for a chat about what we had been up to and what we had planned for the day. We are huge believers in taking advice from locals on what to do and where to go, thankfully everyone was always ready with their “must dos” for us first timers. Because of them, we hit as many major spots as possible!
We walked everywhere and never felt like we were somehow walking too much or missing out. The city of New Orleans is a vibrant one with incredible history and warm, welcoming people. Entering the various stores and boutiques, we would systematically hear a friendly “Hello, where y’all from?” which would open the exchange to interesting conversation and give us the feeling of really getting to know the city.
There is so much to do, from the voodoo cemetery and the World War II museum, to swamp airboat tours and plantation visits, you’ll need more than the four days we had to see it all.
We stayed on the 14th floor and had a beautiful view of the city and of the Mississippi catching the first sun rays every morning. Having visited New Orleans during the colder months, the pool was under renovation but we were shown the gorgeous rooftop pool complete with sun chairs and bar. The view, here again, is magnificent.
Whether your trip to New Orleans is your first or your hundredth, Hotel Monteleone is a one of a kind experience. It has the glitz and the glam of the 4 star gem that it is, but it also has the warmth and homey feel as if you were staying with family. We jokingly asked one of the staff members why everyone was so friendly and kind and his reply was, “We are treated well and respected by our employer. It’s easy to love your job, want to come to work everyday and do a good job when you’re treated properly.”
People often ask us what settings we use when shooting with our Sony A7 mirrorless camera and we often reply directly with a few pointers. One of our followers (go follow her @wanderlusterprincess) bought the latest Sony camera based on our recommendation, so we felt the need to go into a little more than just a few quick tips. Here is our shooting guide and basic understanding of camera settings. Hope you guys find it helpful.
Getting To Know Your Camera
The main issue most photographers have is that they do not spend time to get familiar with their camera. Hold the body and play with the buttons, click a few hundred pictures on different modes and get a feel for what kind of shooting gear you have in your hand.
This guide won’t go into detailed information on all of the functions your camera has, it will only focus on what we think are the most important aspects too achieve that perfect shot. We start below with the 4 more important things to understand about your camera.
#1 – Manual Mode
Sure, you could set your camera in Auto mode and snap away but you won’t be getting those interesting shots you are picturing in your mind. Auto mode is made to get whatever is in frame in the most basic of ways. If your frame has a subject in it, the camera will focus on that subject, set exposure for that subject and give you the proper shutter speed based on the available light. Seems great, right? What if you wanted that subject as silhouette or a speedy blurry exciting action shot? Which is why we recommend to always shoot in manual mode. You’ll learn a lot about what makes your camera take great or terrible shots and it will open up the possibility of being able to utilize the next three points.
#2 – F-Stop or Aperture
If you’re like us, you often look for the EXIF data on photos you like – for example:
Lens: E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 Focal length (35mm equivalent): 315mm Shutter speed: 1/800 sec. Aperture value: F6.3 ISO sensitivity: 400
But what do those numbers mean? Let’s start with the F-stop or aperture value. There are only two things you really need to understand when looking at F-stop.
a) The smaller the aperture value (i.e. 1.4 compared to 16), the more light the lens will let in. This mean the smaller the aperture, the brighter your picture.
b) In combination with the above, the smaller the f-stop, the more out of focus things will be.
To make this simple: if you are shooting a subject with a 50mm focal length and using f-stop 1.8, the entire background will be blurry (what photographers call “the bokeh effect”). If you shoot at f-stop 20, the entire image will be sharp and in focus.
You may be trying this as we speak and notice your image getting either brighter (lowering the f-stop) or darker (cranking up the f-stop), so how did they achieve the above image? With a combination of the rest of the points below.
#3 – Shutter Speed
This is one setting most people tend to play with the most when adjusting for light. Shutter speed controls the speed or response to your clicking on that shutter button. How fast the shutter will open and close will determine what kind of movement your image will have.
The above image shows three frames with the same subject, a waterfall, but with different shutter speed. The first one the left has a shutter set at 1/125 of a second. That’s considered fast shutter speed and it captured the waterfall as still as it can be – a moment in time completely paused.
Now, take a look at the picture in the middle taken at 1/10 of a second. The image starts to show some movement in the water and motion blur is visible. The image on the right is shot at half a second and shows extreme movement and motion blur.
Two things to consider from this example. First, the camera was set on a tripod to prevent from capturing camera shake. If you look at the foliage in any of these picture, it is still. Only the moving subject at slower shutter speed is.. well moving.
Second, notice how the F-stop changes in each picture. Strange, no? In fact, it makes perfect sense based on what we explained earlier. The slower the shutter speed = the longer the lens is open to light. This would, therefore, result in a brighter image UNLESS you adjust the f-stop to a higher value to close the aperture so less light comes through.
It is the combination of lower shutter speed and higher f-stop that creates this image. If you were to leave the f-stop at 2.8 for the next two images, they would turn out overexposed or extremely white.
#4 – ISO
ISO is what most people never touch because it is a misunderstood setting. Back when we started shooting on film stock, the ISO would be on the film box.
The ISO back then was to let photographers know what kind of light sensitivity the film stock had. The higher ISO, the better it would perform in low light. The biggest drawback of shooting with high ISO such as 4000, 8000 or even 16000 was the film grain. Sure, you could shoot at night some party by candle light but the grain on your pictures would sometimes overwhelm the quality of the shot.
The first thing you need to know about your camera to begin with is:
a) What is your camera’s native ISO? On this Sony A7, the native ISO is 100. This means that this camera performs the best at ISO 100 which will render the best images and the best sharpness wit the least amount of noise (grain). To find out what your native ISO is, just google “camera model and name + native iso”.
We shoot a lot of video for clients and in most cases have to “run and gun”, generally at night and without any light kits. Cranking up the ISO to 640 or 800 will get that exposure to where it needs to be without being catastrophic on noise. Above 800 and you will start to see too much noise on your final product.
A general rule of thumb for us is that we always play with the ISO if we absolutely need to. It is always the last thing we fiddle with. If we can get the shot with only adjusting the f-stop and shutter speed, we’ll leave the ISO at 100 most times. For video use, as stated above, we do what we need to.
What About Sunsets & Sunrises?
We will end this post with a typical set up to shoot sunrise or sunset images:
Shutter speed: 1/30sec or longer – this will keep the shutter open for a little longer than usual to get all the light necessary.
Aperture: f/16 – Since you are keeping that shutter open longer, you will need to close down the aperture at f-16 or higher depending on the light. This will also make sure that your entire image is edge to edge sharp.
ISO. 100 or lower – to prevent from getting unwanted noise.
Lens: 18-24mm or similar – The wider (smaller the first number is), the better for landscape shots.
White balance: Daylight – So that the camera sticks to one color. If you keep at auto, the camera might want to change mid-shot which will mess up your shot completely.
Don’t Worry Too Much + Extras
At the end of the day, you need to keep it fun and enjoyable. Taking pictures or video shouldn’t be a chore but more of an outlet to discover something new, whether a location or a new way to capture it.
EXTRAS – If you guys are interested in learning about our entire process from shooting to editing, let us know in direct messages on IG.
We would also love to see your own pictures, so make sure to tag our Instagram account @gominplanet or use #gominplanet and apply your new knowledge.
Whether you are a traveling nomad, have relocated outside of the United States or simply want to enjoy some of that US programming; you’ve probably spent hours trying to spoof your DNS, invested in some pretty shady unblock services or just gave up entirely. You are not alone! We were looking for the best (and cheapest) way to stream US Netflix (you must know about the different regions and shows they offer by now), Hulu and Fubo ands we found it!
Netflix is the streaming service that gives DNS spoofers out there the most headaches. Netflix actively defends itself against “out of region” streams and constantly ban and cancel DNS services left and right (disclaimer: by no way are we pirating any of these services, we pay for all of these and they do get expensive once all added up).
Hulu used to be a favorite of ours but their advertisements got out of hand so we stuck with Fubo. Fubo offers something that Hulu just recently added to their line up: live tv (and they do it well). They offer all of the top US channels with a way to watch shows on demand and have a crazy amount of European sports channels too. A big plus, if a show is not live and you are watching it on demand, the ads are only 15 seconds. It’s a well rounded but expensive service. – we pay close to US$ 50 a month for Fubo alone.
CAN ALL OF THIS WORK WITH MY INTERNET SPEED?
Our ISP’s speed in the Caribbean is not the best and speed varies. Our average speed is between 3 and 4 MB/s and Netflix and Fubo work surprisingly well even under these prehistorical internet speeds. Most of you will be just fine 🙂
SO WHICH DNS SERVICE IS THE BEST?
We’ve tried a bunch and if you want to pay less and not have any trouble getting it to work (especially when traveling), our choice is Getflix. Getflix comes with its own app to easily update the IP address you’re trying to stream from and has hundreds of DNS to choose from depending on your current location.
Easy to use Smart DNS technology
Supports over 200 channels
Works on all of your favorite devices, no software to install
Fast and friendly 24×7, 365-day support
Low monthly pricing, no commitment and cancel anytime
We’d love to hear from you. What shows you just can’t miss while traveling? What streaming service you prefer? Find us on Instagram and let us know – @gominplanet
* Full transparency, Getflix has asked us to give our honest opinion in exchange of an affiliate link – a clink of our link is probably enough to buy a cup of coffee. If you’re completely against affiliate links – not too worry, just visit: https://www.getflix.com.au