Q&A: Julieanne Kost
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Julieanne Kost is one of the world’s foremost Lightroom experts, as well as a talented photographer in her own right. She spent a month in Australia earlier this year.
Australian Photography: Welcome to Australia Julieanne. Where have you been?
Julieanne Kost: We started in Lamington National Park in Queensland, and then went on to the Kimberly, Lake Argyle, Kati-Thanda - Lake Eyre and finally the Ord river in WA all with World Photo Adventures.
What are some of the challenges that come with photographing a country as diverse as this one?
JK: For me, it was packing for the varied weather. I needed clothes for the rainforest, which was warm and wet, and cold weather clothes for situations like photographing in a helicopter. The other is having all the equipment you need for all those different diverse subjects.
When it comes to planning and pre-visualising before a trip, how do you go about it?
JK: I’ll look online for images in the area I’m visiting. I really do this because I want to know what's been done so that I can try to do something different. And I also really try to make sure I know my tools, so if there's a lens that I haven't used, I'll take it out and practice. If you've invested and gone that far overseas and you're traveling, you want to make sure that you're comfortable with your gear and know how it works.
How do you manage your photo editing on the go? Laptop or iPad?
JK: I knew that I was going to take a lot of photos and I would need a lot of storage space, so I took my laptop. I take two external drives and that way I can also have a backup. I put those drives in different bags just in case I lose a bag or lose my luggage or lose something.
From there, I create a new catalog on my laptop for that trip and I import all of my images into Lightroom Classic, but either version syncs all the files in the cloud.
I like that you don't have to do that right away too, you can wait and sync your files later because in some places we didn't have internet.
When I come home, I just take my laptop that has the catalog and all the photos, and I have a backup on another drive, so I can just plug that drive in and open up my master catalog. I just say ‘import from catalog’ and it just imports all the images and the changes I've made in any virtual copies.
What are three pieces of advice you’d give to people heading on a photographic trip overseas?
JK: I would say to do your research, but at the same time let go of your expectations while you're there. The story is going to reveal itself. If you go with all the preconceived notions of what you're going to get, you might be disappointed.
Whether that's because there aren't any clouds, or you're not in the right location, whatever it is, try to let go of all those expectations and just immerse yourself. Because I figure if I'm somewhere and I don't get a good photo, it's not the locations fault. It's usually my fault for not seeing what's there.
I would also say make sure your gear is in working order. Test everything.
And then also keep in the back of your mind a shot list or just something to remind you, like, hey, did you take any panoramas?
A lot of the time, I get so involved in taking little close-ups of interesting patterns and shapes that I forget to take the big ‘hero’ shots. I like to be able to set the story by capturing a scene of the overall location and then add in all the little detail images.
I recently have started using Adobe Express to create simple web pages to share my work. You can also use it to create a story for social media and it's totally free for anyone to use.
In April Adobe released a major Lightroom update. Can you tell us about some of the headline features?
JK: The standout feature is definitely AI powered Denoise. I was so happy to have that because when photographing birds in the dark rainforest at high ISOs it created a lot of image noise. It’s really a one click feature that’s not difficult to use. It creates a new DNG file, and from there you still have access to all the magic of editing. I was amazed at how much better my images turned out.
The other new feature is Curves within Masks, which means you can select a subject or object and make local changes to it with the Tone Curve tool, doing things like bringing up shadows. This and the Denoise tool got a lot of use on this trip. ❂
Check out Julieanne's Lightroom tutorial content here.