Saal-Digital Photobook

There have been a number of adverts for Saal Digital on Facebook, offering a £40 voucher in return for a product review, I completed a short application form, and received a voucher and details of where to get the software and what to do with regard to a review.


I have used a number of Photobook makers before some taking pictures downloaded to the site and then having ability to tweak the layouts, I opted to use the software from Saal site as I was looking to produce the final book quickly. I have to say the software was very easy to use and customisable to your needs on the final book.

It was easy to use, uploading a group of images into the software to use, and then selecting layouts, and dragging and dropping images to the relevant bit of the template. again this was very easy to use and change as I needed.

Book laid flat

I decided upon 15 x 21 book, with white cloth cover (without the padding) including 26 pages and glossy prints, managing to get all this in plus delivery for just under the voucher value.

The book cover and spine

The glossy prints are on heavy weight, and frankly really do pop


When selecting your images, ensure they are as sharp as can be, and spend time on image selection, this quality of print will show up any unintentional mis-focused images. That said the sharp images look amazing, and as I say really pop.

From upload to the book arriving it was well within the stated 14 days, and not bad considering coming from Germany

The First image and last image are attached to the book covers, this needs taking into consideration if you are planning on adding any details to it, wordy pages etc.

All in all this was a fantastic product, and a great end product that I will gladly show off to customers and add to my product offering.

More flat example

Backup your data – Free and relatively easy

Do you worry about the complexities of backing up your data, keeping multiple copies to ensure the critical files are safe and you have a copy of them in case of anything happening to you PC/MAC?

Free File Sync is a great little tool for backup purposes

The tool is available from the following link:

Download the latest version (at time of this video it’s 8.10)

Once it downloaded – run the installer, but please take care and be mindful of the following steps. And if you like the program PLEASE do donate some funds to the creator.

Read the license and assuming you agree click the I accept Agreement and Next button Pick your install directory, if different from the default.

Pick what options you wish to install (desktop icons etc)

The next window appears, and be careful – some consider this bloatware, but may I suggest that if you untick this please ensure you donate to the software maker, as it’s only fair (assuming you continue to use the software)

Untick the Agree checkbox, and click Next

The installer will then complete the main installation. Once the installer completes click finish and that’s the install complete. You’ll now have 2 new icons on your desktop.

The first one we will look at is the FreeFileSync main program, the RealTimeSync allows you to run a saved batch from FreeFileSync to automatically run when a disk with certain criteria becomes available (eg External HDD or USB)

Start FreeFileSync

We can see here I have an example job setup already, there is a YouTube video covering this (Link)

Synchronise Options


If you use Two Way – Any changes made to Either data store WILL be replicated, so removing or changing a file at destination WILL change it at source.

Deleting files at either side WILL delete them from the other side.



Like two way – BUT if the file is updated on destination the source version will be mirrored to it, so updates should only be made on the source drive


Copies new and updated versions from source to the destination

With the Filters, you can include and exclude files, for example you might only want a certain file type in certain media and the use of filters will allow this.

The software is very powerful and potentially dangerous if you don’t double check what you are doing.

I am not responsible for loss of your data through use of this software.


Quick Example of Lightroom Dehaze

The link below shows you an example image as the shot on the left and then after applying dehaze in Lightroom.

The background to this shot, it was taken in a bathroom, and thus steam was an issue. the pose at the end of the shoot was great, but unfortunately, I was gutted with the amount of steam.

Thankfully, I suspected I could pull something back in Lightroom but wasn’t exactly expecting how powerful Dehaze alone would be.

Static versions of the image:

Image out of Camera
Image after Dehaze applied in Lightroom

Good News

So Serenity Studios actual studio was vacated on 30th November, we will continue to shoot Serenity Studios booked appointments and events, but in essence we are going our individual ways.

Why then the good news? Well, I was contemplating my options and a couple came up, fairly local to me both having their own good points – and I have decided to take the plunge again on a test for 3 months, I’ll be homing my photography business in Cleckheaton from mid February.

just after 15th I will be at Woodroyd Studios, with a mix of amazing photographers already, giving me the opportunity to grow and learn from others and maybe help out other grow also.

So I will be getting myself sorted between now and then, to hopefully get some shoots booked in and get things moving again.

Anyone wanting Headshots or product photography, or if you know anyone that might benefit from some great photography, get in touch.


Visiting Outdoors in Winter

We have a lot of Natural beauty spots very close to us in Leeds, this is one very close to the M62 near Birstall – Oakwell Hall.

We had a walk with the Dogs and Kids here early January, and I, of course, had the X100 with me to capture these moments.  With a little bit of colour boost and curves adjustment, I think this image is great and represents the feel of the walk.

Oakwell Hall woods



Configuring the X-Touch Mini with MIDI2LR

A guide to configuring MIDI2LR and the X-Touch Mini

So I touched on the X-Touch Mini as a way to speed up your Lightroom processing, and I said I was going to cover in a bit more detail the process for installing the software.

I’m using version to illustrate this, as it is the latest at the time of me doing these instructions.

Download the MIDI2LR package from and select the Latest Release.

Once you have the file downloaded, you need to extract it, personally, I have created a directory on the root of my C:\ drive called midi, to keep it together, and protected from Lightroom upgrades.

I also keep the profiles in here (more on that in a bit)

When you have extracted the Zip to the desired location, next step is to open lightroom. I have the controller attached at the minute, but that will not effect these steps right now.

Using the Add button, navigate the where you had extracted the files.

You should then see the MIDI2LR plugin (and directory details in status)

This would get you setup for a basic installation, and allow you to then go on and configure buttons, but I will quickly run through the settings for Brian Lovelace’s configuration, which I have used as a base to my own preferences.

If the controller is plugged in then it is likely that the MIDI2LR screen will have opened for you, if not and you have the Midi Controller plugged in – Press the Reload Plug-In button.

The Configuration panel above is shown, and by default/first run the buttons might not show up until you push or turn a knob.

I am going to run through the Loading of profiles, though, to extend the number of effective functions at your fingertips.

Click on Load and navigate to your folder:

You can see the MIDI2LR distribution has some templates from Brian Lovelace ready for you to load, I start with the BASIC_PANEL_XTOUCH.XML – and that’s shown at the bottom of the panel image.

To extend the functionality you can assign buttons to change profiles, this will mean you can extend the functionality, and not need to switch around between mouse and keyboard and midi controller.

To configure this to work, you need to assign the profiles, this on the first go isn’t as intuitive as it might be, hence me doing this guide. But in Lightroom -> File -> Plug-In Extras -> MIDI2LR -> Options

There is a Profile tab if you enter the following, or in your own preferred order, but the below I find works nicely. This then means that on Layer B -> Top Row of buttons -> 4 Buttons on the right-hand side are Profile 1/Profile 2/Profile 3/Profile 4

On Layer B – > pressing one of the top righthand buttons will switch profile.

I have the option set to Notify when profile changes set, just so I can see.

The Panel shows above Clear ALL rows the profile that is currently active.

I hope you found this of use, and hope you come back to see some further details on using the X-Touch Mini for Lightroom, to speed up your editing.

There is also a YouTube Video for this post, along with some for editing. Check back for updates.



How to increase your Lightroom editing speed

I have been following for a while now the midi2lr project, after seeing a video or two on youtube, I decided to take the plunge, so I ordered myself a Behringer X-Touch Mini – Midi Controller for my christmas present.

Then started researching things a bit more in preperation, whilst it is fairly easy to use, it’s not as easy as I first anticipated to setup, there will be some more info on doing this coming soon.

Above is the controller itself, you can see the lights on the rotary knobs, and thanks to the midi2lr project and it’s development, I have added the stickers showing the functions, I am planning on re-doing them, and working on the PSD at present.

There are 8 rotary knobs, and 16 buttons by default, but with the midi2lr software you can add profiles, so I now have 4 profiles assigned to the controller, effectively giving 4 times the knob count, and 3 times the button count (allowing for profile change buttons)

Layer buttons allow for extending the button count

When a knob is turned the resulting slider in lightroom is adjusted, and the lights indicate where the slider is, as you go back and forth through images, the light positions replicate the sliders.

Lightroom on the surface, with the x-touch attached and midi2lr between, indicating slider positions.

If you look closely at the image above, you can see that the lights are positioned, and sliders in lightroom reflect this, again, not easy to show in a static image, I’ll get a video done soon and posted.

With this controller, I can hand on heart say I have sped up my lightroom processing, and this is something I will be using and working on going forward.

Look for more posts on Lightroom / Midi2LR including a more indepth configuration guide.

Happy New Year – 2017

Well there was certainly some changes in 2016. Job change and Studio has been disposed of. What will I do?

Well I want to concentrate on some ideas I have had, there will be a longer post about speeding up your Adobe Lightroom workflow coming. And I am hoping to run some training courses for people, but that depends on interest etc.

I will be offering photography servcies through my site, and do still have studio space available to me.

So watch this space, hopefully it will continue to grow, and not just fizzle out 🙂

All the best – Jonathan