Its been a funny year for work (as can be expected!) travelling for workshops and visiting clients was not an option for most of it.

I have been busy all the same and this month I was happy to receive a couple more books I had been working on. The first is to accompany a new major nature series with David Attenborough called “Perfect Planet” (Silverback films for the BBC), here my dedicated work on getting the most out of the high dynamic range high resolution video grabs and making them as good as dedicated stills shots was at play. The CMYK printing process is much more limited than a bright TV image but with some love and care its possible to translate the feeling. I’m particularly pleased with this years effort and hope it achieves the five star reviews of recent books in the series. The series will be shown on the BBC soon, you can view an extended trailer here: BBC. The book is available at all good book stores (or Amazon).

The other book to arrive is from the Natural History Museum entitled “How Wildlife Photography Became Art”. This is a weighty book, both physically and in its subject matter. The images are from 55 years of Wildlife Photographer of the Year submissions so as you can expect this book includes the best wildlife photography in existence. Such a pleasure to translate the images into CMYK to retain the authenticity and intention of the photographers and avoid the all too common pitfalls of the printing process that would have taken their power away otherwise. Avoid Amazon and order it direct here: NHM Store

I hope 2021 will be a better year to get out and help clients with their systems and processes. I will be planning more imaging workflow and grading/retouching classes to help people get the most out of their photography. Also planned is a stock image site for my old stock photography, some images still as fresh as the day they were created and others now “retro” stock, look out for the launch of pixelstock.com early in the New Year.

I will be also working on some personal photographic projects to create new images and enjoy some photography again in my spare time. I would encourage everyone to dive into a creative art and enjoy creating stories with it.

Client Story: Sue Flood

I recently made a “pop up” store to help Sue sell her new photography cards. Sue’s images are very popular and she has chosen some of her favorites to produce 4 sets of blank cards that are ideal presents or a distinctively different Christmas card to send. I used my Selectimage domain that has been on the back burner for a number of years.

2021 Update: Sue now has a shop setup on her website to sell these items, you can find it here: https://www.sueflood.com/shop/


Client Story: Soane

One of three books delivered this week from clients. This book is the definitive story of Rattan, the sustainable and elegant furniture material. A fascinating journey through the subject with beautiful, interesting and well chosen historical images.

Wonderful to work with Lulu and Elisa to help them get the best possible reproduction of some rare images that needed careful handling in order to match the high level quality of the rest of the book. When dealing with a wide variety of images from multiple sources it is doubly important to make sure that there is consistency in colour and tone quality and to ensure that no image lets down a page or section.

Much of the book was completed so I was just involved with the problematic images and after careful work injecting some love and attention I’m pleased to see that the whole book feels very consistent and this helps strengthen the fascinating story of rattan. You can order or buy the book from all good bookshops or Amazon.

If you are planning an important book that has a wide variety of images of varying quality then get in touch for a chat, printers can correct for some (limited) things but usually by compromising other images on the same page or strip. My careful grading and detail work ensures that consistency is built into every page and reduces reproofing and printing costs as well as elevating the overall quality of the book.

Client alert: Beware of new Western Digital Red NAS drives

Quite an important issue for Photo libraries and photographers who keep their images and data on a NAS device (network attached storage).
I have been using and supplying NAS devices for decades now and helped quite a number of clients solve their image storage issues with them. A big favorite for populating these devices has been Western Digital RED drives. These drives are specially built for NAS use and have been very reliable.
Unfortunately that has all changed as Western Digital have now introduced some of their lower end technology into the drives without telling customers. This technology (SMR) restricts performance and could compromise data during a rebuild, this is not good.
All my customers have the better CMR version drives installed so no panic there (though we need to make sure any warrantee replacements are for CMR drives).
Going forward I will now only be using Seagate Ironwolf drives for NAS use, these drives are as good as CMR Red drives and Seagate have vowed never to put the lower end SMR technology into their NAS drives.
Western Digital are facing a lawsuit in the US over their deceptive (and frankly fraudulent) behavior. Such a shame.

You can read a detailed report on the problem here:


Update: 25/06/2020.
Western Digital have decided to sort this problem by introducing a third tier to their “Red” drives. The only purpose of this development is to get out of the problem upper management created and wished was gone away.


From now on Red Drives mean “avoid”.

Losing work in Lightroom – dont let it happen!

I have recently had a cluster of new clients who for one reason or another approach me after losing images or other assets in Adobe Lightroom.

Whilst Lightroom is a pretty good program for managing large amounts of images there are certain “quirks” that can cause real problems.

On of the biggest problems comes from mistaking images that are either “deselected”, “selected” or “most selected”.

You can work on more than one image at once, you can tell when one or more images are selected because their colour surround changes to a slightly different shade of grey, if you get these mixed up (easy to do!) you can lose a lot of work.

I helped a client via the Mac screen sharing app this Sunday to help retrieve a book he had been working on for many hours, without the 15 minute intervention he may have faced many hours of work to recover. Fortunately I had set him up to make sure he saved backup copies of his Lightroom catalog as well as have a time machine drive attached at all times, this belt and braces approach makes for a much better ability to recover from a bad situation.

If you have hit a major problem or just want help in setting things up correctly then get in contact with me and we can sort it together.

Help is available!
Stephen Johnson
Mobile: 07776 448621

Adobe fix some Photoshop issues with new update

Photoshop version 21.1.1 is now available on the Adobe Creative Cloud.

This has fixed an issue clients were having where save steps in actions was not working. I have tested this and it does seem to be fixed. No rush to update as there may be new bugs introduced and its best to let things settle for a while if you are not affected.

Other bugs have been reported fixed, you can see the details here:


Amongst uncertainty I’m investing for the future and my clients

I have just ordered a new main monitor for all the high profile book work I’m doing for clients currently.

My existing Eizo CG303W is a Fogra certified monitor and I’m careful to calibrate and profile it before doing any colour critical work. Its been a very trustworthy monitor for 10 years now but I have noticed that I needed to calibrate more often to keep things within tolerance.

I have decided to invest and purchase the latest equivalent monitor the Eizo CG279X. This is also Fogra certified which means it meets the standards for softproofing for Repro, a feature which ensures I can accurately preview how images will reproduce in print and ensure my clients proofing costs are either minimized or eliminated.

In times of uncertainty I’m happy to keep my standards high and invest in getting things right.

I bought the monitor from Colour Confidence that have a special price until the end of 17/03/2020.

Client Advisory: Save bug in Photoshop 21.1.0 Actions

I have just had to revert a client photographer back to a previous version of Photoshop (21.0.3) as the current new version has a bug in the code that allows actions to save open files.

This bug manifests itself when saving multiple versions of files also (i.e. like the actions I write to automatically save a tiff, A3 jpg, A4 jpg of each image). You can tell if your action is failing because of this bug as the error message will give a partially repeated save path in the error dialogue.

The only way to fix this until Adobe does is to revert to a previous version using the creative cloud program.

Be aware this will reset your workspace and not reload your actions so save both before reverting.

Current clients can talk to me if they need any help with this.


Many thanks