Making Joiners in Lightroom / by Graham Dew

In my Mother’s Garden, Autumn 2011 © Graham Dew

In my Mother’s Garden, Autumn 2011

I’ve recently had some unexpected time at home which has given me the opportunity to catch up on a few joiners that I had shot in the past but never found the time to finish off as completed images. Up until this summer I used Photoshop to build my joiners which has worked well enough, but does place rather heavy demands on the computer in terms of disk, RAM & processor performance. But increasingly, I’ve been experimenting with Lightroom, and now have a pretty reliable alternative way of building still movies. This newer method centres around the use of the Print module, which allows me to build and re-edit multi-cell images with very little in the way of computer resources. Lightroom is a parametric, metadata driven editing system unlike most others including Photoshop, which work on pixel by pixel editing. The upshot of this is that the final size of the completed joiner does not have to be considered until the very end of the project. Very high resolution, very large print size images can be prepared as easily as small web based output; they just take a little longer to be processed. 

Crucially, since the arrival of Lightroom 4 I can now save my print layouts and revisit them at any time, unlike in Lightroom 3. There are some weaknesses in the method; I would dearly love to be able to zoom into the display in the print module, and it would be great if I could use the Develop module functionality whilst still displaying the Print module view. But overall, using Lightroom is a much quicker and freer way of constructing joiners than using Photoshop.

Lightroom became my editor of choice about a year ago. Prior to that I was using Photoshop but rarely left Camera Raw when editing my pictures, so the transition to Lightroom was fairly easy and obvious.

The picture above is made up of photos taken a year ago on my LX3 compact. I wish I had found time to put it together sooner as I’m quite pleased with the result. The individual cells were taken with the lens set at a focal length equivalent to 60mm in 35mm film terms.  If I were to reshoot in the future I would probably use the G3/Olympus 45 combination which would give small cell sizes, but I think the picture holds together well with only four cells height. It reminds me that pictures can be made whatever the weather; blue skies and bright sunshine are not a pre-requisite for a a successful image.

In my Mother’s Garden, as Seen Through the Bathroom Window, Autumn 2011 © Graham Dew

In my Mother’s Garden, as Seen Through the Bathroom Window, Autumn 2011