Ken Milburn

Ken Milburn has been a photographer, both full- and part-time, for nearly five decades. Ken has written over 300 articles and columns for computer magazines as well as 17 books on web design, Flash, and (mostly) Adobe Photoshop and digital photography. Books currently in print include Digital Photography: 99 Tips to Make you Look Like a Pro, The Photoshop 7 Virtual Classroom, and Photoshop Elements 2.0--The Complete Reference (all from Osborne/McGraw-Hill), and The Digital Photography Bible, 2nd Edition, from Wiley. His newest book, for O'Reilly, the Digital Photography: Expert Techniques, releases in March 2004.

Sony Alpha DSLR A100: A Better Manual Sony Alpha DSLR A100: A Better Manual
by Ken Milburn
May 2007
Ebook: $9.99

Digital Photography Expert Techniques Digital Photography Expert Techniques
by Ken Milburn
Second Edition October 2006
Print: $44.99

From Darkroom to Lightroom From Darkroom to Lightroom
by Ken Milburn
Second Edition September 2006
Ebook: $7.99

Digital Photography: Expert Techniques Digital Photography: Expert Techniques
by Ken Milburn
March 2004

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The Power of Localized Adjustment Re-adjustment

August 28 2008

One of the few things I’ve rarely heard mentioned about the advantages of the localized corrections Brush in Lightroom 2 is the fact that you can use them to “undo” portions of an image that you’ve used the Develop Modules... read more

Keywording a Category That Just Came to Mind

August 21 2008

Much as many of us “hip gurus” have written about the importance of keywording in our workflow, some of us sometimes forget to add a keyword that might be important in the process of gathering a whole collection of all... read more

Michael Clark's Lightroom 2 eBook

August 14 2008

One of the problems with Lightroom 2 that I’ve been having to deal with may be unique to my situation because I’m currently doing all my work in Costa Rica. So even though Adobe has shipped the shrink-wrapped and “official”... read more

The Power of X

August 07 2008

Best workflow for getting rid of the useless: Make sure Lightroom is in Full Screen mode. Go to Grid mode and, in the Command Bar, drag the Thumbnails slider until you get only about 6 thumbs filling the screen. Slowly... read more

The Ideal After the Fact ND Sky Filter

July 31 2008

There’s a new feature in Lightroom 2.0 that Mikkel Aaland just showcased in his blog on creating Vignettes with the Graduated Filter. It’s a great idea and a neat tutorial. But I have to tell you that I’m really blown... read more

$15 Lightroom 2.0 Plugin that Auto Corrects Lens Distortion

July 24 2008

I am writing about this program before I’ve had a chance to test it. But if you like what it promises, you can download a copy of PTLens at There’s a free trial that will for for 10 shots.... read more

AutoTone the Whole Shoot in Lightroom

July 16 2008

The AutoTone command in the Library Module and the Develop Module are much improved in Lightroom 2…to the extent that I’ve gotten in the habit of selecting everything in a shoot that I’ve just downloaded, de-selecting anything that I very... read more

Importing into Lightroom Category Folders

July 10 2008

I love to just sling a camera around my neck and go for a walk whenever I need a little exercise and some time to think. I have a list of “categories” of things to shoot that I always like... read more

Knockout Your Subject

July 03 2008

I’m not advocating violence here. In tradespeak, creating a knockout means removing the subject of a photo from its background…hopefully with all the transitional edges, such as flying hair, semi transparent areas, and surface reflections intact. The idea is to... read more

Making eMail Contact Sheets

June 26 2008

Lightroom’s Print Module, believe it or not, is a great vehicle for putting together a photo collection for a quick email. All you do is make rows and columns and space them so that when you capture the screen, they’re... read more

Thoughts and Advice on Text for Slideshows and Web Galleries

June 19 2008

I really started realizing how important it was to do keywording, titles, and captions as soon as possible, and with a plan in mind, when I started writing classes on using Lightroom’s Slideshow and Web modules. These are both incredibly... read more

Checking out the Before and After

June 11 2008

Lightroom does some things that are very useful in a processing routine, even if you do a lot of your processing (such as retouching, using filters, making composites, or correcting perspective) in another image editing program. First of all, you... read more

Rating and Flagging Images

June 05 2008

Ever since I started working with image management programs I’ve been trying to find the system by which I could consistently use a specific rating to mean specific things. I still am not so sure I’ve done that, so I... read more

Editing a Shoot in a Lightroom 2.0 Slideshow

May 29 2008

Slideshows are a great way to study a shoot/folder. You can then edit the slideshow by either putting your "picks" into a collection or by selecting your picks from a rating or color label. When you're done, there are now... read more

Changing your Background Color in Lightroom 2.0

May 22 2008

I was doing the processing for a business portrait shoot that I did last night when it dawned on me that there's an outstanding benefit to having the Localized Color Brush in combination with the Auto Mask option in Lightroom... read more

Lightroom 2.0 Smart Collections for Composite Components

May 14 2008

You've probably heard of the Smart Collections feature in Lightroom 2.0? Well, I've discovered a truly wonderful use for them: making a set of collections that are there for the purpose of quickly finding various categories of components that I... read more

Making Basic Develop Adjustments Fast and Precise

May 08 2008

In the Lightroom 2.0 Develop module, there are some very useful shortcut keys you can used for the Treatment panels sliders. You can rotate through the use of the different sliders by pressing . When you do, the slider you’ve... read more

Lightroom 2.0 Print Promise

April 30 2008

The Print Module in Lightroom 2.0 has added one of the most time and money-saving features I’ve yet seen in an image editing package. Seldom is there a time in a portrait or product shoot when either the subject, the... read more

Making efficient collections in Lightroom 2.0

April 24 2008

One of the many things that Lightroom 2.0 does to revolutionize the efficiency of your workflow is to make it much easier to keyword your images. It then goes another big step further by making it much easier to instantly... read more

Instant Turnaround in Lightroom 2.0 Beta

April 17 2008

When the Lightroom 2.0 beta came out, there was much mention of the improved auto-adjust setting. It seems a small thing, but when it comes to being able to deliver quick proofs of a big shoot, could turn out to... read more

Stacking Virtual Copies in Photoshop

April 10 2008

Lightroom 2.0 makes it easy to open multiple images in a single file in Photoshop CS 3 (and, one of these days, in older versions and in Photoshop Elements). You can right click a selected image and the, under Open... read more

First Impressions of the 2.0 Beta

April 03 2008

Last night at exactly midnight NY time, I was able to download the very first version of the Lightroom 2.0 beta. I did this after I'd attended Adobe's on-line meeting and listened to everything Tom Hogarty had to say about... read more

Using the Histogram to Adjust

March 27 2008

Lately, I've been experimenting with using the Clipping Indicators and dragging the Histogram to insure a full dynamic range in an image. For the most part, it's a very effective way to make an image look it's best with minimum... read more

Using Lightroom to Track Stock Photo Submissions

March 20 2008

I’ve been trying out submitting my photos to Picture Stock. Picture Stock ( is an “agency” for Stock Photo agencies. When you submit your photos to them, they make sure they’re “punchy”, keyword them, copy them to CDs, and submit... read more

Here Come the Plug-ins

March 13 2008

Ever since Adobe announced an SDK for making Lightroom plug-ins I've been curious to see how third parties might expand the program's capabilities and efficiency. So I've been keeping a list of the plug-ins I've been hearing about. I haven't... read more

Regulating Your Keywords

March 05 2008

One of the biggest problems with keywords is that there are so many synonyms in the English language. So how do you know that one specific keyword for one specific thing will always be the case? After all, if it's... read more

Giving a Collection a Unifying Visual Style

February 28 2008

Occassionally you will want to go through all your photos, group them together and place them where you can find them for a special purpose (such as content for a coffee table book, portfolio, or fine-art exhibit). Furthermore, once I've... read more

Dramatizing with the Lightroom HSL Panel

February 21 2008

I am currently working in a country where color is often a large part of my intended composition and message. Often the dynamic and color ranges are so great;thanks to bright colors in the lifestyle and bright sunlight that they... read more

Don't Loose Your Photos Before You Download

February 14 2008

I do all of my downloading and initial processing in Lightroom, but before I can do that, I have to be able to download the images from my camera’s memory cards. Over the weekend, I took a day off to... read more

LightZone 3.4 For Even More Adjustment Lattitude

February 07 2008

Just about a year ago I wrote a blog for Inside Lightroom that suggested considering using Light Craft's LightZone to further enhance the power of Lightroom with a non-destructive editing tool that could also do regional adjustments. You can pass... read more

Get The Dust Off in Seconds

January 31 2008

Got one of those "old fashioned" digital cameras that doesn't have dust removal? It's time you thought about Lightroom's instant dust-removal. That's not so much a named feature as something you can easily do by using a combination of the... read more

Split Toning for Drama

January 23 2008

I'm not a big beleiver in the idea that a photograph's purpose is to be a record of what's there...particularly when it comes to fine-art photography. If what you do in Photoshop creates a favorable emotional response from an audience,... read more

Auto Noise Reduction on Import

January 23 2008

If you shot a whole series of wedding or event photos using natural light at high ISO settings, this could be a very useful tip. Use Lightroom's Auto Import feature to add a pre-set to all the images as they're... read more

Shortcuts You Must Memorize

January 10 2008

You probably already know this, but Lightroom has many shortcuts that I haven’t listed here. If you know them all, you’ll save even more time. There’s a really easy way to see what they are for any given module you... read more

Cool Tricks for Streamlining Image Management

January 03 2008

I'm not going to pretend that any of these are original ideas. In fact, if they were, most of them wouldn't be in Lightroom because I didn't suggest them. Thank heavens, others did, however. Ever since I arrived in Costa... read more

Customizng a Slideshow with a Pre-set and a Special Background

December 26 2007

I expanded on this idea from a blog of Matt Koslowski's on creating "presets" for Christmas slide shows. All he had to do was create a couple of images that would make good backgrounds, put those images into any of... read more

Lightroom Keyword Tricks

December 20 2007

I'm writing this piece as part of my own journey of discovery while looking for ways to improve on my keywords. There are three reasons I want to do this: (1) I want to build a list of keywords that... read more

Collecting Presets

December 19 2007

I’ve already done a blog on the advantages of using presets to “preview” effects and processing so that you can immediately see a direction you might want to go in for a given image. If you’re in Develop mode and... read more

New Lightroom Galleries

December 17 2007

Lightroom has a new "feature" in release 1.3 that I've not yet heard anyone mention: When you ship your image over to Photoshop to do the things that Lightroom can't, then bring the image back into Lightroom, it's no longer... read more

A Suggested Alternative Lightroom Workflow

December 17 2007

Ideally, most of us preach that you should organize your Lightroom workflow along the lines of the order in which the Lightroom modules appear. So you should start in the by adding the metadata and keywords, delete the images that... read more

New Lightroom Galleries

December 06 2007

Lightroom has a new "feature" in release 1.3 that I've not yet heard anyone mention: When you ship your image over to Photoshop to do the things that Lightroom can't, then bring the image back into Lightroom, it's no longer... read more

A Suggested Alternative Lightroom Workflow

December 06 2007

Ideally, most of us preach that you should organize your Lightroom workflow along the lines of the order in which the Lightroom modules appear. So you should start in the by adding the metadata and keywords, delete the images that will never have any value My workflow may not be suited… read more

Split Toning

November 22 2007

Although I rarely use the Split Tone panel in the Develop module (and I bet you can say the same), there are a couple of situations in which I find it extremely useful: Toned Black and Whites and full color nature scenes that are designed for emotional impact. Here’s a black… read more

An Alternative to the Slide Show Module

November 15 2007

I really like emailing slideshows as a way of showing the results of a shoot or of telling a story, rather than just emailing a series of shots. For one thing, most slide show programs have some way of automatically... read more

The Power of Catalog Re-organization

November 08 2007

One of the very few annoying things in my Lightroom Experience has been what I perceived as the awkwardness of storing and moving my photographs to different media and drives as my work moved along. Often, in fact, if I... read more

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Podcast Ken Milburn Unplugged
Publish Date: Nov. 1, 2006

Take a listen. The author of Digital Photography Expert Techniques, Second Edition knew Dan Rather in college, started his career taking publicity photos of Hollywood starlets, and shot album covers for Capitol Records. Ken talks to O'Reilly staffer Sara Peyton about his career, tips and tricks, and creating the wow factor.

Ken Milburn