210 episodes

Jeff Harmon, passionate hobbyist photographer, works as an Information Security professional by day and loves to break down complicated and/or technical photography topics so that the newest of photographers can understand them. No topic is too simple or too complicated for the show. If he doesn’t know the answer then he brings on an expert to help him break it down. Get photography tips in the time it takes to eat a taco, or perhaps a burrito!

Photo Taco Podcast Jeff Harmon

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 322 Ratings

Jeff Harmon, passionate hobbyist photographer, works as an Information Security professional by day and loves to break down complicated and/or technical photography topics so that the newest of photographers can understand them. No topic is too simple or too complicated for the show. If he doesn’t know the answer then he brings on an expert to help him break it down. Get photography tips in the time it takes to eat a taco, or perhaps a burrito!

    Photographer's Guide to Buying an M3 MacBook Pro

    Photographer's Guide to Buying an M3 MacBook Pro

    A practical guide for photographers buying a 2023 M3 MacBook Pro and only spending what they need!

    • 1 hr 3 min
    HDR Editing in 2023 Using Lightroom and Photoshop

    HDR Editing in 2023 Using Lightroom and Photoshop

    Adobe just finished up their annual MAX conference where they demonstrate the latest things their software can do to help content creators. This usually includes major updates to all of the products in their Creative Cloud suite, including Lightroom and Photoshop that photographers tend to care the most about.

    One of the features included in the latest release of Lightroom and Photoshop is support for HDR editing. I have to be honest here, I have not yet done any of the HDR editing that is new here in 2023. We’ll get into why I haven’t used it in a minute, but this is why I had to bring Greg Benz on the show. Not only does Greg have experience with this new HDR editing, he has a plugin that can help photographers bridge the gap while not every display can show these new HDR images.

    How is HDR editing different from HDR processing that has been available for years?

    A lot of you may be thinking that HDR processing has been around for years, how is this new? A perfectly valid question. The old HDR processing we have all been used to using (and seeing – usually overdone so that it looks terrible) is one where we take 3 or more images at different exposures and combine them together into a single image. The idea was to overcome the limitations of our cameras to capture the full dynamic range of the scene and combine them together.

    The new HDR editing feature in Photoshop and Lightroom is quite a bit different. It is about leveraging the full dynamic range of the amazing camera sensors we have had for many years with a monitor that can actually show us everything that is there.

    The monitors we have been using for a while now, we will call them standard dynamic range (SDR), are capable of showing us 8 stops of lights. The difference between the darkest dark can only be 8 stops of light different from the brightest bright. Digital cameras vary in the dynamic range captured but most have been capturing at least 14 stops of light in a single image for many years.

    With SDR monitors, if the scene had more dynamic range than the 8 stops of light, we had to sort of slide those 8 stops around until we got the image where it looked best. Sliding that exposure around with a single image hasn’t been very easy, which led to the HDR processing that so many photographers had gone to when trying to cram the 14 stops of light into something we could see on our monitors showing 8 stops.

    HDR monitors change that. It has to truly be an HDR monitor (see below), but they are capable of showing all the stops of light your camera is capturing in a single frame. The update Adobe just released to Lightroom and Photoshop enables editing in HDR, using the full capabilities of an HDR monitor.

    What are the advantages to the HDR editing capabilities?

    The advantage is that photographers can finally see the full dynamic range captured by the sensor in your digital camera. A sunrise or sunset can now have both color and brightness. Christmas lights will actually glow. Greg tells me that it is a transformative experience that you have to see to believe.

    I love the way that Greg explained this with the example of a blue sky. With an SDR monitor as it tries to show a bright sky it will max out the brightness of the blue pixel and need to turn on the red and green pixels a little too so that it can be bright. Doing that means the blue gets duller, most likely looking white.

    We have dealt with this by using the highlights slider and lowering them until we see some color come back to the sky. With an HDR screen the blue pixel can get bright enough to show the bright sky without having to turn on the green and red p...

    • 1 hr 22 min
    Deciding to Print Yourself

    Deciding to Print Yourself

    Should photographers spend the time and money to print their images themselves rather than sending their images out to printing labs? Here are 5 decision points photographers should consider when making that decision.

    If you are a photographer considering getting into printing yourself, you are not alone.  I think my personal photography journey is very similar to many photographers and it seems most of us arrive at a point of wanting to have the capability to print ourselves. See if this path looks familiar to you.

    * A person gets interested in photography, buys a camera, has no idea how to use it

    * Learn about the exposure triangle. How to use shutter, aperture, ISO

    * Learn what lens to use and how to compose photos

    * Learn how to work with light. Portraits with flash, landscapes with night skies and sunsets

    * Learn how to print. First with labs, but eventually themselves

    This article is all about that last step.  I want to help photographers who are wondering about printing themselves. I have some things to share from the past few years where I took on printing as a complete beginner.

    I am going to cover several decision points I recommend photographers use to decide if getting into printing is right for them.  Then I will cover a few of the technical things involved with printing that can help with those decision points.

    Key factors to decide about printing yourself:

    * Competent photographer

    * Margin

    * Do you think you will like it?

    * Convenience

    * Critical for growth in business

    Competent Photographer

    I don’t want to sound harsh or dissuade anyone from setting and working on goals. I have tried hard to make this site be one where I encourage photographers to get on their photography journey. I want to cheer you on, provide some help, and recommend ways to do it without having to spend exorbitant amounts of money.

    However, I recommend that printing should not be taken on early in that journey.  Think of entering the world of printing yourself as being very similar to what it was like when you first started learning how to use your camera.  

    There is some technical complexity to printing that is likely to prove frustrating to even the competent or professional photographer. My advice is to hold off on printing your images yourself until you consistently get the results you want from concept, shoot, and edit.

    To be clear, I am not suggesting you hold off entirely on printing until you evaluate yourself to be a competent photographer. I am deliberately not using the term “professional” photographer, and I don’t think any photographer should wait for competency before doing any printing.

    Quite the contrary.  I am convinced that printing your images can really help you towards becoming that competent photographer. If you don’t feel like you are a competent photographer yet, adding printing to your workflow can help you get there.  I think you should print as much as you can afford, with the right priority.  Just do it through a print lab before trying to take that on yourself.


    Photographers should never get into printing as a way to save money. There is no chance you will print yourself at less cost than what you do through a good print lab.  Unless you consider your local pharmacy your pri...

    • 57 min
    Making DeNoise AI Faster

    Making DeNoise AI Faster

    After more than 20 hours of real world testing, here is what a computer needs to make DeNoise AI faster!

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Help With Hard Drive Space and Backup For Photographers

    Help With Hard Drive Space and Backup For Photographers

    Practical help for photographers struggling to have enough drive space and good backups

    • 2 hr 27 min
    Export Settings for Posting to Social Media

    Export Settings for Posting to Social Media

    What Dimensions and Quality Should Photographers Use When Posting To Social Media?

    Nearly a constant debate online, I constantly get questions on the pixel dimensions, quality setting, and DPI that photographers should use when exporting out of Lightroom and Photoshop for posting the image on social media. The answer may change over time as the social networks make constant changes to how they deal with photos, but after more than 80 hours of real-world research here is the answer.

    Photographers who want to have their images shown at the highest possible quality on all social media networks should export their images to JPEG format with the longest edge at 4096 pixels and quality set to 77%. Don’t worry about DPI.

    Photoshop export settings ideal for MOST images to get the highest quality when posting to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

    Lightroom Classic export settings ideal for MOST images to get the highest quality when posting to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

    Simple as that. I have tested this extensively and this ensures the very best representation of your image on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. All of these services will further compress your image (regardless of the dimensions and quality – more on that below). Facebook and Instagram will also downsize the image to a smaller resolution.

    If you want to customize your export a little more, here are the results I got posting real images to all three services for what it was they did to the image no matter how many more pixels the original image contained. No matter how much larger the longest edge was, this is the maximum number of pixels that will be on the long edge from these services.

    ServiceOriginalLongest EdgeResizedLongest EdgeFacebook5120 pixels1920 pixelsInstagram5120 pixels1080 pixelsTwitter5120 pixels4096 pixelsIf you are only sharing the image on Instagram, you may as well export at 1080 pixels on the long edge because Instagram will size it down to that size on upload if it isn’t.

    Why 4096 Pixels Longest Edge?

    My advice for a few years now has been using 2048 pixels on the long edge for sharing to social media. Not bad advice here in 2021, but if you are posting images to Twitter that isn’t going to result in the highest possible quality.

    It may be pretty obvious after seeing the table above. After doing real-world testing and posting hundreds of images through the Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, I have found that the highest pixel dimension allowed comes from Twitter. Twitter will not retain the longest edge size if the image you post is 4096 pixels on the longest edge.

    Therefore, to get the most quality in your post, if you are posting that image to all three services you should export with the longest edge set to 4096 pixels. Facebook and Instagram will resize the image to 1920 and 1080 pixels on the long edge respectively, but they will take in that 4096 long edge image just fine and you’ll get a good result.

    However, if your destinations are limited to Facebook and Instagram, save yourself some disk space and bandwidth by using a longest edge pixel dimension of 1920 (or maybe 2048 for a little extra detail) instead of 4096.

    Why Quality of 77%?

    The quality number is almost irrelevant as far as the services go because all of them are going to put your image through their compression engine no matter what you do (more on that below). This is purely about saving you disk space and bandwidth. Still, since your image is bound for a makeover in the compression engines of these services,

    • 1 hr 18 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
322 Ratings

322 Ratings

towlett ,

Good Information

I have listened to this podcast since it’s inception and I always learn something new.

Jerseychi ,

Excellent and informative

Jeff does a great job on this podcast with different subjects for photographers on all levels.

Candis Morgan ,

Educational and Informative

As a hobbyist self taught photographer, this podcast gives me great insight in different aspects of photography.

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