The Pros and (Mostly) Cons of Upgrading to a 4K Monitor

I'm in the process of getting back into photography which will mean a new camera, more on that in a later post. But the first step for me was a new computer, one with the horsepower to handle a modern day camera and its RAW files. Along with the computer comes a new 4K monitor. 4K is great for media consumption, right? Your characters on your favorite show or movie really look detailed and realistic. Scenery looks wonderful. Everything looks great, right? Wrong. You know what doesn't look great? That photo I took in 2012 that I thought was sharp but is very much not. I transferred over my past catalogs of photos over to Lightroom Classic and eagerly began opening up some of my favorite photos. At first I was happy with how the colors looked and how the scene was composed. Then I noticed it was a little soft. Well I had just gotten a new contacts prescription so that must be it. Changed to my glasses and the photos were even blurrier! I went through photo after photo and most ca

Topaz Labs Adjust

Before (Left) and After (Right) of one of my favorite sunset shots processed with Adjust
I've been wanting to highlight some of the tools and plugins I use often here on the blog because they have helped me learn and enjoy photography. One of these plugins, Topaz Labs Adjust 5, is also on sale this month, so I thought it was a good time to start. I'll have the link and the coupon code at the bottom.

When I first got started with HDR photography I was initially disappointed with my photos after the HDR processing step. They looked flat and boring. They weren't like the HDRs I was seeing from other photographers. I then learned that most photographers finish their photos off with plugins, and one of the most popular ones was Topaz Labs Adjust. Adjust was my first plugin from Topaz and in general, and is still one of my most used plugins with my HDR work.

Topaz and Adjust have come a long way since I first started using them 3 or 4 years ago. Adjust has moved from version 4 to version 5 and other products have been added to both Topaz's portfolio and my "Edit in external editor"menu in Aperture. The great thing about all the Topaz Labs products is the fairly unified look and feel; on the left you have your presets usually categorized in different collections, the middle is your photo with easy ways to quickly look at before and after shots, and on the right are the more finite controls to get just the look you're wanting. Adjust is no different, though it doesn't share some of the great features that Clarity or ReStyle have in terms of grid preset preview and the same level of awesomeness that the Clarity and ReStyle masking tools have.
Before (Left) and After (Right)

The power feature for Adjust is the Adaptive Exposure slider. This really works on adjusting the tonal qualities of your photo. Coupled with the regions slider and you can have these tonal adjustments work at different levels on your photos. It's a very powerful tool and one, in my opinion, you should use with caution, depending on what you're looking for in your photos; too much will make a photo less realistic. Adjust would also be my suggestion for if you were to own one Topaz Labs plugin. It offers watered down features of some of their other plugins; denoise options, detail, and the ability to work on things more locally than just the photo as a whole.
Before (Left) and After (Right)

When I want to add drama to a photo, not just my HDRs, Adjust is normally my first choice. This one plugin offers a lot in the way of features. And for the month of September it's on sale for $24.99. Just click the image below and use "septadjust" (without quotes) to get the discount! Then show me what you've done with Adjust.


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The Pros and (Mostly) Cons of Upgrading to a 4K Monitor