Your Photography & Software Questions Answered by Scott Kelby in Ask a Pro

©Scott Kelby

Q. The idea of shooting in Raw on your DSLR and then importing those Raw images into your tablet or phone to edit is pretty ludicrous to me. I don’t know of anyone who has enough free space on their mobile phone to edit even a day’s worth of vacation shooting. Are people really buying into this?

A. You are absolutely right: most folks probably don’t have enough free space on their mobile devices to edit even a single DSLR shoot (with about 200 images) in Raw. I read that around 95 percent of users have less than 5GB available on their mobile devices. However, lots of folks are having great success, and fun, editing Raw DSLR images on their mobile devices, but the workflow for mobile isn’t importing an entire shoot—it’s pulling in your memory card (on your iPad, for example, using Apple’s iPad Camera Connection Kit) and then choosing a few images to import that look like “keepers.” So, out of a 200-image shoot, you’re only importing 10 or 15 images, which is pretty manageable. With mobile, we have to be more selective about what we bring in because of file sizes, but once there, the editing process can be an awful lot of fun.


Q. Several months ago I learned through your column about the Nik Collection being available online for free. I downloaded it and have been enjoying it—until the revelation in your September 2017 column that it suffers from what appear to be insoluble problems that eventually cripple it. Upon closer reading, the real problem seems to be that OS and Photoshop upgrades are the source of the incompatibilities going forward. So, what are the most recent versions of Windows OS and Photoshop that are completely compatible with the version of the Nik Collection presently available online?

A. Your plan will work for a while, but it’s eventually going to catch up with you. Because of necessary security patches and other scary-sounding stuff, at some point you’re going to have to upgrade your OS or Photoshop, even if for nothing other than you bought a new camera and now your old version of Photoshop won’t recognize images from that camera. So, this is only a temporary fix at best. My recommendation is to spend $69 and buy Macphun’s Luminar, which seems like the heir apparent to the Nik Collection and actually does some things even better. You’ll dig it and sleep better at night not worrying about living in a world where you can never update your software.


Q. I have a few thousand family pictures and slides that I need to scan for preservation and make available to my brothers and sisters. I’d appreciate some advice on how to do it right the first time. Most of the images are prints of all sizes and aspect ratios, both black and white and color, including many Polaroids, and some color slides. The majority are snapshots, with a few professional images included (wedding photos, etc.). I have a CanoScan 9000F scanner and SilverFast SE Plus 8 software, but am willing to change that if there are gains to be had in quality, speed, and simplicity. I plan to start with the black-and-white images. Can you suggest the best file type(s) for saving the scans, and give me a target for proper scanning resolution? How do I keep subject, location, and date information with the image scans? The prints have all been placed in archival sleeves for protection.

A. Whew, that’s a lot of questions. First, you’re doing the right thing, so high five on wanting to do this in the first place. The CanoScan will do a fine job scanning prints but be prepared to do a lot of cleanup in Photoshop—removing specs, spots, and junk, and balancing the tone. Luckily, though, SilverFast can handle some of those tasks for you as it’s pretty slick software. However, I haven’t met a flatbed scanner that does an awesome job on slides, so you might consider at least sending those out to be scanned by a professional lab. As for the best file type, I save all my images in JPEG format with a quality setting of 10 (with 12 being the maximum quality setting in Photoshop). For resolution, there’s no reason to go beyond 300 ppi. Lastly, as for location and date info, that is a purely manual, mind-numbing production task you type in for each photo, in either Photoshop or Lightroom, and will be the worst part of this project. Good luck with this very worthwhile endeavor.


Q. I’ve been using a Canon PIXMA MP990 printer successfully for several years to create nice photographic prints. Recently, however, the prints are muddy, without the contrast I previously enjoyed. The paper and ink used are the same. Does the printer just need to be replaced?

A. Before buying a new printer, first try cleaning your print heads. Thankfully this ability is built into the printer, so it’ll do it for you—you just have to initiate the process. If that doesn’t do the trick, then do a Print Head Alignment. It takes a little longer, but it’s the same amount of work basically—you just have to tell the printer to do it. If neither of those things work, then take a good look at the Canon PIXMA TS9020, which replaced the MP990. Best of all, it’s only around $129.


Q. I’m doing more and more work on the road, away from my main desktop computer. I’m thinking about transferring my entire Lightroom library to an external drive. The web is full of somewhat dated warnings saying why this isn’t a good idea, but what are your thoughts?

A. I always recommend keeping your photos on an external hard drive when working with Lightroom (and yes, the info you’re reading is very dated). The modern workflow is to keep all your images on an external drive and to have a backup of that drive just in case that drive goes down—this is very important. So, in short, yes, you are on the right track!

Scott Kelby is a photographer, Photoshop Guy, award-winning author of more than 50 books, and CEO of KelbyOne, an online education community dedicated to helping photographers take the kinds of images they’ve always dreamed of. You can learn more about Scott at his daily blog (, or follow him on Twitter: @scottkelby.


Editor’s Note: Ask a Pro is a Q&A column from professional photographer, writer, and educator Scott Kelby. Scott is here to answer all your photography-related questions, so if you have something you’d like to know, e-mail him at (with “For Scott Kelby” as the subject line) and your query could be featured in the next edition of Ask a Pro.

lookugly2's picture

Why do camera manufactures stop putting manuals in their packages. If you're in the field shooting and you have a problem, you have to go home and get on the computer to see what you have to do to correct it and there's no use going back to the location 'cause it will not be the same condition as it was when you were there.