Posted on: Wed August 8rd, 2011
What is Lightroom and what can I use it for?
Lightroom is a one-stop photography workflow solution. It is designed to help you quickly and easily organize and bring out the best in your photographs. Whether you’re perfecting one image, searching for a series, processing hundreds, or organizing thousands, Lightroom offers a complete solution in one application.
Photographers have special requirements when handling images from photo shoots and these aren’t necessarily reflected in how Photoshop is designed. Lightroom is a tool for all photographers, whatever their level, amateurs to professionals. You will love so many of its amazing features that can be applied at click of a button.
There are five different modules in Lighroom, each takes care of a stage in the workflow process. They are: Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print and Web.
In the Library module, you organise your catalogs of images. A catalog is like a database that contains a record of your photos and data such as preview information, links that indicate where the photos are located on your computer, metadata that describes the photos, keyword tags and editing instructions.
In the Develop mode, you will be able to apply the available adjustment tools to images. Lightroom’s raw processing engine offers noise reduction and sharpening tools that enable you to achieve the highest possible image quality. High ISO or underexposed images are easily made clearer while still preserving important detail.
Using the new straighten tool so you can perfect vertical and horizontal perspectives. The built-in presets allows you to apply eye-popping effects to your pictures in a click (eg. So many different conversions to black & white, sepia, retro, contemporary vignette styles, grain effects and so much more. Refer to the images in the article below for examples or preset applications)
Shooters have been crying out for some of Lightroom`s more advanced features, like the Automatic Lens Correction which dramatically improves undesirable lens effects by allowing you to apply profiles that correct geometric distortions, chromatic aberrations, and lens vignette effects.
Adapting to changes in the way that we use our DSLRs, Lightroom now allows users to import and manage DSLR video files, as well as take advantage of tethered shooting for select Nikon and Canon cameras.
All the changes you apply are non-destructive, meaning, they are saved inside the Lightroom catalog as ‘changes’ and they do not change the file itself.
The remaining modules, SlideShow, Print and Web, are tools for displaying images either as slideshows, web pages or assembling them for printing. You can showcase your work in elegant print layouts, slide shows, and web galleries, as well as on popular photo-sharing sites. Customizable print layouts provide more refined control over how you present your final images, and flexible new watermarking features help give professionals and amateurs flexibility for branding images.
Lightroom also includes the ability to export polished slideshows as video files with the option to add audio and title screens. It even includes new capabilities to publish collections on sharing sites.
How does Lightroom compare to Photoshop, Bridge & Camera Raw?
When you handle a lot of images in Photoshop you download them and preview them in Bridge. If they require fixing or printing, you take them via Camera RAW (if they are Raw files) to Photoshop. In Lightroom most of your workflow takes place inside Lightroom – Lightroom contains both the organizing tools of Bridge and the processing tools of Camera RAW.
In Lightroom you import only those images you want to use and manage inside Lightroom. If an image isn’t in the Lightroom catalog then Lightroom cannot see it. This is in contrast to Bridge which shows you the entire contents of folders on your hard drive. In Lightroom you can build preview images as you import them or later on and these are also stored in the catalog – this makes it quicker for you to view and work on your images in contrast to using Bridge.
Although you can view photos in both Lightroom and Adobe Bridge, the two applications behave differently. To view photos in Adobe Bridge, your computer hard drive must contain the photos, or your computer must be connected to a storage media that contains the photos. This is because Adobe Bridge is a file browser that only displays readily accessible photos. The Lightroom catalog is a database that keeps track of the photos you import, so you can preview photos whether your hard drive contains the actual photos or not. To edit photos in Lightroom, however, the software does need to be able to access the stored photos.
Some of the same things can be done using the combination of Bridge and Photoshop but this is where Lightroom tops Photoshop. The Lightroom tools work better because your images are already there, organized, open and ready to work with and the tools are very fast.
The Lightroom Develop module is the equivalent of Photoshop Camera RAW and it contains tools for applying image wide fixes. You can use these on any image that Lightroom can import and this includes Camera RAW images, JPEGs and Tiffs.
Does Lightroom replace Photoshop?
Lightroom does have a few tools that let you fix limited areas of an image, such as the Clone, Heal, Graduated Filter and Adjustment Brush. However, this is where the differences between Photoshop and Lightroom are most apparent and where Lightroom’s limitations appear.
Photoshop, being a pixel editor, can be used to affect images all the way down to pixel level. It supports layers and layer masks, it can merge panoramas, HDR sequences and align and blend layers – none of these features appear in Lightroom.
Most people who use Lightroom report significant savings in the amount of time they spend processing their images compared to the time spent if using Photoshop. That is because many of the adjustments they used to do in Photoshop can now be managed in Lightroom faster and easier. So while it may not replace it 100%, you will only need to use Photoshop occasionally once you start using Lightroom.
Can`t wait to start using Lightroom 3?
You can order the software from Gulf Photo Plus:
• Lightroom 3 full version (Mac/Windows) – only AED 1,485
• Lightroom 3 upgrade (Mac/Windows) – only AED 495
Or call 04-360-2365, or email us at email@example.com
And if you’d like to get familiar with it quickly and start using it in just 5 hours of instruction then sign up to the next Lightroom workshop at gpp on Sept 13th & 14th, 19:00-21:30 lead by Alex Jefferies. Click here for more information.