Adobe launched Lightroom in late January of this year. Sometime last year I heard they were working on a photo editing application for photographers but shrugged it off because I had Photoshop Elements and had no need for anything else. With the influx of photos from the new camera, however, I needed something different and turned to a Lightroom demo after seeing the name again on a photography forum.
Let’s see, I downloaded the Lightroom trial (full-featured, 30 day trial) last Sunday afternoon, played around with it for a few hours, and purchased it Monday or Tuesday from Amazon.com. It is a very slick software package.
So what’s so special about it? Here’s my take on why it’s worth its sticker price:
Database driven management and organization results in very fast tagging, organizing, and then searching and viewing. No more now where’s that one photo??
- Facilities for rating and sorting out the crappy images from the real keepers
- Flexible organization schemes due to the nature of it having a database backend
- Amazingly simple photo enhancing tools. They’ve taken the broad sliders from Photoshop and brought them to Lightroom and focused them for photographers and photo enhancement.
- Integration with Photoshop (Elements too)
- Non-destructive photo editing. That’s right, you can crop, adjust white balance, color vibrance, etc. all without touching the actual file. All of these changes are kept in the database and are only applied when you export an image from the library. At any time you can go back to view/restore the original!
- Virtual Copies – one original photo, multiple different editing operations stored to produce multiple resulting photos.
- Treatment of RAW, JPG, TIFF, PSD is the same
- Very sleek, usable UI
I know I’m leaving stuff out, but you get the idea. If you’re being overwhelmed with a mountain of photos, definitely give it a look. I’ve been using it for a week now and feel like I know my way around pretty well. I’m also getting a feel for how I want things organized officially, so I’ll be going back through and making the adjustments soon. And lastly, I think that I have a lot of room to grow into the software, particularly the photo editing tools, so I don’t think I’ll be hitting any feature limitations anytime soon (knock on wood).